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NBA Trade Rumors and Free Agency: How Each Team Should Use Its Cap Space

Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IMay 2, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors and Free Agency: How Each Team Should Use Its Cap Space

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    MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies hugs Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs after the Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs 99-91 in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForu
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    There are ways for absolutely every team in the NBA to improve upon its current situation.

    One way that improvement can be made easier is through free agency, and the ability to have cap space to sign more expensive players.

    In the following slides I will discuss a move or signing that would help every team with its respective cap space.

    Thanks for reading!

Atlanta Hawks

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 27: Nene Hilario #31 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at the Ford
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    While it's obvious that the Atlanta Hawks have some money to throw around, the fact remains that they need a center. Al Horford is not a prototypical center, so perhaps they should shop centers around the league. Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins just don't cut it as the top two on the franchise.

    A few that step out immediately are free-agents Tyson Chandler, Nene and Marc Gasol, but I'm not so sure Atlanta can afford any of them without giving up a core player or two.

Boston Celtics

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics moves against Ronnie Brewer #11 of the Chicago Bulls at United Center on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 97-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and ag
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    One thing the Boston Celtics are eager to do right now is finish the postseason, but beyond that they're trying to keep all their main players together for at least a couple more years.

    Jeff Green's qualifying offer should be signed since they traded for him in February, and beyond that there's nothing much to do here other than re-sign Ray Allen.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Willie Green #33, Chris Paul #3 and Jarrett Jack #2 of the New Orleans Hornets react on the bench during a 98-80 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Pla
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    As unrealistic as it seems, there is a likely possibility that Chris Paul may go to the Bobcats in the summer of 2012, a season that will ultimately end up like the crazy one we saw in 2010.

    In order to have a better chance of snagging CP3, the team might want to think about dumping a few of their money-guzzlers. 

    If 2012 is to be as kind to Charlotte as everyone thinks it can, the Bobcats might be in for a big surprise. However, 2011 is going to be another boring offseason for a team that has lost three of its best players in the last year.

Chicago Bulls

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Orlando Magic drives against Jason Collins #34 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgi
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The one thing the Chicago Bulls need to do this offseason is so eminent that I hardly even need to explain it to you.

    A solid shooting guard is badly needed in the Windy City. The team tried dealing for O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline but it was shot down.

    There are some good 2-guards in this year's class, such as Arron Afflalo, Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford, all of whom would fit in nicely with the Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOT
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Desperate to return from mediocrity, the Cleveland Cavaliers are full of cap space, meaning they should go after a big free agent or two.

    A few guys they could go after include Yao, Nene and J.R. Smith. Regardless, they will most likely be big spenders this offseason.

Dallas Mavericks

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    BEIJING - AUGUST 10:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain drives on Dimitrios Diamantidis #13 of Greece during the day 2 preliminary game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Ph
    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    One way the Dallas Mavericks can use up their cap space is by building for the future.

    If the Mavs want to have younger players mentored by their seemingly endless supply of proven veterans, they can always look toward the draft.

    On the flip side, however, they are in need of a point guard because, let's face it, Jason Kidd isn't going to play forever. Mark Cuban has had his eyes on Ricky Rubio. If they can work a sign-and-trade for him for a cheap price it would be an absolute steal.

Denver Nuggets

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 27: Wilson Chandler #21 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at the Ford
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    In dumping Carmelo's huge (emphasis on huge) contract, the Denver Nuggets got a monkey off their back, and got a bunch of solid players in return.

    Their No. 1 offseason priority should be re-signing these guys, and possibly dealing Nene to a deserving suitor.

    Who knows? The Nuggets themselves might find an upgrade at center!

Detroit Pistons

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    DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder fouls Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on April 25, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO U
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    As previously mentioned, the Denver Nuggets are shopping and re-signing a plethora of players.

    The Detroit Pistons should go for a guy like Kenyon Martin or Nene—a low-post guy who can body around anyone if he so pleases. That player could be cheaper if the Pistons give away a solid player or two.

Golden State Warriors

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    MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Andris Biedrins, who is only 25, is not even worth a fraction of the $9 million the Golden State Warriors annually pay him.

    The team will be looking for a solid player to replace him, and where better to look than an all-around guy like Marc Gasol?

    Gasol will be looking at just around eight figures per year, and in all honesty it isn't much different than what the Warriors are paying Biedrins.

Houston Rockets

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11:  Alec Burks #10 of the Colorado Buffaloes drives with the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during their semifinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2011 in Kansas City
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    In all honesty, the Houston Rockets aren't necessarily flawed in too many positions.

    At the same time, they should ensure themselves of a solid draft selection, and Alec Burks of Colorado would be a nice addition to the Houston roster.

Indiana Pacers

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after their 84-81 win over the Orlando Magic during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Indiana Pacers undoubtedly will be one of the summer's biggest spenders, and it all starts at the shooting guard position, where Mike Dunleavy and Paul George struggled all season long to produce consistently.

    The Pacers need to shift their focus to Jamal Crawford, who would be worth the low eight-figure total he would collect.

    They could immediately consider themselves contenders if they had one more solid player.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 24:  Tayshaun Prince #22 of the Detroit Pistons attempts to block the pass of Gilbert Arenas #1 of the Orlando Magic during the game at Amway Arena on January 24, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Since the whole "we don't have a real starting small forward" experiment didn't work out to the Clippers' liking this season, they need to take another look and realize there are some decent options at the 3 in the free-agency pool.

    Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons is a good option, and he would provide depth in addition to being worth the buck.

    Another way Los Angeles' other team can rid itself of future cap space is by dumping Chris Kaman.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It's likely that the Los Angeles Lakers will make some moves this summer, as they prepare to shop for a superstar in 2012.

    It will be then that you will hear the names Dwight Howard and Chris Paul tossed around more and more frequently, but for now they won't do much other than perhaps upgrade at the point guard position.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 01:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  NOTE
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Memphis Grizzlies success this year hinges on the fact that they work so well together as a squad.

    Marc Gasol, an integral part of the team's success, will need to be re-signed this summer. Rather than collect free space, they should use a chunk of it on the 7'1" Gasol.

Miami Heat

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 11:  Tayshaun Prince #22 of the Detroit Pistons llooks to pass while playing the Miami Heat at The Palace of Auburn Hills on February 11, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 106-92.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Gett
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    If last summer was an indicator of anything for the Miami Heat, it was that they were big spenders, but now?

    There is no chance they sign a guy much bigger than Tayshaun Prince, who would improve all-around depth.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: C.J. Miles #34 of the Utah Jazz moves up the court past teammate Earl Watson #11 against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 118-100. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    If the Milwaukee Bucks want to return to the playoffs in 2012 after a terribly disappointing season, they need to acquire some sort of offensive presence.

    Since they won't be huge spenders, it's not all that unlikely that they do nothing this offseason. But at the same time, they need it. A guy like C.J. Miles will be available, so why not take a shot at him?

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 28: Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks over Marcus Camby #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first quarter of Game Six of the Western Conference Quartefinals in the 2011 NBA Playsoffs on April 28, 2011 at the Ros
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Timberwolves, as usual, will have a lot of cap space this offseason.

    If they finally want to make a move (as they are usually extremely reluctant), this might be the summer.

    They should look at the center and shooting guard positions, and Tyson Chandler is an example of someone they should go after.

New Jersey Nets

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks to the bench after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgi
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Just like the Los Angeles Lakers, the New Jersey Nets will be awaiting "The Decision" of Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012.

    The Nets, however, are a better fit in my opinion. The main thing the Nets can do this offseason is open up cap space so that they can acquire another superstar like Howard to play alongside D-Will.

New Orleans Hornets

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 07: David West #30 of the New Orleans Hornets moves against Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hornets 85-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The New Orleans Hornets have some cap room and might be able to trade for a more well-known player, which in turn would help out their entry in the Chris Paul sweepstakes next summer.

    David West should also be re-signed if this is to happen. West has a player option of $7.25 million for next season, and it will be interesting to see how he plays it out.

New York Knicks

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Ronny Turiaf #14 of the New York Knicks reacts against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The New York Knicks have eight unrestricted free agents including a player option (Ronny Turiaf) and a restricted free agent (Derrick Brown). Unless they sign about half of these members, it is likely that they will have some cap space available.

    The most important player they should re-sign is Ronny Turiaf, but being the one player option, he might not sign his qualifying offer of $4.6 million for the 2011-12 season.

    Come the summer of 2012 this team will be huge spenders, but for now they'll wait.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10:  Nazr Mohammed #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. NOTE
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Since Nazr Mohammed is the only key free agent on the Thunder, I'd say signing him has to be the No. 1 priority.

    In signing Kevin Durant last summer, Oklahoma City established itself as a team for the future, so why mess with that now?

    Nick Collison's salary will take a huge dip after this season, so he might be headed out, but everyone else will most likely stay.

Orlando Magic

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Don't look now, but if the Orlando Magic get rid of Dwight Howard they will have a lot of cap space.

    At the moment the 6'11" big is earning $17 million per season, but if the Magic trade him they could be in for some big bucks.

    As for 2011? I don't expect anything other than the expiration of Jason Richardson's contract.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 27: Nene Hilario #31 of the Denver Nuggets looks to shoot the ball against Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at the Ford
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Yet another potential destination for Nene, Philadelphia is in need of a big man because Spencer Hawes just isn't cutting it in the City of Brotherly Love.

    I expect the Sixers to be in that sweepstakes, as well as in the running for Marc Gasol and Tyson Chandler.

    They might also make a move for Samuel Dalembert, who might even be able to swapped straight up for Hawes.

Phoenix Suns

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 27: Arron Afflalo #6 of the Denver Nuggets looks to get past Thabo Sefolosha #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at the Ford Center in Ok
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    As soon as the team (as predicted) doesn't sign Vince Carter's option, it will have a lot of cap space with which to do a big move or two. 

    There is a slight chance the Suns will deal Steve Nash and his $11 million annual salary. If this is the case, the Phoenix Suns will become one of the offseason's biggest spenders, putting them in play for a guy like Arron Afflalo at the shooting guard position, or Mario Chalmers at the point.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 1: Jonny Flynn #10 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles around Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat during a basketball game at Target Center on April 1, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    The one thing the Portland Trail Blazers might need in the coming years is a point guard for the future. Andre Miller is 35 and the team is looking and shopping for options.

    Jonny Flynn of the Timberwolves is a guy who fits Portland's bill nicely and he won't be terribly expensive.

Sacramento Kings

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 01:  Forward Shane Battier #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during a 114-101 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena i
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Is there another team that has more cap space right now than the Sacramento Kings?

    One player they can potentially use some of that space on is Shane Battier, an incredible defensive stopper who is also a great teammate.

    I'm not sure there can be a much better fit for Battier.

San Antonio Spurs

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antionio Spurs looks on against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Other than signing Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs aren't very high on anyone's list of teams to make a move this summer.

    They already have a solid nucleus of players and not a lot of cap room, so don't expect anything too big.

    At best they could sign themselves a role player, but that's about the limit.

Toronto Raptors

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers dunks over Anthony Randolph #4 of the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Like so many other teams on this list, the Toronto Raptors are in desperate need of a center.

    Since they have a lot of cap room, they might be able to afford 22-year-old Greg Oden, who in turn would become a staple on both sides of the floor in Canada.

    I'm sure his medical bills would be worth it, as long as he gives his all.

Utah Jazz

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    OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket against the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I've discussed an Al Jefferson-for-Monta Ellis trade before, so why not execute it?

    It would free up cap space for the Jazz, who have a few guys who are undoubtedly on their way out.

    The 2011 NBA draft could be a huge day for Salt Lake City.

Washington Wizards

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    DALLAS, TX - APRIL 25:  Center Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Brandon Roy #7 of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2011 at American Airl
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Washington Wizards are a team that has a solid nucleus of players but could do better.

    A veteran presence is needed, and Tyson Chandler could fit the bill if he doesn't re-sign with Dallas this offseason.

    He would provide defensive intensity as well as leadership to the youthful Wizards. 

     

    Joseph Fafinski is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri. Originally from Chaska, Minnesota, Joseph is an NBA and Minnesota Timberwolves Featured Columnist and a frequent writer on all things NBA, NFL and MLB. You can email Joseph at jef3m8@mail.missouri.edu or follow him on Twitter at @JosephFafinski.

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