Ten Players Under 30 Fighting for Their NBA Lives
The alternative might be Europe or perhaps even the NBDL. With each NBA team holding on tight to free-agent dollars because of the economy and the 2010 free-agent class, contracts -- especially lucrative ones -- will be difficult to procure. So while names such as Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Trevor Ariza and Hedo Turkoglu will fill the offseason newswires, these 10 players will be searching for work in virtual obscurity.
Here is the list and their stories:
Sean May (previous team: Charlotte) -- What's an undersized forward with a history of knee problems and weight issues worth? May (above) is about to find out because the Bobcats cut him loose and now he is an unrestricted free agent with very few positives on his resume. A one- or two-year deal may the best offer he can attract to establish himself as a legitimate NBA player.
Gerald Green (Dallas) -- For such a young kid (23), it seems Green is a long-time NBA vagabond. He has played with four teams and has yet to establish himself with any of them. His raw physical skills and jumping ability should be attractive enough for some team to take a chance, but he likely will garner a minimum contract that might not be fully guaranteed. He has become a poster boy for kids attending college because he should have headed to Oklahoma State.
Johan Petro (Denver) -- The Frenchman was a first-round pick in 2005 and showed some promise in three seasons with the Sonics, but he digressed with the Thunder and then was traded to Denver as a salary dump. Now Petro's available, but he's a 7-footer who plays like a power forward and isn't physical. Simply because he's a big, Petro should attract some type of attention but he may very well be headed back to Europe, and he just turned 23.
Luther Head (Miami) -- Remember when Head was a key reserve for the Rockets and one of the NBA's most surprising rookies? Yeah, it wasn't that long ago, but Head was released in February when Houston acquired Kyle Lowry and allowed Aaron Brooks to start. He did little in a brief stint with the Miami Heat and didn't make the playoff roster, so now he is looking for another chance to prove himself.
Shelden Williams (Minnesota) -- Williams was drafted ahead of Brandon Roy in a move that may have cemented GM Billy Knight's exit from Atlanta and he has done little since the Hawks shipped him to Sacramento in the Mike Bibby deal. He was then traded to Minnesota, which had about eight other power forwards, and he didn't play much there. He has never played more than 18 minutes per game, has yet to prove he can score and isn't that athletic. What is he worth? Probably not all that much.
Robert Swift (Oklahoma City) -- The former lottery pick has never been able to stay healthy and has never developed into a dependable NBA center. He is a legit 7-footer and does have a decent touch around the basket, but his knees have failed him and he doesn't have much of a resume. Swift has played 97 games in five years and has had two major knee surgeries. The market for him will be thin.
Stromile Swift (Phoenix) -- Do you think Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro shows Tyrus Thomas photos of Stromile Swift and tells him that may be his future if he doesn't develop a perimeter game? Probably. And the former second overall pick will be looking for work and hasn't played more than 66 games in a season in five years. He's still only 29, so there is time to resurrect his career, but how much does Swift want to stay in the league?
Rashad McCants (Sacramento) -- OK, we know McCants can score, but can he do anything else? He has already been labeled a selfish player who frowns at defense and passing. Example: In a 104-88 Sacramento loss to Charlotte on March 18, McCants scored 30 points in 39 minutes -- with one rebound and one assist. How does an NBA player play 39 minutes with one rebound and one assist? Ask McCants and that's why he is likely not on anyone's list of free-agent priorities.
Morris Almond (Utah) -- He seemed like Jerry Sloan's kind of guy, a hard-working swingman from Rice who could come off the bench and drain 3-pointers and give the Jazz an offensive boost. He played just 34 games in two years -- spending most of his time in the D-League -- and the Jazz did not renew his contract. Almond has already proven he could dominate the NBDL, but he may have to head to Europe to prove worthy of sticking in the NBA. Have we heard the last from Almond?
Cedric Simmons (Sacramento) -- Simmons fared well against Leon Powe in an NCAA Tournament game and felt that was enough to leave N.C. State two years early. He has basically been the last name thrown into a trade to match salaries. He's been with four teams in three years and his career high is 10 points. Is he on anyone's radar? Or will Simmons, at age 23, have to hustle for a deal overseas. It doesn't seem likely.