NBA

J.R. Smith.

The top three free agents still on the market ahead of the new season

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With the NBA season just over a month away, players will soon get back together for training camp and front offices of the 30 teams will spend the remaining time fine-tuning their rosters and filling the 15 spots.

This is the time when youngsters who have yet to make the breakthrough and even veterans are invited to take part in the camps in the hope of impressing and earning a contract for the upcoming campaign.

For numerous teams, the free agent market offers the best and easiest opportunity to fill out the remaining spots on their rosters and there are some notable names who will interest many franchises.

Here are the top three free agents still on the market:

1. J.R. Smith, SG, last team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Having won the NBA championship with the Cavs last season, J.R. Smith has not been considered a 'free agent' as such, as he has been expected to re-sign with them eventually.

However, the contract negotiations between both parties have dragged on for much longer than either would've liked and/or anticipated. Swish was an integral part of Cleveland winning its first title and has become a fan favourite in Ohio.

It's clear that the veteran guard is keen to commit to the Cavaliers and hasn't met with other teams, but so far his demands haven't gone down well with the front office.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Six

Both the 31-year-old and the Cavs want the deal to happen but the hold-up threatens to run into training camp and pre-season, which will be a repeat of the Tristan Thompson situation from last year.

The longer this drags on, there will be other teams circling around the three-point specialist and he would be a major loss for the reigning champs.

2. Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, last team: Houston Rockets

The Rockets attempted to trade the big man to the Detroit Pistons last season, but the deal was vetoed after he failed his physical which revealed concerns over his back.

The Lithuanian finished the campaign with Houston but has been an unrestricted free agent since. He was a big asset for the franchise when they made the Western Conference finals in 2014/15, but he hasn't been the same since he had back surgery in that offseason.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

Having tried to trade him to the Pistons, it's clear he isn't in the long-term plans of the Rockets. The team has extended him a qualifying offer but he is still yet to accept it. With training camp fast approaching, will he rejoin Houston?

As a 7-footer who can space the floor and hit the three-point shot, Motiejunas has the attributes of a modern day big which will attract multiple teams.

Will the Rockets' potential loss be another team's gain?

3. Kevin Martin, SG, last team: San Antonio Spurs

K-Mart has always been something of an enigma in the league. On his day, he is one of the best three-point shooters around and can get hot at any moment.

Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves

The problem is, that hasn't happened too often in recent years. The 33-year-old has played for four teams in the last four years and has been unable to settle.

Since his trade from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder - which saw James Harden head in the opposite direction - Martin has struggled for consistency and the right fit.

After being waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves in March, the three-point marksman was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs and it appeared it would be just the move he needed.

But after appearing scarcely under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs decided not to keep the veteran and he's now seeking another challenge to try and get his career going again.

BKN-NBA-LAKERS-TIMBERWOLVES

Despite his age, Martin still has something to offer, particularly in this era where three-point shooting has become key. He is sure to interest a number of teams heading into the new season.

Topics:
NBA
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Western Conference
JR Smith

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