With the 2013 NBA free agency period almost two weeks old, most of the top superstars are off the market. Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Josh Smith made their decisions relatively early, leaving no more upper echelon players available.
There are, however, a number of players available that could make a big impact for an NBA team. Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague are three of the biggest names that still haven’t signed new contracts.
Ellis took a bit of a risk by turning down $11 million guaranteed next year to play for the Milwaukee Bucks. He also declined to sign a three-year extension that would have paid him $12 million per season. Now, he might be forced to take less than that. Andre Iguodala signed a four-year contract worth $48 million with the Golden State Warriors, and Ellis won’t likely match that.
The guard may not be garnering the interest that he hoped, but he is being sought after by several teams. The Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats all have reportedly looked into signing him. The Kings appeared to be the front runner in the Ellis Sweepstakes, after the two sides had a recent meeting. However, the Kings have limited cap space after making a recent trade and might not be able to acquire the free agent.
Charlotte may actually be one of the favorites to land Ellis. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Bobcats have interest in the 27-year-old, and they have shown a willingness to spend money this offseason. Charlotte already signed Al Jefferson to a $41 million deal, and they might be the only team willing to offer Ellis his asking price.
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There had been rumors that Ellis could be involved in a sign-and-trade deal to the Hawks, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that such a situation is no longer an option. In the potential deal, the teams would swap Ellis and Jeff Teague. Teague could be headed to Milwaukee without a deal involving Ellis, after signing a four-year contract with the Bucks on Thursday. The Hawks have three days to match the four-year, $32 million offer sheet that the restricted free agent signed.
Besides Ellis, there was speculation that Teague could be swapped for Brandon Jennings. The point guard, who has stated in the past that he wants a maximum contract, may also be looking to make more money than what is being offered to him. With Teague likely headed to Milwaukee, his best bet may be to replace his counterpart with the Hawks.
All three guards will be looking at very similar offers this summer. Ellis is known as a good scorer but a liability on defense and a below-average shooter. Teague and Jennings may be above-average point guards, but are not among the best in a league with several elite players at the position.