In the Market for a PG? It's Slim Pickings
Last summer, an astounding 12 points were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, including Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans and the next four vote-getters for the award in Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Nick Collison and Jonny Flynn.
Free agency wasn't all that bad either for point guards. Among those on the market were Jason Kidd, Andre Miller and Mike Bibby.
Fast forward to this summer. Or slow forward.
Yes, point guard John Wall was the top pick in the draft by Washington. But the only other point taken in the first round was Wall's teammate at Kentucky, Eric Bledsoe.
The drought has continued into free agency, with few top-line point guards available. The best available are Raymond Felton, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, Nate Robinson, Chris Duhon, Luke Ridnour, Earl Watson, Jason Williams, Kyle Lowry and Jordan Farmar, with Felton and Fisher the only ones to have started 60 or more games last season.
But Felton, of Charlotte, is looking for too much money and Fisher turns 36 next month and is likely to return to the Lakers. That is leaving Blake as a guy getting a lot more attention than one might expect.
Sources say Blake, who averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 assists in 80 games last season with Portland and then with Clippers, is drawing the strongest interest from Orlando, New York and Toronto, with the Lakers and the Bobcats also being in the mix.
With that in mind, Blake, 30, is said to be able to command a contract around the $4.93 million he made last season, something that might not be possible if it were a stronger point-guard class.
While the Knicks are still waiting to see if they can get LeBron James, sources said the Raptors also are in a holding pattern. They have a pair of point guards in Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack they're looking to trade.
Jack would be the preference to move since he was a disaster after being signed last summer primarily because he had played at Georgia Tech with Chris Bosh, whom the Raptors were trying to keep happy. But the Raptors certainly wouldn't complain about moving Calderon, who slumped badly last season.
If a sign-and-trade could be worked out for the departure of free-agent Bosh, the Raptors might look to try to have the team getting Bosh also take Calderon or Jack in the deal. Then Toronto would have more interest in signing a point guard such as Blake.
Indiana also is looking for a point guard, but the Pacers don't want to offer more than a one-year deal because they are trying to carve out some salary-cap room for 2011. The top candidates to land in Indiana on such a deal are Farmar and Lowry.
While Felton, who averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 assists last season, is the biggest free-agent name at point guard this summer, he didn't help himself during a rough postseason. He averaged 11.8 points and 5.0 assists, shot 40.5 percent and was thoroughly outplayed by Jameer Nelson, who averaged 23.8 points in Orlando's first-round sweep.
Felton, who told FanHouse in April he wanted to re-sign with the Bobcats, also is said to be asking for too much money. He's trying do even better than the six-year, $42 million contract offer he turned down last summer to instead take the one-year $5.5 million qualifying offer to go from restricted free agent last summer to unrestricted this summer. But Felton might not even be worth now what he was previously offered.
Felton is indeed the best in this year's free-agency class, and that's all you need to know about what a bummer of a summer it is for point guards.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson