NBA Free Agents 2012: Jeremy Lin, Kevin Garnett and Top Merchandise-Movers

Alex KayCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: Jeremy Lin, Kevin Garnett and Top Merchandise-Movers

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    The 2012 NBA free agency period begins today in earnest, as the ten-day moratorium on signings has passed and teams can secure the talent they have reached verbal agreements with.

    With so much money about to get deposited into these players’ bank accounts, teams are banking on recouping some (or a majority) of their investment in merchandise sales.

    Let’s take a look at some of the top players that will definitely be fan favorites and make a lot of money for their franchise in ancillary markets. 

Kevin Garnett

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    According to Forbes, KG is the still the No. 4 most popular player (measured via jersey sales) with the NBA’s vast international audience.

    He’s been a fan favorite since entering the league as a high schooler back in 1995, but exploded in popularity after being traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and winning the 2008 NBA Finals.

    Boston is going to be shelling out $34 million over the next three years for The Big Ticket’s services, which will make him the highest-paid player in NBA history.

    KG will pass Shaq, who brought in $292 million in salary during his 19-year career, as the all-time earner in the league. Not bad for a player that just turned 36 years old.

Deron Williams

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    D-Will decided to re-sign with the Nets, rather than join another franchise. This should prove to be the most financially lucrative decision he could have made. 

    Besides the extra year and money the Nets offered him (five years, $98 million total), the superstar PG stands to make a killing on endorsements, jersey sales and other merchandising that will be a result of his exposure to the large Brooklyn media market the team has just moved into.

    He’s the face of the franchise, for now, as the team is still looking at possible ways to acquire another superstar in Dwight Howard

Steve Nash

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    Nash is one of the league’s most popular stars, despite exploding for the Phoenix Suns and not in one of the uber-large markets like L.A. or New York.

    Now that he’s been sign-and-traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, you can bet his jerseys are going to be flying off the shelves.

    The future Hall-of-Fame PG is an incredibly flashy passer and one of the most fun players to watch in the game.

    Becoming a member of arguably the most popular team in the league will do wonders for his already-great marketability.

Jeremy Lin

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    Lin had the No. 2 selling jersey during the 2011-12 season, despite starting in just 25 games and not having his breakout until early February.

    His success story combined with Asian-American heritage makes him one of the most unique and marketable up-and-coming stars in the league.

    Despite his limited body of work on the court, the Knicks are forced to match the Rockets four-year, $29 million offer sheet to the restricted free agent and should make plenty of money back on that deal.

    The 23-year-old is a hero to millions of people and the hype surrounding him will be at an all-time high heading into the start of next season.