Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal writes that Portland Trail Blazers unrestricted free agent forward Luke Babbitt is in the midst of a very quiet summer.
Luke Babbitt sits and waits: The NBA free-agency period opened eight weeks ago and the ex-Wolf Pack and Galena High star still hasn't signed with a team. I gave Babbitt a call this week to see how he's dealing with free agency, but didn't hear back. It has to be a frustrating or, at the very least, an anxious time for the former McDonald's All-American. You can devour the Internet and still not find even one story about a team showing interest in Babbitt, the No. 16 pick in the 2010 NBA draft. During his three years with the Portland Trail Blazers, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged just 3.8 points on 37.2 shooting. Those statistics would perhaps indicate Babbitt doesn't deserve a second contract in the NBA, but in a league in which Matt Bonner played meaningful minutes for a team that reached the NBA final and Steve Novak got a $15 million contract, I have to figure there's some spot for Babbitt.
Babbitt has been a punchline for much of his NBA career, but the dude can shoot and if you can shoot you can play in the NBA. He's far from a perfect player. He struggles defensively and is a tweener, not big enough to play power forward and not fast enough to play small forward. Still, he could be a useful 11th or 12th man on the right team, a big who can stretch the floor for a team like the Houston Rockets, where spacing will play a big part in their success.
The 24-year-old's NBA career looks like it is on life-support, but he'll at least get a training camp invitation and one more chance to prove he can make it in the league.
Babbitt has indeed been quiet. He didn't participate in either the Orlando or Las Vegas Summer Leagues and he wasn't in attendance at Tim Grgurich's summer camp this month. He hasn't posted anything to his Instagram account since July 7, when he used some sort of new-age wheelchair to check out at the supermarket.
Babbitt, 24, was a finalist for the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 62 appearances last season. He is the only one of the 17 2013 Sixth Man of the Year vote-getters currently without a contract for next season.
The Blazers did not pick up the option for the fourth year of his rookie contract last fall.
"It's always an open door. It's obviously not the greatest chances in the world that I'll be back but it's not a closed door either. I haven't talked to my agent about it. We really haven't had any conversations about next year. ... There's uncertainty with free agency. Just going to take it as it comes, there's not much for me to do. See what happens. This is my first time as a free agent, just go with the flow and listen to my agent. ... I haven't even talked to my agent since the season started."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter