After the trade deadline is done, people are beginning to put a whole lot of focus on the Free Agent class of 2010. Maybe you've heard of it? It has LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Rudy Gay, Ray Allen, Carlos Boozer, Josh Howard, and a few other big names.
Well, it's got a lot of hype. A lot of it is centered around a few select teams too. Teams with a lot of money to spend.
But Minnesota is consistently thrown into that list for good measure. Why?
It's simple. If you are a free agent that signs with Minnesota, you get what the other teams don't have. A team.
Next year, under contract, Minnesota has Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes, Ryan Hollins, Wayne Ellington, and Ramon Sessions. That's an all right bunch of guys to have a team built on, but it's not perfect.
But there are nine players that will but under contract next season. Compare that to some other places.
- New York: 4
- New Jersey: 6
- Washington: 5
- Miami: 3
- Chicago: 6
- LA Clippers: 5
Even though some teams do come close to having the Wolves' high numbered core, here's who some of those players consist of:
- Bobby Brown
- Keyon Dooling
- Toney Douglas
- Bill Walker
- James Johnson
- Gilbert Arenas (not exactly a negotiation bonus...)
Then look at who the Timberwolves are dumping.
Nathan Jawai, Mark Blount, Darko Millicic, Sasha Pavlovic, Oleksiy Pecherov, Alando Tucker, and Damien Wilkins. The Wolves aren't exactly releasing the players that are playing this season. Some teams are getting rid of some pretty core players though, such as:
- Al Harrington
- David Lee
- Josh Howard
- Randy Foye
- Mike Miller
- Brad Miller
- Udonis Haslem
- Dwayne Wade?!
- Jermaine O'Neal
- Rafer Alston
- Drew Gooden
Not all of whom are the biggest names in basketball, but the point gets made. Players that really help these teams get their wins will be dropped, and the contributions that they make to the team go right with them.
There is one kind of exception to what I've been saying.
The New Jersey Nets do have a lot of cap room, they do loose all but 6 players, they don't loose a whole lot of key players, and they do keep Harris, Lopez, Jianlian, Williams, Dooling, and Lee. However, the Nets also have just completed their 6th win of the year. Minnesota at least hit double digits months ago...
So when Minnesota seems like it's the bottom place to go in what is looking to be one of the most historic periods in NBA history, don't count out that Minnesota has a strong base for players to come into.
Plus, look at the draft pick we're going to get!
Side Note: Here's my little prediction for the whole off season. Amare Stoudemire is going to make the first move because he's the one that wants out of his current team the most. Then Bosh/James/Wade/Johnson are going to follow him to that team. Whichever two or three are left are either going to team up, or go back to their old team. This may happen in the same order with Stoudemire and Bosh switching places, because Bosh seems like he'd want to get out of Toronto as well. Wade, James, and Joe Johnson all have reasons to want to stay in their current cities, and are much more likely to hold back and see exactly what's available for them.