One of the most effective ways to build a winner in today's NBA is to make sure you can afford to pay the stars you've already got. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers need to do everything possible to re-sign Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, respectively.
But just as paying to keep talent is a good way to build a winner, one of the quickest ways to set your franchise back a few years is to blow a whole bunch of money to keep your own free agents when they're not worth it. Just ask the Golden State Warriors how that $62 million contract with Andris Biedrins is working out.
Every NBA offseason is fraught with tough decisions about whom (and how much) to pay, and this summer is going to be no different.
In some cases, contending teams will have to work out ways to keep their superstars. In others, bottom-feeding clubs will simply try avoid making their situations any worse.
Here are the most crucial free-agent decisions facing each NBA franchise this offseason.
*All salary and contract information courtesy of Hoopshype.com and Spotrac.com
*Statistics accurate through games played Nov. 25