Free agency: Sleeper signings

Despite the balky knee, Michael Redd could give a team quality minutes off the bench. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images



On the heels of 2010's free-agency spectacle, 2011's is lacking pop.

It possesses no superstars. Its top player (arguably Tyson Chandler) is known for his defense. But December's short signing period promises to be frantic and fun -- with the potential for a few surprises lying under the surface.

Here's a short list of role players who could come in handy at a cut-rate price.

Michael Redd, SG

Yes, yes, the former All-Star is 32 and coming off three seasons in which he's appeared in a total of 61 games due to ACL and MCL tears in his left knee. But this is precisely why a team should take a flyer on him: No one's expecting much.


Consider this: He's not likely to regain his status as a 20-plus-points-per-game scorer, but if Redd is able to stay healthy -- and that presents itself as a big if based on his near past -- he could be a serviceable backup and maybe even start, depending on the situation and depth chart of his next team.

The Bulls could potentially give him a sniff to fill the 2-guard spot, but most recent reports have them looking to the amnesty pool -- which could include Vince Carter or Richard Hamilton -- to find an upgrade next to Derrick Rose in the backcourt.

Finishing financial touch: If they don't take a team's midlevel exception and instead opt to sign with a more cap-friendly squad, top free-agent shooting guards Jamal Crawford and Jason Richardson each might be in line for $7-12 million-plus a season. Due to Redd's recent injury history, the veteran's minimum could surface as his best offer.

Scout's take: "Redd's knee injuries should not be problematic for him going forward as a shooter. His release is mostly arms anyway, and once he learns to play without fear of another injury (something every player has to overcome after surgery), only his slashing ability should be severely diminished. Redd still knows how to find open looks deep, and his repaired knees should have no problem taking him to those spots, especially if he is playing off a dynamic wing or point guard." -- David Thorpe