Summer market getting crowded
Eight of the 30 2005 first-round picks got extensions before last week's deadline
Those who didn't get extensions will be restricted free agents after the season
Among the restricted free agents will be four lottery picks from North Carolina
Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants were all members of North Carolina's 2005 NCAA championship team and lottery picks in that year's NBA draft. But the four former Tar Heels share something else in common these days: uncertain NBA futures.
Williams (Hawks), Felton (Bobcats), May (Bobcats) and McCants (Timberwolves) were among the 22 first-round picks from the class of '05 who did not receive contract extensions by last Friday's deadline. It means they will become restricted free agents next summer, able to sign anywhere (though their current clubs have the right to match).
In all, eight members of the '05 class received new deals: Andrew Bogut (Bucks), Deron Williams (Jazz), Chris Paul (Hornets), Martell Webster (Blazers), Andrew Bynum (Lakers), Danny Granger (Pacers), Francisco Garcia (Kings) and Jason Maxiell (Pistons).
Here's a status report on those four former Tar Heels who did not sign as well as some of the other more intriguing '05 draftees who will be restricted free agents (with draft place in parentheses):
Marvin Williams, Hawks (2). The 6-foot-9 forward has not lived up to the hype that had him running neck and neck with Bogut for the No. 1 pick in the days leading up to the draft. But Williams has improved every season, he can shoot and he will get a chance to shine more now with Josh Childress having departed for Europe.
Charlie Villanueva, Bucks (7). The Rookie of the Year runner-up has shown himself to be a skilled scorer over the past three seasons in Toronto and Milwaukee, though his shot selection and defense could stand some improvement. If the 6-10 forward doesn't improve in those areas, a requirement under coach Scott Skiles, he could be set free by the Bucks next summer.
David Lee (30) and Nate Robinson (21), Knicks. The final pick of the first round, Lee has made a lot of teams who passed on him look foolish. The 6-9 forward from Florida doesn't score much, but he has won the respect of suffering Knicks fans over the past few seasons as a glue player who hustles, rebounds and shoots a high percentage. Meanwhile, new coach Mike D'Antoni has been impressed with Robinson, a spark plug off the bench with a career scoring average of 10.7 points.
Raymond Felton, Bobcats (5). He has shown flashes of being a good playmaker, averaging around 14 points and seven assists each of the past two seasons. But Felton has struggled with his outside shot and turnovers at times, and new coach Larry Brown is notoriously tough on point guards.
Rashad McCants, Timberwolves (14). The shooting guard was something of a bright spot last year for Minnesota, coming back from a bad knee injury to average 14.9 points on 45.3 percent shooting (including 40.7 from three-point range). McCants must improve his defense and passing, but his scoring abilities could make him attractive.
Hakim Warrick, Grizzlies (19). The slender Warrick is a bit overmatched defensively at power forward many nights, but he's an athletic slasher with a nice jumper who averaged double figures in scoring each of the past two years. He should get a chance to put up good numbers this year as one of Pau Gasol's replacements at the 4 spot.
Linas Kleiza, Nuggets (27). Like Lee, this 6-8 forward from Missouri has proved to be more than solid despite a late-draft status. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.2 boards in 23.9 minutes last year as a spot starter for the Nuggets, and his ability to drive to the basket and shoot from outside could make him a nice pickup for a team seeking to bolster its bench.
Jarrett Jack, Pacers (22). The 6-3 combo guard was traded to the Pacers last summer after two years as a key reserve for the Blazers. Though not a pure point guard and a bit small for a shooting guard, he has the strength to bull his way to the basket, fight for rebounds and defend bigger guards.
Channing Frye, Blazers (8). Decent big men are hard to find, and this sweet-shooting forward-center had a nice rookie campaign in New York before being traded to Portland the following season in the Zach Randolph deal. Now stuck behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, he could be a bargain pickup for a team seeking frontcourt depth.
Sean May, Bobcats (13). Drafted one spot ahead of McCants, the power forward has played in only 58 games over three seasons due to a string of injuries. If May can get in shape and stay healthy, he could still live up to his promise as a scoring big man with soft hands and a nice touch around the basket.