This year’s Unrestricted Free Agent class is pretty thin, but it merits some consideration. Without considering the Restricted Free Agents, here are my thoughts on some of the most interesting unrestricted free agents:
Baron Davis – Baron had his share of problems with the Warriors and Don Nelson this past season, and I get the feeling that he opted out due to a sense of frustration with the franchise. Also, he’ll never be as attractive as he is today, since he has put together two statistically remarkable seasons, and played all 82 games last year, significantly reducing the rumors about his long-term durability. No reason not to go for a rich long term deal right now, unless you consider the financial environment of the league right now. There aren’t many teams that can afford him, but a sign and trade might make things significantly easier. The Warriors have a lot to consider right now, and this decision will shape the future of the franchise for the next five years.
Elton Brand – Brand is a premier talent in this league and will be pursued by any team that can afford him. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t opt out, he’s filthy rich and has proven himself as a quality player in every sense of the word. All that is left is playoff success and a championship, and Brand knows that the Clippers are the last team he should expect to help him get there. Brand does not appear to be the kind of player who places money before everything, so he could easily take less to play on a contender.
Corey Maggette – This was not a surprise, considering the level of animosity between player and organization. He’s turning down $8.4 million, and while there are a lot of teams who’d love to add him to their roster, the number that can offer him a comparable salary is significantly smaller. If he really wants out of Los Angeles, he could take a longer contract at the MLE (roughly $5.5 million per season) and recoup the lost money with extra years on the deal. Perhaps the Magic would be willing to offer this kind of deal, but the just drafted Courtney Lee and have more pressing needs (such as big man depth). Teams might wait on Maggette and try to low-ball him later in the year.
Shaun Livingston – He’s not getting that $5.8 million Qualifying Offer from the Clipppers, so it loloks like Livingston will be UFA this summer. There are a lot of teams where he could try a “get healthy” contract , like Golden State, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and Sacramento.
James Jones – Jones declined the $3.1 million player option he had available from the TrailBlazers and will now be a free agent. The team played extremely well with him on the court, and he is a lights out shooter. Look for him to be an extremely attractive free agent, with many teams needing a shooter who can space the floor giving him an extended and offering him a majority of their MLE.
Gordan Giricek – Giricek was traded to the Sixers this season and then released, signing and actually getting decent minutes with the Phoenix Suns. He can shoot from the outside, but isn’t good enough at most other basketball skills to be a steady and reliable player. He’ll get looks from quite a few teams, because outside shooting makes up for a lot of flaws, and he’ll be had for cheap as well.
Keyon Dooling – Dooling will be a free agent this summer and is expected to get offers from his current team, Orlando, and many others seeking an inexpensive backup guard. Dooling can shoot a bit and defend, so he has value to a number of teams with thin benches.
Adonal Foyle – If a tree falls in the woods. Foyle is opting out of the last year of his contract and is hoping to sign for aronud $2 million, but its yet to be seen if any teams see value in the slow and short center. Foyle can’t score or pass, and his defensive skills have waned with his foot speed, so it looks like a longh summer for the Colgate alum.
Jannero Pargo – Pargo is rumored to be ready to opt of his contract. very soon He developed a name this year as Chris Paul’s backup and as an offensive sparkplug of the bench. Pargo could see his salary rise with another team, but it is likely that the Hornets will make a solid attempt to retain him.
Gilbert Arenas – Arenas officially opted out of his contract this week, but still says he wants to resign with the Wizards. With Jameson in limbo, the Wizards’ situation is still greatly in doubt, but Arenas would have a ton of potential destinations should Washington not pan out. This would probably mean sign and trade, though, so the Wizards would still retain some leverage.