7 NBA Buddies Who Will Try to Team Up in 2013 Offseason
In the summer of 2010, three of the most sought-after NBA players in the league, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, all decided to buddy up and band together in Miami, thereby altering the course of NBA history.
This summer is the best free-agent class since then, and there are several potential tandems who could chum up and have a huge impact on the NBA power structure. There are a few teams who could afford to sign them, too, based on cap space.
For all we know, these pairs of players are texting back and forth about where they could team up this summer.
For the purpose of this article, a free agent is a player who has a reasonable chance of changing teams this summer. For restricted free agents, if there is no question the team intends to extend them or pick up a team option, they aren't considered.
In all of these cases they're not hard-line predictions, and with some duplicate players that would be impossible. They are ranked in the order of likelihood of happening.
Stephen Jackson and Metta World Peace to Detroit
All right, this one is a bit of a stretch. They don't sound like they're friends anymore, but how can you not chuckle at the notion? The very idea was so funny that once I thought of it, I was morally obligated to include it as a slide.
Of course, if this did happen the Palace would have to curtail their beer sales to avoid any potential malice.
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings to Utah
The Milwaukee Bucks traded to get Monta Ellis last year, and Ellis says he'd like to go to a winner (h/t Truman Reed, NBA.com). For that matter, so does Brandon Jennings. Right now they're hoping to help Milwaukee do that.
Say, for the sake of argument, that they can't, because there just isn't enough of a frontcourt presence.
Jennings is on the last year of his rookie contract and will be a restricted free agent, but Milwaukee didn't extend him. Would they match a max contract?
Ellis is unrestricted so he can go wherever he wants.
What if the Bucks' backcourt buds decide to go team up with the Jazz and their exciting young frontcourt of Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors?
That would give Utah a pretty jazzy starting five.
Tyreke Evans and Al Jefferson to Washington
Tyreke Evans is a former Rookie of the Year winner, and while his numbers have been declining since then, they're still very good. There's been about as much consistency with the Kings as there is in a senior citizens home for IBS patients.
Al Jefferson has had a steady career career, albeit an underappreciated one. Outside of Utah he barely gets a mention. His 20.5 career PER is the highest of any player who's never made the All-Star game and played at least three years.
Evans and Jefferson would combine to form an underrated, underappreciated tandem and go to a team that has another dynamic player, John Wall, that just hasn't had teammates that would help him win.
We've seen lately that when a team becomes meaningful in Washington people take notice. Could the unheralded pair find stardom in D.C.?
Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap to Cleveland
These former Jazz teammates are hardworking veteran presences who bring it on both ends of the court.
Andrei Kirilenko is one of the great all-around players and would fill one of the two big needs the Cavaliers have, a true starting small forward. Alonzo Gee is great off the bench, but he's better served as a bench player.
Paul Millsap would be a great addition to the team too, giving Kyrie Irving a player who can hit on the pick-and-pop.
The two would mesh well with the hardworking Anderson Varejao.
The Cavaliers already have arguably the most exciting young backcourt in the NBA with Irving and Dion Waiters, who has been fantastic in the early season.
Kirilenko and Millsap would give the Cavs a hardworking, highly capable, veteran frontcourt who wouldn't take any of the glory from the youngsters but would take off almost all the pressure.
It's a formula Chicago used well in the players they put around Rose, except that Rose doesn't have a Dion Waiters.
This signing wouldn't get as much attention but vault Cleveland to contender status.
Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum to Dallas
There were two "other' star players involved in the Dwight Howard trade, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum. While they have made pronouncements about staying in their new locales, there haven't been any contracts signed. Both are unrestricted free agents next year.
Mark Cuban has a history of assembling stars. Andre Iguodala is an outstanding defensive wing, who next to Shawn Marion would pose a tandem that could slow down LeBron James and Dwyane Wade should they meet in the finals.
Cuban also has a long history of looking to ink a proven center, and Andrew Bynum would be a coup for Cuban. If he can't get Dwight Howard, you better believe he'll make a play for Bynum.
And if anyone can afford to, you know Cuban will be "Buyin 'em." Too much of a stretch?
Josh Smith and Dwight Howard to Atlanta
One player whom Dwight Howard had mentioned would keep him in Orlando is Josh Smith. The Magic weren't able to land him through a trade, though.
What if Atlanta were to be able to sign Howard while keeping Josh Smith in the fold, though? They'd be together.
They have the cap space to add both of them to Al Horford's existing, high-value contract of just $12 million. A frontcourt of Howard, Horford and Smith would be unconventional but extremely athletic, and points in the paint would be something opponents would struggle to find.
If you're trying to devise a way to stop Miami, this might be it. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James aren't as bad as advertised as far as shooting goes, but you have a better chance of bating them when they aren't dunking on you.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to Dallas
Paul and Howard would be an absolutely terrifying tandem together and would strike fear in the hearts of Miami.
The offense this team could run! Chris Paul running a pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard down low and the pick-and-pop with Dirk Nowitzki up high.
How do you defend that? Maybe you don't. This would be a team that could win not just "a" championship but multiple championships.
I'm not even a Mavericks fan, and there's a part of me as a basketball fan that would love to see it.