Updated Predictions for Where Top 2013 NBA Free Agents Will Land
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Some of the top NBA free agents have already signed. Dwight Howard announced Friday evening that he will be joining the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul and David West remained with their respective teams. Al Jefferson inked a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats. Andre Iguodala landed with the Golden State Warriors. Tyreke Evans was signed and traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Still, there are plenty other big names on the market who have not found a home yet. It's time to make some updated predictions on where such free agents may land.
Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
How funny would this be?
Don't laugh too hard, though, because it's not entirely out of the question.
With the Los Angeles Lakers losing out on Dwight, they now obviously have a gaping hole at center. Would they be open to bringing Andrew Bynum back on a cheap deal? You have to think they'll consider it.
Of course, there is no way the Lakers are going to shell out too much cash for the injury-prone center, but perhaps he will take a discount to return home?
Jarrett Jack, Detroit Pistons
Will Bynum is a free agent and Jose Calderon reached an agreement with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday according to Marc Stein and Tim MacMahon of ESPN, which means there is a slot at point guard open for the Detroit Pistons. That's where Jarrett Jack may come into play.
The Pistons were rumored to have interest in Jack, as previously mentioned by Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. With Thompson now reporting that the floor general will not be going to the Golden State after having his rights renounced, this has become a real possibility.
Well it was fun while it lasted— JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) July 5, 2013
Detroit is a team on the cusp of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and it could use an experienced veteran like Jack to show youngsters like Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond the ropes.
Carl Landry, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are talking with Carl Landry, and it's probably the smartest move the Clippers can make at this point.
Clippers & Carl Landry, I'm told, in serious contract talks. Hearing Clips optimistic, but question is: Will it cost 'em whole mid-level?'— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2013
Los Angeles is in desperate need of low-post scoring, and Landry would give it that. Although Blake Griffin can put up 20 points a night, he is not someone you can rely on to get you easy buckets down on the block. Landry, on the other hand, is, and he would bring a brand of toughness to the Clips' frontcourt.
Landry will probably cost L.A. the whole mid-level exception, but he is worth it.
J.J. Hickson, Dallas Mavericks
Chris Kaman, Brandan Wright and Elton Brand are all free agents, so the Dallas Mavericks obviously need some help up front. While it won't be in the form of Dwight Howard, J.J. Hickson could certainly be of assistance.
The Mavericks ranked 23rd in rebounding this past season, and Hickson, who averaged 10.4 boards a game in 2012-13, would help fix that problem. He is also young (24) and will probably come quite a bit cheaper than the Al Jeffersons and Paul Millsaps of the free-agent pool.
A frontcourt of Hickson and Dirk Nowitzki would look awfully nice.
There has been little movement on the Hickson front thus far, but expect that to change as more big men sign.
Monta Ellis, Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns need a shooting guard, and they have the financial means to sign someone like Monta Ellis. Plus, with guys like Kevin Martin and J.R. Smith signing on for reasonable contracts, Ellis' asking price may have dropped.
Now that the Suns have sent Jared Dudley packing in a deal for Eric Bledsoe, Shannon Brown is penciled in as their starting 2-guard. That probably won't be the case when the season starts, and Ellis could be the player who keeps Brown on the bench.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported that Phoenix had already expressed interest in Ellis, and a couple of other ballclubs that were originally intrigued by Monta have gone different routes (the New York Knicks re-signed Smith and the San Antonio Spurs opted for the cheaper Marco Belinelli).
Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves already made one splash in free agency, going out and landing Kevin Martin on a four-year deal. Now that they've gotten the shooting guard they so desperately needed, they will probably want to keep their frontcourt intact.
Pekovic has developed into one of the better big men in the league, so it seems unlikely that the Timberwolves will let him walk. Minnesota can match any offer to the 27-year-old, so unless another team comes along and offers him an absolutely monster deal, chances are Pek will remain a Timberwolf.
Now if only the Timberwolves could just stay healthy...
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have already traded away J.J. Redick and just signed O.J. Mayo as tweeted by USA Today's Sam Amick, so the probability of them letting Brandon Jennings, who would be a great fit with Mayo, walk seems slim to none.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears claims Jennings has already given the Bucks an amount that he will accept to stay with the team. If general manager John Hammond is serious about Milwaukee being intent on re-signing the 23-year-old, that amount shouldn't even matter; the Bucks just want to keep the kid.
Don't sleep on Milwaukee. With a talented group of young players in a weak Eastern Conference, there is every reason to believe that the Bucks may end up with a winning record in 2013-14.
Josh Smith, Houston Rockets
According to Spears, the Houston Rockets have said that Josh Smith is their Plan B to Dwight Howard. Well, now the Rockets have landed Howard, and the prediction is that Smith will still wind up in Houston.
There are rumors from Chris Broussard of a sign-and-trade, as the Rockets would not be able to afford Smith without unloading some salary first.
Smith would be a very nice fit in Houston. The Rockets can certainly use his defense, and he should be able to transition seamlessly into Kevin McHale's uptempo offense. James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Smith on the break could be a thing of beauty.
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