NBA Free Agents 2012: Breaking Down Top Players Set to Hit Open Market

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IMay 3, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 23:  Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets stands on the court during a timeout against the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center on April 23, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Tonight's game is the last home game the Nets will play in New Jersey since the franchise will being moving and will play it's home games at the Barclays Center in the New York City Borough of Brooklyn starting with the 2012-13 NBA season. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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The 2012 NBA free agency class isn’t exactly the most star-studded crop of talent to hit the open market in recent years, but there are a number of good and still useful players to be found this summer.

Let’s take a look at the top four who have a decent chance of actually seeing some bids from other teams (basically, no restricted free agents).


Deron Williams – Player Option

D-Will would be leaving $28 million and an extra year of his contract on the table by leaving Brooklyn, but he’s said time and time again that winning is more important.

He’s only 27-years-old right now and just entering his prime. A team that direly needs a point guard and star will certainly throw the max at Williams.


Steve Nash – Unrestricted Free Agent

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Spurs defeated the Suns 110-106.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
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Nash almost single-handedly dragged the Phoenix Suns into the 2012 playoffs—despite the fact that no other player on his team is worth a thing.

Marcin Gortat and Grant Hill are his best teammates, which is a far cry from a few years ago when he was running with Amar’e Stoudemire, before fire extinguisher and knee injuries; Shawn Marion, back when he was the Matrix; Joe Johnson, before the Hawks made him the most overpaid franchise guy in history; and other competent players.

The 38-year-old point guard kept running though and had an incredible season. He’s definitely got enough left in the tank for one, two or maybe even three more runs. 


Kevin Garnett – Unrestricted Free Agent

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 01:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics drives against Jason Collins #34 of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Just like Nash kept the Suns relevant, KG has stepped up his game and helped the Celtics into the playoffs.

With nearly all of their big men going down at some point this year, Boston has had to rely on KG to play center, bang down low, clean up the glass and score from the post. He did this while knowing he is 35-years-old and in his 17th season in the league.

If Garnett can continue playing at this high of a level, he’s definitely worth a year or two deal.


Ersan Ilyasova – Unrestricted Free Agent

Ersanity has been taking place in Milwaukee, but because of the small market and lack of playoff exposure, it’s unlikely many people have heard of it.

Ilyasova (13 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG/BPG, 49.2% FG, 45.5% 3PT) played extremely well at only 24-years-old.

He’s got a ton of potential and could just be hitting his prime, so look for Ilyasova to get a nice deal this summer.