NBA Free Agency: Ranking the Best Options Still Available

Marc WeinreichCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2012

NBA Free Agency: Ranking the Best Options Still Available

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    It's been an offseason dominated mostly by the guards so far, with Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Joe Johnson taking the spotlight.

    Dwight Howard isn't technically a free agent and he seems all but gone either to the Lakers or Nets.

    People forget how Tim Duncan was a free agent this summer. But it's a moot point; there's no chance he doesn't retire with the Spurs.

    The market is still ripe with talent, so here's the cream of the crop now that the top has been skimmed off.

Raymond Felton

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    The Knicks are expected to match the Rockets' offer sheet to restricted free agent Jeremy Lin. Raymond Felton, an unrestricted free agent who made $7.6 million with the Portland Trail Blazers, must've known when Jason Kidd decided to do a switch-a-roo and sign with the Knicks instead of the Mavericks that there was little chance of living out his dream of returning to New York.

    I'm not sure the move would've been good for Felton if he had come to New York. The Knicks team he played with in 2010 is now long gone. That run-and-gun style of play that he excelled in under former coach Mike D'antoni has also been replaced by more of a half-court offense by current coach Mike Woodson. The product at the Garden is also more reliant on defense than anything he ever saw when he was with the Knicks.

    I know the Houston Rockets are in need of a point guard. I have no idea who they plan on starting at this point. They parted ways with Goran Dragic, letting him return to the Phoenix Suns and traded away Kyle Lowry. They're unlikely to sign Jeremy Lin, which leaves them with very little choices.

    They're also unlikely to resign Courtney Lee but strangely enough they have another guard Courtney in Courtney Fortson who has been in and out of the D-League. Right now, the Rockets are looking at one of those options or starting the mighty Earl Boykins, who played in eight games last year.

    They chose Jeremy Lamb with the pick, which is a nice selection, but certainly not the kind of player who can run point guard, especially as a rookie.

    Felton is someone who could step in and provide the leadership he demonstrated with the Knicks to a Rockets team very much in flux right now. He would fit in well with Luis Scola's style of play and I could see them running the pick-and-roll very nicely together.

    The Rockets are primed to sign a point guard. They need one. Felton is the best available so it sounds like a no-brainer. But this Rockets franchise seems to have everyone puzzled with what they're doing. They have a ton of draft picks and young talent but no one to run the offense.

Steve Novak

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    I'm surprised the Heat didn't pursue Novak more.

    You can't go wrong with signing a player like Ray Allen but Novak is younger, healthier and the better shooter right now. In fact, no one shot like Novak last season.

    Why'd the Heat go hard after Allen? He's a proven winner. Novak all but disappeared in the playoffs against the swarming Heat defense that kept him in check on the perimeter.

    He showed why he's clearly just a shooter and can't slash or become a scoring threat in ways that Allen has proven year in and year out.

    That said, Novak is an amazing long-distance shooter and could be signed for approximately $5 million per year. The Knicks will likely retain him but I'm surprised more teams haven't been going after him.

Antawn Jamison

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    Antawn Jamison made $15.1 million last season with a Cavs team clearly invested in rebuilding around Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. Now he's an unrestricted free agent and definitely one of the best players on the market right now.

    He averaged 17 points and six rebounds last season in Cleveland and is clearly on the downside of his career. But he's still capable of scoring in bunches and has been one of the better rebounding small forwards in the league for the past decade.

    Is he worth $15 million per year? Definitely not. But Jamison, who spent years on a Wizards team unable to advance because of a certain LeBron James and then on an awful Cavs team, must want to win now.

    He's 36 and should opt to take less money to play for a championship caliber team. But he's also a former Tar Heel, so I could see him going back to North Carolina to mentor a Bobcats team that is very much a work in progress right now after coming off the worst NBA season ever.

    The question is, will he want to get paid like it's 2007 or will he play for MJ for much less?

Marcus Camby

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    I've always been a fan of the Camby man, going back to his days at UMass. I also loved him on the Knicks because he was the best big man the team had since Patrick Ewing.

    Now, he's an unrestricted free agent and seems likely to either end up jumping on the Heat bandwagon in Miami or making a return to the Knicks.

    I'd love to see him back in New York. He was well received when he played at the Garden. He's very similar to Tyson Chandler so it'd be great to see him backing up the player that most closely resembles the Camby of old.

    But the Heat could also definitely use a big man. Their weakness last season was not having enough three-point shooters, but they definitely upgraded by signing the greatest three-point shooter ever in Ray Allen. Their other weakness was having an unreliable big man to take the pressure off of LeBron James from guarding virtually every position throughout the course of the game. Joel Anthony just ain't going to cut it and Camby would most definitely be an upgrade to help Chris Bosh in the frontcourt.

    He was paid $12 million last year, so he's no doubt going to have to take a pay cut if he signs with Miami or New York. But look for Camby to have a major impact on either team next season.

    He averaged nearly 12 rebounds a game in over 30 minutes per game in the 2009-10 season and could return to those numbers next season.

Kris Humphries

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    I hate to praise one of my least favorite players in the NBA but you've got to give respect where it's due. Humphries had (arguably) a breakout season last year and has a bright career ahead of him as one of the more annoying but tenacious rebounders in the league.

    For $8 million last season, he gave Nets fans an impressive year of 14 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes per game. He's still young and could be asked to play even more if signed with a team that's rebuilding.

    For all of his drama with Ms. Kardashian off the court, Humphries pulled it together last season and proved why he's one of the more underrated free agents heading in to this summer. He's due for a big pay day but will definitely hang with the best of them on any given night. It's money well spent for general managers hoping to take him away from Brooklyn.