NBA Free Agents 2012: Top Target Each Team Has on the Radar

Bryant Knox@@BryantKnoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: Top Target Each Team Has on the Radar

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    NBA free agency is in full swing.

    The league has already seen a number of changes take place, and a number of teams will be sporting different looks heading into the 2012-13 regular season.

    With many more moves to be made, here’s a look at who each team is targeting with just a few days remaining in the NBA’s moratorium period.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Dwight Howard

    Following the Atlanta Hawks’ fire sale to begin free agency, their apparent targets have become NBA megastars Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, according to ESPN’s John Hollinger.

    HOOPSWORLD’s Steve Kyler has reported that the Orlando Magic are “aggressively talking” with a number of teams regarding Howard, and the Hawks are one of them.

    However, for the time being, they’re meeting with free agent forward Anthony Randolph and have interest in guard Randy Foye.

Boston Celtics

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    Courtney Lee

    Having re-signed Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green, the Boston Celtics should look at Courtney Lee as their next big signing this offseason.

    The Celtics have lost Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, and the team has “emerged as serious suitors” for Lee, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

    The recent signing of Jason Terry will help the depth at shooting guard, but adding a player of Lee's talent could be crucial if Avery Bradley isn't healthy by the start of next season.

Brooklyn Nets

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    Dwight Howard

    By all accounts, the Brooklyn Nets have had a successful summer.

    They retained their true target in Deron Williams, re-signed Gerald Wallace and acquired Joe Johnson via trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

    Dwight Howard is not a free agent; but that hasn’t stopped the Brooklyn Nets from making him their top priority at this point in the offseason.

    Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM has reported that the Nets are “very close” to trading for Howard.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Antawn Jamison

    The Charlotte Bobcats are more than a few pieces away from becoming relevant out East, but an Antawn Jamison signing would be a step in the right direction next season.

    Having already signed  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to his rookie contract, the Bobcats are targeting Jamison with the pitch that he would be a “veteran presence” in the city where his family resides.

    Jamison averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a 35-year-old veteran last season.

Chicago Bulls

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    Courtney Lee

    The Chicago Bulls have come to an agreement with Kirk Hinrich just over two years after trading him to the Washington Wizards.

    Hinrich will be a solid addition to the Bulls’ backcourt, but another guard has been on their radar this summer as well.

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has stated that both Hinrich and Courtney Lee have been targets of the Bulls.

    If the team can add Lee alongside Hinrich, it will be a big-time addition while Derrick Rose continues to rehab next season.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Anthony Tolliver

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have big-time money to spend this summer, but according to The News-Herald’s Bob Finnan, the Cavs will save their money for “flexibility at the trade deadline” and next year’s free-agent class.

    Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Cavs are on Andrew Bynum’s short list of teams he’d consider as a free agent in 2013.

    Looking to stay frugal this offseason, the team could look to Anthony Tolliver as a potential acquisition who could step up in Antawn Jamison’s absence next year.

Denver Nuggets

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    Javale McGee

    Javale McGee is one of the top centers on the market this offseason, and he is the No. 1 priority for the Denver Nuggets as the summer rolls on.

    McGee averaged 10.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in just 20.6 minutes per game with the Nuggets last year.

    Yet Denver is not likely to be the only team after McGee, as whichever team misses out on Roy Hibbert (Portland Trail Blazers or Indiana Pacers) should have money to spend—according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge

    So essentially whatever team does miss out should be on the ball with this pick...so get on it, guys!

Dallas Mavericks

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    Ramon Sessions

    The Dallas Mavericks have had arguably the worst offseason of any team in the entire NBA.

    The team swung and missed on Deron Williams—and to make matters worse, they’ve seen Jason Terry and Jason Kidd depart for greener grasses out East.

    If the Mavericks are unable to trade for Dwight Howard this summer, it will bring serious questions to surface as to whom on the roster will help Dirk Nowitzki compete out West next year.

    Following the losses in their backcourt, the Mavericks need to make Ramon Sessions their top target, as ESPN’s Jeff Caplan has reported that the team will resume talks with the point guard on Monday July 9.

    Elton Brand has also been mentioned in rumors.

Detroit Pistons

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    Terrence Williams

    Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons might be better off waiting to spend their money next offseason as opposed to right away.

    The team was targeting Michael Beasley—until he came to terms on a contract with the Phoenix Suns—and has most recently shown interest in Terrence Williams.

Golden State Warriors

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    Antawn Jamison

    Yahoo!’s Marc Spears reported last week that Antawn Jamison could be a possible signing for the Golden State Warriors this summer.

    Jamison has reportedly considered the Charlotte Bobcats as a way of being closer to his family, as well as joining a contender to compete for a ring next season.

    Brandon Rush is also a target here, but the team could have trouble competing with any big-time offers.

Houston Rockets

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    Jeremy Lin

    Omer Asik was the first to receive a big-time contract from the Houston Rockets, but Jeremy Lin has become the next big name to surface.

    It’s been long-assumed that the New York Knicks would match any offer sent Lin’s way, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard has reported that the backloaded offer made by the Rockets may cause the Knicks to reconsider.

    The Rockets have made it blatantly obvious that their No. 1 target this summer is Dwight Howard, but on the free-agent market they’ve made a splash with offers to Lin and Asik.

Indiana Pacers

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    Roy Hibbert

    The Portland Trail Blazers have offered Roy Hibbert a maximum contract, and the Indiana Pacers’ plans this summer will depend on whether or not they match the four-year, $58 million deal.

    If the team decides to match, Hibbert is theirs—no questions asked.

    If they don’t match, they will have players such as Javale McGee and O.J. Mayo on their radar.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Marcus Camby

    The Los Angeles Clippers have successfully landed shooting guard Jamal Crawford this summer, while re-signing Chauncey Billups.

    They can further add to the veteran leadership of that team by signing Marcus Camby as an unrestricted free agent.

    According to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears, the Clippers have begun to show an interest in the Houston Rockets center.

    Camby spent a season and a half with Los Angeles between 2008 and 2010.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Jodie Meeks

    Having landed Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal, the Los Angeles Lakers have made one of the biggest splashes that the league will likely see this offseason.

    Anything after acquiring Steve Nash will seem far less significant—unless it’s Dwight Howard—but the team has expressed interest in Jodie Meeks, according to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Alexey Shved

    Having missed out on Ray Allen this summer, the Memphis Grizzlies could look overseas to bring in a new piece to their backcourt.

    Alexey Shved is a Russian point guard who has reportedly been offered a contract by the Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Miami Heat

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    Rashard Lewis

    Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix has reported that Rashard Lewis is the No. 1 target of the Miami Heat this summer. 

    Having been bought out by the New Orleans Hornets, Lewis’ massive contract is no longer an issue for teams moving forward.

    He put up numbers last year well below his career averages, but in Miami he could be another piece that adds depth to their championship squad.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Ersan Ilyasova

    Ersan Ilyasova put up career highs all over the stat sheet last season, and should be retained by the Milwaukee Bucks as an unrestricted free agent.

    According to HoopsHype, a five-year, $45 million deal is in the works.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Nicolas Batum

    The Minnesota Timberwolves and Nicolas Batum have agreed to terms on a contract worth anywhere between $45 and $50 million over the next four years.

    This is a lot of money for a player who has averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds over his four-year career, but his ceiling is high and the Timberwolves are hoping to snatch him away from the Portland Trail Blazers with a big-time deal.

    All indications are that the Blazers will match, but such a high offer should cause the team to ponder Batum’s value as a restricted free agent this summer.

New Orleans Hornets

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    Eric Gordon

    Restricted free agent Eric Gordon has made it clear that he does not want to be with the New Orleans Hornets next season, but the team is expected to match the max-dollar deal offered by the Phoenix Suns.

    Gordon has said that he wants to play for Phoenix, but the Hornets clearly do not want to lose the main piece from the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason.

    Having Gordon on the roster will make room for a solid, young core alongside newcomers Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.

New York Knicks

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    Jeremy Lin

    The New York Knicks have brought in Jason Kidd as a free agent this summer—but retaining Jeremy Lin needs to be their top priority.

    Lin has received a four-year offer from the Houston Rockets, worth $28.8 million.

    The deal is backloaded, which should cause New York to pause when thinking about paying the luxury tax down the road.

    The Knicks are also the favorites to land center Marcus Camby.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Derek Fisher

    The Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder should look to retain veteran Derek Fisher this offseason.

    Fisher stepped in and provided leadership that helped spark their run at a championship last year.

    This summer will be quiet for the Thunder, but next year will be a whole different story; with James Harden and Serge Ibaka set to make headlines in free agency following the 2012-13 campaign.

Orlando Magic

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    Jameer Nelson

    According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins, the Orlando Magic and Jameer Nelson “have reached an agreement” to bring the point guard back to Orlando next season.

    Nelson initially opted out of the final year of his deal.

    This offseason has been full of drama surrounding Dwight Howard, so quietly retaining Nelson should be considered a win in an otherwise uneasy summer for the Magic.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Nick Young

    The acquisition of Nick Young has already taken place, as the Philadelphia 76ers have quietly had a busy summer.

    Choosing to let Lou Williams and Elton Brand go are big-time moves that clear cap space.

    The team has in turn picked up Young and re-signed centers Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes.

Phoenix Suns

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    Eric Gordon

    According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Phoenix Suns and Eric Gordon have agreed on a maximum contract, but the New Orleans Hornets are expected to match the offer and retain the restricted free agent this offseason.

    Gordon has been the team’s top priority, but offers have also been made to Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Roy Hibbert

    The Portland Trail Blazers made Roy Hibbert their No. 1 priority in the opening hours of free agency on July 1.

    Having offered a maximum contract worth $58 million over four years, the Blazers are hoping to bring in their next big man of the future in an attempt to officially forget about the Greg Oden experiment from the past five seasons.

    Hibbert is one of the league’s top centers, and if the Indiana Pacers decline to match the offer, he’ll be headed to Portland to play alongside fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.

Sacramento Kings

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    Jason Thompson

    According to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones, the Sacramento Kings are “close to an agreement” that would keep Jason Thompson in a Kings’ uniform next season.

    Sacramento extended a qualifying offer to Thompson earlier in the summer, but the recently tendered offer is a way of ensuring he returns as a piece alongside up-and-coming big men DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson.

San Antonio Spurs

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    Marcus Camby

    The San Antonio Spurs aren’t likely to see many changes heading into the 2012-13 NBA season.

    However, if they’re able to bring in veteran Marcus Camby, that will be all the change they need to help bolster their frontcourt.

    Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that the Spurs have interest in the 38-year-old center.

Toronto Raptors

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    Landry Fields

    The Toronto Raptors swung hard and missed on Steve Nash this offseason.

    They won’t be going home empty handed, though, as they have come to terms on a three-year deal that nears $20 million with Landry Fields.

    Fields is a restricted free agent, and the New York Knicks have until July 14 to decide whether or not to match the offer.

Utah Jazz

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    Chris Kaman

    Despite having an already-stacked frontcourt, the Utah Jazz could look to make Chris Kaman their No. 1 target in free agency this summer.

    According to ESPN’s Ric Bucher, the Jazz have a shot at landing the 30-year-old big man.

    The mid-level exception may be below what Kaman is expecting on the market, but if Utah can bring him in, they just might have the best frontcourt in the NBA next season.

Washington Wizards

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    Courtney Lee

    A number of teams have shown interest in Courtney Lee this summer, and the Washington Wizards are one of them. 

    It’s possible that Lee will be snatched up by somebody else with the many suitors out there, making smaller names such as Cartier Martin and Roger Mason more likely possibilities for Washington.