7 NBA Free Agents Headed for Massive Pay Day After 2013-14 Season

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

7 NBA Free Agents Headed for Massive Pay Day After 2013-14 Season

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    From Kobe Bryant to Derrick Favors, the list of intriguing talents set to hit the free-agent market during the summer of 2014 is practically endless.  

    And with so many key pieces entering uncertain waters, there's a chance that the league landscape will be shaken up considerably. 

    So whether it's a max superstar or an emerging talent, there will be no shortage of players that teams will aggressively target when the NBA's most important offseason since 2010 gets underway. 

     

The ETO Stars

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    Free-Agent Designation: Early Termination Option

    In an effort to save space, it feels appropriate to cluster together the superstars who have early termination options that kick in next summer.  

    Buzz will surround the futures of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, in particular. All four will be able to opt out of their deals and ink new ones in the summer of 2014. 

    Whether that esteemed group decides to exercise their options remains to be seen, but there's no doubting that all moving and shaking that takes place next summer won't truly get underway until James, Wade, Bosh and Anthony make up their minds. 

    Two other names with early termination options that go into effect next summer are Anthony's New York Knicks teammates, Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani. 

    According to HoopsHype, Stoudemire and Bargnani are due $23.4 million and $12 million, respectively, next season, so it would be a sizable shock to see either spurn the opportunity to rake in big paychecks at this point in their careers. 

     

     

Luol Deng

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    Free-Agent Designation: Unrestricted

    He may not be considered a superstar in the most classic sense, but there will be a sizable market for Luol Deng's services next summer if the Chicago Bulls fail to lock him up. 

    An All-Star in back-to-back seasons entering 2013-14, Deng is similar to Golden State Warriors wing Andre Iguodala in that they're both excellent athletes and perimeter defenders. 

    Where Deng has the edge, however, is in the offensive department. He's averaged 16 points for his career while shooting 46 percent from the field and 33.4 percent from three. 

    One concern interested parties may have is about Deng's longevity. The 6'8'' forward has led the league in minutes per game each of the past two seasons and has notched more than 37 minutes of run per night in five of his nine seasons to date. 

    In the end, the pros vastly outweigh the cons.

    Considering Iguodala received a four-year, $48 million commitment from the Warriors, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Deng's next deal be in the same ballpark. 

Kobe Bryant

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    Free-Agent Designation: Unrestricted

    Kobe Bryant's impending free agency would be far more intriguing were it not a mortal lock that he will re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    According to the Lakers' Twitter account, general manager Mitch Kupchak had this to say about Kobe's future with the franchise: "Kobe's made it clear that he intends to retire (as a Laker) and we feel same way."

    The interesting component to watch regarding Bryant's new deal with the Lakers will be the financial figures. In need of a rejuvenated product, the Lakers will undoubtedly stay true to their history and make a run at a max star or two.

    However, in order to attract championship-caliber pieces, there remains the possibility that Bryant will have to take a pay cut and sacrifice a few million dollars in order to contend for elusive title No. 6. 

Derrick Favors

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    Free-Agent Designation: Restricted 

    Derrick Favors is in line for a breakout season now that Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap have left the nest in Utah.

    Entering 2013-14, Favors has never played more than 24 minutes per game, nor has he posted double-figure averages in the scoring or rebounding columns. 

    Still just 22 years old, Favors feels like a lock to post double-double averages this season should he see more than 30 minutes per game or avoid major injury.

    According to Basketball-Reference, Favors averaged 14.6 points, 11 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes last season, and those don't feel like unrealistic totals to hope for this year considering his athletic gifts and low-post capabilities. With a quick first step off the dribble, Favors has a chance to be a matchup nightmare for his bulkier, more flat-footed counterparts. 

    Opposing squads will be able to offer Favors contracts of up to four years and $58.4 million, a deal that the Jazz should not hesitate to match if they don't sign him to an extension prior to the 2013-14 season. 

Greg Monroe

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Free-Agent Designation: Restricted 

    Could Greg Monroe be on the move after just four seasons with the Detroit Pistons?

    It sounds crazy, but considering the Pistons have a budding superstar in center Andre Drummond and recently threw loads of cash Josh Smith's way, there simply may not be room for Monroe in Detroit's crowded frontcourt.

    It will be fascinating to see how the Pistons attack Monroe's impending restricted free agency in the summer of 2014, as he figures to be a highly sought-after commodity. And should things in Detroit not go as planned with Smith and Monroe playing side-by-side, things could get very interesting, very fast. 

    That being said, it would be an upset if Joe Dumars let such a promising young talent like Monroe walk due to stylistic redundancies. 

    According to ESPN Insider's Amin Elhassan (subscription required), the maximum amount that interested parties will be allowed to offer Monroe is $58.4 million over four years, which works out to $14.6 million annually. 

    Thanks to his court vision (averaged a career-high 3.5 assists last season) and face-up capabilities, Monroe possesses the unique blend of skills that teams are searching for in a cornerstone low-post player. 

    A hefty payday is in his future. Whether it's with the Pistons or not remains to be seen. 

Zach Randolph

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    Free-Agent Designation: Player Option

    There are two scenarios in which Zach Randolph can be nicely compensated for the 2014 season.

    Option one is the most logical, particularly if the Memphis Grizzlies retain the skilled 32-year-old for the duration of the upcoming season. 

    Should Randolph continue to reside in Memphis come summertime, he'll have the ability to exercise a $16.5 million player option, per HoopsHype, which would continue to make him the Grizzlies' most handsomely compensated player. 

    The other option sees Randolph decline his player option to test his value on the open market.

    While his skill set would be valuable to any title contender, it's hard to envision Randolph garnering anywhere near $16.5 million annually shortly after turning 33. 

    The Grizzlies are known for shaking things up midseason, though. Should Randolph wind up on a non-contender (like Rudy Gay, for example) thanks to a deadline deal, he may feel compelled to decline his option in pursuit of a title. 

Dirk Nowitzki

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    Free-Agent Designation: Unrestricted 

    In all likelihood, Dirk Nowitzki will fall into the Kobe Bryant category of superstar who re-ups with the only franchise he's ever known.

    It must be noted, though, that the Mavericks roster is in no shape to contend for a championship, and by the time free agency opens next summer, the German sharpshooter will be 36 years old. If Dirk is content with riding off into the sunset having committed his entire career to the Mavericks organization, that's more than fair.

    However, one has to wonder if Nowitzki will be inclined to see what other opportunities are out there given the Mavs' inability to recruit big-name free agents in recent years.  

    Either way, Nowitzki should have no problem accruing his fair share of millions when free agency rolls around.