NBA Free Agent Rankings and Predictions
1. Kobe Bryant (Early Termination Option)
Bryant may be the best player in the game—in the top two, at least. The reason why no one talks about him as a free agent is because most assume he'll use his option for next year worth $23 million.
The Lakers are winning and Bryant wants to win, so it's safe to say he'd at least wait another year before free agency.
Prediction: Exercises $23 million option with Lakers. He could probably make more by testing the market, but Bryant is happier than ever before in Los Angeles.
2. Ron Artest
Although the Rockets didn't make the championship run they envisioned, they can't say that the Artest experiment failed. The Rockets made it the farthest they've been in 12 years.
Artest was on his best behavior, and it seems like he's never been happier.
He's most likely looking for a winning team. He wants to re-sign, but many teams need a swing-man. The Rockets, Cavaliers, Lakers, Magic, and Mavericks should all consider Artest. If the Rockets trade Tracy McGrady, count on Artest to re-sign.
Prediction: Three years, $45 million with Rockets. The Rockets are likely to trade McGrady, which gives them a lot of money to re-sign the player who said he wants to re-sign.
3. Carlos Boozer (ETO)
Boozer should expect a big pay raise since the market is thin on big men. He'll get a lot of offers, so it's difficult to determine if he'll follow the money, go for a championship, or stay with the Jazz.
The Jazz, at $72 million next year, won't be able to re-sign him without exceeding the luxury tax, and they'll need more than Boozer to contend for a championship.
So, they'll likely go for Paul Millsap instead.
Many teams could use Boozer's services. The Cavaliers, Hawks, Knicks, Pistons, and Warriors may make offers.
Prediction: Five years, $90 million with Cavaliers. Cleveland is losing $20 million in salaries, and, with barely anything to trade, a free agent could convince LeBron James to stay in Cleveland.
4. Shawn Marion
Marion's numbers were down last year due to playing small forward. His natural position is power forward because of his rebounding abilities. The Raptors are unlikely to re-sign Marion because they acquired Marion for his expiring deal.
His hometown of Chicago, the Grizzlies, Jazz, Knicks, Magic, Pistons, and Warriors could all make offers.
Prediction: Two years, $25 million with Grizzlies. Second to last in attendance and with only $34 million committed next season, the Grizzlies with Marion would have the talent to attract more fans.
With Marion and the second overall pick, the Grizzlies could contend for the playoffs.
5. Ben Gordon
Gordon has been consistent in his five years with the Bulls, but they don't seem willing to pay Gordon. As a former sixth man of the year, Gordon can fit in with a lot of teams, despite rumors of bad relationships with the Bulls.
He provides great shooting and energy.
The Bobcats, Cavaliers, Celtics, Jazz, Raptors, Timberwolves, Thunder, and Wizards should take a look.
Prediction: Three years, $45 million with Thunder. They need three-point shooting and a good sixth man. Gordon could make the Thunder respectable.
6. David Lee (restricted)
Lee picked a good time to have a breakout season, finishing second in rebounding and scoring 16 per game at 25-years-old. He's still unproven, but it's unfair to say he can't be a defensive presence since he played center this year rather than his natural position.
Because Lee hasn't played a lot of big games, younger teams will probably be interested in him. The Bobcats, Bulls, Hawks, Jazz, Raptors, and Thunder would all improve with Lee. Although the Knicks want cap space, they could use the depth for their future blockbuster signings.
Prediction: Five years, $50 million with Knicks. LeBron James won't want to sign with the Knicks if he has to be a one-man team.
7. Allen Iverson
Iverson's reputation took a hit this year in Detroit, but he still remains valuable.
In Iverson's defense, he played in one of the league's slowest offenses with a roster that was set to decline. Iverson was put on the bench at one point this year, so he needs a team where he can play a major role, and a team that runs the floor well.
The Knicks, Nets, and Pacers seem like good fits.
Normally, there'd be more teams who would want Iverson, but there's not a lot of demand for backcourt help this offseason.
Prediction: One year, $15 million with Pacers. Iverson needs an explosive offense, and the Pacers need an upgrade in the backcourt for a playoff run.
8. Hedo Turkoglu (ETO)
Turkoglu has already opted out, but the Magic and Turkoglu want to reunite. He was essential in the first three rounds of the playoffs, guarding arguably the two best small forwards in the NBA.
His outside shooting is necessary for the Magic's offense.
Prediction: Three years, $42 million with Magic.
9. Al Harrington (player option)
It seems probable that Harrington will decline his $10 million option after averaging 20.7 points per game. The Knicks acquired him for his expiring contract, and it doesn't seem to make sense for them to re-sign him.
The Knicks are in the running for superstars, and Harrington has struggled when he's not one of the main options on the team. However, he'd generally be the fourth best player on a championship team.
He doesn't seem like a good fit with James or Dwyane Wade.
Prediction: Three years, $36 million with Suns. Harrington is athletic and still has a few good years ahead of him.
The Suns are a more athletic team with him.
10. Jamal Crawford (ETO)
Crawford has never made the postseason, and probably won't if he stays with the Warriors next year.
He's guaranteed $19.4 million if he doesn't opt out, and that seems likely. Teams are looking to reduce payrolls. There are many players better than Crawford who are free agents next year, and he won't be guaranteed much money on the open market.
Prediction: Exercises option.
11. Andre Miller
Miller is the engine of the 76ers, and they've made the playoffs the last two seasons. There are also many teams looking for a point guard.
Prediction: One year, $11 million with Mavericks. Mark Cuban will be willing to outbid the 76ers, and they could use another ball-handler with Jason Kidd a free agent.
12. Mehmet Okur (ETO)
Okur's option is worth $9 million.
He's worth about that much, but could get around that much for multiple years. The Jazz, with a payroll of $72 million next year, will make a power forward their top priority, so Okur will likely sign elsewhere.
Prediction: Three years, $25 million with Bobcats. They have plenty of cap space, and they need another scorer for a playoff push.
13. Nate Robinson (restricted)
The Knicks could re-sign Robinson. He fits perfectly into the run-and-gun system. He's usually an energy player, but he's proven to be an above-average point guard, which will attract other teams.
Prediction: Four years, $24 million with 76ers. Philadelphia could use Robinson's shooting, and he gives the 76ers a quality young core with Andre Iguadola and Thaddeus Young.
14. Lamar Odom
The Lakers will probably re-sign either Odom or Trevor Ariza. Odom was the third option of the championship team, but some think the Lakers prefer Ariza due to his defense and youth.
Prediction: Two years, $16 million with Lakers. Odom was a key part of the playoffs and the Lakers can afford to re-sign him for a pay-cut because of the depth at small forward in free agency.
15. Paul Millsap
Due to salary cap troubles, Millsap is more likely to re-sign with the Jazz than Boozer. Millsap is younger than Boozer, a better defender, and as good of a rebounder. He was a consistent double-double threat.
Prediction: Four years, $32 million with Jazz. The power forward position is key with Sloan.
Millsap is proven in the system.
16. Marvin Williams (restricted)
Williams, often labeled a bust, is the most interesting free agent. He's athletic, but solely relies on said athleticism to produce. Whatever team signs him needs to make him the fourth or fifth option.
The Hawks will either not re-sign him, or sign and trade him because of low revenue.
Prediction: Five years, $50 million with Timberwolves. Most of the T-Wolves' young players have reached close to their potential or won't improve.
Williams would be an interesting project.
17. Trevor Ariza
As mentioned before, Ariza is a great role player and a very good defender. At 24, he's very athletic and could help the team for a long time.
Prediction: Four years, $28 million with Heat. Loosing Jamario Moon, Ariza will make up for the lost athleticism and defense. With improvements from Ariza, Michael Beasley, and Mario Chalmers, Wade might be convinced to stay in Miami.
18. Raymond Felton (restricted)
Felton averaged 20.1 points in his last five games. Even with D.J. Augustine, the Bobcats need to upgrade the bench.
Prediction: Four years, $40 million with Bobcats.
19. Charlie Villanueva (restricted)
The Bucks traded Richard Jefferson in an effort to cut salary to re-sign Villanueva and Ramon Sessions.
Villanueva averaged 16.2 points per game this year.
Prediction: Four years, $30 million with Bucks
20. Anderson Varejao
Varejao might be the best backup center in the league. He finished eighth in DPOY voting and provided a spark on offense. With Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, and possibly Ben Wallace gone, the Cavaliers need a more athletic frontcourt.
Prediction: Two years, $12 million with Cavaliers.
21. Jason Kidd
Kidd needs to go to the Eastern Conference where there are slower guards to defend. Due to his age, he should expect a one year deal.
Prediction: One year, $7 million with Hawks. The slow offense is a good fit for him.
Plus, they're the only winning team in the Eastern Conference that really needs a point guard.
22. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Ilgauskas is aging and relies too much on his jumpshot to be a major contributor at this point. But, he could still be a good role player providing shooting and rebounding.
Prediction: Two years, $9 million with Nets. Ilgauskas on the Nets could give James incentive to sign.
23. Mike Bibby
Bibby is a good shooter, but has lost a lot of athleticism. The Hawks should be interested in re-signing him, but should keep their options open with the point guards available.
Prediction: One year, $5 million with Knicks. Bibby is especially hurt by the economic circumstances this offseason. The Knicks, without Robinson, would take on another expiring contract.
24. Rasheed Wallace
Wallace is more of a spot-up shooter at this point, but he could be a good fit returning to Portland. They were exposed in the playoffs for a lack of experience, but Wallace is a champion.
Prediction: One year, $4.5 million with the Trailblazers.
25. Ramon Sessions
The Bucks will be sorry if they don't re-sign Sessions.
He's a smart passer, and he's definitely an upgrade over Luke Ridnour. He averaged 9.7 assists in his last five games and shows flashes of scoring potential.
Prediction: Three years, $12 million with Bucks.
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