Captains log. June 16, 2010. We are 22 days away from the first day NBA free-agents can sign.
Currently, no one knows where anyone is headed. All we have is speculation and a ton of untrue rumors.
The players have done a great job of hiding their destinations. The media has done an even better job at selling this as the GREATEST free agent crop in NBA history.
The truth is, this is actually a very weak free agent group once you get away from the top 10 players. The rest are basically role players.
This free agent class only has about four players worthy of max deals (Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitski. Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson are close). The rest are over-hyped talents playing on losing clubs.
Anyway, lets get to viewing the top 10 players at each position.
1. Luke Ridnour
2. Raymond Felton
3. Will Bynum(R)
4. Jordan Farmer(R)
5. Nate Robinson
6. Kyle Lowry(R)
7. Jason Williams
8. Earl Watson
9. Steve Blake
10. C.J. Watson(R)
As far as finding a floor general for the next five or six years, forget about it. If a team is looking for a stop gap or player to come off the bench and do a good job, this is the summer for it.
Luke Ridnour is the most complete point man on the open market this summer. If he was 25 instead of 30 years old, he'd be a top 10 prospect. The guy knows how to run a team and can knock down shots. He is an underrated defender and he competes.
Will Bynum will probably make the biggest impact if he lands on a team that is willing to start him. The guy has "MOST IMPROVED PLAYER" written all over him. He's a tad undersized but is built like a tank and is extremely explosive.
In conclusion. This is a very weak market for point guard talent. Really, only three players at most are capable of running a team for a entire 82 game season.
Teams are going to look to find players through the draft.
One to watch: Sebastian Telfair. He has a "player option" and can terminate his deal. He's coming off a very productive year and would be a top five player at his position.
1. Dwyane Wade
2. Joe Johnson
3. John Salmons
4. Randy Foye
5. Wesley Matthews(R)
6. J.J. Redick(R)
7. Ronnie Brewer(R)
8. Larry Hughes
9. Anthony Marrow(R)
10. Kyle Korver
Dwyane Wade has been the best player in the NBA the past two seasons. Period!!! He heads a pretty respectable class of shooting guard free agents. He isn't expected to leave the franchise that will one day hang his jersey number from it's rafters.
John Salmons is expected to opt out of his contract to test the free agent waters. He can be the difference in a team going from good to great. He is underrated by most fans. However, players and GM's around the league know how good he is. Look for a New Jersey signing or a Philadelphia sign and trade deal. Miami is also an option.
In conclusion. This is probably the deepest position as far as starting talent is concerned. Only problem is that most teams already have their starting shooting guard for the next two to four seasons.
I expect all 10 players to find a home next season. At least eight of the players will be inked to deals within the first week of free agency.
One to watch: Chris Douglas-Roberts will probably fly under the radar this off-season. If he lands on the right team, such as the Chicago Bulls, he can be a very productive pro next season.
1. LeBron James
2. Rudy Gay(R)
3. Josh Howard
4. Tracy McGrady
5. Rasual Butler
6. Quentine Richardson
7. Mike Miller
8. Travis Outlaw
9. Dorell Wright
10. Rodney Carney
LeBron James is the center piece of the 2010 free agent class. A team signs him and it changes the entire future of it's franchise for the better. He is competing with Dwyane Wade for best player honors.
Rudy Gay may very well become a house hold name and an All-Star next season. All he needs to do is get away from the Memphis Grizzlies, which is easier said than done. Rudy is a "restricted" free agent. Whoever wants him will have to pay the piper.
In conclusion. This is a decent grouping of players. Better than any of recent memory. As many as seven of these players could end up starting somewhere next season. However, a lot of free agent small forwards will have to wait because of LeBron, Rudy and the deep NBA Draft prospects.
One to watch: Rodney Carney is a very good player that just can't seem to find the right team. If he ends up in New York or Milwaukee, he could very well shine.
1. Chris Bosh
2. Dirk Nowitzki
3. Carlos Boozer
4. Amar'e Stoudemire
5. Luis Scola(R)
6. Drew Gooden
7. Udonis Haslem
8. Craig Smith
9. Al Harrington
10. Tyrus Thomas(R)
Chris Bosh is without question the most talented player at his position this off-season. Only questions are, how bad does he want to win and how smart will he be at deciding who'll make his job the easiest.
Carlos Boozer is the most complete big man on the market, in my opinion. He has the complete offensive game and he's the best defender of the top 10 at his position. More importantly, he has a history of contributing to winning teams.
In conclusion. This is the deepest pool of talent of the five positions. As many as 14 players could be starters on a number of teams. Only thing that might effect the movement of some of these players is the NBA Draft. This draft class is loaded with potential and talent that can be had at a far cheaper price than some of the veterans.
One to watch: Amir Johnson had some good moments late in the season when Bosh was injured. Most folks are aware of him as the Detroit Piston "project." He has the talent and ability to score more than 15 points per game while bringing down eight rebounds per game as well. It'll be interesting to see what Toronto does with him.
1. Shaquille O'Neal
2. Brendan Haywood
3. David Lee
4. Jermaine O'Neal
5. Brad Miller
6. Kyrylo Fesenko(R)
7. Darko Milicic
8. Kwame Brown
9. Primoz Brezec
10. Josh Boone(R)
Regardless of what you think of him, Shaq still remains the best player at his position this summer. Now, that doesn't mean he's the best option. A team would be crazy to sign Shaq if they weren't going to make him a second option.
If you don't know Kyrylo Fesenko, you might want to. This 23 year old is 7' tall and 300 pounds and is a very intriguing prospect. He has all the tools to be this era's Arvydas Sabonis. He's very skilled and has a good feel for the game. He's still a bit of a "project," but a team like Miami could be the perfect fit. The Heat have a good track record of making big men stronger and ready to play in the post area.
In conclusion. The NBA Draft is going to make it difficult for a lot of free agent centers to find work. Teams are looking for younger and more athletic bigs. It'll also be interesting to see how the Eddy Curry situation plays out in New York.
One to watch: Kwame Brown is now 28. He made a poor mistake by wasting the past two seasons in Detroit. He could have gone to teams like Miami and Milwaukee to develop his game. The guy is still very skilled and a really good defender. If someone can light a fire under him, he'd really be a big help to a club.
I expect many teams to keep it plain and simple.
Most GM's should understand by now that two or three "really good" to "great" players don't guarantee you anything. Winning is based on the collective efforts of a well balanced team.
I don't expect any more than two big name stars to pair up. Teams will elect to go with quantity for the most part.
Never the less, we are eight days away from the draft. We are 22 days away from the day free agents can sign.
For me, it's not about waiting until it starts. I simply can't wait to see it end. It has been all the media has focused on for the past six to seven months.