Wednesday , Jun , 30 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Bryant heads list of NBA free agents

New York, NY (Sports Network) – One hundred and thirty nine NBA players
became unrestricted or restricted free agents at midnight Wednesday. Teams
can begin negotiating with those free agents, including Los Angeles Lakers
star guard Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, who is scheduled to stand trial on a rape charge in August, has played
eight seasons in Los Angeles since joining the Lakers out of Lower Merion High
School in suburban Philadelphia.

The 25-year-old has averaged 21.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 561
games in his career and has helped the Lakers to three NBA titles.

Another unrestricted free agent expected to draw attention is Rasheed Wallace,
who is fresh off an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons. Wallace, who spent
seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers before landing in Detroit after
a one-game stop in Atlanta, may be the best-available big man this offseason.

The Philadelphia native has averaged 16.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 632 games
in his career.

Dallas’ Steve Nash, Golden State’s Erick Dampier and Seattle’s Brent Barry are
the other top unrestricted free agents.

New Jersey’s Kenyon Martin heads the list of restricted free agents. The high-
flying Martin averaged 19.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last season. His
talents would be a nice addition to any team.

There are 103 unrestricted free agents (free to sign with their own team for a
maximum contract or any team that has the cap room) and 36 restricted free
agents (players whose teams have a right to match any contract they sign).

In two weeks, (July 14) teams can sign players.