NBA Free Agency 2014: Pinpointing Best Destinations for Market's Remaining Stars

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NBA Free Agency 2014: Pinpointing Best Destinations for Market's Remaining Stars
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As they say, beggars can't be choosers.

With the LeBron James domino and the subsequent chaos finally out of the way, the rest of the NBA free-agency market has taken shape, but so has the overall landscape of the league, meaning those left behind don't necessarily get to choose where they end up.

For some, this was rather expected. Others are either on the market because the decision was recently taken out of their hands, while others have simply dragged their feet.

The NBA can be cruel in that not every player gets to land in his ideal destination. But in a perfect world, there are stellar locales still out there for the following players.

Shawn Marion

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For Shawn Marion, it's about the championships at this stage of his career.

The problem is most of the contenders have already rounded out their rosters, and the Dallas Mavericks—the team he spent the last five seasons with—do not have enough cash or roster spots to bring him back.

"My ultimate goal is to win another championship, so it's wherever I feel is the best chance to win another championship," he told Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports.

Luckily for the 36-year-old veteran, there will still be suitors looking to add him if the price is right, based solely on his ability to annually produce at a consistent clip:

'09-'10 31.8 .508 6.4 1.4 12.0
'10-'11 28.2 .520 6.9 1.4 12.5
'11-'12 30.5 .446 7.4 2.1 10.6
'12-'13 30.0 .514 7.8 2.4 12.1
'13-'14 31.7 .482 6.5 1.6 10.4


The ensuing storyline makes sense on a number of levels.

In an offseason that has seen everyone return "home" it only makes sense that Marion would take his talents back to the desert in Phoenix. Considering he spent the first eight seasons of his lengthy career with the Suns, bowing out with them makes too much sense.

As an added bonus, the Suns just missed the playoffs last season, added three more first-round picks this year (T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis, Bogdan Bogdanovic) and will do so again next year. Marion is not only a strong veteran presence to help guide the young roster, he's an important piece off the bench in a playoff push.

It's already a fit that has been on Marion's mind, too. "I definitely love Phoenix, I have a place there and I've got a lot of friends there still. I watched the city grow. I was a part of the city when it was growing and maturing. It was a great run."

Best destination: Phoenix

Ray Allen

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Very much on the market because of his own hesitation, Ray Allen is one player who most contenders will make room for should he elect to lace up the sneakers for another season.

Going on 39 years of age, Allen is known for being a critical piece in any championship formula. Just ask Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who Allen teamed with to help produce Boston's first title since 1985-86 in 2008. 

Or ask Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James, who Allen helped to a title through his clutch shooting.

Despite having plenty of chances at another ring next season, Allen is still contemplating the future, as noted by Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy:

With an unflappable work ethic and an elite stroke from deep that saw him average 9.6 points off the bench last season, Allen surely has the itch to compete for another title, especially with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly willing to bring him on board.

According to Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel, Allen has been in contact with the Houston Rockets and Cavaliers, the latter of course being the most logical destination because of his camaraderie with James.

For Allen, a relaxed role off the bench with familiar names and a chance at a title is the only way he comes back, so Cleveland it has to be.

Best destination: Cleveland

Carlos Boozer

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At 32 years of age, Carlos Boozer is certainly not on the market by his own choosing.

Thanks to $16.8 million, the Chicago Bulls elected to use the amnesty clause on the Duke product, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, who expertly broke down what the situation means:

Teams currently with cap space now can make a blind bid by Thursday to sign Boozer. The highest bid will claim him, set his salary for the 2014-15 season and the Bulls will pay the difference between that figure and $16.8 million. If no teams bid, Boozer becomes a free agent available to any team but the Bulls.

Boozer himself took to Twitter after the transaction:

Any way it is sliced, Boozer is about to get paid. With an understanding that his best days are behind him, he should seek out a locale where he can best use his talents and mentoring qualities in a positive manner.

How about the Los Angeles Lakers? There, a prestigious franchise is in the middle of a serious rebuild and needs a strong presence to guide along No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle.

Now, it won't necessarily give Boozer a shot at a title in the next few years, but he'll also get some quality playing time a year removed from averaging 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. 

Even better, he'll build a bit of a legacy on the way out as he and Kobe Bryant fade to black together and pass the torch to the next generation.  

Best Destination: Los Angeles Lakers

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