NBA Free Agents 2011: Ideal Signing for Each Team in Free Agency
The 2011 NBA Finals have concluded and it's time for free agency. Yes, we know the lockout is looming. But it's still fun to speculate and wonder who will stay and who will go.
This year's free-agent class does not come close to last season's, but every team has room to improve. Here is a look at all 30 teams and the ideal signing for each team.
Atlanta Hawks: Samuel Dalembert
The Hawks can use depth at the center position. Samuel Dalembert will provide size and strength for the Hawks. Last season with Sacramento he averaged 8.2 rebounds per game.
He's a guy who's never really played for a strong team, yet he was still able to average over 10 rebounds per game in 2008. In Atlanta, he will be surrounded by solid players, and this may bring the best out of him.
Boston Celtics: Ray Allen
It doesn't matter how old he is, Ray Allen is one of the greatest shooters in the game and Boston's main job this offseason is to retain his services. It's even more important than getting a big to replace Kendrick Perkins.
Boston is aging but Ray Allen's main strength is his shooting game, which will not go anywhere with age. The original Big Three will return and be a threat in the Eastern Conference again.
Charlotte Bobcats: Mike Bibby
The Charlotte Bobcats are a young team with a bright future. They have DJ Augustin at point guard, but one thing this team lacks is veteran depth. Mike Bibby is a veteran leader who will spell for Augustin at the point guard position and help the Bobcats in the locker room.
He will also not be a costly signing. Bibby, himself, probably won't have many options so Charlotte makes sense for him.
Chicago Bulls: Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler was a big reason why the Dallas Mavericks captured their first championship in franchise history. He's big and powerful, and that's exactly what Dirk Nowitzki needed on his side.
Chicago, on the other hand, failed to defeat Miami because Derrick Rose had very little help surrounding him. They do have Carlos Boozer but he was inconsistent. Getting Tyson Chandler will provide Chicago with the big they need to compete against teams like the Lakers and the Heat.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Tayshaun Prince
Why not? He's a veteran guy who has played in plenty of big games. He'll be very useful in mentoring a young Cavalier team which will be entering its second season without LeBron James.
They'll have two top-five picks who will need plenty of seasoning and Tayshaun Prince could be the one to take them under his wings.
Dallas Mavericks: Caron Butler
Just because they're champions, it doesn't mean they don't have to do any work. The Mavericks are faced with a huge problem in free agency. They have six players who are hitting free agency, including Caron Butler.
Butler wasn't a factor at all in the playoffs because of injury, but he still carries a lot of value. If Tyson Chandler leaves, it will be important for the Mavericks to at least retain Caron Butler in order to make another run for a championship.
Denver Nuggets: Glen Davis
With Carmelo Anthony now in New York, the Denver Nuggets are rebuilding. They have solid pieces from the trade and they played very well down the stretch after the trade.
The Nuggets can use some veteran presence in Glen Davis. He's a champion and he comes up big in the clutch.
Detroit Pistons: Greg Oden
Detroit is in desperate need for a spark. They should go after the restricted free agent Greg Oden.
Do whatever it takes to bring him to Detroit. Build your franchise around him just like they did during the Ben Wallace days and pray that Oden stays healthy. He'll provide hope for the team and he won't be as expensive as he should be because he's injury-prone.
Golden State Warriors: Daequan Cook
Daequan Cook would fit perfectly with Golden State's high-powered offense. He was a 42 percent three-point shooter last season.
Golden State is highly offensive-minded so the fast pace will serve him well.
Houston Rockets: J.R. Smith
After a tough season without a playoff appearance, the Rockets are now the only team in Texas that hasn't won an NBA title in the new century. Getting J.R. Smith might help them. They get to part ways with the oft-injured Yao Ming and they could use that money to bring in J.R. Smith.
He's played in big playoff games with Denver in the past and he's also a solid 44 percent shooter. He shoots well from the three-point line and he averaged 15-plus points in consecutive years for Denver in 2009 and 2010.
Indiana Pacers: Tracy McGrady
Indiana's a team that's not going to really look at free agency. They rely on draft picks and don't really have the money to get into free agency. They do have a bright future though, and perhaps bringing in Tracy McGrady to come off the bench for the Pacers will be a smart move.
McGrady's a veteran and he'll help the young players on the team in the locker room. He'll also be a solid player off the bench in limited minutes. The Pacers made the playoffs this year and would love to make it again next season. Signing McGrady at the right price will be a welcome addition for the Pacers.
Los Angeles Clippers: Kris Humphries
Now that Kris Humphries is marrying Kim Kardashian, there is no way he's going to stay in New Jersey. He needs to be under the spotlight. Quite frankly, he's not good enough to be on the Lakers, so he might as well go to the Clippers.
Humphries is great rebounder, averaging 10.2 rebounds and also 10 points per game. He shoots over 52 percent from the field. Having Humphries will help the Clippers on the glass and in the box office.
That is, until the inevitable divorce.
Los Angeles Lakers: Jose Juan Barea
If you can't beat 'em, overpay for them. Barea was unbelievable in the postseason and now that he has a ring, he's the type of player the Lakers would love to have on their team.
He will be a cheaper option than Chris Paul, yet he works very hard and he should provide the Lakers with energy that they lacked throughout the entire 2011 season.
Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol
This one's easy. Marc is a restricted free agent this summer. Memphis needs to make sure that he stays on the Grizzlies for years to come and perhaps ink him to a long-term deal.
He's the face of the franchise and without him, this year's magical run would not have been possible.
Miami Heat: Yao Ming
Big Three? How about Huge Four. If LeBron and D-Wade can persuade Yao Ming to take a huge pay cut to come to Miami and play limited minutes at the center position, it will make Miami the most dominant team in the NBA.
Yao is so injury-prone that there's no way his price will be that high. Besides, Miami could use some positive PR, and by getting Yao Ming they'll be getting the entire Chinese population on their side.
Even if he doesn't play the full season, Yao's presence in the playoffs may be enough to get Miami over the hump. How in the world will any team be able to defend this team?
Milwaukee Bucks: Peja Stojakovic
Coming off a championship year, Peja will be looking for a solid contract. Milwaukee would love to have him on their team because of his veteran leadership, championship experience and solid three-point shooting.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Anybody That Doesn't Resemble Darko Milicic
After shelling out millions of dollars to Darko Milicic last summer, it's best the Timberwolves just focus on the draft rather than the free-agent market. The only way Minnesota could sign someone relevant is if they massively overpay.
They have the second overall pick in the draft and they should just focus on that.
New Jersey Nets: Jamal Crawford
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov needs to surround Deron Williams with a good team if he wants him to stay next summer. Getting Jamal Crawford is a good step.
His scoring declined last season, but he's really the only viable option in this year's free agency. It won't be enough to win anything important, but at least it will show Deron Williams that the team is trying.
New Orleans Hornets: David West
David West has an early termination option and if he uses it, the Hornets absolutely must keep him on the team, especially if they want Chris Paul to stay in New Orleans.
They were competitive against the Lakers without him in this year's playoffs. Having him next year should help them a lot and perhaps even convince Paul to stick around in New Orleans.
New York Knicks: Carl Landry
Mike D'Antoni's teams don't play defense. Carl Landry does. He was absolutely stellar in the Hornets' loss to the Lakers in the playoffs. His defense helped force the series to six games. The Knicks could definitely use him.
New York is not known for its defense, especially with guys like Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, who play very little of it. Landry should help tighten things up for the Knicks on the defensive side.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Shane Battier
If there's one thing the Thunder lack, it's veteran leadership. The team is too young, and in crunch time it shows.
Shane Battier played a phenomenal series against the Thunder as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies this past spring. He will be a great addition for the Thunder in the locker room. He can focus on being a role player on a star-studded lineup which will facilitate his job.
Orlando Magic: Trade for Chris Paul
There really isn't anybody in the free-agent market that's going to keep Dwight Howard, and keeping him happy is the main priority this season. They want Superman to stay in Orlando.
The only way that will happen is if the Magic pull off a trade somehow for Chris Paul. That itself will be very difficult, because the Knicks and Lakers will be after Paul's services, too.
Philadelphia 76ers: Grant Hill
The Sixers are another young team that can use some veteran presence. Grant Hill could be an affordable option. He still shows he can play and with Phoenix struggling, Hill may want to go play for a playoff team.
Phoenix Suns: Shannon Brown
The Suns would love to bring in Shannon Brown's explosive play to the desert. Plus, he has played for the rival Lakers and could give them tidbits about certain Laker players' tendencies.
Portland Trail Blazers: Andrei Kirilenko
Portland is almost there. A good shooter like Andrei Kirilenko along with his veteran leadership could help the Blazers be more successful in the playoffs.
He can come off the bench and provide solid minutes for a team that has struggled to get out of the first round.
Sacramento Kings: Anthony Parker
At this point for the Kings, this is pretty much the only guy they're going to be able to get. They should focus on rebuilding from within and drafting well.
Sacramento has relocation concerns and their ownership issues will restrict them from doing much during the free-agency season.
San Antonio Spurs: Mario Chalmers
Chalmers is a restricted free agent, but he can provide a great youthful exuberance to an aging Spurs team. With Tony Parker aging, the Spurs can use Chalmers as a solid bench guy, then eventually part with Parker and have Mario as their starting point guard.
Toronto Raptors: Aaron Gray
Aaron Gray played very well off the bench for the Hornets in their series against the Lakers. The tall center could help the Raptors up front and give them a physical presence down low.
Utah Jazz: Kwame Brown
Utah already has a solid core of young players and some great draft picks after the Deron Williams trade. Getting Kwame Brown will make them stronger up front and make them harder to play against.
Despite being a bust in terms of a No. 1 overall draft pick, Brown is still a solid big who can give great minutes. He'll also come at an affordable price.
Washington Wizards: DeShawn Stevenson
DeShawn Stevenson won a title with the Mavericks this year and because of this his value has increased. He is a great defender and with Ted Leonsis as owner now, he will be seeking some solid, experienced players to supplement the young talent that the Wizards have.