As the NBA‘s free-agency period starts to wind down with many of the big names accounted for, there are still some interesting options out on the market, whether it be a couple of sharpshooters or a two-time NBA champion.
Teams are still hoping for some legitimate talent to sign with them as they finalize their 2013-14 rosters, whether it be veteran help or an undrafted rookie who took the summer league by storm.
Here’s a look at the latest chatter throughout the Association, complete with analysis.
Spurs’ Gary Neal to Become Unrestricted Free Agent?
After signing former Chicago Bulls guard Marco Belinelli to a two-year deal in June, the San Antonio Spurs are reportedly set to withdraw their qualifying offer to Gary Neal and let the 28-year-old walk, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
The interest in Neal should stretch throughout the NBA, from contenders to rebuilding teams. The three-year pro has shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and 82 percent from the free-throw line in his career.
Adding to Neal’s intrigue is the fact that he played better defensively in 2012-13. After opposing point guards registered a PER of 21.3 against him in 2011-12, according to82games.com, they registered a PER of 15.5 against him last season.
That’s not great, but it is a noticeable improvement.
If anything, Neal can space the floor, which is always valuable.
Clippers to Re-Sign Lamar Odom?
According to Arash Markazi of ESPN LA, the Los Angeles Clippers are still interested in signing free-agent forward Lamar Odom.
Earlier in the month, Mike Bresnahan and Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times reported that Odom was deciding between the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, who both offered him $1.4 million.
Odom averaged 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from the floor in 20 minutes per game last season. He ranked well below the league average in PER among forwards who averaged at least 15 minutes per game, via Hoopdata.com.
While that’s not exactly eye-opening, there aren’t many other options on the market to back up Blake Griffin at this point.
Rookie guard Ian Clark went undrafted this year, despite averaging 18.2 points while shooting 54 percent from the floor and 46 percent from beyond the arc in his senior season at Belmont.
Now, after he posted 33 points against the Phoenix Suns in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game, he’s reportedly drawing heavy interest throughout the NBA, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports.
According to Zillgitt, the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz are interested in the 6’3″ combo guard.
In seven games with the Warriors in Las Vegas, Clark averaged 12.4 points while shooting 48 percent from the field and 49 percent from beyond the arc. Against the Suns, he posted 33 points while going 12-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-10 from three-point range.
Before that, he averaged 16.4 points (ranked sixth) while shooting 48 percent from the field in five games with the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.
One thing’s for sure: Ian Clark knows how to drop buckets. He also knows how to defend, averaging 2.2 steals in Orlando and 1.1 steals in Vegas while playing strong man-to-man defense.
So, why wasn’t he drafted?
Well, there is the matter of his size. At 6’3″, there are concerns about plopping him into the shooting guard role. He may have trouble finishing against the more physical players in the league.
But, given the way he shot the ball and defended this summer, it’s hard to imagine an NBA team not picking him up now.
Who said summer league didn’t mean anything?