NBA Free Agency 2011: Predicting the Fate of Each Team's Restricted Free Agents
This offseason figures to be a busy one in the NBA, and there are some pretty sought-after restricted free agents who might be available come this summer.
One of those guys is Marc Gasol, who is pictured above. Gasol, in his third season in Memphis, will be given more money on his next offer no doubt, but will the Grizzlies match it?
I will take a look at every team that has a restricted free agent to offer, and decide whether they are worth the money. Then I will list possible destinations and perhaps clubs who will give higher clips than the original qualifying number on June 30.
With all that in mind, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
(Author's Note: The Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz have zero restricted free agents this season, and therefore are not on this list.)
Jeff Green was recently acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and his bags to Oklahoma City.
He is Boston's only restricted free agent, and I'll bet almost anything that they didn't sign the former Georgetown Hoya just to have him for one half-season.
He'll be signed by the C's and he'll eventually become a mainstay in the future.
Green's possible destinations: Boston Celtics
Another mid-season trade, Dante Cunningham's contract is up after a half-Blazer, half-Bobcat season.
If Charlotte is hoping to create a long-term deal for the 23-year-old Cunningham, whose latter half of the season trumps the former, they must dish him a lot of cash because of his success thus far for the Bobcats.
With that said, I believe they're going to grab ahold of Cunningham, who has replaced Gerald Wallace, and give him a three-or-so year deal.
Cunningham's possible destinations: Charlotte Bobcats
Arron Afflalo leads a trio of restricted free agents that the Denver Nuggets have to decide what they will do with this offseason.
In all honesty, the all-around shooting guard could be on his way out of Denver. In fact, I can see either him or J.R. Smith being on their way out of the Rockies as soon as this offseason.
Right now I can't say which one I think it is, but it will be hard in the future to keep the two happy and since the defensive-minded Afflalo is a free agent he might be packing his bags.
A piece in February's blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade, Wilson Chandler is undoubtedly going to be a large part of the Nuggets' future, and for that reason he will most likely be signed to a three or four-year deal.
Gary Forbes has seen his role increase just barely with the departure of 'Melo, but he might be too upset with his playing time and he may take his talents elsewhere, but I doubt it. One other team that could use him is the Spurs because they could use some depth at a cheap price, and Forbes might just be the man.
Afflalo's possible destinations: Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics
Chandler's possible destinations: Denver Nuggets
Forbes' possible destinations: Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs
Jonas Jerebko is having a solid rookie campaign in the dismal situation that is the Detroit Pistons right now.
He is averaging 9.3 points and is doing it relatively unnoticed because the Pistons are back in "Bad Boys" mode, and causing controversy seemingly every other night.
He will probably sign a one or two-year deal with the Pistons because he hasn't done anything to make sure he'd leave.
On the other hand, Rodney Stuckey might be on his way out of the awful situation. Stuckey is still, at best, an average point guard in this league and the 24-year-old might find a better role playing 20 minutes a game elsewhere.
T.J. Ford of Indiana is a free agent, so Stuckey might be suited well backing up Darren Collison 311 miles southwest of his current city.
DaJuan Summers has only played in 21 games this season, and I don't see the Pistons taking on a chance on him with a long-term deal, so I can see a few teams desperate for forward play to give him a million or two.
Jerebko's possible destinations: Detroit Pistons
Stuckey's possible destinations: Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons
Summers' possible destinations: Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors' only restricted free agent in 2011, Reggie Williams has to be a little upset with the role that he has been given this season in Oakland.
It's not like he's playing bad though, so some other team will reward him with a nice two or three-season contract.
Williams' possible destinations: New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings
You've got to think that Goran Dragic is liking this playing 20-plus minutes thing in Houston, something he never got to do as Steve Nash's backup in Phoenix.
He's not going anywhere for a couple seasons. The Rockets will give him a million or two per season to keep him in the Lone Star State.
Dragic's possible destinations: Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers
DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers' lone restricted free agent in 2011, isn't going anywhere, and Los Angeles' other team has made it known that he isn't.
I expect him to sign for another two or so years to continue dominating defensively.
Jordan's possible destinations: Los Angeles Clippers
This year's best center available, Marc Gasol might not be back as a member of the Grizz next season.
Some other team will ultimately offer him more money than Memphis, and I can see him being a perfect fit and perhaps the missing piece to the New York Knicks' puzzle: a strong inside defender who has been absent all season (Amar'e doesn't count as a center).
Hamed Haddidi hasn't had the best of seasons, playing in only 29 contests and averaging less than three points. Is Europe in his future?
Sam Young has had a fine sophomore season in the NBA, and I can't see him leaving unless another team offers him a greater number on the sheet.
Gasol's possible destinations: New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets
Haddidi's possible destinations: D-League, Europe, Memphis Grizzlies
Young's possible destinations: Memphis Grizzlies
A point guard on the Heat whose playing time has diminished since the acquisition of Mike Bibby, Mario Chalmers will undoubtedly be on the move this summer, where Aaron Brooks' departure in Phoenix will leave an opening for the former Kansas Jayhawk.
Steve Nash isn't going to play forever, and the Suns could use some much-needed help defensively in the backcourt, and Chalmers would provide just that.
Chalmers' possible destinations: Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers
A solid 28-minute-per-night option for the Bucks, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute might be headed elsewhere but it could go either way.
The Knicks could use a defensive backup for Carmelo, and the same goes for Michael Beasley in Minnesota.
Chris Douglas-Roberts is a decent shooter and might be worth another year or two in Milwaukee, but he could be shipped to a team like the Raptors. If Mbah a Moute leaves, CDR stays, and vice versa.
Mbah a Moute's possible destinations: New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks
Douglas-Roberts' possible destinations: Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors
New Jersey Nets
The rookie out of Tulsa, Ben Uzoh has done little to nothing thus far in New Jersey to prove he belongs in an NBA team's 12-man rotation, so he could go just about anywhere. The Hawks might be looking at a third point guard as they only possess two.
Brandan Wright has been playing in the footsteps of Kris Humphries all season long, and he might have to if the Nets sign him for another year or two, but like Uzoh he could go anywhere. Perhaps the Blazers could use another backup power forward for the coming years.
Uzoh's possible destinations: Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, anywhere else
Wright's possible destinations: New Jersey Nets, Portland Trail Blazers
New Orleans Hornets
Marco Belinelli has proved he can be a marginal starter on a playoff team, and he seems to be right on the fence on whether to re-sign in the Big Easy for the 2011-12 season. The only problem is that he might ask for than the 2.3 million dollar annual salary he currently is accumulating.
Somewhere in California, possibly teams with money like the Kings or Warriors, could be the best place for Belinelli to take his talents. Phoenix is also a viable place for the Italian.
On the other hand, Jason Smith will most likely remain in NoLa for at least a few more seasons, as he shouldn't bump up his asking price of two million per year. If he does, they should get rid of him, and the Atlanta Hawks might be willing since they lack the seven-foot size Smith possesses.
Belinelli's possible destinations: Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns
Smith's possible destinations: New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks
I believe that forward Derrick Brown doesn't have any sort of future in the Big Apple with the Knicks beyond this season.
Someone like the 76ers might take a chance on Brown, and perhaps pay him more than the $762,195 he is currently being paid.
Regardless, this is going to be an interesting offseason for the Knickerbockers, as they have six unrestricted free agents additionally.
Brown's possible destinations: Philadelphia 76ers, some place that will pay him one million
Oklahoma City Thunder
Since James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha play the majority of minutes at shooting guard, Daequan Cook might be needed elsewhere as this offseason approaches.
One team that salivates over outside shooting, the Minnesota Timberwolves, might take a chance on the former Buckeye. The Memphis Grizzlies might also want him to perhaps replace O.J. Mayo, who no questions asked is gone come July.
They will, however, ask to pay him less than the $2.1 million he is currently paying for. There is no chance the Thunder hold onto this bolt.
Cook's possible destinations: Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves
Make no mistake about it-- Spencer Hawes is in his final season in Philadelphia.
He hasn't found a niche with the Sixers, and is not even close to being worth the approximately $3 million he is making.
He would do fine elsewhere, perhaps in Portland where he would be paid about two-thirds of that. He would provide some good depth for their star power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge.
On the flipside, Thaddeus Young is a very versatile player and one of the more underrated ballers in the game. He sports an 18.32 player efficiency rating, and the 22-year-old small forward is scoring better than 12 and rebounding more than 5 per game.
He's not going anywhere.
Hawes' possible destinations: Portland Trail Blazers
Young's possible destinations: Philadelphia 76ers
Well, the Aaron Brooks-to-Phoenix experiment isn't going the way Brooks wanted it to go thus far, and he may as well be gone now.
Earlier I said that Mario Chalmers could be on his way to 'Zona, and I stand by that decision. Brooks is a much weaker defender, and would be suited much better instead in the frozen tundra that is Minnesota.
He could also go to the Kings to provide Tyreke Evans some relief since Beno Udrih isn't exactly reliable.
Utah isn't out of the equation, but if they draft Jimmer they will.
Heck, if the Pistons do get rid of Stuckey, they'll be looking for a starter.
Brooks' possible destinations: Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons
Portland Trail Blazers
Patty Mills might head to greener pastures, but at the same time he could stay in Portland. I say the Blazers will give him another year or two to develop before shipping him off. He can contribute and be a solid backup (keyword: backup).
I don't think anyone will ultimately match the Trail Blazers' sheet on him.
Greg Oden, on the other hand, is perhaps the most oft-injured player in recent history. He needs to have one more full season under his belt to stay in Portland, but he'll most likely be gone like a freight train since there is no chance they give him a big opening number.
Toronto is is need of a center since Andrea Bargnani will most likely shift his position to power or small forward. Minnesota could use him, depending on what they do with Darko Milicic and whether they need a center.
The perfect fit, however, could be either with the Charlotte Bobcats, who haven't had a real center since Emeka Okafor departed two seasons ago; or as a Golden State Warrior, where Andris Biedrins clearly isn't center-caliber anymore.
Oden, who was a highly sought after seven-footer out of Ohio State, has never officially panned out in the NBA, but those teams listed previously would probably give him a chance over their current guys (especially the Warriors, since they want to dump Biedrins).
Once again, I leave the Blazers wondering what would have been had they drafted Kevin Durant.
Mills' possible destinations: Portland Trail Blazers (although they could trade him)
Oden's possible destinations: Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors
I don't see much incentive to the Sacramento Kings keeping either Pooh Jeter, 27, or Darnell Jackson, 25, but they might have to retain them for bench help.
Otherwise, I could see the 5'11" Jeter, a rookie, taking his talents to Charlotte for the time being, while everyone in that area awaits to see if Chris Paul is for real. It might be good for Winnie, er, I mean, Jeter, to get mentored by D.J. Augustin and CP3 if he joins the party in 2012.
However, the real key here is Marcus Thornton. Do the Kings want to pursue a defender like Shane Battier rather than Thornton?
Most likely they won't, but the 6'4" shooting guard could be a good replacement shooting guard for O.J. Mayo in Memphis.
Jackson's possible destinations: Sacramento Kings
Jeter's possible destinations: Charlotte Bobcats, Sacramento Kings
Thornton's possible destinations: Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies
Along with three unrestricted free agents, the Raptors have three more restricted to deal with.
First off is Joey Dorsey, a power forward from John Calipari's Memphis days, and he will be most likely looking at the league's minimum cost, and at that price not many teams will ignore it. Perhaps the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Indiana Pacers will take a chance on him and match the sheet.
Next is shooting guard Sonny Weems, who has seemingly found a niche above the border, playing in half of the Raps' possible minutes and averaging better than nine points per contest. He'd be a solid one-to-two-year addition at about a million dollar per season.
Lastly, there's Julian Wright, a 6'8" small forward who has tremendously underperformed at $3 million per season. There is no chance they retain his rights, and it wouldn't shock me if nobody did.
Looks like it's off to the D-League for yeh, Julian!
This team is officially in rebuilding mode, so they could lose two of the three here and I wouldn't be surprised.
Dorsey's possible destinations: Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors
Weems' possible destinations: Toronto Raptors
Wright's possible destinations: Anywhere, possibly in the D-League
The Washington Wizards have a league-high five restricted free agents in which they need to deal with.
Only one of these five, Nick Young, will be guaranteed a spot on the roster next season. I'm going to guess that the Wizards will give him a three or four-year deal to stay happy at the starting shooting guard position.
Three others; Cartier Martin, Mustafa Shakur, and Hamadi Ndiaye, will most likely be looming in free agency this summer since none of them are very prized. Martin has the best chance to remain with the team, however, since he is fairly productive (4.0 points, 1.3 rebounds) for his price ($854,359), but they might have to bump his salary up a bit.
Yi Jianlian would stay in Washington if he weren't so expensive, and maybe if he cuts his price by 60 percent or so he'd be a sure thing on another roster.
The Detroit Pistons might take a chance at Jianlian if the Wizards don't get the 23-year-old (doesn't it seem he's older than that?) for less than two million or so. The Hawks and the Knicks could use his services for depth, and you know that the Knicks would whip out a lot of money on the seven-foot big from China.
Young's possible destinations: Washington Wizards
Martin's possible destinations: Washington Wizards
Shakur's possible destinations: Washington Wizards (although highly unlikely), free agency, Europe
Ndiaye's possible destinations: Most likely free agency
Jianlian's possible destinations: Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks