8. Rasho Nesterovic –Toronto – Slovenia – UFA – 7ft – Centre
Okay so Toronto has the most European/International players of any team in the NBA, Rasho being one of them, a 12 year pro from Slovenia Rasho played 42 games last season with 8 starts hit 54% from the field with 3.9 points per game and 2.1 rebounds, all in 9.8 minute, he is experienced and can re-sign for the veterans minimum I expect the Raptors to keep him and use him to teach Bargnani, plus its never a bad thing to have an extra 7 footer.
7. Johan Petro – Denver – France – UFA – 7ft – Centre
Johan Petro is above Rasho due to his youth, I would rather have a player who is younger, has 5years experience and can play with slightly less numbers rather than, a 12 year veteran who won’t be around much longer. Johan played 36 games last season with 16 starts in Denver on a highly competitive Western Conference squad with the like of Nene and Melo. He hit 54% on his way to 3.4 points per game and grabbed 3.6 rebounds, the bad point is his fouls 2.2 per game means he sometimes fouls but other than that his inside presence is noticeable and another 7footer in the Key is good in case Billups has lost a step, Johan could sign with any team in need of a back up big man possibilities include re-signing with Denver, Toronto as a back up big man who can provide inside scoring if given more time on the floor or a big man coming of the bench for a team like the Lakers, Boston or New York.
6. Sasha Pavlovic – Minnesota – Montenegro – UFA – 6ft 7” – Guard/Forward
The 7yr veteran forward/guard started his career in Utah as part of the draft class of 03, played 79 games a rookie and grabbed promising numbers, 2rebounds and 4.8 points per game in 06-07he grabbed career highs playing for the Cavs along-side Lebron James, there he averaged a career high 9 points per game and 41% from deep, he also dished out 1.6 assists per game and picked up 2.4 rebounds. He played a total of 5 seasons for the Cavs and was eventually ended up in Minnesota, last season he played in 71 games playing just 12 minutes but hitting 36% for 3.7 points per game and 30% from 3, he also had 1.7 rebounds in just 16.5 minutes per game. He could end up back in Cleveland alongside his old team mates, however Lebron won’t be there and he may be able to contribute if not he can go anywhere in need of a 3point shooter.
5. Sergio Rodriguez – New York – Spain – RFA – 6ft 3” – Point Guard
Sergio is a talented point guard, he has only been in the league 4 years and has improved in almost all of his seasons for New York he had career highs in both Points and Minutes and was a valuable back up for Chris Duhon, this season he played 66 games and started 8 times, all starts were for NY after 0 starts in Sacramento even when Kevin Martin was injured. He finished the season with a promising 1.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 6.6 points per game while hitting 42% from the field and 32% from 3point territory but a disappointing 1.7 turnovers all in 15.9 minutes per game. I feel the Knicks need a talented young point guard and someone who can run the team if not he is already being linked with teams all over Europe mainly Real Madrid but the best choice for him in my mind is New York.
4. Vladamir Radmanovic – Golden State – Serbia – UFA – 6ft 10” – Power Forward
Vladamir is a 9 year pro and a good experienced fit in Golden State, the team is generally pretty young so his experience is vital, last year he played in 41 games and started 20 before injury, he shot 38% from the floor and got 6.2 points per game, he also dished out 1.1 assists and grabbed 4.3 boards per game. I feel he could be re-signed but he isn’t high on any particular team’s priorities his injury has also put teams off.
3. Peja Stojakovic – New Orleans – Serbia – UFA – 6ft 10” – Small Forward/Power Forward
The reason Peja is lower than Ilgauskas is due to reports that Peja will retire at the end of the season don’t get me wrong, they could both retire after 12 years in the league each and a combined 24years of NBA playing time, but mainly because I feel Peja is more likely to retire, Peja is younger but the time is mounting and he’s becoming more effected by injuries. His stats last season were 62 games, 55 starts 40% from the field and 38% from three 3.6 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists and 12.6 point per game. Should he retire it’s been a great career, on the other hand I feel he could fit in with a lesser role in New Orleans next season and come off the bench when they really need a shooter to come in and score he can also work wonders with the youth on the squad and become like a coach to this young team.
2. Zydrunas Ilgauskas – Cleveland – Lithuania – RFA – 7ft 3” – Centre
Okay so he too could retire however the Cavs have the option to keep his contract and depending on Lebron they may choose to keep him he had great stats last year and his experience is really helping him grab smart rebounds and take smart shots he doesn’t force much, he knows when to give up the ball and let someone else (Lebron) get to work, last season due to the Shaq fiasco he played in 62 games but only started 6 times! Shot 44% and 48% from 3 granted it was 1 from 23 but still, he managed 5.4 rebounds per game and 7.4 points but was a valuable experienced played for this Cavs team. I feel his option will be picked up if not Toronto need a big man and they love Europeans, the Wizards seem to be taking on contracts especially of guys who can help develop their players like Kirk Hindrich, Zydrunas could come in give you some good stats as a big man off the bench and also help your young, in-experienced forwards develop more in the long-run.
And finally the moment you have all been waiting for but is easy to know who....
1. Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas – Germany – UFA – 7ft – Power Forward/Centre
Okay so this pick was the easiest and most predictable, but no-one thought he would opt out of his contract with Dallas after 12 years, but he did, last season stats were again astounding with 81 games, 80 starts, 48% field goal, 42% from three and 92% at the line, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists 1 block and 25 point per game he is one of the top free agents available and the best from Europe. Now the hard bit where will he end up, 2 main options he teams up with his best-friend and ex-teammate Steve Nash in Phoenix after Amare decided to opt out or he stays loyal to Dallas and maybe re-sign for less money but its whether he wants a championship or not. I hope he end up in Phoenix him and Nash back together the pick-and-roll will be even better because instead of just Amare rolling through the lane for the dunk, you have the Dirk option of either rolling thought the key for a dunk of his own or his ability to step out and shoot the 3-pointer at a high percentage make him the perfect fit in the Suns system.