Top 7 free agents still on the block


VIDEO: Suns GM Ryan McDonough talks about the roster

It’s been just over a week since LeBron James decided to make his celebrated return to Cleveland and that’s when the rest of the dominoes began to fall.

But as the 2014 free agency period moves toward its third week, there are still some valuable pieces to the puzzle that haven’t yet signed for the upcoming season. Here’s a quick look at seven of the most interesting candidates that are still available:

Eric Bledsoe (restricted) – After saying all along that they would match any offer, there is suspicion in some quarters that the Suns might not be willing to go to the limit to keep the 6-foot-2 guard. ESPN has reported that Bledsoe is seeking a max deal of five years, $80 million. But with Kyle Lowry, the other top-level point guard of the crop, already re-signing in Toronto for four years, $48 million, there really is no reason for the Suns to bid against the top of the market until Bledsoe can bring in a higher offer. The candidates to step in are dwindling.

Greg Monroe (restricted) — New Pistons coach and boss Stan Van Gundy went out of the his way at the Orlando summer league to declare he wants to keep the big man in Detroit. First, there is likely the matter of finding a new home for Josh Smith to reassure Monroe that he won’t have to re-live the bad fit of last season’s experience. Monroe has defensive issues that will require him to improve if he’s going to live up to whatever contract he signs. But at 24, optimism abounds.

Evan Turner (unrestricted) — Things certainly didn’t work out for Turner after the mid-season trade that turned him from a mainstay in Philly to a spectator on the bench at Indiana through the playoffs. It never was a good fit in a Pacers lineup that already had Lance Stephenson. But now that Stephenson has flown to Charlotte and with the offensively anemic lineup even more desperate for points, wouldn’t it actually make more sense for him to play in Indiana now? The former No. 2 overall pick in the draft still has much to prove, but he’s young enough to get another chance.

Ray Allen (unrestricted) — Maybe the sweetest shooter who has ever laced up a pair of sneakers in the NBA, the question is only whether the 39-year-old wants to put them on again for a 20th season. It makes no sense for him to go to any team that isn’t in the running for a championship run, where he’s still that perfect designated shooter off the bench. That’s exactly why buddies LeBron James and Mike Miller are twisting his arm and trying to get him to Cleveland.

Jameer Nelson (unrestricted) — He averaged 12.1 points and 7 assists for an Orlando team that was committed to a youth movement last season. After 10 seasons in the league, Nelson is no longer a player to run a team on a full-time basis. But as a decent shooter and playmaker and someone with good leadership skills, he could be a nice fit on team that needs someone to provide solid backup minutes.

Ramon Sessions (unrestricted) – The scoring point guard is just 28 years old and has played on four different teams in the last three seasons alone, so he’s never been in any one spot long enough to put down roots or make a lasting impression. Career numbers (11.7 points, 4.7 assists) say he’s capable of getting the job done as a reserve.

Andray Blatche (unrestricted) — He’s the classic example of the player who benefits from the old adage: You can’t teach height. If Blatche weren’t 6-11 with what seem to be a bundle of physical gifts, he’d have been banished to an outpost in the D-League or overseas by now. Has had his share of off the court problems and is not a particularly good teammate. But as long as he doesn’t shrink like a cheap jersey in the wash, somebody will bring him in a third big man and see if they can tap into that talent.

55 Comments

  1. Unkaned says:

    Pipe dreams. With relatively tall point guard Goran Dragic tearing up the League at his position, the Suns are as likely to pay another 6’2″ point guard $20M/year than are to lynch Hornacek. So Bledsoe will be one of the big losers. Of the others, Ray Allen may help out a contender for another year or so — although the instant they found they didn’t have to pay LeBron $23M, how come they didn’t come calling. Since no one is likely going to trade too much for Monroe, he’s far better off sticking it out with the Pistons this year and jumping to OKCity or Miami next season, where a decent-sized center who can score 12 points a game is all they’ll need. Good luck Greg. Hope Detroit doesn’t sell you down the river. And Jameer and Ramon will have no problems: Most teams prefer three point guards, and both of these guys would be the point-of-the-bench for half the teams in the league. So the last gasp of what happens to the last seven best free agents is nothing but a prolonged yawn.

  2. LakerfanErik says:

    I think Blatche should go to Miami since they always lack in the Center position. He can be a great addition to the team.

  3. Max says:

    Best fit for Cavs. is Ray Allen. Hope Ray will not retire for one more year. Cavs need Ray & of course K. Love.

  4. hbcunetwork says:

    Bledsoe needs to fire his agent! A big contract in hand beats a big contract…in your mind!

  5. hbcunetwork says:

    Bledsoe needs to fire his agent! A big contract in hand beats a big contract in your mind!

  6. hilljr says:

    Best Destinations for all FA’s
    Bledsoe—Houston his two way ability at point combined with the two-way abilities of D12, and Ariza would morph them into arguably the best defensive team in the West. They’d be able to effectively hide the Matador(Harden) on D.

    Allen– Cleveland. LeBron needs veterans who can help show the young guys what it means to be a professional. Without talking. Allen’s addition would be more than just for his 3 point shooting. His work eithic and vet Leadership will push Wiggins, Irving, and Waiters to become what they can be. (Arguably the best guard rotation in the league)

    Monroe–Detroit (but only if they find a fool to take Josh Smith’s contract) He’s the perfect yin to Drummond’s yang

    Nelson–Pacers would be an immediate playmaking upgrade over G. Hill and C. J. Watson.

  7. MOGENS says:

    Eric Bledsoe truly changed his Tune, from last year with The SUNS. He was apparently looking forward to this coming Season,
    and contribute even more, due to his knee Injury that sidelined him for quite a few games. He’s a great Player,
    but definitely not a “Super Star” Caliber. He’ll find out, that there’s not many takers out there willing to sign a 5-Year contract at $80 Milllion. It’s obvious that he’s in a Dream World. That’s why there’s no takers for this “Obscene” Salary he is contemplating.He was a great fit with the SUNS System along with Goric, they were one of the Best Duo in the League.

  8. kavika6 says:

    Bledsoe is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.

  9. darkjero says:

    andray blatche will play for the philippines in the upcoming fiba world cup in spain because he s being naturalize filipino

  10. clayton says:

    the cavs should be pursuing Greg Monroe!!

  11. alfonso WILDCATS says:

    I think the MIAMI HEAT should hire ANDRY BLATCHE, they need a back up big man on the floor.

  12. Rick says:

    J Nelson would be an ideal back up in Cleveland given Kyrie gets injured a lot. He still has the toughness and grit that Kyrie is lacking and could help drive him if the CAVS start winning more with J Nelson in the line-up.
    Blatche to Memphis would make sense as a precaution in case Z-bo or Gasol goes down for any extended period of time. Their team already plays good defense so he would be that much of a liability.
    Bledsoe needs to be careful of the Sprewell effect… He need to take the best offer that he can get (suns or whoever) and stop looking for a max deal. He should sign a good 2 year deal, stay healthy, and produce, and then see what the market has to offer.
    Unfortunately E Turner might need to sign with a team like Milwaukee or Minnesota for 1 year where he could get scoring opportunities off the bench and re-establish himself. He definitely shouldn’t be bumping any of the young guns in any line-up. He had his shot… “still a tweener”
    ICE

  13. hzy says:

    Raps should trade for Smith if thats the case! JV & Smith would be a ferocious front court! Although, James Johnson is a very nice addition to come off the bench with Vazquez Ross PatPat Hayes. Fields and Hansbrough are in a tough for mins regardless. Anyway you look at it.. Raptors need to consolidate and beef up,

    • Rick says:

      Pleeeeeease keep J Smith out of Raptor nation. He would wreck their Chemistry by the end of training camp. “Dude needs a serious wake up call”

      • JDL says:

        I agree, J Smith sounds great on paper but would never fit into the Raptors style of play and dont forget his huge contract, we would have to part with some serious pieces so that would be out of the question.

  14. eugene says:

    josh smith would be a great tandem for carlos bozeer in LA.

  15. eugene says:

    i love ray allen to go cleveland with lebron.

  16. eugene says:

    for me why would eric bledsoe have this maximum deal. goran dragic is there who can make plays with suns.
    and is very good point guard.

  17. DoNaRk says:

    Greg Monroe to the Lakers, It would be great :) Agree?

    • Uh, nope.. says:

      .. that would be dreaming.

      Lakers management are far too stupid to be able to make smart moves in the free agency.

    • Eddy Griff says:

      Sigh. I have been saying SINCE FA started lakers should have went after Monroe and bledsoe instead of wasting time trying to sign melo, and look, WHO are the two biggest FA left?????

  18. Spurs fan for life says:

    I think Evan turner would be a good fit for the bulls and the Knicks to play alongside melo in repalce of Raymond Felton .

  19. Arnold Pineda says:

    The Lakers should be calling Blatche and Turner

    • i had exact same thoughts says:

      But apparently, those bean brains (Kupchack and Jim Buss) seem intent on destroying the Laker franchise by making the stupidest picks year in & year out. Blatche – and even Gooden (Wizards) would have been great pickups to soften the blow of losing Gasol. But, again, seems like a way to logical move for Lakers front-office to do. And since they’re almost at their spending cap, way too late to make an extra move – unless Blatche, Gooden or anyone else for that matter, if looking to join them for next to nothing in salary. :/

  20. pokie says:

    The Bulls would be a nice fit for Jameer Nelson.

  21. John says:

    Why are you guys talking about Josh Smith? I dont’ see hsi name anywhere on this list. lol

    • JBR says:

      Where once there were many calling themselves ‘heatfan’, now in their place stand many a ‘cavsfan’.

      Gotta love the herd mentality.

      “I go where my King commands me.”

  22. cavs fan says:

    Cavs need to forget K.Love and keep A.Wiggins.
    And make something happen with J.Smith

  23. KDfan says:

    J Smith needs to be with a team who has a mature, calm coach to whom he will listen and be allow himself to be guided. PJax, although now a GM, can influence him. Pop is a good choice.

  24. KDfan says:

    Ray is not going to be able to perform as well unless he plays with LBJ. Pool him and Miller together with the existing young talent of Irving, Wiggins, Bennet and their new leader LBJ and they will be a threat, not yet a contender in the east.

    • A couple of paths for Cavs says:

      to take if the K-Love trade doesn’t happen. (1) If Ray-Ray is still available, pick up his contract, and get one of the few good Centers left (Blatche, Gooden) to shore up their depth in bigs. With Allen and another Center, i can see Cav’s going as far as East 2nd Round.. and at a stretch, East Finals in 2014-’15 Season. (2) If they can’t get Ray-Ray, try for a PF like Brand (Wizards), to give them depth in the post. Evan Turner is still available as a FA to cover SF/SG. The opportunities are there, but they need to act quick before those opportunities disappear.

      • update (doh!) says:

        Gooden just re-signed with Wizards

      • truth says:

        cavs are going to the conference finals, even how they are now. The east is extremely weak, and got even weaker with the pacers losing lance, heat losing basically their whole team in LBJ. Any team with LBJ is going to make atleast the conference finals…I dont beleive they could win a championship, YET. but with irving and lebron, theyre still better than most East teams. Now if they get love, then they could win a championship this year. but theres NO WAY they lose in the 2nd rd…not with lebron

    • mally geez says:

      Lebron and four people from the d league will be contenders the heat only lost two series each of them finals

  25. azn pryde says:

    Jeremy Lin is better than Michael Jordan

  26. Matthew Sutton says:

    If I was the Charlotte Hornets I would try to trade Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh, and a1rst or 2nd round pick for Greg Monroe. If that trade happened Charlotte would be a top team in the east easily.

  27. Ball_Is_Life says:

    If Josh Smith is not moved by the start of training camp I’m sure hes going to demand a trade. I can see him signing with the Lakers as they have a gaping hole at C with only Sacre there. They have a plethora of PF now with Randle, Boozer, Hill, and Davis but none are true centers (Hill and Davis would be serviceable at the 5 but I don’t see them as full time starting C’s). Bledsoe is probably going elsewhere as well now that they have IT2 on a very cheap longterm contract. I don’t see the Suns maxing him out given his injury history and amount of young talent. I can totally see a sign-and-trade occurring (possible to IND as someone said earlier). Can’t wait till next season starts!

  28. jdub455 says:

    the heat should get monroe… there is no sense playing small ball without lebron… bosh sliding to his natural pf position would still make them contenders for the eastern championship….

  29. Lakers-Warriors-Suns says:

    Bledsoe is gonna stay in PHX!

  30. BASKETBALL says:

    I think the laker should get evan turner, bledsloe and greg monroe then maybe trade boozer and lin . Give Randle good mins. he can help u in the game ,

    • You're right says:

      With LeBron no longer the pivot for the Heat offense, the Heat have no alternative to move to a traditional Center-PF in the post, style of play. Monroe makes sense, but i’m not sure the Heat has cap room to pick up his contract. Hypothetical like, Monroe, Bosh, Beasley, Wade, Chalmers, makes the Heat automatically a better defensive force – in the post, and more balanced, scoring-wise, with a more even, traditional spread of scorers. Gone will be the full-court, transition squad, and in will be the conventional, half court offense. They’ll for sure go down in scoring capability, as a unit, but that’ll be balanced up by and countered by a better defensive squad – with likely less points conceded per game, on average.

      • mally geez says:

        Before bosh signed with the heat and became a stretch 4 he played traditional 4 and averaged 22 and 11 for his career in Toronto

    • rod says:

      Carlos boozer can’t b traded, when u get amnesty whoever picks u up can’t tradeyou that year….

  31. Jameer Nelson may be a good fit in Houston setting the table for Dwight and Harden. Indiana However may be where he is needed the most. They are desperate for a floor leader who can distribute the ball while consistently knock down the open 3-ball and create for others.

    Evan Turner would be nice in Portland who lack perimeter depth and could definitely be a cheap boost to their offense off of the bench.

    Blatche, wherever he goes, needs to be on a team with strong leadership. Cleveland may be a nice choice or even Toronto.

  32. Dreday says:

    Phoenix should do a sign and trade with Indiana for Roy Hibbert. Indiana needs a point guard and Phoenix could use a defensive giant. Not to mention if Bledsoe whats max money !4-16 million then then money is about even Roy makes 14+ per yr.

  33. lee says:

    Would like to see blatche and allen go to Cleveland and turner go to the bulls

  34. harrythehawk says:

    With the exception of Ray Allen and Greg Monroe, the others are bums or scallywags. Ray Allen is contemplating retirement. ANY team would LOVE to have him, including his old team the Celtics. Greg Monroe already has a job in Detroit, but Van Gundy is having to clean up the big screw up Detroit made in over paying that other bum J Smoove. If Greg Monroe doesn’t end up staying in Detroit. Good riddance because a lot of teams would LOVE to have him too. Evan Turner is lazy, Blatche has issues. Sessions is a scallywag. Okay, I will give Jameer Nelson a break. But he’s still available for a reason.