NBA Free Agents 2011: 10 Players Who Can Be Signed for a Bargain Value
In case you've been living under a rock for the past couple of months, the NBA has been locked out.
According to Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBPA, the NBA is likely to be locked out for the entire 2011-12 season.
In the faint hopes of there actually being an NBA season this year, it doesn't hurt to look at the 2011 Free Agent situation.
This is not the star studded free agent class of 2010, where superstars such as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all on the market, with all three signing with the Miami Heat.
Although this free agent class isn't one for the ages, it does contain a good amount of role players that can make key contributions for title chasing teams.
Players such as James Posey in the past, signed for less than their market value and ended up aiding their teams to championships by contributing as role players.
Before Posey signed with the Boston Celtics in 07-08, when they won the NBA Finals over the heavily favored LA Lakers, Posey had made at least 4.9 million dollars a year in his previous four seasons.
When he signed with Boston in 2007, he signed for a mere 3.2 million a year, much less than his market value indicated.
This article will list the "James Posey's" of the Free Agent Class of 2011...
SF Shane Battier
Speaking of James Posey, Battier is almost a clone of Posey, except maybe even better.
Battier can't create his own shot, he can't drive to the hoop. What he makes up for in his lack of ball handling skills is in his tremendous defense and his above average spot up three point shooting.
Battier was re-acquired in a mid-season trade with the Grizzlies. He helped lead them to the playoffs where they eventually upset the Number 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs in one of the biggest upsets in playoff history.
It was only the fourth time in NBA Playoff history that a Number 8 Seed defeated a Number 1 Seed.
Battier is a career 39 percent three point shooter and has averaged 9.6 points per game.
As a SF at 6-8, Battier typically has the size advantage and reach over many of the swingmen in the NBA.
When the competition toughens up in April, May and June, Battier is the perfect role player to have.
Battier made $7.4 million this year; it's unlikely at the age of 33 that he'll make that much in his next contract signing. Expect more in the range of 4-5 million a year either by the Grizzlies, or a contending team on the rise.
The Thunder is a definite possibility, as are the Mavericks if they lose Deshawn Stevenson.
SF Grant Hill
Grant Hill may be turning 39 soon.
But Hill is probably at his healthiest since the 1990's, when he was one of the top young players in the NBA.
Hill has played in at least 80 games in the last three seasons; the last time Hill did that, was from 95-98 with the Pistons.
He has expressed interest at the end of last season of re-signing with the Suns.
However, that interest can quickly change if the Suns express trading Steve Nash and ushering in a new era. This will leave Hill playing his last seasons in the NBA for a young, rebuilding squad.
Hill made $3.2 million dollars a year this year. He could command that much money once again from the Suns, but expect something along the lines of 1-2 million a year with a contender such as the Miami Heat.
Hill has transformed himself into an above average defender and can put up double digits in PPG as a fourth offensive option. Why not do it with a team such as the Miami Heat?
A contender that signs Hill will only benefit from the acquisition.
SF Tayshaun Prince
Notice the trend in this article so far relating to these Small Forwards? Every single one of them aren't superstars.
Although they're all well known commodities who have contributed to contending teams and have made these teams better with their individual skills.
Tayshaun Prince is another example of that.
Prince is the best defender so far on this list. He has the championship ring.
He has had the resume ever since he held Kobe Bryant to a little over 35 percent shooting in the 2004 NBA Finals; he's a four-time All-Defensive selection. Should I go on?
Prince is not going to make $11.1 million a year like he did last year with Detroit. Detroit might not even re-sign Prince, seeing as they want to start anew after the disastrous season last year with John Kuester.
Prince, if signed by contending team such as the Spurs, would prove his worthiness in the playoffs when matched up against superstar swingmen such as Kobe Bryant.
Prince is 6-9, is decent from three point range (37 percent) and can contribute 13-14 PPG as a third or fourth offensive option.
Tayshaun Prince would lift a team from "contender" to "winner" if in the right situation.
PF Kenyon Martin
This signing would be a bit of a risk because of Martin's creaky knees.
Martin has missed large parts of the past three seasons due to a variety of injuries and will be 34 by the end of the year.
Unlike Prince, Hill and Battier who have had rather healthy histories for the past three years and would likely to improve the contending teams that they play on, Martin is a large question mark.
When Martin does play, he provides good hustle and energy, sparking his teammates on the court in the process. Martin was once a high-octane player with a penchant for alley-oops, but since microfracture surgeries on both of his knees took away much of his athleticism, Kenyon now relies on hustle and his rebounding to make contributions.
K-Mart signed one of the largest contracts in NBA history during a sign and trade in the summer of 2004 when he was acquired by the Denver Nuggets from the New Jersey Nets. That contract finally expired this year after Martin made $16.5 million dollars, all while contributing 8.6 points per game.
Martin has made $108 million dollars in his career, has been an All Star and made it to two NBA Finals early on in his career as Jason Kidd's running mate. The only thing that lacks on K-Mart's resume is an NBA Championship.
Expect Martin to go the Jermaine O'Neal route this year and sign with a contender for maybe a couple of million a year, at the very most.
PF Reggie Evans
Reggie Evans made $5.1 million this past year with the Raptors and has made around that range for the better part of the past five seasons. Don't expect that to happen again this off-season.
Evans, at the age of 26 in 2006, had a high market value. He had made rebounding contributions for the 04-05 Supersonics team that went to the second round in the playoffs and the division winning Denver Nuggets of 05-06.
In 2006, he signed a big contract. Teams saw him as a poor man's version of Dennis Rodman, which basically best describes what Evans is.
Evans is not near the rebounder that Rodman was, but the comparison holds true because Rodman had no offensive and Evans has no offensive game.
Evans will only score points on putbacks and through hustle. He has no post game to speak of as a 6-8 PF.
Nonetheless, if you're a team that struggles with rebounding, Evans can be had for a bargain value.
Evans has been under the radar for the past four seasons, playing for trashy teams such as the 76ers and the Raptors while showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to rebounding the ball.
Evans can't play large minutes because his weaknesses will end up hurting his team if he's on the court too long. But if you need a spot starter or a guy who can contribute 20 hard minutes a night, Reggie Evans is the perfect guy for that.
SG Tracy McGrady
A lot of people will laugh at this listing because of McGrady's reputation for being a choke artist and for the fact that he's not even a shell of the player that was leading the league in scoring at the beginning of the century.
Although it's just not in McGrady's body to be that kind of scorer again, McGrady can still make valuable contributions to an NBA contender.
McGrady started half of last season for the Pistons after Kuester benched Rodney Stuckey, and McGrady actually was the team's starting PG.
McGrady showed that he could still control the tempo of a team with his ball handling skills. He contributed 8.0 PPG and was a decent caretaker.
A team such as the Miami Heat, who values washed up veterans that are willing to sign for the minimum, could be a worthy suitor for McGrady's services.
SG Arron Afflalo
I was hesitant to put Aaron Afflalo on this list because it looks like he'll re-sign with the Denver Nuggets. And it's not hard to see why the Nuggets want him back.
He was a stable starter at SG, averaging 13 PPG while shooting 50 percent from the field and 85 percent from the FT line.
Afflalo has yet to reach the age of 26 and seems to be improving with each NBA season under his belt.
Afflalo is the perfect role player. He knows his role, won't ever lose a game for a team and can be a valuable third or fourth offensive option while shooting a high percentage from the field and playing tough defense to go with that.
Afflalo made $2.0 million this past season with the Nuggets and is a restricted free agent. Afflalo has a $2.0 million qualifying offer on the table from the Nuggets.
SF Daequan Cook
Remember this guy?
Cook was riding high in 08-09 when he was shooting well from the arc, even winning the 3 Point Challenge on All Star Weekend while playing for the Miami Heat.
He shot 39 percent from the three point range that season. He's completely fallen off the radar since then.
Cook got traded to the Thunder last year and wasn't even a part of the rotation. He played in 43 games, didn't start any and played 14 minutes a game.
Cook made $2.2 million this past year and has a $3.1 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent.
Cook is 24 years old and should be entering the prime of his career. Cook is purely a spot up three point shooter and has limited qualities to contribute to a team.
But if you're a team that is in desperate need of three point shooting, such as the Lakers, it couldn't hurt signing Cook as a last resort, low-risk option.
PG Rodney Stuckey
Stuckey was supposed to be the guy that was going to lead the Detroit Pistons into a new era after Chauncey Billups departed.
He did lead them into a new era. Just not a very good one.
Stuckey had his fair share of problems with coach John Kuester and even got benched early on in the season for 31 year old Tracy McGrady.
Stuckey eventually worked his way back into the starting lineup. By all accounts, he's had a solid season statistically, with 15.5 PPG on 44 percent shooting.
Are there better PG's out there than Rodney Stuckey? Yes, a lot of them.
Is Stuckey a pure Point Guard? No, he's more of a combo guard at 6-5 that prefers to shoot and score rather than set up for other teammates.
The fact is he's only 25 years old. His market value seems to be pretty low right now after his benching and the piss-poor seasons that the Pistons have had since the trading of Billups.
Stuckey made $2.8 million this year and has a restricted free agent, has a $3.9 million qualifying offer.
Is there a good chance that Stuckey gets overpaid because of his age and scoring prowess? Yes.
Is there a good chance that Stuckey can be had for a bargain because of his benching and his lack of success playing on quality teams? Yes.
Only time will determine Stuckey's market value.
PG Aaron Brooks
Aaron Brooks was riding high in 2010 when he was named the Most Improved Player of the Year.
Brooks helped lead the Rockets with 19.6 PPG and leading them to an unexpected .500 season in the absence of their franchise player, Yao Ming.
Things change pretty quickly in the sports world and the NBA is no different.
The Rockets continued to have another mediocre season in 2011 and the bottom fell out. Brooks got traded mid-season to the Suns.
Because of Nash being the franchise centerpiece of the Suns, it left little playing time for Brooks. He played in 59 total games in 10-11 and only started 12 of them after being the best players on the Rockets in 2010.
Brooks is a restricted free agent who made $2.0 million last year and has a qualifying off of $3.0 million.
It's likely that Brooks leaves Phoenix for a better chance at starting and logging large minutes.
Brooks is in a similar situation as Stuckey.
Both are somewhat proven players on mediocre to bad teams. They're both young, as Brooks is only 26 years of age. Both also have to re-establish themselves in the NBA after having forgettable seasons in 2011.
Is Brooks your prototypical role player for a contending team at 6-0 and 161 pounds? No.
But if you need a guy who can be a potential sparkplug who has a legit resume in the NBA, basically a more skilled and disciplined version of Nate Robinson. Aaron Brooks can be that guy and it wouldn't cost your team any more than a $2 or $3 million a year.
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