Now with thelockout ending, tentatively, we get to the EXCITING part: FREE AGENCY. Freeagency is expected to begin on December 9th, and with roughly 120plus free agents, restricted and unrestricted, this will be a fun time. Accordingto reports, November 30th is the day that the league will allowteams to have contact with agents. Either way this will be a HECTIC freeagency.
Now on tothe top free agents!!! Most articles I’ve read are giving you the top 15 freeagents. Screw that!!! I’m sticking to a top 10 and I need to remind you thisisn’t the most favorable free agent class.
10. JasonRichardson: $14.4 million – Unrestricted
WhileOrlando does want him back, they don’t want him back at that price tag. With15+ teams having cap space, imagine Richardson shopping himself around. *Thatsounds so naughty* I have had conversations with Bulls fans that want Jason,but they have 0 cap space to obtain him. The only way would be through asign-and-trade. Although, he is 31, J-Rich still has plenty of life left inhim, but what’s the value of that life is the more important question.
9. Shane Battier:$7.4 Million – Unrestricted
Battier is acoachable guy, plays solid defense and it seems teams want him…badly. To thepoint that OKC Thunder players are tweeting him about joining their squad. Hehas mentioned that his first choice would be to stay in Memphis, as they canpay him more, BUT Memphis has somewhere near $55 million in commitmentsalready, so this doesn’t seem likely. Today, we have learned that the MiamiHeat has become interested in Shane. However, seeing him as Pacer or a Thundermember seems more likely.
8. TayshaunPrince: $11.1 million – Unrestricted
The dude isnearing 32, had a back surgery, but still is putting up numbers like he did in2006. He played 78 games last year and his age isn’t showing. He would like tore-sign with the Pistons, but there are reports indicating he is ready to moveon. The typical “I wanna be with a winner” song and dance. His price point maybe the killing point to where some teams don’t want to spend that amount on anearly 32 year-old player.
7. CaronButler: $10.8 million – Unrestricted
TheMavericks are sitting on over $60 million dollars, so the likelihood he returnsto Dallas isn’t great. He is 32, coming off of a knee injury so his value maynot be what he wants. He has been saying all the right things with the mediathat he, indeed, wants to return with Dallas. However, that does not seem likea viable option. Dallas COULD re-sign him, I just find it unlikely.
6. CarlLandry: $3.0 million – Unrestricted
One of themore underrated free agents in this class, Landry stepped in for West lastseason and posted decent numbers. Here’s the deal here: If West leaves, theOrleans will set a price for Landry. However, if West stays, Laundry looks atother teams.
5. JamalCrawford: $10.1 million – Unrestricted
Of course,Crawford is the best scorer on this list. Awesome, right?? However, he KNOWS itand will be seeking that a BIG CHECK!! The Hawks won’t re-sign him for theamount of money he wants, however.
He recentlysigned with Andy Miller and is notorious for inking deals with the Nets or theKnicks. The Nets aren’t a feasible option, but the Knicks? A sign-and-tradedeal would be the only option. Other news has been that Miami would like him,but for Miller. Would Atlanta bite??? Hard to say, however, he will be with atitle contending team.
4. DavidWest: $8.3 million – Unrestricted
While Davidhas not been medically cleared for basketball, reports are saying him beingflagged is not an issue. Primary targets are the Pacers and the Nets, howeverthe Hornets have the best bet as they only have around $44 million incommitments.
3. MarcGasol – $3.6 million (qualifying offer of $4.5 million) – Restricted
While Marcis one of the best free agents in this class, he is a restricted free agent.The Grizz front office has made it well known that they will match any offerthat Gasol receives. With that, Gasol will, probably, still be a Grizzly.
2. TysonChandler – $12.6 million – Unrestricted
After theMavericks won the championship last season, Chandler’s value increasedsevenfold. Tyson wants to be in Dallas and Dallas wants Tyson. End of story.However, he will have to change his terms in reference to years, because the12.6 million is just a little bit too much for Dallas. Due to the underlyingnotion that the Mavericks WILL re-sign Chandler, don’t expect to hear muchnoise on other teams vying for him.
1.NeneHilario: $11.4 million – Unrestricted
If you askedme yesterday if Nene would resign, I would say: WITHOUT A DOUBT!! However, withhim being an “UTTER DRAMA QUEEN” with the media on Tuesday, I have my doubts.New York, New Jersey, Miami, Indiana, Dallas, Houston and Golden State are allreportedly, enticing him to come their way. After, opting out before thelockout, maybe there are still “tensions” between himself and Denver’s frontoffice.
If Nenestays, or if he goes, nevertheless, this will be, without a doubt, anentertaining, perhaps, mind-boggling free agency.
Other notable free agents are: Jeff Green *R* (BOS), Rodney Stuckey *R*(DET), KrisHumphries (NJ), DeAndre Jordan *R* (LAC), Thaddeus Young *R* (PHI) , Arron Afflalo *R* (DEN), Samuel Dalembert(SAC), J.J Barea (DAL), Grant Hill (PHO), Glenn Davis (BOS), Nick Young *R*(WASH)