The clock has struck midnight and the 2012 NBA Free agency period has become official.
As many of us expected, the bigger names have decided to remain with their incumbent teams. What does Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett staying with the Nets and Celtics mean for the rest of free agency? It means that there is change at the top of the 2012 NBA Free Agency food chain.
For teams looking to make a huge splash, I hope that restricted free agents are your thing.
Why? In my list of top 10 free agents remaining the restricted free agents have basically taken over. This is both a good thing and a bad thing for teams looking for help.
The upside is the fact that there is a considerable amount of talent among the list. The downside is that there may not be much movement because teams can match any contract offer for their restricted free agents. Once you glance at the list, ask yourself which of these players may change teams.
The top 10 2012 NBA free agents remaining are:
JaVale McGee, C, Nuggets: He is a restricted free agent who should get a lot of attention with fellow free agent Roy Hibbert staying with the Pacers. McGee is extremely athletic and has a ton of talent but I wonder if playing for the Wizards for his first few seasons have hurt his development. I see him staying with the Nuggets.
Kris Humphries, PF, Nets: Humphries is better known for being married to Kim Kardashian for 72 unnecessary days. Before his made-for-television marriage, he was a double-double machine. The talent is there but has the fame of being hitched to the polarizing reality-show beauty hurt his stock? The answer to that question will depend on the team that signs him. I see Humphries going somewhere west, perhaps to the Mavericks.
O.J. Mayo, G, Grizzlies: Mayo is not considered to be among the athletic elite but who says that a player has to be athletic in order to play effectively. Oftentimes we get caught up in the highlight reel dunks and block shots. Never does having a high basketball I.Q. puts you on ESPN's Sportscenter. Mayo should go west to the Hornets or Suns.
Brook Lopez, C, Nets: What happens to Lopez will have a lot to do with whether or not Dwight Howard lands in Brooklyn. The beauty to Lopez’s game is his ability to score in the post. His drawbacks come from his ineffectiveness in rebounding and defense. This is why the Nets will continue to find ways to acquire Howard. Lopez’s status is in limbo until further notice.
Elton Brand, PF, 76ers: Brand will become an amnesty candidate and hit the free agent market shortly after. With him being amnestied there will be teams bidding for his services. He has lost a few steps with his knee injuries from the past but Brand is still serviceable. I see him going to the Mavericks.
Carl Landry, PF, Hornets: Underrated and highly motivated is how Landry should be described. He is short for his position at 6’7” but he makes up for it with his high-end motor and his knack for being around the basket. It has been difficult to gauge Landry’s market because one of the deepest positions in the free agency class is big men.
Chris Kaman, C, Hornets: Kaman was one of the better centers in the NBA before leg injuries robbed him of his subtle quickness around the basket. Kaman is slow but he shows a burst on rebounds and in his deft inside game. At this stage one would think that he would get a mutli-year contract offer from someone but Kaman is 31 years old. That plays a huge role in the teams that may or may not be interested. I would not be surprised if the 76ers or Blazers get involved in talks with him.
Anthony Randolph, PF, Wolves: Randolph falls into the Michael Beasley category. Talented player with a huge upside and he is young. At 23, Randolph should be highly sought after but with all of that talent, he has yet to harness it. A team like the Magic should take a flyer on him. He could be the high-scoring forward they need to help close the chapter to the Dwight Howard era.
Courtney Lee, SG, Rockets: Lee is a young, defensive-minded player who can give a team just enough scoring to be an effective starter. With a reported eight teams looking at him, Lee should not have any problems finding suitors. I say that he goes to the Celtics or Pacers.
Gerald Green, G/F, Nets: Green rounds out my top 10 with his ability to score at will. He has the athleticism and a new attitude about the NBA game itself. Things have been quiet in regards to where he could go. He may want a long-term deal given the fact that he has bounced around at the age of 26. I believe that the Bulls will be the team that lands him.