LeBron James Miami Heat: Now LBJ's Gone, Who Are the 10 Best Free Agents
LeBron James' announcement of where he will play next season will officially put an end to the storylines of where the NBA's three biggest free agents will next call home.
With LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh out of the way, the rest of the NBA's currently unemployed will have their share of the headlines as they close in on their own free agent deals.
The lion’s share of the focus has been on the “big three” free agents, but there are still many more out there sniffing out their own deals including the 10 best free agents left on the market.
10. Shaquille O'Neal
No Shaq is no longer the dominant presence he once was, but that does not mean the Big Aristotle cannot help out a team in search of a big man. Shaq is a bench/role player at this point in his career, but he could fit in very well with an Eastern Conference team looking for size (Atlanta, Boston).
Shaq has stated that he would like to join San Antonio for one last run at a title. Regardless of where he ends up, Shaq can still have a valuable role clogging up the lane, buddying up with big men and of course selling tickets.
9. Tyrus Thomas
Thomas was traded to the Bobcats during the middle of the season after not quite living up to his projection as a fourth overall pick. However, Thomas, who does turn 24 until the end of August, still has youth and his athleticism on his side.
Thomas averaged 9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in just 22 minutes per game last season. While he still needs work developing the offensive end of his game, his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess should make him a relatively hot commodity once the superstar buzz dies down.
The Nets, who are very much in need of roster help, appear to be the front-runners for Thomas at this point. Whether it is the Nets or anyone else, Thomas has something numerous teams can use-athleticism and ball-hawking skills.
8. Luke Ridnour
Ridnour has certainly caught the attention of Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. The new Knicks centerpiece is already campaigning to bring Ridnour to New York to run Mike D'Antoni's uptempo offense.
Ridnour averaged 10 points and four assists per game last season while playing all 82 games off the bench. Ridnour is no doubt looking for a starting role somewhere, and the Knicks need for point guard (after losing Chris Duhon) makes this a positive match.
Ridnour won't come with a hefty price tag, not that it matters considering all the unused cap space the Knicks have.*
* (if they don't sign LeBron)
7. Derek Fisher
It's amazing to think the Lakers may part with Fisher after he became an emotional figure of the team's most recent title run.
The Lakers recently signed Steve Blake which has forced Fisher to take a significant pay cut if he wishes to remain in purple and gold. The Lakers are attempting to resign Fisher at one year for $2.5 million.
That may not be enough for the 35-year-old Fisher who, despite his age, could likely find more money and at least a second year on the open market with all the teams seeking point guard help.
The Knicks, Pacers, and possibly the Cavs and, yes, even the Heat could get involved depending on what happens with LeBron.
6. Udonis Haslem
The signing of Chris Bosh spelled the end of Udonis Haslem in Miami. It feels like Haslem has been around forever, but at 30 years old the power forward appears to still have enough basketball left to help a team especially on the defensive end.
Haslem averaged just 9.9 points per game last season, but his near nine rebounds per game should land him a reasonably good landing spot.
Haslem may come on the cheap after making "just" $30 million over the last five seasons. That comes in under the mid-level exception which should make him attractive around the league.
The Pistons, Warriors and Timberwolves are just a few of the teams who are looking for help or have a hole to fill at the power forward position.
5. Shannon Brown
4. Jermaine O'Neal
Jermaine O'Neal's best years are behind him, but he is a big man that will come with a serious salary reduction this season. O'Neal is done in Miami but there are already bites coming from the Celtics (who worked out O'Neal), the Mavericks and the Nuggets.
O'Neal doesn't have the sexiest production to offer, but he is a big man that can be had on the cheap. That will generate interest around the league.
3. Marcus Camby
Marcus Camby is getting up there in years, but this is still a guy who can rebound and block shots with the best of them. Camby averaged 11 rebounds and two blocks per game last year. Camby is looking for that last deal to set him for the rest of his career and should get it from teams looking for big man help.
The Nuggets, Mavericks, the Timberwolves and even the Knicks (a few months ago) put feelers out regarding Camby.
2. Mike Miller
Miller started his free agency period by exclaiming that he'd play anywhere with LeBron James. That change probably went out the window, but Miller should find a good market out there once the LeBron hoopla dies down. Miller averaged 10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game next season.
That should get him a job in many places including Chicago, New York, New Jersey or the Clippers just for a start.
1. David Lee
Now that Carlos Boozer is locked up with the Bulls, David Lee is the best forward left on the free agent market. Lee, who averaged a career-high 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season, is being pursued by a number of teams including Minnesota, Golden State, and New Jersey.
Simply put, Lee is the next big domino to fall in the free agent summer bonanza.