Beno Udrih

Even the least impressive of minerals looks like a diamond when the selection isn’t too great, and Beno Udrih, probably the best free agent left among the guards for NBA teams to choose from, is getting plenty of interest at the moment, with the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies looking like the strongest of contenders for him.

According to Udrih’s agent, there are five teams interested in his services. The Grizzlies have been looking at backup point guards all summer, knowing that what they have at the moment to replace Mike Conley with from the bench isn’t good enough. Bayless is more of a shooting guard anyway, and Udrih, who can play both guard positions, could probably see more than 20 minutes a night if he signs with them, even without the defense that has been such a huge part of their success over the last few years.

As for the Knicks, they’re simply trying to add everyone, with Udrih actually being one of the younger players they’ve potentially added over the last 13 months, only recently entering the fourth decade of his life. He played for both the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic last season, averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 assists per game.

After making $7.3 million last season, Udrih is hoping to get something more than a minimum deal, which is what the Knicks can offer him, not more. Playing time, as well, should be more plentiful with the Grizzlies, who aren’t that stacked with guards at the moment. They can also offer Udrih, recently turning 31, more money than the Knicks, which seems to be a very big factor in his decision making.

Title chances? Except for the Miami Heat there are no clear favorites, and plenty of teams who’ll make the playoffs most likely can consider themselves contenders. Udrih played a minor role on the Spurs’ championship teams in 2005 and 2007, and will likely play something slightly bigger for any team he chooses right now. Both the Griz and the Knicks aren’t favorites in their conferences, although Memphis have proven, unlike the Knicks, they can reach the conference finals.