NBA Free Agents 2011: 10 Players Guaranteed to Get Fat Contracts in Free Agency

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIJune 8, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: 10 Players Guaranteed to Get Fat Contracts in Free Agency

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    The 2011 NBA Free Agency class may not have the sizzle and star power as the 2010 group, but there is still huge talent to be had—for the right price. Which players will stand pat and who will be on the move?

    What available player is worth breaking the bank for in a salary cap stringent NBA? Which free agent would send your team over the top?

    No matter where they end up, these 10 free agents are guaranteed to get fat contracts.

10: Michael Redd

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    Michael Redd's 2010-2011 season can surely make you forget how good of a shooter he really is. The former All-Star only played in 10 games and averaged 4.4 PPG.

    Don't let that fool you, Redd is still one of the best shooters in the NBA who has averaged 20 points and four rebounds per game over his 10 year career. He won't be making anywhere near the $18.3 million he made in 2010, but a contending team that needs a shooter need to look no further than Michael Redd.


    Team- Denver Nuggets

    Carmelo Anthony is gone and J.R. Smith is soon to follow so Denver will look hard at Michael Redd to see if he is recovered from his knee injuries.

    Salary- Three years, $25 million.

9: Jamal Crawford

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    Look for Jamal Crawford to change scenery again next season, as the Hawks are already over the salary cap. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year made $10.8 million with the Hawks to come off the bench.

    Crawford's scoring average was down from 15.4 PPG over his career to 14.2 in 2010. He certainly didn't look like a selfish player this past season, as he averaged 3.2 assists despite his role of being a scorer.

    Crawford has been in the league for ten years and don't be surprised if he looks for one more big contract. Crawford would be welcomed by any team that needs scoring off the bench.

    Team- San Antonio Spurs

    Adding another scorer to this team is a must and Crawford's "attitude" simply will not fly with Gregg Popovich.

    Salary- four years, $40 million.

8: J.R. Smith

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    J.R. Smith is an enigma plain and simple. He has the speed, quickness and range to put up huge offensive numbers for any team that is willing to pay big bucks for his services.

    Smith's career average of 12.5 PPG seems a bit low for his talent and you can be assured that the Denver Nugget J.R. Smith relationship ended when the Nuggets were knocked out of the playoffs. A change of scenery would be a good idea for all involved and Smith will be a highly-coveted guard this summer.

    At 6'6" he has the size and strength to be a solid defensive player, but he will require a coach that demands consistent effort out of his players.

    Any team that is looking for a young sharp-shooter (Grizzlies, Bulls, Celtics) that can drain three's from anywhere in the gymnasium will be sure to be courting J.R. Smith.

    Smith is finally ready to become a star....and a starter for that matter.

    Team- Memphis Grizzlies

    Adding Smith's range from the outside would be a huge addition to an offense that begins and ends with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

    Salary- five years, $55 million

7: Tyson Chandler

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    Tyson Chandler really must have gained a ton of confidence from playing with Team USA over the summer. Chandler will be turning 29 next year, and you can be sure he is looking for one last pay-day.

    The 7'1" center's stock is surely on the rise after he helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA finals. He is long and athletic and would be a great addition to any team looking for a defensive stalwart from the back-end.

    Chandler averaged 10.1 PPG, 9.4 rebounds and over a block per game for the Mavericks. Dallas would obviously like to retain the big-man, but are they willing to get in a bidding war for Chandler?

    I expect Chandler to re-sign with Dallas if the offer is competitive with any other deals on the table. 

    Team- Dallas Mavericks

    As long as another team desperate for a defensive presence doesn't blow Chandler away with an offer, he will stay loyal to the team that brought him postseason glory.

    Salary- five years, $60 million.

6: Marcus Thornton

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    Marcus Thornton's checkbook should be thanking the New Orleans Hornets for trading him to the Sacramento Kings. Thornton was finally given a starting role in Sacramento and showed the NBA (and himself?) that he can be a 20+ PPG player.

    Thornton is ready to become a star and is only 24 years old. He averaged 21.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for Sacramento. He has been an 80 percent free-throw shooter over his career and can stroke it from behind the arc as well (37 percent).

    Thornton is a restricted free-agent, but don't expect that to stop a myriad of teams from looking hard at the shooting guard.

    Team- Chicago Bulls

    With Derrick Rose set to become an unrestricted free agent next year, the Bulls need to surround the MVP with another scoring option. A Marcus Thornton and Derrick Rose back court could be dominant for the next decade.

    Salary- five years, $60 million.

5: Jason Richardson

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    Jason Richardson will be a highly-coveted free agent this summer as there aren't many guys who average 18 PPG and shoot around 38 percent from three. The Magic obviously would love to re-sign Richardson, but reports have stated that there are big discrepancies thus far in negotiations.

    This likely means that the 30-year-old Richardson is looking for money similar to the $14.4 million he made in 2010. Whichever team that signs Richardson will be getting a sharp-shooter that plays tenacious defense and can still jump out of the gym.

    Team- If the Magic want to keep Dwight Howard in a Magic uniform (and happy) they better start by re-signing Jason Richardson. He can make teams pay when they double-team Howard down low.

    Salary- four years, $44 million.

4: Andrei Kirilenko

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    Andrei Kirilenko is one of the top defensive players in the NBA. At 6'9" (and long arms) he is tall enough to guard small or power forwards, and is quick enough to stay with guards. Kirilenko made over $17.8 million in 2010, and don't expect him to come cheap via free agency.

    There are not many players in the league that can fill up a stat-sheet like Kirilenko. He has averaged 12.6 points, 2.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game over his career.

    If Kirilenko can stay healthy, a team in need of a defensive-stopper might just have found their missing piece.

    Team- New Jersey Nets

    This landing spot seems obvious on so many levels. Kirilenko played for New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov's Russian team before coming to the NBA. Prokhorov will do whatever it takes (and pay) to surround Deron Williams with enough talent to keep him in New Jersey for the rest of his career.

    Salary- five years, $60 million

3: Tayshaun Prince

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    It wasn't too long ago when Tayshaun Prince was considered one of the best all-around players in the NBA. Prince was a key cog on the Detroit Pistons team that dominated the Eastern Conference for much of the 2000's.

    Prince has stated multiple times that he is eager to play for a contender again, but don't get confused because Tayshaun Prince expects to get paid for his services. Prince is in the same mold as Kirilenko and has averaged 12.9 points, 2.7 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game over his career.

    The Pistons are going nowhere fast and Prince will take his multi-faceted game elsewhere.

    Team- Dallas Mavericks

    Adding Tayshaun Prince would be a huge addition to a team that won the Western Conference. They pushed hard for him (reportedly) at the trade deadline, and they should be able to make the money work.

    Salary- four years, $44 million.

2: David West

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    David West was a bargain last season at $8.8 million. The seven-year veteran is an absolute beast that can score in a variety of ways.

    Whether his back is to the basket, spotting up for jumper, or even putting the ball on the floor, West can score in bunches. West averaged 18.9 points in 2010-2011 with 7.6 rebounds, and nearly a block per game.

    West has openly expressed his desire to play for a contender, and his addition to the right team could instantly make them title favorites.

    Team- Orlando Magic

    Combining West with Dwight Howard would automatically give Orlando the most dominating front-court in the NBA.

    Salary- five years, $75 million.

    Good thing Orlando has some wiggle-room to work under the cap.

1: Marc Gasol

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    Memphis will have to do whatever it takes to resign Marc Gasol.

    Gasol showed that he has the potential to be one of the best centers in the NBA after his performance in the 2010-2011 playoffs. Gasol is such an efficient player that has the ability to dominate down in the paint. He is the prize of the 2011 free agent class and even though he is a restricted free agent,  he will surely be looking for a mega-deal after his dominant postseason.

    Be assured that Gasol will have plenty of suitors.

    Team- Memphis Grizzlies

    The Grizzlies need to keep Gasol together with Randolph. A healthy Rudy Gay will make Memphis a dangerous team for the next five years.

    Salary- Five years, $75 million.