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Art Garcia

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Jerry Stackhouse -- a role player with the Bucks last season -- could help a contender's bench.
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Former stars, solid role players still found among unsigned


Posted Aug 6 2010 7:06PM

Five weeks after the most anticipated free agency period in NBA history began, the anticipation hasn't waned.

At least for some guys.

The big-tickets items are all accounted for, taking their talents to South Beach, the Big Apple, the Windy City and ports across the league map. While LeBron James may have sweated his decision, he never worried about landing a gig.

Many others aren't a lucky. They sit in limbo, as their agents continue to work the phones with training camp about eight weeks away. Those max deals are long gone. Mid-level exceptions aren't happening. Instead, exceptions such as the veteran's minimum and bi-annual are the currency those free agents who remain free are hoping to land.

More than 70 players who finished last season on NBA rosters remain unsigned, including former MVP Allen Iverson and two-time scoring champ Tracy McGrady. How bad is it out there? Shaquille O'Neal just inked a deal with Boston for seven percent of the salary he made last season.

Here's a look at some familiar names looking for work:

Tracy McGrady
Team(s) in 2009-10: Houston, New York
The buzz: The former All-Star remains unemployed. After a recent tryout with Chicago, T-Mac referred to the Bulls as "we." The team didn't feel the same way, failing to offer a contract. Reports spread that the 31-year-old lacked explosiveness during the workout. Concerns around the league about his surgically-repaired knee and overall diminishing skills persist. There's also the notion that he's not mentally ready to take a reserve role.

Allen Iverson
Team(s) in 2009-10:
Memphis, Philadelphia
The buzz: Obviously AI can still play, scoring about 14 points per game during his Philadelphia reunion last season. He's not a take-the-game-over scorer anymore, but who is at 35? The question is whether the four-time scoring champ can check his ego and handle a backup role in a checkered career that's hit its twilight. AI couldn't in Detroit or Memphis.

Jerry Stackhouse
Team(s) in 2009-10:
Milwaukee
The buzz: Left on the NBA scrap heap last summer, Stack resurrected his career with an inspiring fill-in stint with Milwaukee after signing in January. Stackhouse averaged more than eight points as a spark off the bench and, perhaps more importantly, provided leadership in the Bucks' locker room. Despite the revival, the cold reality this summer is that Stackhouse turns 36 this season.

Louis Amundson
Team(s) in 2009-10:
Phoenix
The buzz: The hustling reserve was a fan favorite in Phoenix, but the Suns don't appear interested in bringing the 6-foot-9 power forward back. While Lou remains limited offensively, he was the Suns' most efficient rebounder per minute last season and well-liked in the locker room. Amundson, 27, has drawn interest from a number of teams, but no one has pulled the trigger yet.

Kwame Brown
Team(s) in 2009-10:
Detroit
The buzz: It's been nearly a decade since Michael Jordan made him the No. 1 overall pick with the Wizards. That remains Brown's claim to fame. After two lackluster years in Detroit, the 6-foot-11 center is back on the market. He's only 28, but his work ethic, or lack of one, is one big obstacle for general managers and coaches to look past in the league that values guys with Brown's size.

Bobby Simmons
Team(s) in 2009-10: New Jersey
The buzz: Safe to say Simmons won't be pulling down $11 million this season. Even since signing that monster $47 million deal with Milwaukee five years ago, it's been nothing but diminishing returns for the 6-foot-6 swingman and for the teams he's played on. Simmons was New Jersey's highest-paid player last season, but stayed glued to the bench of the league's worst team. The former Most Improved Player is only 30.

Larry Hughes
Team(s) in 2009-10: New York, Charlotte
The buzz: The 12-year vet has averaged more than 14 points per game over the course of his career, but didn't score in double figures for the first time last season during short runs with New York and Charlotte. Still, there's interest in the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, with Boston and Chicago reportedly considering deepening their bench with the 31-year-old Hughes.

Brian Scalabrine
Team(s) in 2009-10: Boston
The buzz: Was there a better (or better-paid) cheerleader in the league last season than Scalabrine? Boston's red-haired power forward finished up a five-year contract for $15 million by averaging 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds. Would prefer to stay in Beantown, but Shaq's recent signing probably squeezes Scalabrine out. The 32-year-old is contemplating a career overseas.

Rafer Alston
Team(s) in 2009-10: Miami
The buzz: It didn't end well for the former streetball legend last season in Miami. Think he'd like to play for the Heat now? Alston, 33, averaged double figures in points for six straight seasons up to 2009. The point guard also averaged more than five assists five times. Sounds like a good start for a backup point guard. His baggage may be too much for any team to carry.

Art Garcia has covered the NBA since 1999. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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