We're still in the midst of the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but it's never too early to start speculating about the offseason.
Because of the NBA's messy labor negotiations, this particular summer is very hard to forecast at this point.
None of us know how the new collective bargaining agreement will affect free agency, trades and the general process of assembling an NBA team.
So, in an article like this, I have to assume things will at least be relatively similar.
Even if it is harder to sign free agents, and the league's "soft" salary cap goes away, many of these organizations will still make moves and plenty of available players will find new teams.
Some of the players on this list may not be available becuase they either have player options or early termination options on their contracts.
For example, it's pretty unlikely that Tim Duncan will opt out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
There are also plenty of smaller-name 2011 free agents that I haven't included on this list.
Here are the players who could be available this summer, and would probably be able to make an impact wherever they end up.
Bear in mind that offers made to restricted free agents can be matched by their current team.
Here they are, sorted alphabetically and by their status as either restricted or unrestricted free agents.
- Arron Afflalo
- Marco Bellinelli
- Aaron Brooks
- Mario Chalmers
- Wilson Chandler
- Chris Douglas-Roberts
- Goran Dragic
- Marc Gasol
- Jeff Green
- Spencer Hawes
- Yi Jianlian
- DeAndre Jordan
- Greg Oden
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
- Rodney Stuckey
- Marcus Thornton
- Reggie Williams
- Nick Young
- Sam Young
- Thaddeus Young
- Ray Allen
- Leandro Barbosa
- J.J. Barea
- Matt Barnes
- Shane Battier
- Kwame Brown
- Shannon Brown
- Caron Butler
- Tyson Chandler
- Jamal Crawford
- Samuel Dalembert
- Glen Davis
- Tim Duncan
- Mike Dunleavy
- T.J. Ford
- Jeff Foster
- Chuck Hayes
- Grant Hill
- Josh Howard
- Kris Humphries
- Andrei Kirilenko
- Carly Landry
- Kenyon Martin
- Tracy McGrady
- C.J. Miles
- Yao Ming
- Troy Murphy
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Mickael Pietrus
- Tayshaun Prince
- Joel Przybilla
- Michael Redd
- Jason Richardson
- J.R. Smith
- DeShawn Stevenson
- Sebastian Telfair
- Al Thornton
- Delonte West
- David West
Options: Atlanta's been looking for a big that would allow them to permanently slide Al Horford to power forward for years.
Joel Przybilla or Greg Oden could make sense here.
Need: Youth, Specifically Inside
Options: With the amount of money they have tied up in other players, Boston won't be able to make a realistic offer to a player like Marc Gasol.
Greg Oden could also be had for a relatively low price, but I think Boston's probably just about had it with injured centers.
Need: Shooting Guard
Options: The Bulls don't need a superstar to fill their need at shooting guard, and there are plenty of 2011 free agents that could be a perfect fit for them.
Ray Allen, Shannon Brown, Jason Richardson and J.R. Smith are all unrestricted free agents this summer.
Options: This isn't a strong free-agent class, and Cleveland needs superstars. They should hope they land one in the draft over the next couple years because no big-name player is going to want to sign here.
Need: Legitimate Second Option
Richardson's production has gone way down since he was traded from Phoenix, but that's because he now plays in a system that spreads the offense among several players.
He still has the ability to score in bunches, and would be the first legitimate starting shooting guard Dallas has had since Michael Finley.
Need: Depth Inside
Options: What Denver really needs is time. They have a solid core of very young players that could grow into a great team together.
Even if they let J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin walk this offseason, they'll still be one of the league's deeper teams.
However, if Martin does go, they'll need to add another big man to go into the rotation with Nene and Chris Andersen.
It's not likely that the Nets will let him go, but Kris Humphries would be a great fit here.
Options: Detroit's roster may be a bigger mess than any other team in the league. They are loaded with overpaid veterans whose games do not complement each other.
They can unload Tayshaun Prince this offseason, which should help, but they're still pretty much handcuffed financially.
If I had to pick a position they could address this summer, it would probably be center. Maybe they could take a total flyer on Greg Oden or Joel Przybilla.
Options: Andris Biedrins hasn't developed the way many in the organization had hoped he would, and David Lee hasn't been the answer to the Warriors' front-court woes either (at least not entirely).
They'll probably be patient and hope Ekpe Udoh develops into a legitimate starting center. If they do go after a center, they may make Marc Gasol or Tyson Chandler an offer.
I would say they'd take the risk of signing Oden, but why go from one player who can't stay healthy to another. They could make an offer to Marc Gasol and hope Memphis fails to match it.
Options: Indiana actually has a decent starting lineup in place. And because they're pretty young, they're only going to get better over the next couple seasons.
They could use a little depth at every position, especially up front. Bringing Troy Murphy back could make a lot of sense for the Pacers.
In three-and-a-half seasons in Indiana, Murphy averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds a game and shot over 40 percent from three-point range.
Need: Small Forward
Options: Like a lot of the young teams in the league, the Clippers will probably try to address this need through the draft.
One interesting (but risky) option could be Michael Redd. If he could stay healthy, he'd be a great weapon for spacing the floor and giving Blake Griffin more room to operate.
Need: Point Guard
Options: They Lakers have desperately needed an upgrade at point guard for a long time. It's getting more painful to watch Derek Fisher play defense every year.
He makes big shots, but the team likely wouldn't need them if they had even an average starting point guard.
Some interesting options include Jamal Crawford, J.J. Barea or Rodney Stuckey.
Considering the Lakers' need for outside shooting, Crawford may be the best option. Someone would have to convince him to defer on offense a lot more than he's used to, but I have a feeling Kobe could pull that off.
They tried to trade for Josh McRoberts at the deadline this past season, but failed to submit paperwork for the trade before the deadline. They could now sign him as a free agent this summer.
Need: Center, Point Guard
Options: If the new collective bargaining agreement still allows for "mid-level exception" signings, Miami could conceivably add Greg Oden and T.J. Ford this offseason.
If by some miracle he could stay healthy, he'd be a perfect addition to the Heat. When he is on the floor, he's an elite rebounder.
His career rebounding percentage is six percent higher than Chris Bosh's, and better than LeBron and D-Wade's percentages combined.
Plus, Oden's career block percentage is nearly as good as Bosh, James and Wade's all together.
Need: Backup Point Guard
Options: Not many people expected the Bucks to take a step back this year, but they did.
Brandon Jennings is a scoring guard, and having a backup point who could distribute last season really helped Milwaukee. They never found anyone to fill Luke Ridnour's shoes this year.
Veterans J.J. Barea or T.J. Ford may be willing to accept that role (they sometimes play with that score-first mentality as well).
Need: Anything but a Power Forward
Options: A young team like this probably shouldn't waste any money on such a weak free agent class, but there most pressing need is probably shooting guard and there are a couple good ones available.
Need: Small Forward, Retain Kris Humphries
Options: There will be a few decent small forwards on the market this summer, but most of them are restricted free agents.
New Jersey could make a play for Sam Young, Reggie Williams or Thaddeus Young, but each of their teams will likely want to hang on to them.
They also need to make sure they re-sign Kris Humphries. He averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds a game after the Nets traded Derrick Favors (who took a lot of the minutes Humphries deserved).
Need: Offense, Shooting Guard
Jason Richardson could make a great backcourt mate for Paul and would certainly be better than Marco Bellinelli.
Need: Depth at Small Forward
Options: With legitimate superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and potential stars James Harden and Serge Ibaka, the Thunder may have a brighter future than any other team in the league.
A good backup to Durant would be a nice addition this summer. Tayshaun Prince could be a good fit.
Need: Backup Center
Options: Joel Przybilla may be a perfect option for the Magic. They've needed a backup center ever since they traded Marcin Gortat.
Przybilla has never played a ton of minutes, but he's extremely productive when he's in the game. For his career, he averages 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes.
Need: Young Big Man
Options: What Philadelphia really needs is to keep building through the draft, and be patient. They have a lot of young talent—guys like Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young could be stars in a couple years.
If they feel like being aggressive, they could make a play for Yi Jianlian. His size and athleticism could be a good fit for what's developing in Philly.
Options: It's past time for the Suns to blow things up and start over.
The Steve Nash/Mike D'Antoni model that was installed in 2004 never paid off in a significant way, and now the roster has very little talent after their 37-year old point guard.
They need to trade Steve Nash first, and then proceed from there. They need to start building around a new star, and they're not going to find it in this year's free agent class.
This year's draft is pretty weak too. They might have to wait until 2012 before they can get things going in the right direction.
Need: Youth, Specifically at Point Guard and Center
Options: Portland has already thought about trying to get younger at a couple key positions, but this free agent class doesn't feature much youth.
Rodney Stuckey would be an interesting addition (assuming Detroit wouldn't match any offer to the restricted free agent). Tyson Chandler would be a great fit next to LaMarcus Aldridge as well.
Need: Small Forward
Options: This free agent class is pretty weak, but there are some decent small forwards available.
Mickael Pietrus, Andrei Kirilenko or C.J. Miles could all look good on Sacramento's roster with Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins.
Need: Small Forward
Options: San Antonio is set at every position, but they still need a legitimat backup small forward for Richard Jefferson.
Andrei Kirilenko might be a perfect fit for this veteran team, and might even start over Jefferson.
Options: Toronto could use some help at every position. Caron Butler and Greg Oden are both high-risk, but they may be worth it if they can stay healthy.
Need: Anything but a Power Forward
Options: After acquiring some decent picks from New Jersey, Utah will be building through the draft over the next couple years.
Need: Small Forward, Power Forward
Where they can undoubtedly upgrade is at small forward or power forward. They'll probably look to do that through the draft, but if they want to make a play in free agency, there are some options.
Andrei Kirilenko or Tayshaun Prince could be nice additions for their defense and experience. Or perhaps the return of Caron Butler would make sense.