The Free Agents of 2013

The finals are over and free agency is just around the corner.  With that in mind, here is a list of who is available and where they might end up.

Franchise Players:

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard:  After the Dwightmare that was Howard’s final season in Orlando, he now finally gets to choose where he will play.  Lakers fans are hoping that he will stay where he is, but considering how much of a disaster this past season was for the Lakers, it’s hard to imagine that Howard would want to stay.  The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks have all cleared enough caps space to chase after him, as have the Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons.  The Lakers have come out to say they will not work out a sign-and-trade to assist Howard, but they may change their stance should Howard make explicit his desire to leave.  A sign-and-trade with the Clippers seems to be what many are suggesting, but the Brooklyn Nets have plenty to offer the Lakers and the Clippers respectively and could land both Howard and Chris Paul.

Chris Paul: He's gotten my vote for MVP the last two season.

Chris Paul: He’s gotten my vote for MVP the last two season.

Chris Paul:  Hands down the best point guard on the market and perhaps the most valuable player on the market.  Paul is guaranteed to make any team better.  Rumours have abounded that Paul and Howard are hoping to land on the same team this offseason, but it may be difficult to pull off.  The Lakers don’t have much that the Clippers want and the Lakes don’t want to send their best player to division rivals.  A third team that can either work a sign-and-trade for both, or has the caps space for both may be the only answer.  Otherwise when Paul and Howard meet up next year, they will be wearing different jerseys.  I think Paul’s best individual fit might be Detroit given the young core the Pistons have, though Howard and Paul might be a great fit for the 76ers as well.

All-Star Calibre Players:

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh Smith:  Smith thinks he deserves a max contract.  Atlanta isn’t so sure.  Having yet to make an All-Star team, and with questions of his maturity having come up in the past coupled with the fact that the Hawks burned themselves in offering Joe Johnson a max deal which the franchise seems to regret doing.  There are a host of teams that could use Smith as a consolation prize should a team aiming to pick up Howard see him go elsewhere, but it seems the best fit for Smith is Atlanta.

Andre Iguodala would be a perfect fit for the triangle offense should Denver's new coach, Brian Shaw, be interested in implementing it.

Andre Iguodala would be a perfect fit for the triangle offense should Denver’s new coach, Brian Shaw, be interested in implementing it.

Andre Iguodala:  I’m not sure that Igudala is arrogant enough to demand a max contract, or that his style of play is one that would encourage GMs to shell out a max-deal, but he is perhaps the best all-around player in this free agency class outside of Josh Smith.  It is likely that he stays in Denver, who seems to have a great appreciation for him.  Most other teams won’t be willing to shell out 10 million+ a season for a player who is fast approaching 30 years and has never been a legit first option of offense. 

Starters:

David West:  West signed on for what seemed like a paltry amount of money to play with the Indiana Pacers a couple of summers ago, but after having

David West

David West

been a big contributor to the Pacers’ success the past couple of seasons, there may be some teams that are stopping to take a look at the forward.  The problem is that West is 32 years old and most teams would rather pick up a younger front court player with their cap space.  It seems likely that West’s best offer will be the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) which the Pacers will certainly offer him.  If another team offers West as much it will boil down to where he’d like to play, but after his comments upon being eliminated by the Heat, it seems that Indiana is where West wants to be.  Expect him to be suiting up with the Pacers next year.

Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson:  For those looking for a center, there may be no better option than Jefferson once Howard has been picked up.  He can play power forward or center and is one of very few players who can average 20/10 a game if given the minutes.  Utah had a back-log of big men this season which reduced Jefferson’s minutes.  The Jazz had Jefferson on the trading block, so expect them to let him walk or perhaps work out a sign-and-trade as the team seems content working with the big men who are still under far more affordable rookie contracts.  The 76ers might give him a good look should they not be able to woo Howard.

Paul Milsap:  Milsap found himself in the same situation as Jefferson this past season.  Both players are playing at a higher level than the young big men on Utah’s roster, but the franchise seems content developing the younger, more affordable players and will likely let Milsap walk in free agency or work out a sign and trade with whoever signs him.  Depending on who lands Howard, Milsap may find himself offered a decent contract, but if teams are looking for a true center, then Milsap may end up having to settle for the MLE somewhere.  A return to Utah is not out of the question.

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum:  Considering the train wreck that was this past season, don’t expect many teams to be lining up to make a deal with Bynum.  There may be teams willing to pay out an MLE contract to take a risk on Bynum, but I doubt any teams will be willing to offer much more than that for a period longer than a single season.  Bynum will have to prove that he can get healthy and stay healthy if he is hoping for a big pay day. 

J.J. Hickson:  After a great season where Hickson proved himself to be among the league’s best rebounders, it seems likely that the forward/center will be getting a decent contract.  The problem is I’m not sure Portland has his Bird Rights, so depending on their cap situation they may not be able to keep the talented young player, but expect both sides to make every effort to keep Hickson in Portland.

Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis:  Ellis opted out of his contract and it seems likely that the Bucks will pass on offering him a big contract.  He is a high volume scorer and has been unable to lead a team to a deep playoff run.  It seems Ellis has reached that point in his career where he will likely have to adopt a secondary role or even embrace being a third option on offense to see where he can go from here.  There are several teams in need of a shooting guard, Detroit being one of them, but my hope is that Detroit either employs the draft to pick up a shooting guard, or does not make the same mistake with Ellis that it made with Ben Gordon.  Ellis will look for 10-million+, but he will likely have a hard time finding it.

J.R. Smith: Smith came off the bench for the Knicks this season, but he is a starter in this league.  The Knicks likely hope to keep the scorer, but they may have a hard time of it as they do not have his Bird Rights.  The ideal situation is one that keeps Smith in New York, but if another team offers more than the MLE, the Knicks may find themselves in desperate need of a new shooting guard. 

Role players:

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin:  Martin proved that he still has a shooters touch and that when he is not the primary focus of defenses (as he was in Houston) he can be a very efficient scorer.  It is unclear what he expects in terms of a contract, but I think it is in his and OKC’s best interests to for him to stay with the Thunder, though Martin would be a great fit for any number of teams, such as the Pistons and Pacers. 

Randy Foye:  Foye will be one of many members of the Utah Jazz to hit the market this offseason, but the Jazz may be hoping to retain the shooting guard as they don’t have many options there.  Of course, this depends on who they get in the draft.  Foye is a solid player and would be a great addition for any team so long as the price isn’t too high, but expect him to stay put.

Mo Williams:  Like his backcourt partner Foye, Williams will get to test the free agency.  Several years removed from his All-Star appearance, it seems unlikely that Williams will get a big contract, though there are several teams that are in need of a point guard.  The Jazz will likely offer a little more than most teams, so unless Williams is willing to take a pay-cut to play with a contender, expect him to be back in Utah next year.

DeJuan Blair is a great hustle player.

DeJuan Blair is a great hustle player.

DeJuan Blair:  What Blair gives up in size, he makes up for in hustle.  Blair is a great guy to have coming off the bench, but unless somebody is willing to throw a ridiculous amount of money at an undersized power forward, don’t expect him to leave the Spurs (even if they had him on the trading block).  Though teams like New York and Brooklyn would likely be able to use a big guy coming off the bench, the Spurs seem like the best fit for Blair.

 

Nick Young:  Young is a shooting guard with size and a nice 3pt shot.  If affordable, he would be a great fit for any number of teams, the 76ers and Pistons among them.  Philly has his Bird Rights, so expect that he might stay with Philly unless somebody is willing to offer him an absurd amount of money.

Kenyon Martin:  Forced retirement may be an option.  It took several months for Martin to land a roster spot this last season and as he is among the oldest players in the league, he may have trouble getting work. But his defence may be appealing to a team looking for an insurance policy in the front court.

 

Mike Dunleavy:  Dunleavy saw a reduction in minutes, but his 3pt stroke is as good as ever and he could find himself starting next season for a much better team.  If he is willing to take the MLE to play for a contender, he may find himself in a good situation.  Don’t expect a return to the Bucks.  Considering their lack of success and the relatively small role the offered Dunleavy, I expect that he’d rather play for a contender should he be forced to take such a small role again. 

Samuel Dalembert is still among the league's best rebounders.

Samuel Dalembert is still among the league’s best rebounders.

Samuel Dalembert:  Dalembert is still among the better rebounders in the league, and he is a respectable defender.  A starting spot for the Miami Heat would certainly be appealing should they be willing to offer the MLE for Dalembert.  That might be the best situation for him, since his big-money days are likely over, but there may still be a team willing to offer him a little more money. 

Zaza Pachulia:  It is unclear what the Hawks are planning on doing this offseason.  Should they be successful in trying to pick up Howard, it seems unlikely that Pachulia will return, but if they are not, and if Josh Smith leaves, the Hawks will almost be forced to offer Pachulia decent contract.  He may ultimately opt to play for a contender though, given his age.  If Pachulia is only getting veteran minimum offers, he may wish to sign with the Heat or the Pacers in the East, or if a trip out west is in the cards with the Thunder.  Staying with the Hawks only makes sense if it means a bigger pay day. 

Joel Pryzbilla: Pryzbilla is no spring chicken.  Like Pachulia he may wish to play on a contender, and given Miami’s need for a center, that may be a great fit for him.  OKC, NY and the Pacers may also be a good fit if he doesn’t mind playing a smaller role. 

Chris Kaman: I expect that Kaman is the most appealing of all the centers likely to only receive the MLE.  He is only 30 and is still a double-digit rebounder.  If he can’t get a job as a starter, he’d make a great back up for MIA or OKC. 

J.J. Redick:  After several season in Orlando, Redick found himself on the trade block and ended up with the Bucks.  It seems unlikely that he will stay there and will probably seek out a contender as a home, but he may fit with Detroit as well, or if Foye and Young leave their respective teams, then Utah and Philly may be nice landing spots for Redick.

Chris Andersen is a fan favorite wherever he goes, and is one of the best hustle players in the NBA today.

Chris Andersen is a fan favorite wherever he goes, and is one of the best hustle players in the NBA today.

Chris Andersen:  Many thought his career was dead once he fell out of the rotation with the Nuggets, but given his performance in the playoffs, it seems like it is back on again.  Andersen played a key role for a championship team after failing to get minutes on a team that got eliminated in the first round.  Certainly some people took notice.  But given his age, it seems unlikely that Andersen will get big money. What he may look for instead is a longer deal may go where ever the money is given he’s already got the thrill of a championship under his belt.  Still, Miami seems like the best fit for Andersen.

Tony Allen: Allen has earned a reputation as a lock-down defender and a solid three-point shooter.  He will have a team next year, the question is: how much are teams willing to spend for him?  The MLE may be a bit more than most teams are willing to offer, but my guess is Allen won’t mind so long as he can hitch his wagon to a contender.  Given the Grizzlies most recent moves, I don’t expect Allen to stay. The organization seems more concerned with cutting costs than winning.

Antwan Jamison:  Jamison’s season with the Lakers was less than stellar and give the numbers he put up, it seems unlikely that he will get too many offers.  Expect him to stay with the Lakers or float off to another contender if one is willing to offer a little cash.

Lamar Odom:  Odom was starting to look like his old self again.  He may stay with the Clippers, or may look to return to the Lakers, but either way, expect him to be playing in LA next season.

Jose Calderon has been one of my favorite players the last few seasons.  I hope to see him land in a winning situation to finish his career.

Jose Calderon has been one of my favorite players the last few seasons. I hope to see him land in a winning situation to finish his career.

Jose Calderon:  It is unclear what the Pistons have planned for the offseason, but Calderon has some options. If Detroit throws some money at him, I expect him to stay in the motor city, but if the MLE or the veteran minimum is the best they will offer, I expect him to take his talents to south beach or perhaps New York.  His lack of defence hurts, but his shooting is too good to pass up, as are his ball handling skills.  Given OKC’s vulnerability at point guard (they have no depth at that position at all) they may want to look into bringing Calderon on board as well.

Chris Wilcox:  Wilcox may be the Reggie Evans of the 2013 offseason.  Few gave Reggie Evans the time of day in the summer of 2012, but he went on to have one of the best rebounding season in recent memory.  I don’t expect Wilcox to do the same, but he is a hard working rebounder that can provide some quality minutes for a very affordable rate.  Expect some teams like New York and Brooklyn to throw a contract offer at him, or even Miami should Chris Andersen leave for another team.

Andray Blatche:  There are still some questions as to Blatche’s maturity, but he had a solid season last year with the Nets.  I expect him to return under a similar contract, but there may be a team willing to pay a little more for his potential.   

Nate Robinson has earned a reputation as being a difference maker in playoff games.

Nate Robinson has earned a reputation as being a difference maker in playoff games.

Nate Robinson: His size has always hurt his ability to get a decent contract, but Robinson is a guy that can win you games.  He may not be reliable every night, but the nights where he explodes he is worth having on your roster.  If a team has a great defensive set, they can afford to have him on the court.  In all likelihood though Robinson will end up on a lottery team in need of a scorer off the bench, though Chicago may reward him for his efforts with a contract for next season.

Elton Brand:  If Brand is only able to get a veteran minimum, there will be a host of teams chasing after this former All-Star.  He can rebound and score down low and he doesn’t mind taking on a small role, and on some nights he can still play at a level higher than most power forwards in the league.

Speak Your Mind

*