Considering it’s the day before the moratorium is lifted, it seems appropriate to go over where things stand in terms of NBA Free Agency.
1. Elton Brand– I’m convinced the whole Warriors/Sixers stuff is just brilliance to either make it seem like there wasn’t crazy collusion between Brand and/or the Clip Show and Baron or an attempt to get a no-trade clause. Either way, I would be floored beyond belief to see EB anywhere else. The talk of his house being on the market is (from what I’ve heard) just about him having a new baby and wanting a bigger place. Nothing more to see there.
2. Baron Davis– He’ll be a Clipper. What’s interesting to think about is that the Eric Gordon pick was likely made with the “understanding” that Boom Dizzle would be playing for Los Clippers. They’re decent fits together, but nothing earth-shaking- I still think they should’ve gotten some big depth if Baron was on the way.
3. Gilbert Arenas– The money he saved the ownership on the luxury tax was nice (probably will add up to like $25m), but it won’t help the team on the court.
4. Andre Iguodala (Restricted)- Surprisingly, there has been very little talk about where Iggy will go. Naturally, the Sixers are a very good fit, as are the Warriors. In a sense, he may be the piece in limbo with Josh Smith (just on the nature of their two situations). Should J-Smoove go to the Sixers, it’s possible this actually makes Iguodala a cheaper commodity since Philly would be less likely to match. He can’t pit the few teams with cap space against each other like Josh Smith can, so that could hurt as well.
5. Josh Smith (Restricted)- In effect, this depends on the Hawks’ ownership. Him leaving would essentially take the core out of this Hawks franchise, since it would create another hole for them to fill (besides the C spot and the starting PG long-term) and they don’t have a ton of resources. I expect him to stay in his hometown, but a smart team (Golden State….) should offer him a heavily front-loaded deal to try deter a match.
6. Emeka Okafor (Restricted)- A player hurt immensely by the current climate for free agents. With the Warriors and Sixers being the only real options, Okafor does not have a market (makes less sense in an up-and-down system, and Philly has Dalembert locked up). The murmurs of him taking the tender offer actually make a ton of sense, as it would allow him to see his fit in Charlotte (he’ll probably do well) and have a much more open market next offseason. I’d love to see the Cavs go after him next summer, though the logistics of that are somewhat hard.
7. Andris Biedrins (Restricted)- He’ll be a Warrior, or someone will be badly wounded. Surprising we’ve heard almost nothing on him though…
8. Luol Deng (Restricted)- The Bulls have made him a priority (well-deserved), but one thing that lingers is how he’ll fit long-term in this new vision of the Bulls. He’ll get his money and that’s fine, yet I worry that this Bulls team built around D. Rose, Deng, Hinrich, and Thomas/Noah has very little perimeter and interior scoring without a ton of minutes to spare. I’m not sure whether this means a trade would be inevitable or they have to get insanely lucky, but I sincerely doubt that combination of players will mesh for a dangerous team, especially if they make the playoffs.
9. Monta Ellis (Restricted)- The only way he’s leaving the Warriors is in a sign and trade, and that requires the Dubs getting pieces worth making it happen. The Cavs simply do not have those and the Knicks are probably unwilling to move their’s (picks, W. Chandler, Balkman), especially after getting Duhon. As such, unless a new suitor comes into the mix, I’d expect to see Monta back in Oakland, though Chris Mullin may overpay to keep him around.
10. Ben Gordon (Restricted)- By far, the player whose value is damaged most by the way things are shaking out, over Okafor for a few pivotal reasons. First, it appears that he’s not heavily in his current team’s plans, which makes signing the tender a less viable option. Second, the teams that he makes sense on do not have the proper pieces for a Sign and Trade the Bulls would be interested in (I’m looking at you, New Orleans). Third, he doesn’t make much sense on any of the teams that have space, so it’s hard to generate any leverage for a deal. He is a terrible fit for the Warriors, the Grizzlies won’t sign anyone (especially with their overstuffed backcourt), and the Sixers have other priorities. As such, his options are limited, and he should either sign the tender and pray for luck or just work Paxson for a deal.
11. James Posey– He’ll probably end up getting too many years, but he’ll be valued for the first few wherever he ends up. He’s a stone-cold killer in the right role, and a ton of top-shelf squads can use a guy like him. Ironically, the Lakers are the ones that make the least sense, since they have a ton of SF’s and need big man depth like nobody’s business.
12. Corey Maggette– Another player hurt by his situation, though his damage is 100% financial. Baron becoming a Clipper takes the Sign and Trade arrow out of Corey’s quiver, but it will put him on a good team at the MLE, which should work out well for him. The Spurs make the most sense, as they need a guy like Corey at the SF slot with their Big 3 slowing down a little, and Corey can keep his value up and possibly get a ring. Orlando makes sense personally, but I have no idea why they’d offer him the MLE considering their #2 and #3 players are SF’s and better than Maggette. Also, if the Warriors offer Corey more than the MLE, I’ll seriously consider gouging my eyes out.
13. Josh Childress (Restricted)- A player who can actually benefit from his situation in the long term. If the Hawks lose Josh Smith, the pressure is on to sign Childress, and the thinning market for swingment actually helps him go to either a better team or get better money (or possibly both). He could be a valued contributor in a variety of circumstances, with my favorite fits being San Antonio if they don’t get Maggette, Detroit, and New Orleans.
14. Nenad Kristic (Restricted)- A compelling one because the Nets value him, but value the LeBron cap space even more, which makes a whole bevvy of situations possible. A team could do well to offer Nenad a longer-term deal for less money and see if the Nets choke on it. His health hurts his value, but he’s a contributor at the least.
15. Shaun Livingston (Unrestricted)- My favorite FA in this class because he brings such an amazing package of ability and devastating injury history. What makes the most sense is for a team to offer him a 3-year deal in the $13-14m neighborhood because it gives Livvy financial security and limits the risk for teams. Ideally for the franchises, they could try to get a team option for a 4th year, so that if he does really well, they get a discount. It’s worth mentioning that he’s only years old and he is the 3rd best PG prospect in the last 10 years in my eyes (behind Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio, if you’re wondering) when he was draft-eligible. He makes the most sense for a team with a PG in place for the short-term like Atlanta or the Sixers so he would have time to fully recover and eventually increase his minutes. The other top-notch place for him is Golden State, because he’s a picture-perfect fit next to Monta Ellis as a PG/SG combination if he can recover.
16. Louis Williams (Restricted). Good kid who will likely stay with the Sixers. A team with the MLE could do well to try and snatch him away by offering right as Iggy and Josh Smith’s offer sheets are still on the table since Philly’s money would be tied up.
17. Kurt Thomas– A great glue-guy big who will get what he’s looking for. He works well on the Spurs, but I’d like to see the Magic, Hornets, or Lakers make a play for him- he’s a better fit for any of them.
18. DeSagana Diop– This blog’s loved mascot was dramatically overpaid for too many years by the Mavs, but he’s a good fit for their team and we wish him the best.
19. Mickael Pietrus– The French Trainwreck can do very well in the right system, but he needs good coaching and proper motivation.
20. Ryan Gomes (Restricted)- Love this kid. I hope he goes to a good team, because he’ll work best as a role player on a contender. Teams that make sense: Celtics, Rockets, Clippers, and possibly the Hornets.
Other Free Agents I like (and what makes sense for them):
Ronny Turiaf (R) -The Lakers. He needs to be on a good team playing spot minutes, stepping into more when necessary.
Kelenna Azubuike- Wherever he can get minutes- kid can play
Daniel Gibson- Next to Lebron. I’d sign a 2-year deal if I were him…
JR Smith- Good god, it’s hard to say. Could unleash hot fire off the Celtics bench and has dominant personalities to rein him in.
Carl Landry- Does the Rockets’ drafting of two PF-types open the door for someone else? Great glue guy, especially for the price tag.
Carlos Arroyo- Would love to see him on a team that believed in him.
Bostjan Nachbar- Better as a good player on a great team- Spurs if no Maggette?
Jarvis Hayes- Can score and play some decent minutes, but shouldn’t get a heavily expanded role
Well, that’s it for now. This will probably be updated as things change over the next few days.