Where is the Money? Free Agent Updates

Michael McGowanSenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2008

These Boys are talking about Money!  Go and get your Money boys.  That is right, it is NBA Free Agency time, and we all know what that means!  It's time to collect.  Some major players in the NBA such as Corey Maggette, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, and Elton Brand have decided to opt out of their contracts.  They are ready to go and get some more cash, maybe with the same team or maybe with another. 

There is one big problem, THERE IS NO MONEY!  Of course I am being over dramatic, because the NBA soft cap allows teams to go over the cap to resign free agents from their team.  The NBA also supplies each team with veteran exceptions and one mid level exception (which is the NBA average salary around 5.5 million).  

Baron Davis surprised everyone including the Warriors by leaving 17.8 million dollars while people like Shawn Marion and Ron Artest know that sticking around for one more year may make a bigger pay day next year.  Maybe these guys aren't about money then, maybe they just want to win?  Well lets talk about some major free agents and where they have gone, could go, or who is interested. 

Elton Brand and Baron Davis:  There is alot of talk in the West now because Golden State and the LA Clippers could actually have money.  With Maggette gone and Brand opting out, the Clipps could actually sign Baron Davis first, then sign Brand after.  Both would take a lower salary this year, but in the end would be making alot of money with raises each year. 

Davis could go back to Golden State, but do they want him back?  Maybe not.  Brand will get attention from Philadelphia, who may not have enough money to pull Josh Smith from Atlanta.  He could be that power post up player they are looking for.  The latest word while this article was being written is that the LA Times is saying that the Clippers were on the phone all day and could be getting close to a deal.  The years seem to be the hold up.

James Posey:  The second most popular free agent?  He may be, everyone wants a bench defender who can shoot.  Posey may have made his case in the NBA finals this year by his stellar play and hustle.  Is he a starter?  Maybe, but not for the whole season, he is best played off the bench and in crunch time. 

Who is interested?  Well the Lakers were a James Posey away from winning the championship.  They only have a mid-level exception to offer though, will 3 years 20 million be enough?  It may be a little larger than that.  (Note that teams over the cap can use that mid-level and extend a long term deal using yearly increases that would be about a million dollar a year raise each year.)

Josh Smith:  He is a restricted free agent, and the Atlanta Hawks have been saying that they will match anything that is thrown his way.  The only team that could take them out would be the 76ers, but they will not throw that much at him.  Smith may not be big enough and is too little of a post player for them to give their whole cap allowance.

Andre Iguadola:  He is in the same boat as Smith, he will not get a ton of money anywhere but Philly, but they will not overspend to sign him.  Andre turned down a 5 year 60 million dollar deal last year with the Sixers and then under performed in the playoffs leading the Sixers to a first round exit.  He did not bulk up his resume. 

Word around Philadelphia is very sour when his name is mentioned, but Andre can play.  He works hard, does everything he can do to keep getting better, so he deserves a long term deal.  The best bet for Andre may be a short deal, around the mid level, so he can promote himself for a larger future contract.

Point Guards; Monta Ellis, Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, and Shaun Livingston will all be courted by the Knicks, Heat, and Nuggets in that order.  Livingston is an unknown.  He may be NBA ready or may not be, only a physical will tell.  Duhon  is the real target here, even though Ellis is better than them all.  Ellis will be resigned by Golden State with the loss of Baron Davis....  By the way, Baron Davis is a Clipper, right in the middle of my Rant!!!!!

Mikael Pietrus and Matt Barnes:  Both of these guys are available and are right in that mid-level exception area.  They are both restricted, but will probably not be matched by Golden State.  Pietrus may be a poor mans James Posey, teams who miss out on him will get Mikael. 

Kurt Thomas: He is available and should be a solid defensive addition to a team with front court need.  He will get a 3 year around 9-12 million dollars and it will probably be late in the summer.

Corey Maggette:  He is restricted, but with the now signing of Baron Davis, he will be gone.  The Magic are said to be the team that will sign him, but they do not have a dollar.  Sign and trade?  maybe, but they don't have the pieces to do it.  Teams with money could court Maggette, but it just does not match up.  Memphis, yes, if Corey is ready to be terrible.  They have young pieces who play his position.  Philadelphia? 

Yes, if the Sixers choose to let Iguodola go, and have to trade for a big man.  Then they could use the extra cap room on Maggette.  Golden State?  They don't know what to do with their own free agents at this point.  Maybe not your best move Corey, but thanks to you the Clippers are headed to the playoffs.

LA Clippers:  Are they trying to be this years Boston Celtics?  They could be trying, but they only have two pieces. Kamen is a good big man but Mobley and Thomas just do not add up.  They will be playoff bound, and that is huge for you Clipper fans. 

Miami Heat:  Right now the heat are pretty happy with the draft.  But they are a couple pieces short of a full team.  Lacking real starters at center and point guard, the Heat are poised to go after Monta Ellis.  They are also trying to add Diop, the former Maverick and Net.  The Heat may have to ask the nets to sign and trade him, because he wants to go to Dallas.  Ellis wants to play in Miami, and the Heat may try and get him for more than the Warriors can afford. Miami is trying to clear room for the 09/10 off season, so they can sign Chris Bosh then max out Wade while they already would have Michael Beasley and maybe Monta Ellis. 

For right now though, they may start Haslem, Marion, Beasley, Wade, and then with the signing of Ellis, him.  They have a Marcus Banks who they want to send away, Mark Blount, who they will pay to get rid of, then promising young Dorell Wright and rookie guard Mario Chalmers who could turn into a big minute player off the bench.  The Heat's goal is to not start Chalmers or Banks at the point.

Chicago Bulls:Let's not forget about them.  Duhon (already mentioned) is free, but Hinrich, Thomas, Ben Gordon who is restricted and Deng is also Restricted.  Deng will stay.  Hinrich will be traded.  Duhon will go to the highest point guard bidder.  Thomas is a wild card.  But right now the most interesting rumor is Ben Gordon to the Spurs.  This would change them dramatically, well not really, but he is sure better than Michael Finley.  The Spurs could then try and sign a couple guys with Veteran minimums like Robert Horry.

The Returns to Sender:  Jose Calderon of the Raptors, Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison of the Wizards, Beno Udrih or the Kings, Eddie Jones with the Mavs, Ron Artest decided not to opt out with the Kings, and the Bobcats are hoping to keep Okafor and Dave Hollins and started by making qualifying offers.

Contracts can not be signed until July 9th, but negotiations can take place between now and then. 

Well hoop fans, this is the best time of year so sit back enjoy, and here is to your team pulling a free agent prize.