NBA Free Agents 2011: How Each Team Should Spend Money This Summer
With so much focus on the NBA Draft as of late, it's easy to forget that there is another way for teams to make major improvements to their rosters in the offseason: free agency.
Teams like the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings will have a good amount of money to spend this summer, and there are plenty of free agents that will be available that could make a great impact on any NBA team.
Teams like the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, won't have too much money available and will have to spend wisely.
Here is a look at how each team should consider spending money this summer in NBA free agency.
Jamal Crawford will be a free agent this summer, and Kirk Hinrich will be entering the final year of his deal.
But point guard Jeff Teague really showed a lot towards the end of the regular season and into the postseason, and the team should be excited about him as the franchise's long-term point guard.
What the Hawks need is some size and depth down low. Al Horford has been playing out of position at center for a number of years now, and the team needs to bring in a true center so Horford can shift back over to his more natural position of power forward.
Tyson Chandler might be too expensive for Atlanta, but a player like Joel Przybilla would be a nice fit.
First and foremost, Boston needs to ink restricted free-agent Jeff Green to a long-term deal. The C's can't let Green get away, especially after trading away fan-favorite Kendrick Perkins for him.
After that, the C's could do a few different things. Assuming Ray Allen exercises his $10 million player option, that would mean Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Allen would all be back with Boston in 2011-2012.
They still need a big body down low, as both Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal proved they just can't stay healthy anymore.
If they can re-sign him at a reasonable price, Boston should bring back free-agent Delonte West. Glen Davis is also a free agent, but the Celtics have some other needs and Davis might demand more money than he is really worth.
They need depth at the guard positions and a serviceable big man in the middle.
The Bobcats have a few nice pieces including D.J. Augustin, Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson, but they have no real scoring option in the post.
A player like Carl Landry would be an excellent addition. He has a very good mid-range game and could operate the pick-and-roll with Augustin. He would also help take Augustin's game to another level.
Charlotte needs a lot of help in a lot of places, but Landry would be a good start.
Different season, same story for the Bulls: They need to add a shooting guard who can stretch the floor.
It seems like every year they have a hole at the 2 spot. Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer have been decent, but they aren't really the answers.
A player like J.R. Smith would be ideal, but he might be a bit too expensive for Chicago. A few other options could include Nick Young or Anthony Parker.
Much of what the Cavaliers do in free agency will depend on what they do with their two lottery picks. It seems like a lock that Cleveland will take Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick, and there is also a good possibility that the team takes a big man with the No. 4 pick.
Those two draft picks, along with power forward J.J. Hickson, give the Cavs a young and promising nucleus.
They take whatever money they have leftover and use it on a veteran wing player. Players such as Caron Butler, Mickael Pietrus or Andrei Kirilenko would be good fits.
The Mavericks first priority this offseason should be re-signing center Tyson Chandler, who has had one of the best seasons of his career.
Chandler, still just 28 years old, averaged 10.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game during the regular season, and is a major reason why Dallas is only two games away from advancing to the NBA Finals.
The Nuggets are going to have a good amount of cap space to work with this summer, but it's essential that they agree to an extension with Nene before doing anything else.
Nene is due $11.6 million next season, but can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. Denver has yet to reach an extension with the big man, although it seems that the two sides are still talking.
He is likely to draw interest from a number of teams, so the Nuggets need to do something before Nene hits the open market.
Rodney Stuckey is set to become a restricted free agent and Tracy McGrady, who ran point for the Pistons this season, will also be a free agent. So point guard is a position of need in Detroit to say the least.
Earl Watson, T.J. Ford and Delonte West are all potential targets for Detroit.
Golden State Warriors
With Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, the Warriors are set at the guard positions. They also have a nice front line, especially if Andris Biedrins returns to form and plays the way he did a few years ago.
Golden State will have some money to spend, and their best option would be to sign an athletic wing player who can flourish in an up-tempo system. A player like Andrei Kirilenko would be a good fit.
The Rockets will be in good shape cap wise now that Yao Ming's contract will finally be coming off the books.
Houston has a good amount of talent on the wing, and they also have a promising point guard in Kyle Lowry. However, the Rockets still have a gaping hole in the middle.
The Rockets should think big here. They could choose to pursue Tyson Chandler, or attempt to sign Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol to an offer sheet that the Grizzles just simply won't be able to match.
After watching the fight that the Pacers put up against the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, it's easy to see why this team is headed in the right direction.
Indiana has a great player in Danny Granger, an excellent young point guard in Darren Collison and some good, young role players like Paul George.
But with Josh McRoberts set to become a free agent and Tyler Hansbrough struggling to contribute on a consistent basis, Indiana could use some help at power forward.
Players such as Carl Landry or Kenyon Martin would be good options for Indiana, as both are proven veterans who can step in and help carry the scoring load and also provide some much needed rebounding.
Los Angeles Clippers
Speaking of teams on the rise, now we move on to the Clippers.
The Clippers are led by Blake Griffin, but they have a number of other young and exciting players. Eric Bledsoe, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan (assuming they re-sign the restricted free agent) are all players who have only begun to scratch the surface of how good they can be.
Los Angeles needs to add some veterans to help lead the young team, and could use some help at the small forward position. Players such as Tayshaun Prince or Anthony Parker would be good additions.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are another team with limited cap space, although they could look a lot different next year if they decide to trade Andrew Bynum and/or Pau Gasol.
But let's assume that they don't, instead choosing to make another run at the Finals with their current roster. They need to add some depth, as their bench really struggled in the playoffs. Veterans such as Josh Howard or Troy Murphy would be able to provide some scoring off the bench.
Other than that, there isn't much the Lakers can do this offseason.
Memphis dished a ton of money out to Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, and it remains to be seen if they will have enough left to re-sign Marc Gasol, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
They need to do everything in their power to find a way to keep the big man. Gasol was instrumental in the Grizzlies impressive playoff run. Not only did he play well, but he made life easier for all of his teammates, most notably Randolph.
Mike Bibby will be a free agent this summer, and Mario Chalmers will be a restricted free agent. As a result, Miami stands to lose both of its point guards.
Given both players' spotty production, it was already a position of need, but the Heat could be desperate if they lose both. A player like T.J. Ford would a nice pickup, at least until Miami can find a more permanent solution at the point.
As it stands, the Bucks are built around Brandon Jennings at the point and Andrew Bogut in the middle. They have a number of players who can contribute at the small forward position, but Milwaukee doesn't really have a solid option at power forward.
That is why players like Carl Landry or David West would be a good fit. West, who is coming off major surgery, may come at a discounted price given the concern over the health of his knee.
Assuming the Timberwolves select Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick in the draft, they will continue to stockpile players at both forward positions.
Wesley Johnson didn't really flourish when asked to play shooting guard, and Minnesota really doesn't have any other options at that position.
A player like Nick Young, a restricted free agent, would give the 'Wolves another scoring threat. The team could also look at players like Jason Richardson or Leandro Barbosa.
New Jersey Nets
The Nets will have a lot of money to play around with this summer, although they may hold off from doing any big spending in hopes of eventually signing Dwight Howard.
Still, the Nets seem likely to make a serious run at Andrei Kirilenko. AK-47 would be a nice fit in New Jersey, as he is an excellent defender and can also get out in the open floor and finish in transition. He has some experience playing alongside Deron Williams, and he could step in for the disappointing Travis Outlaw.
New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets are another team that could use the services of J.R. Smith.
Marco Belinelli was very disappointing this season for New Orleans, and the team needs to find a way to space the floor for Chris Paul.
They have a major hole at shooting guard, and Smith would be a good fit. Other players they may have interest in are Nick Young or Michael Redd.
New York Knicks
The Knicks need to add some bodies in the paint, but they don't have much money to do so.
New York doesn't really have a true center on the roster, and they started the likes of Jared Jeffries, Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams and Shawne Williams at center this year. That just isn't going to cut it.
Although not spectacular, Samuel Dalembert would be a good option for the size-less Knicks. He may even give the Knicks a discounted price.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have a very good core, led by Kevin Durant, but now they need to work on their depth. Once they develop a good bench, the young Thunder will become favorites to contend for an NBA championship.
Caron Butler would be a nice add here, especially since the Thunder don't have anyone who can come in for Durant and give the team some solid minutes off the bench. Plus, Butler would be a very good veteran presence for the young Thunder.
The Magic are a complete mess right now.
They have a number of terrible contracts on their roster, most notably Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu. Because of that, the Magic won't be able to do much in free agency.
There is also a very good chance that Orlando will lose Dwight Howard to free agency in 2012, assuming they don't trade him first.
The Magic could pursue a veteran like Anthony Parker. While he isn't flashy, Parker would provide a defensive presence as well as some perimeter shooting.
In Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia only has one true center on the roster, and they may lose him to free agency. Hawes is set to become a restricted free agent.
Tyson Chandler would be a great fit for the 76ers, but they may not have enough money to lure him away from Dallas. A player like Joel Przybilla would also be a nice add for Philadelphia.
The Suns have a team option for Vince Carter who will be owed $18 million next year.
In other words, Carter will find himself unemployed this summer.
It seems off to say this, but Phoenix really needs to add some scorers to their roster. They have some nice pieces, but don't have a player who can go out and get 20 points night in and night out.
That's why Jamal Crawford, who is a scoring machine, would be an excellent fit out in the desert.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is a team with a very good starting unit, but not much depth behind them.
LaMarcus Aldridge took his game to another level this past season, but didn't have much help in the front court. Marcus Camby is entering the last year of his deal, and is more of a defensive specialist at this point in his career.
Portland needs to add another body in the paint. Depending on the price, Glen Davis would be a nice fit with the Blazers.
The Kings lack any firepower on the wings, and they need to add a player who can play alongside both Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.
Wilson Chandler, a restricted free agent, would be a nice fit with the Kings. He is a versatile player who can play either forward position, and he can score in a number of ways. Chandler has always been able to get to the rim, but he also continues to improve his shot from the perimeter.
Other options include Mickael Pietrus and Jason Richardson.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan can opt out of his current contract, but given the fact that he is owed more than $21 million next season, it doesn't seem likely that he will.
San Antonio simply needs to get younger and more athletic. Even though they had a ton of success during the regular season, they looked a step slow in the postseason.
A player like Nick Young would re-energize this team, although he will likely command more money than the Spurs are willing to give him.
The Raptors are in a very similar position as the Kings.
They have some good, young pieces, but don't have too many options at the small forward position. And like the Kings, Wilson Chandler would also be a good fit up north with the Raptors.
The Jazz have a good amount of talent in the middle with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. They also have two lottery picks, so they are going to have a good amount of weapons next season.
Still, they need a shooting guard who can really stretch the floor and allow the team's big men to operate down low. Guys like Anthony Parker or J.R. Smith would be good fits in Utah.
The Wizards need a post player who can work the pick-and-roll with John Wall. JaVale McGee is an excellent defensive weapon, but he is almost non-existent on the offensive end of the floor.
Both David West and Carl Landry would be good options for Washington.