2011 NBA Free Agency: Player from Each Team That Will Wear New Uniform Next Year
Compared to last summer when the stars dominated the landscape and the free agency frenzy upcoming in 2012 when Chris Paul and Dwight Howard could be available, this summer's free agent class pales by comparison.
There are still some good players who will be available in the summer, especially up front, and each team will have their own free agents to deal with this summer, even with the upcoming uncertainty with the collective bargaining agreement.
But this is not about who will be available.
This is instead about which free agents to be (or possible free agents with options) won't be back for their respective teams in 2011-2012.
We took a look at each team's list of free agents after the trade deadline and see which free agents won't be back next season. .
Atlanta Hawks: Damien Wilkins
Jamal Crawford is the team's highest profile free agent, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on March 1 that the team publicly said it will try to re-sign him.
If the Hawks are looking to keep a key player and their sixth man, the focus shifts to the rest of the bench.
That's where Wilkins comes in, and while he's not a star, the Hawks thought he could be a key role player off the bench and provide some athleticism and scoring.
Instead, he's putting up some of the worst numbers of his career. It'd be a big surprise if he comes back.
Boston Celtics: Shaquille O'Neal
It's hard to think about Shaquille O'Neal being a guy on the move, but we forget the Celtics are his third team in the last three years.
He's become somewhat of a hired gun the last couple of years, and while he's not what he was even five years ago, he can still be a nice player in the right situation with the right minutes.
And since the Celtics will have to deal with Glen Davis and Jeff Green, Shaq could be expendable.
Charlotte Bobcats: Boris Diaw
Diaw might be a little undersized for a forward, but he can be a solid player for another team who needs a guard/forward hybrid who can provide defense and some scoring.
He's out of place in Charlotte, especially since the Bobcats are continuously spinning their wheels to save for a playoff trip. He does have a player option, meaning he can opt out if he wants to.
Considering the labor unrest, he might choose to stay.
Chicago Bulls: Rasual Butler
The Bulls are one of those teams who have minimal possible free agents, and three role players at that.
Since Kurt Thomas has value as a rebounder and role player for the Bulls, the other possible free agents for the Bulls are Butler and Brian Scalabrine.
Either one would fit well here, but Butler gets the edge because he seems to be constantly on the move as an expiring contract or an exchangeable piece in a trade.
He does have value as an outside shooter, but he hasn't worked out in Chicago so far.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Parker
Parker and Ryan Hollins are the only two potential free agents on the Cavaliers' current roster and considering the interest teams were showing in Parker at the trade deadline, it's a good bet that he'll garner some interest in free agency.
He can still be a nice outside shooter and role player for a good team, but he's not a No. 1 option and he's not a great fit on a bad team like he is in Cleveland.
I'll be really surprised if he comes back.
Dallas Mavericks: DeShawn Stevenson
The Mavericks have a whole host of free agents, including Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler.
But Butler's expressed his desire to stay in Dallas and Chandler's having one of the best seasons of his career.
Meanwhile, Stevenson has basically become a roster filler in Dallas, falling into the back of the rotation when he plays and seeing Peja Stojakovic taking more and more minutes in recent weeks.
Stojakovic is a free agent as well, but Stevenson isn't long for Dallas. Some team will still take a look at him because of his shooting ability.
Denver Nuggets: Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin was brought to Denver to be the electrifying player he was in New Jersey.
The only problem was that he didn't have Jason Kidd throwing him lobs in Denver.
Instead his massive contract has been an albatross on Denver's salary cap, not to mention he hasn't exactly lived up to it for numerous reasons.
The Nuggets finally have that salary coming off the books this year and considering Arron Afflalo and possibly Nene will be looking for new deals, I doubt the Nuggets will sink that money back into Martin.
Detroit Pistons: Tayshaun Prince
To say it's been a tough season in Detroit would be something of an understatement, considering there may or may not have been a mutiny on the head coach.
And while Prince is saying all the right things right now and said he'll consider every team that shows an interest in him according to the Detroit News, he also has to be frustrated with the way the season is going.
Considering the whole air around the Pistons right now, it's doubtful he'll be back.
Golden State Warriors: Al Thornton
It wasn't that long ago that Thornton was one of the hot prospects in the game with his athletic ability and his exciting style of play.
But that seems like a lifetime ago.
Since then, Thornton HAS moved from the Clippers to the Wizards and now the Warriors, where he hasn't really had a lot of playing time.
He still has the tools to be an effective player in the league, but he doesn't mesh well with a Warriors team that likes to shoot the basketball.
The Warriors will only bring him back if they feel he can be a fit.
Houston Rockets: Yao Ming
The Rockets are at a crossroads.
Yao Ming will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
Yes, Yao Ming will be on the open market. The player who came to the NBA with the expectations of an entire nation on his back and showed the potential to be that type of player, was slowed down by injuries.
Eventually there is a point where the risk outweighs the reward, and the Rockets might finally be at that point now.
Indiana Pacers: T.J. Ford
T.J. Ford was reportedly interested in going to Miami, according to the Austin American-Statesman. But that fell through and now Ford is stuck in Indiana for the remaining of the season after both sides weren't able to get a buyout done.
Alas, it's safe to say Ford won't be back next season in Indiana, to which the same can probably be said about Mike Dunleavy as well.
Ford, who not that long ago was one of the most exciting players to watch in the league, will enter free agency trying to find somewhere to catch on.
Los Angeles Clippers: Brian Cook
The Clippers' main free agent is De'Andre Jordan, who's a restricted free agent entering the summer.
He'll probably be the Clippers main priority, so the remaining list of free agents is a who's who of Clippers greats in Cook, Jamario Moon and Craig Smith.
Cook has some value and he's bounced around the league, but in terms of free agency, players like Cook are expendable.
Los Angeles Lakers: Theo Ratliff
The Lakers only have four free agents, but two key ones in Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes.
Brown's been having the best season of his career, but I would think the Lakers understand the worth of Brown and try to keep him around as a key sub on the Lakers.
With that in mind, Ratliff and Joe Smith are expendable.
In fact, it seems a little weird that a trade deadline went by and that neither Smith nor Ratliff's expiring contracts weren't involved in some sort of deal.
But don't be surprised to see either Ratliff and.or Smith looking for work over the summer.
Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph
There was an interesting story that came out last week that Randolph was unhappy he didn't have a new deal from the Grizzlies yet.
"I thought it should've been done," Randolph said, according to Alan Hahn of Newsday. "But it's a business, nothing personal."
Regardless of his feelings if he does get on the open market, he becomes one of, if not the most attractive free agent available.
Even when he doesn't seem motivated, he still ends up averaging 20 points and 10 boards.
Memphis will try to get him signed, as it will with Marc Gasol. But if he gets on the open market, he won't be available for long.
Miami Heat: Mike Bibby
For a long time, Bibby was one of the better point guards in the game.
But he's lost a step over the years, and since coming to the Miami Heat after the trade deadline as part of a buyout, he's struggled mightily.
The Heat will have Bibby for the rest of the season, but the fact of the matter is the Heat's role players save for Udonis Haslem have struggled this season.
Down the road, the Heat will have to try and put some better role players around the Big Three.
It won't include Bibby.
Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Redd
In the span of only a few seasons, Michael Redd has gone from a potential franchise player to an injury-prone cap albatross.
Redd hasn't played at all this season, and it's safe to say the Bucks will move on from Redd once his contract comes off the books at the end of the season.
If that does hold true, the Bucks will be making a statement that it's officially no longer Redd's team, but rather it's Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings' team.
At this point, it' already is.
Walking away from Redd just puts an exclamation point on it.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Sebastian Telfair
Well, it was a tough choice. Considering he's the Timberwolves' lone free agent in 2011, Telfair is the choice here.
It's not as much for his lack of play, although he hasn't lived up to the hype he had entering the NBA Draft not that long ago.
But the Timberwolves already have two young studs at point guard, with Jonny Flynn already on the squad and the team hoping that Ricky Rubio will be in North America next season.
With that in mind, letting Telfair go would be more of a path-clearing for Rubio to come over from Spain more than anything else.
New Jersey Nets: Sasha Vujacic
Vujacic was struggling and eventually lost his place in Los Angeles, but he's been very strong in a couple of different roles since coming to New Jersey.
He's one of two key free agents the Nets have, with Kris Humphries being the other free agent.
Vujacic can provide scoring and shooting off the bench, but he's a better role player than he is a starter.
If he does hit the market, he might get some looks considering how thin the free agent market is and how uncertain things are with next season as a cheap option.
He's a key piece for the Nets, and he'll get a decent amount of looks in the open market.
New Orleans Hornets: David West
West is one of the best players available on the market, and one would think he'd have to be the Hornets' main priority in free agency.
Considering the ownership situation and the fact that the NBA is running the organization right now, if the Hornets will really be able to keep West around.
If he does hit the market like Zach Randolph, he'll be snatched up pretty quickly by another team looking for help on the low post.
If anything, the move to pick up Carl Landry might be a blessing in disguise for the Hornets, as even though he is also a free agent Landry might be a cheaper option than West.
New York Knicks: Jared Jeffries
Jared Jeffries is becoming the new Theo Ratliff.
I say that because his value for the most part is tied into his expiring contract, it seems.
He does have value and he's been starting for the Knicks the last couple of games.
He's not a star player in this league, nor is he a starter.
He's unfortunately become an expendable contract, and he'll be looking for another team next season.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Daequan Cook
Well this one was an easy one considering Cook is the only free agent the Thunder have for this year, and he's restricted.
If Jeff Green was still on the roster, that would be a different story.
Cook could stay because he's a restricted free agent and it'll be hard to see someone signing him to an offer sheet.
He does have some value as an outside shooter and he does get playing time with the Thunder, but he's not the star or a key role player by any means.
In addition, with Nate Robinson coming back, Cook won't have a lot of playing time waiting for him.
Orlando Magic: Jason Richardson
This is an interesting case.
On one hand, the Magic need a shooting guard Richardson is a very good one, as he's played well for the Magic since that mega-trade with Phoenix earlier in the season.
At the same time, $14 million is a lot of money that's coming off the books and the Magic can find another shooting guard.
What might swing this will be the pending situation with Dwight Howard and him opting out in 2012.
Don't be surprised then to see the Magic walk away from Richardson.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jason Kapono
Kapono is still one of the better outside shooters in the league, and he can still knock down outside shots.
But that's about all he does and when he can't do that, he struggles. Not surprisingly, he's found himself at the end of the bench in Philadelphia playing less than even Andres Nocioni.
The 76ers will gladly walk away from Kapono at the end of the year after he didn't provide the outside shooting touch they were looking for.
Phoenix Suns: Mickael Pietrus
Pietrus has value as an outside shooter and as a defender.
He really hasn't fit in in Phoenix and his numbers have fluctuated up and down during his time in Phoenix.
Aaron Brooks might be a better case to end up on the market, but that will depend on how he performs down the stretch because that also dictates what the Suns will do with Steve Nash.
Pietrus will probably be looking for work somewhere else next season.
He might have to wait a while again, but he'll catch on.
Portland Trail Blazers: Greg Oden
At what point will the Blazers finally decide to pass on Oden?
It's not really his fault the Blazers were stuck with another Sam Bowie while the Thunder got the star in Kevin Durant.
When he's been healthy, he's been good. But Oden just cannot stay healthy and he also seems to be snakebitten.
Now should be the time where the Blazers cut their losses with Oden, the same way the Rockets might with Yao.
Sacramento Kings: Samuel Dalembert
Dalembert is an interesting case. Chad Ford of ESPN wrote before the trade deadline that the Kings wouldn't move him (which they didn't) and even wrote they could have interest in him for next season.
Dalembert's always been tough to figure, because the talent is there to be a dominating center.
At times, though, he also looks lost, disinterested and makes puzzling on-court decisions.
If the Kings want to bring him back, that's their prerogative. However, t the Kings would be better off without Dalembert and letting DaMarcus Cousins develop.
San Antonio Spurs: Steve Novak
The only Spurs who are potential free agents in 2011 are Novak, Tim Duncan with his early termination option and Chris Quinn, according to ESPN.
I doubt Tim Duncan will be going anywhere, so it comes down to Novak and Quinn.
It doesn't help them that both are in a backcourt that has Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill and Gary Neal.
The backcourt is pretty crowded, which doesn't make it very easy for a player like Novak to break into the lineup. With that in mind, Novak is probably the odd man out.
Toronto Raptors: Reggie Evans
Reggie Evans is never going to be a low-post scorer. At best, he's a hard-nosed rebounder and a low-post defender, which is definitely a need for some teams.
Considering his price tag and that the Raptors are trying to forge an identity down low in life after Bosh, they have other options that could be using this time.
Specifically rookie Ed Davis and Amir Johnson.
Don't be surprised to see the Raptors not bring back Evans in order to let those two players develop.
Utah Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko
Kirilenko is a solid secondary scoring option and he's a nice defender to have on a team. He's also an expiring contract and a big contract to boot.
Even though the Jazz might not be officially calling it a rebuild, what they are going through right now is basically a rebuild.
The Jazz aren't deep at small forward, but does it really help to bring on payroll for a secondary scorer at best? Probably not.
Washington Wizards: Josh Howard
Since he's come back from injury, Josh Howard has been very good for the Wizards.
He's also part of a host of players at shooting guard and small forward that includes Maurice Evans and Nick Young.
With the Wizards' sizeable list of restricted free agents including Young, Howard is probably the most expendable of the group.
Howard's proving he can still be a good player, but he'd be a role player and a backup in Washington.
If he wants to start or compete for a starting job, that'll be somewhere else.
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