The NBA free agency season has begun, as has the chaos that comes with it.
The Raptors signed Johnson yesterday… Amir Johnson that is.
While the headliners have clearly been labeled, the role players need some love as well this summer.
So while LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and company attract the attention of the fans, guys like Tyrus Thomas and Brendan Haywood are appealing to teams looking to fill voids.
Haywood will be a key player on someone’s roster next season. The only question is, who’s going to scoop him up?
Years in NBA:9
2009-10 Stats:83 games (includes six in playoffs), 30.6 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 56.2% FG, 62% FT
The team that signs Haywood is getting a solid big man who can log some serious minutes.
The seven-foot center out of UNC is entering his tenth year in the league. At a shade over 260 pounds, Haywood can handle his own in the post.
At 30 years old, Haywood is coming off his first season where he wasn’t with Washington from start to finish. All in all, the center played in 83 games, including the playoffs and posted solid numbers.
In addition, Haywood played with Dallas in the postseason, his fifth trip to the playoffs in six seasons.
Whichever team lands Haywood is getting a solid veteran locker room presence and loads of playoff experience, not to mention decent rebounding and blocking ability.
So where will the big man play next season?
Dallas doesn’t exactly have a plethora of cap room to deal with here, and its priority has to be Dirk Nowitzki.
Don’t be surprised, though, if Dallas uses the mid-level exception on Haywood. With little frontcourt depth to speak of, the Mavs might look to go over the cap to resign the big man who provided good minutes late last season.
Also keep in mind Big D has a few big men coming off the books next season, like Eric Dampier, who might be trade bait. If that’s the case, they’ll need someone to step in and eat up minutes.
The Lakers just won a championship, but did it leaning heavily on Pau Gasol.
Andrew Bynum has showed promise in his young NBA career, but he’s made more headlines with injuries than successes.
Lamar Odom, while a solid player, is not LA’s answer at power forward.
The Lakers don’t have any cap room, but need to fill out their roster. Haywood might be a good fit if LA can figure out how to sign him.
Miami needs a lot of players.
In fact, the Heat only has two players under contract at the moment, and not many would be surprised if they moved Michael Beasley to free up even more space.
The Heat have been rumored to be interested in Haywood. He could be a solid compliment down low to the likes of Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, or Chris Bosh. He could also be a solid rotation guy with them too.
While the Pistons have contacted their own free agents, Ben Wallace and Will Bynum, they have also shown interest in Haywood.
Detroit won a championship in 2004, and relied a lot on defense when they did it.
With an aging Ben Wallace, Haywood could step in right away and possibly contend for the starting job.
With each of their two big men, Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, becoming free agents, the Cavs will look at all their options at center.
While Cleveland likely won’t contend for an A—list big man, like Boozer, Stoudemire, or Bosh, Haywood would fit well into their plans for next season.
Haywood would play alongside former Washington teammate Antawn Jamieson in the post, and rekindle that Wizards chemistry in Cleveland.
Toronto Raptors- Haywood would be a solid piece to help fill the void of a Chris Bosh departure.
New York Knicks- The Blue and Orange have been rumored to be interested in Haywood, and certainly have the cap room to sign him.
Chicago Bulls- Another team with cap room and roster spots, the Bulls may look for more front-court depth with Haywood.
Philadelphia 76ers- The Sixers badly needs help at center, and while they’ve been mum about Haywood, he’d be a great fit in Philly.