2012 NBA Free Agency: 15 Top Free Agents on the Market After Deron Williams

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IApril 4, 2012

2012 NBA Free Agency: 15 Top Free Agents on the Market After Deron Williams

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    Deron Williams is the undisputed marquee name that will test the free-agent waters this summer. D-Will is undoubtedly an elite-level point guard who can change the outlook of a team's future.

    After him, who are the other premier players who can change the outlook of a team's future?

    While the summer of 2012 will not compare to the summer of 2010—when LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer all changed scenery—it will still be influential.

    In fact, certain upcoming free agents who will change locations could prove to be the final piece to a team's championship puzzle.

    Here are the top 15 free agents after D-Will, with analysis on the impact they could have, their age, contract status and potential destinations. 

    (Disclaimer: L.A. Laker center Andrew Bynum is a free agent this summer, but there's a team option to his contract. Therefore, he was left off this list because even with his latest antics, the Lake Show would be downright foolish to not exercise that option.)

15. Ray Allen, 36 Years Old, Unrestricted FA

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    Ray Allen's finest days have passed, but he's still more than capable of providing ample contributions. 

    For a team seeking a final veteran piece to loft them into the elite category, Allen is a stellar option to consider. He comes with championship experience, poise and an attitude that has always been willing to function amidst the team's scheme.

    He may remain in Boston, but as an unrestricted free agent, there's a good chance he'll latch on with a new contender.

    Potential Destinations: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, L.A. Clippers

14. Michael Beasley, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    While Beasley does possess a qualifying offer for next season, don't expect Minnesota to pursue an offer to bring Beasley back.

    The T'Wolves already have a host of young players, and Beasley has grown expendable. 

    While Beasley hasn't lived up to being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, he's still gifted, and there remains plenty of upside.

    The Lakers would seemingly be an ideal fit. Perhaps, Kobe Bryant could even help Beasley take his game to new levels.

    Or, Beasley could land with an average to below-average team where he'll receive steady minutes.

    Potential Destinations: L.A. Lakers, Charlotte, Toronto, Portland, Phoenix

13. Jeremy Lin, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    Jeremy Lin's contract situation is somewhat tricky.

    The skinny is this: the Knicks can make him restricted, which means teams can only offer him up to the NBA average salary, and New York can use their mid-level exception to match offers.

    Therefore, it's highly unlikely Linsanity leaves New York. However, perhaps, the Knicks come to the conclusion that his production won't last (similar to the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow, albeit a different sport).

    If so, Lin will be in demand. Teams are always interested in a young, versatile point guard.

    Potential Destinations: New York, Utah, Portland, Brooklyn (assuming D-Will leaves), Phoenix (assuming Steve Nash leaves)

12. Ersan Ilyasova, 24 Years Old, Unrestricted FA

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    Ersan Ilyasova is a name that many have likely never heard, but they will hear in the coming years.

    The current Milwaukee Buck is showing considerable signs of promise. He has good size and a pure shooting stroke.

    Plus, he's just now hitting his stride and figures to contribute for years to come.

    He may remain in Milwaukee, but other teams will certainly enter the conversation. No matter what, he'll be making more next year than the little over $2 million he's making this season.

    Potential Destinations: Milwaukee, Washington, Indiana, Brooklyn

11. Gerald Wallace, 29 Years Old, Player Option for Next Season

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    Gerald Wallace was brought in to appease Deron Williams, but that's a lofty hope for the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets.

    If Williams departs, which it seems as if he will, don't be surprised if Wallace bolts as well.

    However, his player option for next season is over $11 million, which could convince him to stay.

    Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Cleveland, Toronto

10. Tim Duncan, 35 Years Old, Unrestricted FA

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    It's hard to imagine Tim Duncan playing anywhere besides San Antonio, but he's an unrestricted free agent, so anything can happen.

    While he's aging, he's still a productive, savvy player on both ends of the floor. He still has a few years left in the tank.

    The likelihood is he'll retire as a Spur, but he could perhaps be enticed by joining a different contending team like Boston or rising Indiana.

    Potential Destinations: San Antonio, Boston, Indiana (if Roy Hibbert leaves)

9. O.J. Mayo, 24 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    O.J. Mayo hasn't taken his game to new levels since his superb rookie campaign. Part of this is because he's gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle in Memphis.

    This could lead him to him bidding farewell to the Grizzlies come this summer, despite the fact that he's a restricted free agent.

    At only 24 years old, Mayo is more than capable of being a squad's starting 2-guard for years. Expect numerous teams to show interest.

    Potential Destinations: Indiana, Golden State, Chicago, Washington, Cleveland

8. Javale McGee, 24 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    As far as physical tools come, Javale McGee isn't lacking. His seven-foot frame teamed with his leaping ability that's reminiscent of a springy small forward make him quite fearsome.

    The downside is he lacks structure and discipline. Can this be found over the years? If so, McGee could become a top-tier center.

    Based on his potential, teams will bid fairly high for him but don't be surprised if Denver matches any offers made to the big man they recently acquired from Washington.

    Potential Destinations: Denver, Houston, Portland, Brooklyn (if Brook Lopez leaves)

7. Nicolas Batum, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    Wingman Nicolas Batum remains young and has quite a bit of abilities in his arsenal. He can get to the rim, shoot the long ball and defend numerous positions.

    He has the potential to become an All-Star, but no matter what, he's going to be a solid contributor for years.

    Many teams would love to have his array of talents for years to come, but since he's restricted, expect him to remain in Portland. 

    Although, there are surely other teams who would love to see him in a new uniform, such as the Lakers or Wizards, but it will take a highly lucrative offer to lure him out of Rip City.

    Potential Destinations: Portland, Washington, L.A. Lakers

6. Kevin Garnett, 35 Years Old, Unrestricted FA

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    Kevin Garnett's fiery nature still remains, despite his aging 35-year-old body.

    Actually, while his body is aging, his production is still quite impressive. While he's not the dominant KG we've known of years past, he's still providing the Celtics with a formidable big man on both ends of the floor.

    It will be very interesting to see where Garnett ends up next year. Perhaps, he'll remain in Boston, maybe he'll latch on with a different contender, or there's a chance a younger team overpays to inherit his abilities for the next few seasons.

    Potential Destinations: Boston, Chicago, Indiana, Houston

5. Ryan Anderson, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    Sharpshooting big man Ryan Anderson is having a breakout season, which spells big money for him, as he's a restricted free agent this offseason.

    The Magic surely desire to keep him, but this could get tricky due to their cap situation.

    They will likely have to get creative to find a way to bring back Anderson. If they don't, Anderson could be taking his talents elsewhere in a few months.

    Potential Destinations: Orlando, Washington, Brooklyn, Phoenix

4. Steve Nash, 38 Years Old, Unrestricted FA

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    Unless Phoenix overhauls the roster and brings in major help for Steve Nash, don't expect the veteran, former-MVP to return to the Suns next season.

    The likelihood is that he'll look to jump on board with a contender to pursue a ring. 

    He's already expressed openness to joining the Heat's star-studded cast in Miami. Perhaps, Nash could prove to be the missing link to a dynasty in South Beach.

    Potential Destinations: Miami, Dallas (if D-Will doesn't go there), Indiana, New York, Phoenix 

3. Eric Gordon, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    If it weren't for injuries, Eric Gordon would be No. 1 on this list. However, the injuries have created a concern and could limit what teams are willing to spend.

    But there are still many positives to Gordon, namely the fact that he's still only 23 and has the potential to be a top-flight shooting guard for years. In fact, if he remains healthy, it's safe to say he will be a top-flight shooting guard.

    There's a good chance he'll remain in New Orleans since he's restricted. However, due to Gordon's injuries, they may be unwilling to match a heavily pricey offer from a team like Indiana.

    Potential Destinations: Indiana, New Orleans, Washington, Brooklyn, Golden State, Cleveland

2. Roy Hibbert, 25 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    He's 7'2'' and possesses crafty skills on the offensive end. What's more, he's an improving defender and certainly has the capacity to frequently block shots.

    There aren't many centers who can provide this type of production, so expect to see a line of teams inquiring about Hibbert.

    Indiana has the money to match offers, but they could have their eyes set on other free agents (i.e. Eric Gordon). If that's the case, the Celtics would be an ideal fit for the emerging Hibbert, who earned his first All-Star appearance this season.

    Potential Destinations: Indiana, Boston, Houston

1. Brook Lopez, 23 Years Old, Restricted FA

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    There are concerns with Brook Lopez. He's been injured for almost this entire season, and he's revealed some rebounding struggles in his young career.

    But his offensive abilities are tough to rival, and he's still only 23.

    He's restricted, and it's tough to foresee the Nets not bringing him back, but they may have to do so at a steep price. If for some reason they're unwilling, there will surely be numerous teams seeking to reel him in.

    Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Indiana (if Hibbert leaves), Houston, Sacramento, Cleveland