NBA Stars in the 2013 Playoffs Guaranteed to Be on a New Team Next Season
Losing a playoff series won't just mark the end of the season for some: A number of high-profile players are in the midst of their final days with their current franchises. It should be noted that these aren't cases where a separation is in the best interests of both parties: Most of the time, the individuals in question aren't just changing addresses, but rather making what they believe to be sound fiscal decisions.
While many in this situation are unrestricted free agents, there are those who are willingly walking away from guaranteed money in order to land a more lucrative deal elsewhere. Postseason success is all well and good, but for most players, the security of a long-term deal is the ultimate end game.
1) Tony Allen, Memphis
Tony Allen's energy and tenacity on defense make him one of the more valuable wing players in the entire NBA. Unfortunately for the Memphis Grizzlies, that value will make him a highly sought-after commodity in free agency, and there's a very good chance that he'll only come back to "The Grindhouse" as a visitor next season.
The Grizzlies got themselves a bargain when they signed Allen to a three-year, $9.45 million deal back in the summer of 2010. Even at 31 years old, there's no reason why Allen can't command $5 million/year from at least one interested party this offseason. But with nearly $58 million already committed to just eight players next year, it appears as though Memphis will have to sit out this impending bidding war.
2) Monta Ellis, Milwaukee
Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reports that Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis plans to opt out of the final year of his deal this offseason.
The 27-year-old Ellis is set to make $11 million next year if he plays out his current contract, but it makes perfect sense for him to cut ties with the Bucks ASAP, especially given the tenuous situation between the team and point guard Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee can afford to sign both players to long-term deals, and the smart money says that Ellis would be the odd man out once the smoke clears next summer.
Despite shooting less than 42 percent from the field this season, Ellis is still one of the league's better scorers (19.2 PPG—11th in the league), so he should have little trouble finding a place to land once he officially cuts ties with the Bucks.
3) Andre Iguodala, Denver
Andre Iguodala has already confirmed that he plans to opt out after this season, and the former All-Star figures to have a number of suitors once he hits the open market.
His offensive numbers took a noticeable hit with his move to Denver this season, but there's no debating that the 6'6" swingman was the key to the Nuggets' defensive strategy. Thanks to Iguodala, the Nuggets posted the lowest team defensive rating figure in the George Karl era (105.1).
Iguodala knows that his next deal won't be for max money, but he's on record saying that he prefers the security that comes with a long-term contract.
4) J.R. Smith, New York
After a solid season that netted him the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award, J.R. Smith is in line for a big payday this summer.
The 27-year-old Smith is worth far more than the $2.9 million player option that he has for the 2013-14 campaign: He could easily double that based on his surprising renaissance this season (18.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG). And while it appears that Smith has finally found a perfect landing spot with the Knicks, the promise of more money and a potential starting spot may be too much for the former Denver Nugget to pass up.
5) Josh Smith, Atlanta
Josh Smith has spent a great deal of his life in the Atlanta metropolitan area, but that's all set to change once the Hawks get bounced out of the playoffs this spring.
If and when most of the high-profile free agents—most notably, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard—re-sign with their current teams as expected, Smith may be the biggest name on the market. He's a very good player who could very well land max money, even though he's never made an All-Star team. Smith's name came up often in talks around the trade deadline, so his agent will be fielding calls from a few teams this July.