NBA Free Agency 2012: 7 Best Options for the Price of a Mid-Level Exception
NBA players and teams were allowed to open free-agent negotiations on July 1. There will undoubtedly be plenty of agreements, but no one can officially put pen to paper until July 11.
While players like Deron Williams, Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert could all sign max contracts, teams with little to no cap space need to have targets, too.
That's where these guys come into play. Here are the seven best free agents who would likely sign for the mid-level exception of $5 million or less, offering a great value to any contender vying for their services.
7. Jason Terry, PG/SG
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2011-2012 Salary: $11,158,000
Current Team: Dallas Mavericks
Terry is the ultimate sixth man, as he's able to play either guard position and orchestrate an offense when needed.
After spending the last eight years with the Mavs, his future in Dallas could very well depend on whether Deron Williams signs with them or re-ups with the Brooklyn Nets.
Boston has already begun to recruit Terry, and a team like the Heat could use insurance at point guard by adding the former NBA champion.
6. Antawn Jamison, PF
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2011-2012 Salary: $15,076,715
Current Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Possible Teams to Join: San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Bobcats
Jamison remains in great physical shape for his age and can still fill up the score sheet when needed.
He would be the perfect complement to a veteran team needing an extra scoring boost. Dallas and San Antonio would both be great fits, as Jamison could come off the bench to relieve Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki and their offensive production.
The Charlotte Bobcats remain an option as well due to their proximity to Jamison's home in North Carolina and his desire to play closer to his family.
It all depends on what Jamison values most, but coming off a $50 million contract, one would think he would be fine taking less money to join a contender.
5. Jamal Crawford, PG/SG
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2011-2012 Salary: $5,000,000
Current Team: Portland Trail Blazers
The 2010 Sixth Man of the Year is already attracting suitors. He will likely only end up with a solid contender after last year's fiasco in Portland.
Like Jason Terry, Crawford can play either guard position off the bench, providing instant offense. He's always been a good three-point and free-throw shooter as well.
The Timberwolves have been interested for a while now, but the Clippers and Celtics are also expected to make a hard pitch for him.
4. Marcus Camby, C
2011-2012 Salary: $9,256,500
Current Team: Houston Rockets
Possible Teams to Join: New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets
Camby has stated he'd like to finish his career in Houston, but the temptation to join a championship club might be too much to pass on.
Veteran teams like the Spurs, Mavs and Heat all need a center, albeit one that doesn't score anymore. At 38, Camby still remains a great rebounder and shot-blocker, but don't count on him to light up the score board.
Expect Camby to take a massive pay cut and end up with a veteran contender if Houston decides not to bring him back.
3. Chauncey Billups, PG/SG
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2011-2012 Salary: $2,000,000 (After amnesty)
Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers
As he works his way back from an Achilles injury, Billups is likely to stay in Los Angeles, but maybe not with the Clippers.
The Lakers are reportedly interested in the 15-year veteran, as their current point guard, Ramon Sessions, recently opted out of his contract.
If Billups can recover by the start of the NBA season, the Chicago Bulls would also be an excellent destination. Filling in for the injured Derrick Rose and reuniting with Rip Hamilton would definitely be an intriguing option.
2. Ray Allen, SG
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2011-2012 Salary: $10,000,000
Current Team: Boston Celtics
Possible Teams to Join: Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics
The war for Ray Allen is on.
The Heat definitely want Allen, but they can only offer about $3 million, which may not be enough to sway the vet even with the allure of a championship.
Boston can offer the most money, Memphis may be the best fit and Miami may be the most championship ready—so which will Allen choose?
1. Steve Nash, PG
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2011-2012 Salary: $11,689,062
Current Team: Phoenix Suns
Possible Teams to Join: Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat
Nash remains an All-Star-level player at the tender age of 38, yet he's ringless after 16 seasons in the league.
Toronto wants to bring the most famous basketball-playing Canadian home so much that it's offered him $36 million.
Teams like the Heat and Knicks can only offer $3-$5 million, but they offer better chances at winning and have a need at point guard.
Nash might be willing to sign for the mid-level exception, but will he be willing to turn down big money from his homeland?