2014 NBA Free Agents: Predictions for Top Available Players This Summer

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2014 NBA Free Agents: Predictions for Top Available Players This Summer
USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NBA offseason picture is awfully cloudy right now, mainly because it's hard to tell if the top stars eligible to become free agents will actually choose to do so.

Let's allow Mark Heisler at Forbes.com to be the bearer of bad news for those expecting fireworks this offseason:

No, Carmelo Anthony isn’t likely to be in it. Despite reports that the Knicks are worried about losing him to Chicago from the Usual Suspects Programming Network, the Bulls’ interest stops short of tearing their roster apart to see if Melo will take almost 50% less.

Miami’s LeBron James, who intended to opt out, is now expected to stay, at least for the final season on his contract. So is teammate Dwyane Wade. Chris Bosh is likely to remain, too, although as a Dallas native, he could be interested in the Mavericks and vice versa. The Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki isn’t going anywhere (“I can’t imagine wearing another uniform.”)

If this is a blanket statement far ahead of the fact, something has changed: The stars who thought they were going to test the market this summer have run out of places to go.

James, who didn’t utter a peep about his intentions before becoming a free agent in 2010, uttered one at mid-season when asked if he could see himself leaving Miami. “At this point I can’t,” said Bron.

“Now,” says an NBA GM, “you’ve got Luol Deng, Kyle Lowry and Marcin Gortat. “And then we’re done.”

While Heisler's assertions could certainly end up coming true, there's always the chance the landscape changes dramatically. All it can take is one injury, one playoff upset, one rumored trade or one moment to completely shake up everything we thought we knew. The offseason is a fickle beast.

With that in mind, let's take a shot at predicting the fate of the top players eligible for free agency this offseason, broken down by contract category.

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