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Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette still floating free agent balloons while in Utah

Published: Friday, July 4 2014 6:56 p.m. MDT

Newly signed Chicago Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette dribbles past New York Knicks guard Toure' Murry during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Chicago. The Bulls won 109-90. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)

Jeff Haynes, AP

Jimmer Fredette’s life as an NBA free agent has been kind of quiet so far.

The former member of the Kings and Bulls has spent the past two weeks conducting summer basketball camps in his hometown of Glens Falls, New York, and in Utah County as he awaits word on what team may dial up his number.

Friday, he was in the Provo Freedom Festival parade and had photos taken with the grand marshal, Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace.

He knows the clock is ticking as franchise players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are attracting all the attention — then things will filter down to guys like him in the marketplace.

“I think it affects every lower-level player. It’s kind of a waiting game,” Fredette told his hometown newspaper this past week. “Every team is trying to see where (star players) go first, and then see where they go after that. Obviously the NBA is a star’s league, so you have to see where those guys end up first and then they trickle down from there.

“The longer you wait, the worse it is for you. You want to do it as quick as you can,” the former BYU star said. “We’re not expecting to have a ton of leverage, but the earlier you do it, the more leverage you have.”

Fredette has told reporters that his representative has had “multiple” contacts with NBA teams. One of those teams may have been Oklahoma, which went looking for shooters and signed Sebastian Telfair this past week.

The slow-moving process doesn’t keep his supporters plugging away on social media, building his case. Multiple Jimmer case makers have used the NBA Internet’s stat generator to show why teams should bank on the former NCAA player of the year who got lost in Sacramento and was seldom-used in Chicago after being signed near the end of the season.

Here is a sampling of Fredette minutiae floating around as free agency courtships continue through the Fourth of July weekend.

Telfair didn’t play in the NBA a year ago; he was in China. Comparing the latest NBA stats between Telfair and Fredette, the former Cougar has a better player efficiency rating (15.8 to 10.9), scoring average per 36 minutes (18.9 to 12.2) and a defensive rating exactly equal at 110.

Fredette finished the year 40 of 84 from the 3-point line. If he had made 55 3s — or just 15 more — he would have overtaken league leader Kyle Korver and ranked first in the NBA at 47.6 percent.

Fredette’s per-game stat line of 47.1 percent from field goal range, 47.6 percent from 3-point range and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line is better than recent free agent signees Ben Gordon (34.3, 27.6, 81.0) and Jodie Meeks (46.3, 40.1 and 85.7).

Meeks just signed for $20 million over three years. Gordon signed a two-year, $9 million deal.

In Fredette’s per-36-minutes comparison with these two, Fredette’s assists are 4.4, with an 18.9 scoring average; Gordon is 2.7 with a 12.8 average and Meeks is 1.9 at 17 ppg.

If you use this three-player free agent player efficiency rating in an advanced stat formula, Fredette’s rating is 15.8, Gordon is 6.4 and Meeks 14.7. The efficient field goal rating has Fredette at .559, with Gordon .380 and Meeks .554. Fredette beats Gordon in defensive rating at 110 to 105 but trails Meeks, who has a 113.

From NBA Bleacher Report columnist Andrew Bailey: Among players with at least 500 minutes in 2014-14, 65 had a worse defensive rating than Fredette, including seven Utah Jazz players.

Comparisons are always tough and there are lines of “Yeah, but ... ” that follow them. Like when 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who has Fredette by 6 inches, was part of SDSU’s Steve Fisher’s defense to stop Fredette in 2011, Jimmer averaged 32.6 points in three head-to-heads (43, 25 and 30 points). And we say … “Yeah, but that was college.”

It has been speculated that if Fredette doesn’t find an NBA team that wants him on their roster, he’ll jump to Europe, possibly to Greece.

Fredette’s response to that scenario is the same as it's been since he left college.

“Whatever fit is best for me, that’s where I want to go,” he said this past week. “That definitely could break a tie, wherever I believe the coach believes in me the most and where I think I could really help their team on a consistent basis.”

The key words there are that someone “believes” in him and that whatever he has to offer will “help on a consistent basis.”

Simple really, the Jimmer fans say.

That’s all Fredette’s looking for.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at dharmon@desnews.com.

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