It's coming around to that time of year again: Free agency.
This year is set to be as rumor-filled and speculation-heavy as any other with a deep pool of talent on offer for good prices. It's certainly no match for the class of summer 2010 when LeBron James and Chris Bosh headed to South Beach, but there are a handful of players who could turn around a failing team or push a contender the last little way to a title.
Jeremy Lin was picked up for almost nothing by the New York Knicks as they battled injuries to their point guards.
The Knicks were just a few days away from cutting him again to avoid having to pay his salary for the rest of the season. Thankfully for everyone, they didn't.
Lin then decided it was time to announce himself to the world and sparked off what came to be known as 'Linsanity.' His fairy-tale run included a staggering 38-point outburst against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden.
Lin will likely remain with the team next season for a massive increase on his basic salary. Expect the Knicks to pay whatever it takes to keep Lin around.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, that creates a massive salary headache. Teams will send in offer sheets for Lin which New York is entitled to match. Offers will come in that are back-loaded versions of the mid-level exception, leading to the Knicks either losing their man or adding in the region of $12 million to their 2013-14 salary bill where they already owe Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler $60 million.
He's getting paid regardless.
Ivan Johnson announced himself to the NBA during the Atlanta Hawks' triple-overtime loss to the Miami Heat.
Johnson came off the bench to fill in some minutes and instantly brought a required level of toughness and grit to the court.
With Johnson, the Hawks stumbled upon an untapped source of energy off their bench. A great defender and rebounder, Johnson will attract offers in free agency from many teams.
Omer Asik could be the best at-the-rim defender in the NBA.
The young Turkish center really proved his value to the Chicago Bulls when Joakim Noah went down injured in Game 3 of their first round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Asik came in and played huge minutes against an athletic opponent and shut down the paint, making it a dangerous place for opposing guards to venture into.
The Bulls would love to keep him around as their backup center, but he has the quality to start in this league, and there are plenty of teams who would pay plenty of money to get a high-caliber defender.
Steve Nash has plenty of questions hanging over him: stay in Phoenix? Go to a contender? Who? Miami? New York?
Nash is at the final crossroads of his illustrious career.
He can either choose to return to the Phoenix Suns, to an adoring fan base and a mediocre team (and a massive paycheck), or he can try to land with a contending team. The Miami Heat could be the perfect fit, though it would be for a pay cut.
If the Heat fail to win it all, believe they will chase hard for Nash's signature. I think he stays in Arizona to finish out his career.
Ryan Anderson, winner of this year's NBA Most Improved Player Award, will be getting a pay rise.
How much? Unknown.
A deadly three-point shooting power forward, capable of finding his own shot and grabbing a few rebounds?
Is there a team in the league that wouldn't want this guy?
He'll end up with a hefty contract of around $35-40 million over the next four years.
Goran Dragic had a bit of a breakout year in Houston alongside Kyle Lowry.
If the Rockets decide to ship out Lowry as part of a package with Luis Scola for a superstar that is overdue in Houston, Dragic will step up to the plate as starting point guard.
He's on a low salary right now, though, if Houston makes a big name trade happen, he may end up with a pay rise to keep him around.
Ersan Ilyasova might get the best pay rise out of all of these guys.
Ilyasova broke through this season as a rebounding and scoring machine in Milwaukee after Andrew Bogut again went down injured.
With the Bucks trading for Monta Ellis, Milwaukee has the makings of a competent core lineup with Brandon Jennings and Ellis in the backcourt and Ilyasova in the frontcourt.
The future of this court depends on whether Milwaukee can afford to retain Ilyasova in the face of what will be gargantuan offers coming his way this summer.
Roy Hibbert could be the determining factor in the Indiana Pacers' series with the Miami Heat now that Chris Bosh is sidelined with injury.
Hibbert, an All-Star this year, has a chance to really make his name in the NBA with strong performances that will lead to him either leaving the team for free agency or, more likely, making use of some of the Pacers' huge cap room to get himself a pay raise from his current $2.6 million contract.
Expect the Pacers to give him around $8-9 million per year for three or four years.
Steve Novak led the NBA in three-point field goal percentage this season, coming off the bench and providing a huge spark when the Knicks' offense was stalling.
His ability to get open and knock down quick threes makes him a valuable addition to any title-chasing team. Someone who can come in, hit some shots and get the team rolling.
He's currently on a $1 million contract. That could rise to $5-7 million over the next few years.
Deron Williams is already well-paid at $16.4 million this season with a $17.4 million player option with the New Jersey Nets for the 2012-13 season.
Should he choose to opt out, however, he could sign for the maximum, somewhere in the region of $20 million per year.
Williams' future is in the hands of Dwight Howard. If Dwight chooses to stay away from New Jersey, Deron will probably leave. Dwight's arrival would, however, create a new dominating duo in the Eastern Conference.