Five sentimental NBA Free Agent signings you’d like to see
With the 2012 NBA Draft complete, franchises are lining up to boost their rosters for the 2012/2013 season. Here’s five purely sentimental NBA Free Agent signings that it’d be nice to see.
Patty Mills (Golden State Warriors)
Australian Point Guard Patty Mills has always considered the Bay Area his “home away from home”. He spent two years of college there as the general of the Saint Marys Gaels and still has many ties in the region.
After he got back to the United States after his turbulent time in China, he went straight to the Bay Area to resume workouts to get his body in shape. Plus, his girlfriend Alyssa Levesque lives there also.
His love for San Francisco, doubled up with the Golden State Warriors need for a solid backup for Steph Curry should mean that the Warriors would be looking seriously at Mills joining the roster. He already has good chemistry with fellow Australian and Warriors starting Center Andrew Bogut.
Mills also proved in the final two games of the 2011-12 regular season that he is more than capable leading a team. With the Spurs resting Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobilli, Mills took charge to carry the team to two away wins against Phoenix and Golden State where he averaged 30.5 points and 8.5 assists in 39mins.
A performance that the Warriors not only witnessed first hand, but should have been impressed enough to bring Patty back to his “home away from home”.
Mills is an unrestricted free-agent after declining the Spurs $900K 1 year contract extension, however, with it looking more and more like French guard Nando De Colo will be joining the team this season, the Spurs will more than likely not match whatever offer Mills gets.
Andre Miller (Los Angeles Lakers)
Born and bred in Los Angeles, California, Andre Miller has always said that he grew up a Lakers fan, however, for the latter part of his career, he has been one of the Lakers public enemies after exposing the Lakers weakness at the Point Guard while playing for both the Portland Trailblazers and Denver Nuggets.
Miller is an unrestricted free agent and with the Lakers point guard problems well documented, he could be the perfect fit for a team that it appears is about to go through a re-shuffle of personnel.
Miller is 36 years old, but still looks like he’s got a lot of miles left in him. He’s lost a step, but is still one of the most calculated Point Guards in the game. George Karl even ranked Miller “in the top 10 all-time of NBA Point Guards”. Probably a stretch, but Karl alluded to his work ethic, basketball IQ and eagerness to make everyone around him better.
What Millers potential role with the Lakers would be is dependent on whether or not the team can re-sign Ramon Sessions.
Getting Andre Miller at a discount and re-signing Ramon Sessions could be seen as a perfect PG combination.
Sessions would start, but having Miller on the court in the crunch would be a perfect scenario for the Lakers who don’t really have anyone besides Kobe Bryant that you really want to see the ball in their hand with the game on the line.
Grant Hill (Miami Heat)
Although I’m not a fan of “Championship Chasing”, if there’s one guy in the NBA who deserves a title run its Grant Hill. Hill will be 40 years old at the start of this NBA season but is far from being “over the hill”.
He’s been a regular starter at every stop in his career ever since he entered the league back in 1994 with the Detroit Pistons.
By joining Miami, Hill would be a much needed backup to LeBron James, allowing the MVP to get some much deserved rest minutes throughout the NBA season, something that the Heat haven’t really had a luxury of being able to do in the last two seasons.
Hill already has a suite of honours to his name, 2x NCAA Champion, Olympic gold medallist, Rookie of the Year, 5x All NBA Team Member and 7x All Star. The possibility of adding a Championship to this resume would be enticing for Hill and something that the wider Public would love to see from a guy whose career and life was in the balance back in 2003 when he contracted the MRSA Infection.
Plus, you’ve got to admit, Grant Hill would look pretty cool in White Linens and boat shoes strolling down South Beach walking the dog.
Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls)
“Captain Kirk” is a fan favourite in Chicago, the city where he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career and helped lead the Bulls back into relevancy along with Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni.
The “Baby Bulls” was an exciting time for Chicago as the city suddenly had a Playoff team again after half a decade of being cellar-dwellers after the retirement of Michael Jordan. Hinrich was the undeniable leader of the unit.
After the Bulls drafted Derrick Rose in 2008, the make-up of the Bulls back-court changed and made Hinrich less important to the team’s future leading him to being traded to Washington in 2010.
The Bulls need a guy like Hinrich to be a cornerstone veteran in their re-building bench now that Kyle Korver’s leaving. He’s a better player all-round than fellow guards CJ Watson and John Lucas III and could easily slot in to the starting role for the first stanza of the season with Derrick Rose sidelined.
Further to this, Hinrich’s an elite 3pt shooter, something that the Bulls now need off the bench after the departure of Korver. Plus, people at every stop of his career – Chicago, Washington and Atlanta have said that he’s a great guy to have in the locker room.
I’m sure Bulls fans would love to see their beloved Hinrich back in the red and white
Steve Nash (Toronto Raptors)
If this happens, this could potentially be the greatest sentimental free agency signing of all-time.
Two time MVP Steve Nash is undeniably the greatest Canadian basketballer of all-time. To have him lead the struggling Toronto Raptors and give back to the country that has offered him so much is something that Raptors fans, Canadians and let’s face it, hoops fans in general, would love to see.
The Raptors have basically been irrelevant for the majority of their existence. Since their inaugural season in 1995, they have only won their division once (2006-07) and have been out of the first round of the Playoffs once (2000-01) and have seen a suite of talented NBA Players who they wanted to build their franchise around walk out the door in Damon Stoudamire and Vince Carter who demanded a trade along with Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh who never looked back in free agency.
This history of being burnt by elite American players has meant that the Raptors since the mid 2000′s have basically had to look at international players, who would be more than likely want to live in Canada to fill their roster, meaning that a marquee free-agent signing has been difficult for them to get.
Nash wouldn’t have this issue, he loves Canada, his home country, he’s recently picked up a job as the GM of the Canadian Men’s National Team and he’s always alluded to the fact that he’d love to be able to spend more time in Canada in the future.
Toronto can offer Nash more money than anyone else, three years $36million. This would leave Nash on the books until he’s 41. For most franchises, this would be considered to be a bad deal. However, with Toronto, a team without a marketable superstar, to bring home Canada’s favourite son to become the face of the franchise and become a team that will be pushing for a Playoff spot, this is a great deal.
Even if it eventually meant that they will be over the tax, they’d get the money back easily in jersey sales, corporate sponsorship and season tickets. Plus, the Raptors wouldn’t be the laughing stock of the Toronto sports scene anymore.