By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on April 3, 2014
There’s almost constantly a lot of chatter about the stars that will be available in the summer of 2014 in free agency. We hear plenty about Carmelo Anthony and the possibility of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade becoming up for grabs. However, the next tier of players can also have a big impact on teams throughout the league. Who are 10 players on that next tear that should be sought-after?
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I still believe in Jimmer Fredette and in the fact that he can have success in this league. Despite the fact that he still hasn’t gotten ample opportunities with the Bulls since being released by the Kings, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t be the subject of several team’s free agency plans.
People may have forgotten about Emeka Okafor due to the fact that he’s missed all season with injuries. However, the big man is still a more than capable big man in the NBA, especially on the defensive end of the floor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him garner quite a bit of interest this summer.
After finally getting the chance to shine for the Spurs, Patty Mills has answered the call wonderfully this year. Though there’s always the concern that he’s merely the product of Gregg Popovich’s system, Mills has shown enough talent to deserve plenty of fee agency intrigue.
While it one time looked like Trevor Ariza could be on his way out of the league, he’s bounced back mightily over the past two seasons, this year in particular. With what it seems like a second-life in this league, it’s hard to imagine teams won’t be lining up for a quality three-and-D guy.
Jodie Meeks isn’t cut out for being one of the primary scorers on an NBA team, but he is more than capable of being a fantastic role player. Now that his time in Los Angeles is coming to a close, expect some teams to look to put him in that position for next season.
Just a couple of years ago, Shaun Livingston was seemingly off the map. Over the last two seasons, though, he’s proven to be a more-than-capable backup point guard that can actually carry teams for stretches. With the Nets likely having trouble paying and re-signing him for next year, Livingston should be a hot commodity.
DeJuan Blair has been buried in a crowded frontcourt in Dallas this season, but don’t forget how much energy he can bring to a team off of the bench. After this season, he’ll likely come at a bargain price and could be a steal for whoever snatches him up.
After being traded to the Warriors, Blake has had a good deal of success. However, there’s no doubt that the guard can be an effective contributor on a quality team. I expect him to land in a similar role that he’s now playing in Golden State next year, which makes his options pretty numerous.
One of the key cogs in the Thunder’s run in recent seasons has quietly been Thabo Sefolosha on the wing. Though he’s getting some proverbial gray hairs, the wing is still a shutdown perimeter defender that can knock down outside shots with some kind of regularity. He could be a sneaky big addition for some team if OKC doesn’t re-sign him.
Jason Smith is another guy that’s missed most of the season due to injuries and one of many Pelicans players that has been shut down. Smith is an underrated player in the frontcourt, able to be effective on both ends of the floor at times. I can see contenders looking to add depth to their frontcourt off the bench and Smith being a prime candidate to fill that role.
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