NBA Free Agency 2012: Predicting Where Top 3 Players at Each Position Land

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IJune 3, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Predicting Where Top 3 Players at Each Position Land

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    So the NBA draft order is set, and we know the winners and losers already—or so we think.

    That being said, the draft is only part of what title hopefuls rest their head on at night.

    The other part of the equation is free agency.

    Teams that have little faith in their draft plight at least have the potential to improve themselves via the draft. While some years there are some huge prizes available, other years there are only mid-level prospects.

    This year, there is a little bit of both.

    Here are the likely landing spots for the top three players at each position in this year's free-agent crop.

Point Guard: Steve Nash

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    The Likely Landing Spots

    Everyone wants to see Nash reunited with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York—but given the fact that they probably will re-sign Jeremy Lin, this makes little sense.

    Memphis could be a contender here, as Mike Conley has shown his limitations.

    The Lakers would need to clear up some salary space to make a run, but they certainly would love Nash in LaLa land.

    Obviously the Suns have the inside track here.


    Outside the Box

    I think Portland would be an ideal fit. The Blazers need to get some excitement, leadership and a team identity, and Nash would help transform them.

    Secondly, Nash could add three points per game to LaMarcus Aldridge's numbers, and turn Nic Batum into Shawn Marion in the open court.

    The Bulls might kick the tires on Nash as well, since D-Rose is sidelined for awhile.

Point Guard: Deron Williams

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    Likely Landing Spots

    This actually should say "landing spot."

    The speculation that Williams will land in Dallas has been the accepted notion around league circles.

    In fact, most believe that the Mavs decided to skip out on re-signing Tyson Chandler mainly because they wanted to clear space for Williams.


    Outside the Box

    The Brooklyn Nets currently have Williams on their roster and would love to get him back.

    However, that would take a huge move.

    The Nets have been trying desperately to trade for Dwight Howard, and if they are able to do so, they would have a shot at Williams.

Point Guard: Aaron Brooks

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    Likely Landing Spots

    Brooks is a restricted free agent, so the likeliest of spots to land remains Phoenix.

    The Suns likely will be dealing with the loss of Steve Nash and will have to start rebuilding with someone running the club, and Brooks certainly has skill.

    Other places that might be willing to deal for him could include Chicago, Houston (if they deal Lowry to the Lakers) and Atlanta.


    Outside the Box

    The Lakers may just decide that they need to upgrade the position through free agency and work a deal or two to get some cash.

    Other options could include Indiana if they lose George Hill and Portland.

Shooting Guard: O.J. Mayo

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    Likely Destinations

    Mayo is a restricted free agent, so chances are that he remains in Memphis.

    That being said, Denver certainly could use a scoring guard and so could Utah.

    Portland needs scoring at that position as well, but will likely look to the draft for this.


    Outside the Box

    Chicago struggled this year at their 2 spot, and they could certainly use some help here.

    The Clippers also need a solid option here and should seriously consider rolling the dice on Mayo.

Shooting Guard: Eric Gordon

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    Likely Destinations

    It seems highly unlikely, given the fact that the Hornets won the unibrow sweepstakes, that they let Gordon bolt.

    That being said, he does command serious interest on the open market, and a team like Chicago should at least kick the tires on him.

    Additional teams could be Portland, Orlando and the Clippers.


    Outside the Box

    The Celtics are in desperate need of a shooting guard who can score at will, and given the fact that Ray Allen is likely on the way out, they should at least enter the bidding.

Shooting Guard: Ray Allen

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    Likely Destinations

    Allen likely will be leaving Boston, especially given how poorly he has played in this playoff run.

    That being said, he has some value on the open market.

    Obviously, teams like Chicago and the Clips will be in the running, and also the Jazz.


    Outside the Box

    I really think that Oklahoma City needs another sharpshooter. Sure, James Harden is a super sub, but Allen could be the missing piece for this club.

Small Forward: Assorted

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    Likely Destinations

    Okay, so this is easily the weakest aspect of the free-agent class.

    The majority of good players are restricted free agents, and the rest are either middle-of-the-road talents or they have player options that they would be insane not to pick up.

    Gerald Wallace will remain in Brooklyn, Nic Batum will stay in Portland and Grant Hill will either retire or go to Miami.

Power Forward: Kevin Garnett

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    Likely Destinations

    Okay, so now we get to the good stuff.

    Garnett was thought to be washed up just a month ago, but he has shown that he is still elite in this playoff season.

    Portland would be wise to pair him with Aldridge, but Detroit also should try to bring "The Kid" in town.


    Outside the Box

    Boston could elect to bring back Garnett, and who could blame them?

    If Phoenix decides to bring back Nash, Garnett would pair well with him.

    Another outside shot could be Minnesota. The Wolves need more veteran leadership, and who is better than Garnett for a young team?

Power Forward: Tim Duncan

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    Likely Destinations

    Spurs, Spurs, Spurs, Spurs.

    If you don't think the Spurs will re-sign "The Big Fundamental," then I have some land west of Astoria, Oregon, for you.

    This will happen.


    Outside the Box

    Anyone else.

Power Forward: Brandon Bass

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    Likely Destinations

    Now here is an interesting prospect.

    He has a player option that he would be crazy not to exercise.

    He is athletic and skilled and should come relatively cheap.

    He can't block shots and is somewhat undersized for a power forward, so he needs to be paired with a shot-blocking center.

    Indiana should kick the tires, but so too should Chicago if they deal Boozer.


    Outside the Box

    Denver certainly could use more energy on their front line, as could San Antonio.

Center: Roy Hibbert

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    Likely Destinations

    After the way he played in the playoffs, everyone should be lining up to get him.

    Obviously, the Pacers are the likeliest of spots given the fact that he is a restricted free agent, but there are dozens of places he could end up.


    Outside the Box

    The Blazers, Wizards and Pistons really would love Hibbert—so too would the Warriors and Bulls.

Center: JaVale McGee

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    Likely Landing Spots

    McGee is an enigma.

    On the one hand, he is scary talented and can do just about everything you want your big man to do.

    On the other hand, he is dumb as rocks and makes about a dozen huge mistakes a week.

    That being said, Denver will likely try to re-sign him.

    Other ideal spots could be Detroit, Portland and Minnesota.


    Outside the Box

    McGee needs to go to a mature team, and one with a strong point guard. San Antonio could make a run at him to become the heir apparent to Duncan, and Boston could use his athleticism moving forward.

Center: Chris Kaman

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    Likely Landing Spots

    Kaman is a good center, but he is far from elite.

    He can rebound and score in the paint, but knee injuries have robbed him of his once-decent athleticism.

    At this point, the best place for him would be Miami.


    Outside the Box

    Detroiters have wanted the Michigan-bred Kaman back home for years, and he still would be a solid pairing with Greg Monroe.

    That being said, New Orleans would probably like him back to mentor Anthony Davis, and Charlotte could use another big body.

    Boston also figures into the mix.