NBA AM: Solid Free Agents Remain Unsigned

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Marquee free agents off the board, but value remains

For nearly two weeks the 2014 NBA free agency period was in a gridlock as the entire NBA landscape waited for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh decide their next destinations. James ultimately bolted Miami, opting to head back “home” to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony released a statement with a similar tone but opted to stay put in New York. Bosh elected to stay put in Miami and put the pieces back together without James.

While the biggest name left available on the market is All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, there is little doubt he will be returning back to the HEAT eventually.

So with all of the big names technically off the board the amount of completed moves have picked up momentum. But there are still a few solid assets available on the market waiting to get their next deal secured.

Greg Monroe: The market for the restricted free agent has been rather dry early in free agency. Pistons team president Stan Van Gundy has publicly maintained from day one they would like to see the talented power forward back in Detroit, but the franchise seems content to let the market set his value rather than overspending.

When free agency began Atlanta, Orlando and Portland were mentioned as serious suitors for Monroe, but each of those franchises have moved in different directions. Monroe is thought of highly in league circles, but there aren’t many executives who view the big man as a maximum contract caliber player.

Eric Bledsoe: The Phoenix Suns shocked many observers by flirting with 50 wins and a playoff berth this past season but the future seems even brighter for the franchise moving forward. Entering free agency, Bledsoe was thought to be a prominent member of the team’s core but Phoenix has also been working on its own contingency plan.

The Suns landed talented point guard Isaiah Thomas in a sign-and-trade last week, which immediately led to speculation on how the deal impacted Bledsoe’s personal situation with the franchise. The club also introduced promising guard Tyler Ennis into the fold during the first round of June’s draft.

However, multiple reports maintain the Suns aren’t viewing the Ennis and Thomas additions as an indicator Bledsoe is on the outs. In fact, Phoenix has started contract discussions with Bledsoe’s camp but the guard has also generated some exploratory interest from the Milwaukee Bucks.

In general a lot of teams are hesitant to tie up cap space early in free agency on restricted free agents due to the fact their current teams an match any offer. Financial flexibility is key and it’s the reason why most guys express frustration with the restricted free agency process.

Lance Stephenson: The Pacers reportedly offered Stephenson five-years and $44 million early in free agency but the dynamic swingman refused to sign on the dotted line. With restricted free agent forwards Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward each receiving contracts that will pay over $15 million per year Stephenson was wise to turn down Indiana’s initial overture. However, the Pacers’ offer is now even less than what they offered originally.

To make matters worse for Stephenson, the number of teams with the cap space needed to offer him the contract he desires is dwindling by the minute. Reports indicate Charlotte and Dallas had interest, but Charlotte signed Marvin Williams after missing on Hayward. Dallas’ space has since been used on Chandler Parsons.

The Pacers have title expectations and with LeBron James leaving the Miami HEAT, the importance of Stephenson in the rotation becomes even more crucial.

Stephenson is a borderline All-Star caliber player but potentially has hurt his market value due to some questionable on court tactics. However, one thing Stephenson without question is compete 100 percent every night.

Brian Roberts: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Charlotte Hornets have signed guard Brian Roberts to a two-year $5.5 million contract.

Roberts wasn’t the sexiest name on the market but this is potentially a bargain steal for Charlotte as it looked to secure a reserve behind the emerging Kemba Walker in the lineup.

D.J. Augustin: The Detroit Pistons have reportedly reached an agreement with Augustin on a two-year deal worth around $6 million.

Augustin was an integral part of Chicago’s success last season. The Bulls signed Augustin not long after the veteran guard was released by the Toronto Raptors in order to provide depth after former MVP Derrick Rose was lost for the season.

Mo Williams: The former All-Star guard played last season with the Portland Trail Blazers but made it clear from the start he would be testing the free agency waters. Williams would be a solid pickup for a team looking for veteran leadership, but Williams is reportedly seeking a larger role in his team’s rotation.

Jameer Nelson:  The veteran guard spent his whole career with the Orlando Magi before being released early in free agency. The New Orleans Pelicans reportedly reached out Nelson’s camp showing exploratory interest but there are reports that multiple suitors have reached out to the veteran to show initial interest.

Be sure to keep up with all of the free agency news for this year’s class by bookmarking the Basketball Insiders Free Agency Diary