2011 NBA Free Agency: David West Headlines the Best and Bargains
The 2011 NBA Free Agency can best be described as a “Bargain Shoppers Delight.”
There won’t be an over-the-top marketing pitch like “The Decision” amongst this year’s free agents, but rather we should expect a very judicious approach by team management as they look to add one or two solid contributors at a modest cost.
The CBA negotiations may postpone a frenzy of activity but the shrewd teams will waste no time, getting while the getting is good.
Here is a look at the best available free agent by position and the best bargain.
Best Point Guard: Andre Miller
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Andre Miller tops the list of best available point guards. Even though Miller is up in age, he is still capable of producing at a high level.
Miller averaged 14.8 points, 7 assists, 3.7 rebounds for the Portland Trail Blazers last season and seems quite capable of a repeat performance this season.
Bargain Point Guard: Rodney Stuckey
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The best bargain at point guard is Rodney Stuckey. The Detroit Pistons selected point guard Brandon Knight with their first overall pick. Could this be a preemptive move in the event another team attempts to pry Stuckey away?
Stuckey made $ 2.8 million last year while averaging 15.5 pts, 5.2 ast, 3.1 reb. He could easily earn upwards of $5 million to $7 million on another team in need of an all-around solid point guard.
Best Shooting Guard: Jamal Crawford
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Jamal Crawford headlines the list of available shooting guards.
If you need scoring at this position, Crawford is your man. Crawford has a great handle and is capable of averaging 20 points per game on the right team.
The Chicago Bulls seems like the perfect fit, but will the price be right?
Bargain Shooting Guard: Wilson Chandler
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Wilson Chandler is the bargain pick at shooting guard even though he is quite capable of playing small forward.
Chandler earned $2.1 million last year and is slated to earn $3.1 million this year. His ability to play multiple positions will be a huge draw for teams with cap space.
Will Denver be willing to match a $15 million over a three-year deal if proposed when J.R. Smith and Arron Afflalo are also on the free agent market?
Best Small Forward: Caron Butler
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Caron Butler was putting up All-Star numbers at the small forward position before his season-ending injury. Butler earned $10.8 million in the final year of his contract.
Will Cuban sign him to a new long-term contract, or will there be another suitor that presents an offer too difficult to refuse? Bet on the deep pockets of Mark Cuban keeping Butler in the fold.
Bargain Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince
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Tayshaun Prince has plenty of game left. He simply needs a fresh start elsewhere.
Has he reached that point in his career when money is not the driving force but rather the pursuit of a championship is?
If so, look for him to sign a modest contract on a contender this summer, thus making him a bargain at small forward.
Best Power Forward: David West
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David West has been one of the most underpaid power forwards for several years. That stands to change this offseason as he chose to opt out of the final year of his contract, thus becoming one of the best available free agents on the market this summer.
The two-time All-Star will be seeking a new contract and possibly a new home that will pay him more than $7.5 million a year.
Bargain Power Forward: Andrei Kirilenko
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Andrei Kirilenko finds himself in a similar situation as the aforementioned Tayshaun Prince in that he is a proven winner stuck on a team that is clearly in rebuilding mode.
Will he be willing take a much smaller slice of the pie in comparison to the ridiculous $17.8 million he earned last year to play on a contender?
If he is, then some lucky team will be on the receiving end of a real bargain.
Best Center: Nene
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Nene Hilario, the Brazilian native, had another strong showing in 2010, averaging 14.2 pts, 7.6 rbs per game.
He has proven himself to be one of the more durable centers in the league, only missing 12 games over the last three seasons.
At 28 years of age and in his NBA prime, Nene is the best center available.
Bargain Center: Marc Gasol
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The Memphis Grizzlies got their money's worth from Mark Gasol last season as he had a breakout performance in the playoffs averaging 15 pts and 11 rbs.
His stock is clearly on the rise and so should his salary. Gasol earned a modest $3.6 million last year. If he and his agent were to negotiate a new contract say, averaging $7 million a year, it would still be considered a bargain.