• Ziad Aziz

Who’s Left: The Best Available Free Agents

It’s August! That means: warm nights, sunscreen, ice cream, and mosquito bites are still with us for at least another month! Now, what does August mean for the NBA? Well, frankly not that much.

The NBA Draft was in June, and the Summer League concluded on July 20. The big name free agents like LeBron James, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge all signed their contracts a month ago. So for the nonce, rosters are settling in with their new draftees and free agent acquisitions; making for a somewhat lackluster August.

So, who’s left? Is there any unsigned player out there who can be an asset to a team? It’s some slim pickings, but there are still a few notable unrestricted free agents who are worth mentioning.

Michael Beasley

*Photo via Palmbeach

He’s only 26, but it seems as though Michael Beasley has been in the league since the introduction of the three-point line. He’s been on three different teams since being drafted second overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. Over the last two seasons, ironically back with the Heat, he poured in less than 10 points per game and missed a total of 85 games.

When healthy, Beasley’s best season came in 2010-11 with the Minnesota Timberwolves; where he averaged 19.2 points, snatched 5.6 rebounds, distributed 2.2 assists, and saw over 32 minutes of action on the floor per game. Talent isn’t the issue when it comes to Michael Beasley. At 6 feet 8 inches, he’s got size and speed to be a formidable offensive threat every night.

His career field goal percentage is 45 percent, and he shoots a respectable 34 percent from beyond the arc. He can add depth to any bench with his offensive versatility and has a good natural feel for the game. Yet, when it comes to commitment, Beasley draws some red flags. Multiple accusations of marijuana use along with an arrest back in 2013, is why the former Kansas – State star has bounced around the league. If Beasley can prove that he’s fully committed to helping a team win and not be a hemorrhaging distraction, then he could sign a contract before September.

Carlos Boozer

*Photo via Getty Images

At 33 years old, Carlos Boozer’s prime is riding out into the sunset. In 2014-15 with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boozer had a career season. A career season of low numbers that is. He played an average of 23.8 minutes, had 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and put up 11.8 points per game. These are all career lows except for his points (10.0 points per game his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers).

Despite the non Boozer- like numbers, they’re still relatively decent overall. He’s a seasoned veteran that’s logged nearly 3,000 minutes in 83 career playoff games. He’s a proven leader that can provide a strong emotional presence to any locker room, and be a valuable source for younger players to emulate.

Boozer’s unselfish play on the court and decorated resume is attractive to any head coach. As Tristan Thompson’s long-term future with Cleveland is in question, it would make sense for the Cavs to make a play for Boozer in order to add depth for a of couple seasons. It would also work in Boozer’s favor to be a part of a championship caliber team, for a shot at his first ring.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis

*Photo via CBS

Until his recent tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013-14, Glen Davis was a point of emphasis for the Orlando Magic. His most productive season came in 2012-13. Where he averaged 15.1 points and totaled 7.2 rebounds per game, while starting all but one.

The last two seasons aren’t necessarily good benchmarks to measure Davis’ success. The Clippers boast a deep bench and start a pair of Olympians in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. So, Davis saw limited playing time as a result.

The nickname ‘Big Baby’ has literal origins. Glen Davis was a mammoth sized newborn, weighing an obscene 14 pounds. And standing 6 feet 9 inches, weighing 289 pounds, that mass has stuck with him as long as his nickname. The 29-year-old Davis can bang down low in the post as well as step out and consistently hit a 15-foot jumper. He’s surprisingly nimble with quick feet, and can provide energy off the bench setting offensive lineman type screens.

J.R. Smith

*Photo via USA Today

Is it considered ironic that one week I’m listing all the reasons why J.R. Smith isn’t on a roster, yet still remains my favorite free agent currently on the market? To be honest, I really like J.R. Smith. In my previous article, I simply pointed out a few things he could improve upon. We ALL have our faults people!

Smith can score in a myriad of ways. He has the ability to drive to the hoop and finish in traffic with tenacity, and nail just about every circus shot there is. He’s also a sniper from long distance, shooting 37.2 percent from three for his career. Smith has averaged 13.2 points per game in the regular season and 13.0 during the postseason over a span of 10 years in the league.

At 29 years old, Smith is focused on winning a championship and has no problem coming off the bench. The former Sixth – Man of the Year has shown that he has outgrown some of his childish antics on and off the court since coming to Cleveland. Smith must display that he is coachable with the ability to show restraint when tempers flare on the floor. He is looking to re-sign with Cleveland, but has drawn interest from the New Orleans Pelicans as well.

*Tristan Thompson isn't going anywyhere

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com

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