NBA Free Agents 2012: Smart Pickups for NBA Contenders

Alex KayCorrespondent IMay 11, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 28: Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets puts up a shot past Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Just because we are right in the midst of the 2012 NBA playoffs does not mean it is too early to start looking into potentially valuable offseason acquisitions for top contenders.

Some teams, like the Dallas Mavericks, still have a chance to compete for a title in 2013 despite being swept in the first round this season. They just need to rely heavily on some talented players that will be looking for a new home this summer.

Let’s take a look at which targets the top organizations in the NBA should be gunning for.


New York Knicks: Steve Nash

The Knicks barely made the playoffs and were quickly eliminated after they snagged the No. 7 seed.

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns 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 acknowledges and
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s become apparent after a full season and a half of the Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony experiment that this team needs a great passer to distribute the ball and get them their touches.

Steve Nash would be the perfect player for that need and they would have a chance to compete for a title in the remaining two-to-three years that the future Hall of Fame PG has left in the league.

His incredible ability to find the open man while knocking down his own shot when needed is exactly what New York needs at the position.


Dallas Mavericks: Deron Williams

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 10:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets looks on in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center on April 10, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Without a number of the key players they lost in free agency after the lockout, the Mavericks clearly suffered in their title defense. Jose Juan Barea’s ability to create shots off the bench was gone and Jason Kidd showed his age as the season wore on.

Those reasons are exactly why a point guard like D-Will would completely reshape this team into a true contender again.

Williams could become the second-option to Dirk Nowitzki, energize the offense and still play solid defense against opposing 1s and 2s.


Miami Heat: Chris Kaman

The Heat aren’t out of the playoffs yet, and they might not lose a series this year, but they still have a huge hole at the 5.

Because LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are such great players, they have been able to mask that gaping problem. However, it will eventually rear its ugly head.

Last year, in the NBA Finals, Tyson Chandler’s defensive presence and ability to control the paint was the difference-maker against this team.

They need to get a sizable center who can score and bang like Kaman to plug in the middle to force the opposition to direct attention away from the Big Three.