Between former All-Stars nearing the end of their career, proven veterans with playoff experience, players hoping to overcome injuries and once promising prospects in need of another chance to prove themselves, the list of players still without a contract is pretty intriguing.
While the players listed below wouldn’t be considered building blocks for a team pursuing a championship, each could make a significant impact during the playoffs next summer.
Josh Howard- Forward
Once viewed as the steal of the talented 2003 NBA Draft, the former All-Star has seen his production slip as knee injuries continue to slow him down. The 31-year-old has played for three teams in four seasons but has drawn interest from the Knicks, Nets and Bobcats.
Mickael Pietrus- Forward
The odd man out in Boston after the acquisition of Courtney Lee, Pietrus is exploring possibilities in the NBA and overseas for next year. After missing out on playing for France in the 2012 Olympics because of an injury, Pietrus announced he won’t play next season for the league minimum. The 30-year-old has drawn interest from Minnesota and Milwaukee this summer.
Andray Blatche- Forward
There has never been a question about his talent, only his motives. He once drew attention for desperately gunning for a triple-double, but when focused, can provide an impact. Blatche was paid $23 million to stay away from the Wizards, the same team that used its amnesty clause to force his exit, but he is willing to entertain any offers. Blatche expressed interest in playing for a D-League team, but may wind up with the Nets.
Derek Fisher- Guard
Another season and another championship appearance for Fisher. Although the Thunder fell to Miami in five games, Fisher proved he can be an asset off the bench, still capable of making important shots while taking care of the basketball. In 446 minutes played in the post season, the 37-year-old committed just six turnovers.
Gilbert Arenas- Guard
Still seeking redemption the brutal way his career ended in Washington, Arenas has been a non-factor during his stints in Orlando and Memphis. In 17 games last season with the Grizzlies, Arenas failed to even register 20 minutes in a game. While in Washington, Arenas logged over 2,000 points in three consecutive seasons, but manged just 72 a year ago.
Kenyon Martin- Forward
As one of the players to sign an overseas contract during the NBA lockout, Martin didn’t return to the United States until February. After signing with the Clippers, he served as a valuable contributor off the bench. The 34-year-old established a defensive presence, swatting away one more shot in the post season than DeAndre Jordan, the second leading shot blocker in the league last season, even though played 56 fewer minutes in the playoffs.
Leandro Barbosa- Guard
As Brazil’s leading scorer in four of six Olympic contests, Barbosa proved he can provide an impact off the bench, following a disappointing tenure with Indiana. A mid-season acquisition from Toronto, Barbosa shot less than 40 percent from the field in 22 appearances with the Pacers, but did knockdown 42.4 percent of his attempts from 3-point range, keeping the Lakers intrigued in signing the former Sixth Man of the Year.
Darko Milicic- Center
After losing his starting center position in Minnesota to the surprising Nikola Pekovic, the former second overall draft pick is looking to join his sixth different team. Two seasons ago, Milicic morphed into a formidable shot blocker, turning away two attempts per game, something any team could use off the bench. Miami has expressed interest in Milicic, leaving the possibility of four of the top-5 picks from the talented 2003 NBA Draft class suiting up for the Heat next season.
Matt Barnes- Forward
As the Lakers continue to accumulate superstars, Barnes may be a roster casualty despite his desire to remain with the team. Following a lackluster playoff performance, as he shot just 27.1 percent from the field, Barnes may be playing for his ninth different team next season.
Louis Amundson- Center
Many teams aren’t looking to pay much more than the league minimum, a figure that Amundson could easily double if he signs a deal with Panathinaikos in Greece. The 6-foot-9 Amundson proved to be an efficient rebounder off the bench, averaging 3.7 per game in 12.6 minutes. Any team looking to add size off the bench should be willing to add Amundson.