NBA Free Agents 2012: Ideal Signing for Every Team This Summer
While last years NBA off-season was fuddled up by that whole lockout thing, this year's break should take a more traditional path.
A few important dates to keep in mind:
July 1st- Teams may begin negotiating with free agents.
July 11th- Teams may officially sign sign free agent players to contracts.
With a salary cap set at $58 million, many teams will have to get creative with free agent signings, many having to rely on the $5 million mid-level exception or the $3 million mini mid-level exception for those who were so far above the cap that they had to pay a luxury tax last season.
With names like Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Garnett, Eric Gordon and Ray Allen all potentially switching team, this years off-season carries plenty of intrigue.
While some teams have the cap room to go out and attempt to land a star, others may be best suited to simply resign their own free agents.
Whatever the circumstance, here is one ideal free agent signing for every NBA team.
Atlanta Hawks: Jason Terry
Atlanta's team salary already projects to be around $60 million for next season thanks to Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford, so look for them to make an impact with the mid-level.
Jason Terry to Atlanta would be a nice fit for many reasons.
For one, the team has seen a dramatic improvement since he last played for them in 2003-2004.
The Hawks have had success bringing in veterans as scoring threats off the bench with Jamal Crawford and Tracy McGrady in recent years.
The 34-year-old Terry could give them 15 points a game off the bench, playing either guard position and bringing championship experience to a Hawks team looking to make the next step in the Eastern Conference.
A two year, $10 million deal would be fair for both sides.
Boston Celtics: O.J. Mayo
Boston nearly traded Ray Allen for Mayo at this years trade deadline, so there's definitely an interested in the Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard.
With plenty of cap room this summer, Boston could stand to make an offer to Mayo that the Grizzlies would likely not match due to their existing extensions with Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph.
The Celtics should be looking to add talented young players to their roster instead of established veterans so they have something to build around for a new championship era as the title window for the current group is quickly closing.
Mayo would be great on a veteran team that wouldn't put pressure on him to be the man right away. Placed in a backcourt with All-Star Rajon Rondo should only further his development.
Charlotte Bobcats: Antawn Jamison
The rebuilding Bobcats would be wise to avoid the big free agent names and stick with the plan to build through the draft for now.
Adding a veteran like Jamison would benefit them for many reasons.
First off, he actually wants to be a Charlotte Bobcat, which you probably won't hear coming out of many NBA players mouths at this point in time.
Secondly, it's no secret the Bobcats locker room is a little messy right now. How bad could they use one of the most professional and classiest players in the NBA to help soothe things out and teach the young 'Cats what it means to be a pro?
Lastly, the Bobcats flat out can't score the basketball.
At 87.1 points per game, Charlotte is the lowest scoring team in the entire NBA. Enter Jamison, who at the tender age of 35 is still dropping 17.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jamison wouldn't make a big difference in terms of wins in the present, but the experience, knowledge and leadership he would provide to the younger players could make a huge impact on their future.
Chicago Bulls: Chauncey Billups
As good as C.J. Watson has been filling in for the oft-injured Derrick Rose this season, how nice would it be to bring in Chauncey Billups off the bench to run your second team?
When the 2012-2013 season kicks off, Billups will be 36 years old, and while he has plenty of good basketball left, few starting opportunities are likely to present themselves.
Landing on a championship-caliber team like Chicago would be a great fit and allow him a chance at a second NBA title.
Capable of playing either guard position, a former champion like Billups would fit in great with a especially since they can't keep their backcourt healthy.
Over the cap, Chicago could use their $5 million mid-level exception on Mr. Big Shot to help take the next step in the Eastern Conference.
Reuniting with former Detroit Piston teammate Rip Hamilton would just be awesome, too.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Spencer Hawes
The Cavaliers main needs are on the wing and at the center position.
Rather than take a gamble on a player like Andre Drummond, the Cavs should elect to take one of the many talented shooting guards or small forwards in this years draft and instead focus their efforts on signing a proven center like Hawes.
In this, his fifth pro season, Hawes has put up career highs in shooting percentage (.493), free throw percentage (.717), rebounds (7.5) assists (2.6) and blocked shots (1.4) per game.
A former lottery pick by Sacramento in 2007, Hawes is a legit 7'1" and is only 23 years old. He should only continue to get better and could grow with a young Cavaliers team.
Cleveland has the money to offer Hawes around a four year, $30 million deal and place him next to Tristan Thompson in the Cavaliers frontcourt of the future.
Dallas Mavericks: Deron Williams
According to ESPNDallas's Tim MacMahon, it's already a "good bet" that Deron Williams will become a Dallas Maverick this summer.
As nice as it would be for Williams to go from New Jersey to the defending champion Mavericks, Dallas would be the true winner of this marriage.
An All-Star point guard is just what this aging Mavs team needs to stay competitive in a tough Western Conference for years to come. Jason Kidd will likely retire and Jason Terry is a free agent, leaving a huge hole at the quarterback position in Dallas (although some would argue the Cowboys have the same problem).
A Deron and Dirk led Dallas team would once again top the Western Conference standings.
Denver Nuggets: Javale McGee
Surprisingly, the Denver Nuggets are the NBA's leading scoring team this season at 103.7 points per game.
Defensively is where the questions lie, as they also give up the 28th most points in the NBA at over 101 per game.
Enter Javale McGee, who with a 7'6" wingspan, is one of the best young shot blockers and rebounders in the game today.
Questions surround his offense and basketball intelligence, but in Denver all he should have to worry about is digging in on the defensive end and finishing alley-oops from time to time.
That's about all the Nuggets should ask of him as well, but it may just be enough to build a championship contender for years to come.
Detroit Pistons: Omer Asik
The current back-up center for the Chicago Bulls, Asik should be hungry for a starting spot and Detroit may just be the right place for him.
A defensive-minded seven-footer, a post tandem of Asik and emerging star Greg Monroe would be a nice balance of varying skills and abilities.
Signing Asik would allow Detroit to move Monroe to his natural position of power forward and provide them with tough interior defense.
While Chicago will want to hold on to him, it would be great for the Pistons to steal one of their rivals key role players and use him against them along with the rest of the Eastern Conference.
A bit of revenge for signing away Ben Wallace back in 2006, if you will.
Golden State Warriors: Ivan Johnson
When and only when Andrew Bogut goes down with a season ending injury, the Warriors are going to need a back-up center to step up and take his place.
Enter Ivan Johnson, a solid rock of a man who is a good post defender and solid rebounder who's averaged 11.3 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks over the past month.
Adding an insurance big man is a must for Golden State with Bogut's injury history, and Johnson could be a valuable and somewhat inexpensive option.
Houston Rockets: Goran Dragic
Houston should look no further than it's own roster when deciding on a free agent to pursue.
Acquired in a trade from the Phoenix Suns in 2011, Dragic has stepped up big time since taking over for Kyle Lowry as the starting point guard.
In the month of April, Dragic is averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 assists for a tough, young Rockets team that has been sniffing at the postseason all year.
A restricted free agent, Houston can match any offer the 25-year-old gets, and they absolutely should.
Indiana Pacers: Roy Hibbert
Perhaps the most sought after free agent to not play the point guard position, Roy Hibbert has shown tremendous improvements in this, his fourth season.
Averaging career highs in points (13.0), rebounds (8.9) and blocks (2.0), the 7'2" former Georgetown Hoya is putting his name in the conversation for the top centers in the NBA.
Other teams are certain to offer significant contracts, but look for the Pacers to offer a near max, or possible, maximum deal.
Players of his size and skill level are just too rare to let get away.
Los Angeles Clippers: Ray Allen
Finances may get in the way of this one, but how good would the Clippers be if they could somehow sign Ray Allen?
Lob City would add the best three-point shooter of all time and could develop into one of the best offenses in the entire NBA.
A veteran like Allen with a championship ring would bring leadership, intelligence and a an experienced skill set to what is already one of the best up-and-coming teams in the NBA.
The Clippers should go hard when pursuing Allen.
Los Angeles Lakers: Ramon Sessions
Since ESPN and TNT refuse to show any teams besides the Celtics, Lakers, Heat, Knicks or Magic, many NBA fans didn't get a chance to see Ramon Sessions play.
For those in Northeast Ohio, they could tell you Sessions is a special talent who's often been overlooked no matter where he's gone.
The Lakers don't have any cap room to speak of, but could resign Sessions to a lengthy deal and absolutely should.
Averaging 12.6 points and 6.3 assists per game with LA, Sessions won't ever be the Lakers leading man but won't need to be either.
If he does indeed opt out of his deal and become a free agent, expect him back in LA.
Memphis Grizzlies: Ray Allen
As mentioned before with the Celtics wanting to acquire O.J. Mayo from Memphis, the Grizzlies also wanted Ray Allen from Boston.
With Mayo likely gone, this leaves the Grizzlies with a shallow shooting guard position.
Tony Allen is a tremendous defender, but it shouldn't stop Memphis from pursuing Ray to help them take the next step.
A starting five of Mike Conley, Ray Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol?
You could be looking at one of the best teams in the West for years to come.
Miami Heat: Steve Nash
According to an interview with The Dan Patrick Show, Steve Nash "would definitely listen" to an offer from the Miami Heat this offseason.
Why not sign Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett to veteran minimum deals as well?
A signing of Nash would finally propel Miami past Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings and possible to an NBA title.
Would Nash sign for just the mid-level exception?
I guess the Heat will find out.
Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova
Capable of playing either forward position, Ilyasova has quietly put together a fantastic 2011-2012 season.
An unrestricted free agent, the Bucks will have to have to greatly increase his current $2.5 million salary to entice him to stay.
Averaging 12.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with a PER of over 20, Ilyasova has shown a great all-around game in his fourth pro year.
Together with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Milwaukee has formed a nice young trio.
Now, keeping them together will be the challenge.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Crawford
Minnesota has already made a run at Crawford in free agency and before the trade deadline, so interest is definitely there.
Able to opt out of his deal if he so chooses, it would be surprising to see Crawford stay in Portland after such a disappointing season.
Adding Crawford on an up-and-coming T-Wolves team would be a huge pick-up, giving them an additional scoring threat and much needed production out of the shooting guard position.
Minnesota failed once to land Crawford in the offseason, but if at first you don't succeed...
New Jersey Nets: Deron Williams
At this point it's Deron Williams or bust for New Jersey/Brooklyn, as they packaged the farm to get him and now face the strong possibility of losing him for nothing.
What could have been a top five pick in this years NBA draft now appears to be a half a year rental of Gerald Wallace in a rebuilding year, something that shouldn't exactly have Williams scrambling for the extension papers and a pen.
The Nets have to resign Williams to a max deal, they have to.
If they don't?
The Charlotte Bobcats reign of soon-to-be worst winning percentage of all time could be short lived.
New Orleans Hornets: Eric Gordon
With all the drama that's going on on the football side of things in New Orleans, the city is desperately searching for a spark of good news.
An extension for Eric Gordon would be a nice start.
With a new owner who's passionate about the cities sports, expect New Orleans to lock up Gordon and begin the rebuilding process.
With two likely top-ten picks in this June's NBA draft, the Hornets could be back in the playoffs sooner rather than later.
New York Knicks: Jeremy Lin/ Steve Nash
New York would love to add Steve Nash AND keep Jeremy Lin, and there's actually a chance they could do both.
The curious case of Lin's contract status has been settled, as New York can offer him up to $5 million a year through their mid-level exception and being a restricted free agent under the "Gilbert Arenas Provision", other teams cannot offer more than the average salary of $5 million, something the Knicks can match.
If a team chooses not to offer Lin the $5 million per year deal, the Knicks could use their bi-annual exception of $2 million on him and save the mid-level exception for a player like Steve Nash.
Either way, Jeremy Lin stands to see a significant increase in pay compared to the $762,195 he's making this season.
The Knicks will have Jeremy Lin next season.
Whether or not they can snag Steve Nash as well remains to be seen.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Andre Miller
Andre Miller has been one of the most underrated players in the entire NBA for some time now, and deserves a shot at a ring before he retires.
While playing for the Nuggets certainly isn't bad, the Thunder are clearly the better team and appear to have a brighter future ahead of them.
Acknowledging their need for a veteran point guard behind Russell Westbrook, the Thunder signed Derek Fisher who's not good for much other than veteran leadership the occasional three-ball.
Adding Miller would be a big boost to their second team and be a great influence on Westbrook and the young Thunder.
Orlando Magic: Ray Allen/Steve Nash/Whatever Big Name They Can Convince
Normally I would peg a teams own restricted free agent as a must sign, but the Orlando Magic are not in a normal situation.
While bringing back Ryan Anderson is a must, he's not going to single-handedly convince Dwight Howard to stay.
Orlando needs to make some sort of an impact signing, even though they're extremely limited with what they can do.
With no cap room available to make an offer for Deron Williams or Eric Gordon, Orlando must instead settle with past-their-prime players like Nash or Allen and hope they agree to a $5 million exception.
Orlando can't afford to stand pat and not do anything, so a player like Allen or Nash is their best hope in free agency.
Unless of course, you consider a reunion with Tracy McGrady...
Philadelphia 76ers: Brook Lopez
With the likelihood of Spencer Hawes leaving in free agency, Philly will need a big man to replace him.
Enter the seven-foot Lopez, who has proven to be a nice young talent when healthy.
Philadelphia has some money to play around with, and possibly $18 million more should they choose to amnesty Elton Brand's final year of his contract.
They could also explore bringing in Kris Humphries if they wanted a better rebounder, but Lopez is a true center who is a better option offensively.
The 76ers strength lies on their wings, so look for them to sign a big man like Lopez in free agency instead.
Phoenix Suns: D.J. Augustin
If the Suns aren't able to convince Steve Nash to stay in the desert, they need to bring in someone to replace him.
Enter D.J. Augustin, the former Texas Longhorn who suffered the unenviable fate of being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Just 24 years old, it would probably be best for both Augustin and the Bobcats if they two parted ways and both started over fresh.
When handed the starting job with no pressure from Raymond Felton or now Kemba Walker, Augustin has played a solid game as evidenced by his career last season in which he scored 14.4 points and 6.1 assists while playing in all 82 games.
If they can bring back Nash for a year or two, great.
If not, Augustin would be a great young point guard to start over with.
Portland Trail Blazers: Deron Williams
Up in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Trail Blazers have secretly been devising a master plan all along.
What was once going to be an $80 million payroll this season is scheduled to shrink to under $30 million before next season starts.
Free agent point guard Raymond Felton will certainly not be asked to return due to his poor play, nor will the expiring contract of Mehmet Okur and Hasheem Thabeet.
Was this the plan all along? To have Felton suck so they were forced to trade off Gerald Wallace and get crazy amounts of cap space for next season?
Well if it was, it certainly seems to be working.
Portland is one of the few teams that will have the money to offer Williams a maximum contract this offseason. Couple that will All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Mathews, Nicolas Batum and a likely top five pick in this years draft, and you've got the makings of a scary-good team out West.
Portland may be the dark horse for Deron Williams, but don't count them out of the race.
Sacramento Kings: Deron Williams
The Kings are another one of the few teams who have the cap room needed to land Williams.
While rookie Isaiah Thomas has played well, Sacramento might not be ready to nab him as their point guard of the future just yet.
The Kings have a ton of young talent but seem to only be missing an elite guard like Williams to bring it all together.
Deron Williams in a lineup with Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson seems extremely formidable, and one that could grow into a powerhouse in the West.
Would that much young talent be enough to woo Williams to California's capital?
San Antonio Spurs: Carl Landry
San Antonio will re-sign Tim Duncan.
There, now that that's out of the way the Spurs can focus their attention to other free agents.
One possible target should include Carl Landry, as San Antonio could use another young, big man to help take pressure off Duncan.
Landry is 28 and should be in the prime of his career. Currently averaging 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the New Orleans Hornets, Landry owns a lifetime field goal percentage of 54 percent.
Landry should be interested as well, as he'd get to learn from one of the best to ever play in what could possible be his last season in the NBA.
Sounds like a good signing all around.
Toronto Raptors: Jerryd Bayless
While Toronto has the money available to make a free agent splash, they might be best served to keep the money internal after the whole Hedo Turkoglu contract disaster.
With Jose Calderon entering the final year of his contract, Toronto needs to wrap up the 23-year-old Bayless to a long term deal, now.
His 17.8 PER ranks second on the team behind only Andrea Bargnani, and given starters minutes of 36 per game, Bayless would be averaging 18 points and six assists per contest.
Toronto has some nice pieces in place for their future, and locking up Bayless in lieu of signing a big free agent would be wise.
Utah Jazz: Goran Dragic
Utah would not only improve their own team by adding Goran Dragic, but would also hurt fellow playoff bubble team Houston by stealing one of their best players away.
With such a talented frontcourt, the Jazz backcourt leaves something to be desired.
Devin Harris doesn't seem to have a future in Utah and the Jazz have always relied on a great point guard to carry them to the playoffs.
Dragic would thrive with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, and together with Alec Burks could form a solid young backcourt for years to come.
Washington Wizards: Shannon Brown
The Wizards are quietly building up a strong frontcourt to compliment point guard John Wall.
One thing Wall could use another of though is a running mate.
Someone athletic enough to finish alley-oops, yet still be able to knock down an open shot.
Shannon Brown could be just that guy for the Wizards, as he's demonstrated his athleticism and scoring ability in his time with the Cavaliers, Lakers and now Suns.
His signing shouldn't come at any great expense, and the dynamic he could add would definitely improve Washington on the fast break and in their half court sets.
Getting John Wall another play-maker around him makes Washington even more exciting going forward.