LeBron James will obviously come first to mind in pondering NBA Free Agents of 2010. However, there are some other star players that will hit the free agent wire come the new decade.
Take Dwayne Wade, for instance. D-Wade is clearly the heart and soul of the Miami Heat, and, if the Heat suffer some serious brain farts, could very well end up in another NBA city.
I find it unfair that fans don't realize that other great players not named LeBron will become free agents in 2010. Seriously, if you take a look at these free agents, some of them will surprise you.
Unless you've been trapped in a cave the past two years, you have probably heard about the possibilities of King James in a New York Knicks uniform after 2010. I don't guarantee it, but I certainly don't doubt it. Let's face it, New York is nearly perfect for LeBron:
-Close friend and famed rapper Jay Z could very well pull James to the NYC
-He's already a well known Yankee fan
-Manhattan would suit him perfectly for James to become this "global icon" he wants to be
Not to mention James will be 26 in 2010. If all goes according to plan, he should be entering his prime by then.
It doesn't look clear in Cleveland, but they've seen worse. (Indians 1982-1993)
Miami surely has to be happy with what Wade has brought to the team; they've already seen an NBA Championship since his arrival. On top of that, he just had one of his better seasons, but his team provided little support.
That would be the one thing to lure Wade away from Miami: support. It's hard to go deep into playoffs when your starting lineup consists of Mario Chalmers, James Jones, and Udonis Haslem.
I doubt that the Heat will let Wade get away. He means too much to that team.
At a time when dominant centers have begun to appear (hello, Dwight Howard), a strong, powerful center is almost a necessity to a contending team. Stoudemire is just that and more. He's skilled for the most part, has no trouble getting up and down the court, and plays quality defense.
My guess would be that the Suns sign Amar'e to a fat contract. Steve Nash turns 36 in 2010, and his years are numbered. I don't think Stoudemire will be as dominant as he has been come 2010. He'll be 28 at that time, and surely will be in or past his prime. By the time he's 30, he definitely won't be the player he used to be.
All in all, I see Stoudemire staying in Phoenix. If he doesn't, the Suns may not be real successful in the future.
I think Bosh will be one of the more interesting stories to keep track of in the summer of '10. I personally see Bosh in a Cavs uniform in 2010.
I know, I know, the Cavs have Zydrunas Ilgauskas. However, Ilgauskas has an opt-out clause this year. Though he reports he wants to remain a Cavalier, I think he'd like to see a championship in his career, and with the Cavs, his chances are dwindling.
Plus, Ilgauskas will be 35 next summer. Who knows how many years he has left in him. Don't get me wrong, Ilgauskas is a quality center, but let's get real: he's not great. He never has been, and he never will be.
If the Cavs can somehow lock King James AND Bosh...well, say hello to your 2010-2011 NBA Champions.
The Boston Celtics are obviously aging. The Big 3 might as well be called the Old 3. KG, Pierce, and Ray Allen are all over 30 years of age. I don't think you can win a championship with that kind of age on your side.
I do think the Celtics will try to lock Pierce up, but not enough. Pierce is not ego minded, but he likes to "get his." In other words, he feels deserving of gross amounts of money. The Celtics will think otherwise.
That's why I think he'll go to a team looking to sign a veteran scorer. I've chosen three teams: Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, and Minnesota Timberwolves.
All three teams have been struggling the last few years, and would love to see a star like Pierce in their town. I'm in no way saying the team who ends up with Pierce (if it isn't the Celtics) will win a championship. All I'm saying is there desperate to re-enter into contention. Therefore, they'll try to make a desperate signing like Pierce.
I've recently become a big fan of Johnson. He's helped turn this Hawks team into true contenders. If the Hawks want to stay that way, they'll sign him.
Call me crazy, but I believe the combo of Johnson-Horford can compete with nearly any other team around. We've seen them battle the Celtics to the end. And that was when the Celtics went on to win an NBA Championship.
A lot of teams will be after Johnson if the Hawks don't sign him. The Knicks are in need of anything they can get, as are the Bucks and the Timberwolves.
A lot of rumors have been circulating around about Johnson in a Pacers uniform. What? With a shooter like Danny Granger, Johnson would be lucky to even touch the ball.
Overall, I see Johnson staying in ATL.
Ming has the potential to be an incredible center. The problem is staying healthy.
That's why the Rockets weren't as good as they could be. Yao Ming wasn't able to play.
Chances are the Rockets are fed up with his injuries, and question his toughness. Yao's frame really isn't built for the long haul. He could very likely be on the market in 2010.
The Grizzlies could be a potential buyer. Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies' current center, gets his 11 and 8 every night, but Yao is a 22-10 guy. Memphis would take that any day.
Memphis is my pick, but once again, like every other free agent, it's all up for grabs. Anybody can go after anybody.
Like Ming, Ginobli is very injury prone. Nevertheless, he's still a terrific three point shooter and overall scorer.
San Antonio has always done an excellent job with re-signing players. They will definitely give some serious thought to signing Ginobli.
On the other hand, other teams will definitely be interested in Ginobli when he becomes available. Many teams would kill to have Ginobli's three point presence.
I'm not so sure the Mavericks have been to happy with Nowitzki lately. First off, his reputation has fallen amongst the front office. Secondly, he hasn't finished off a championship, which Mark Cuban can only dream of.
Despite his reputation, other teams will go after Nowitzki. I'm reluctant to pick a team because he could go almost anywhere. Any team would kill to have a 7-foot shooter that can draw fouls. It's going to cost a lot for Dirk; probably $20-25 million for the 2010-2011 season alone.
There's no doubt in mind that McGrady is one of the most skilled players in the league. He's athletic, versatile, talented. The 5-tool player, if there is one. However, I still don't think the Rockets have been too pleased with what they've seen.
He's continually had two problems: staying healthy and winning a championship. He can't stay healthy and he hasn't won in the post-season. Winning is the most important thing for the Rockets, and with T-Mac, it just isn't happening.
As I've said for nearly every player on this list, any team could go after McGrady. It all depends on who wants to pay him all that money he wants.