If the 2011-2012 NBA season is cancelled, we are in for an absolute free agency frenzy next summer, which while interesting through our eyes, may serve as a major inconvenience for some of the members in this year's free agency class.
Players like Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler may seem enticing to many teams now, but what happens when you add other players like Danilo Gallinari and Eric Gordon to the mix? Increased competition is good for headlines, but bad for certain players' business.
While envisioning such a scenario may be getting ahead of the current situation, it remains a legitimate possibility, and is one current free agents will not take lightly. It's one thing to be faced with going a year without pay, but it's another to do that and then also face the prospect of your value deteriorating.
Should the 2011 and 2012 free agency classes be integrated, players poised for large pay-days this summer may find themselves in an entirely different situation next year. Players that teams consider too good to pass up, may suddenly find themselves taking a backseat to a different talent.
Here are 12 players who may see this harsh notion become an even harsher reality.
Andrei Kirilenko, while a very versatile small forward, will be hard-pressed to find a team willing to commit significant years and money to him this summer, let alone next summer.
Last season, Kirilenko averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. His defense is as solid as ever, but he has not been too much of a force on the offensive end the past few years.
The last time he averaged 15 or more points per game was back in the 2005-2006 season, but since then, his production on that end has dropped off.
Kirilenko already has to deal with the likes of David West, Troy Murphy, Kris Humphries, Carl Landry, Glen Davis and Kenyon Martin as competing unrestricted free agents, not mention restricted free agent Jeff Green.
Come 2012, restricted free agents Kevin Love and J.J. Hickson, as well as unrestricted veterans Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett get added to the mix. Even though some may be past their prime, they all would play a part in driving Kirilenko's stock down.
Additionally, should an integrated free agent class become a reality, Kirilenko will be 31 by that point, almost guaranteeing he will never return to his full form, something many organizations will consider.
The 2011 power forward free agent class is deep, and an integrated one next summer only increases that depth. And this is bad news for Kirilenko.
The 30-year-old, 6'11" Samuel Dalembert is the benefactor of a 2011 center free agent class that is not exactly latent with depth, contributing to a significant rise in his stock.
This year's class consists of players like Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Magloire, all of whom are way past their primes and unable to make a significant impact. As a result, Dalembert's 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season look pretty good.
However, not only are Dalembert's stats mediocre to begin with, but he achieved such production totals on a young Sacramento Kings team that did not have much direction, meaning they could have been slightly bolstered, rendering them completely unimpressive.
Dalembert is a defensive specialist, though, which is also a reason why he is likely to draw interest this summer, but what happens next summer when he is 31 and has Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman to compete with, all of whom are younger and more athletic?
And heck, if the Lakers still have/decline Andrew Bynum's team option, though unlikely, he could even enter the fold.
Dalembert's performance hasn't exactly turned heads at this point, but in a center-starved league, he is poised for a payday this summer.
However, next summer, an integrated free agency would provide plenty of other options, likely forcing Dalembert to take a contract that is worth as much as his potential contribution.
And that's not exactly good news for him.
Tayshaun Prince is arguably one of the five best small forwards available in this year's free agent market, but in an integrated free agency in 2012, he would be far from such a level.
The 31-year-old Prince averaged 14.1 points and 4.2 rebounds last season for the Detroit Pistons, a production level that was right in line and even slightly better than his career averages. He continued to take high-percentage shots and remained consistent from beyond the arc.
What also became evident, though, is that age was finally beginning to play a factor in Prince's performance. His veteran leadership will remain invaluable, but his only other significant attribute is scoring, and who knows how much longer he is going to be able to do that consistently?
Next summer, Prince will be 32, an age that may prevent teams from offering him a multi-year deal. His aging body will already force him to take a pay cut this year from the $11 million he made last season, but if an integrated free agency pool becomes a reality, it will be an even more substantial decrease than first anticipated.
Younger small forwards like Danilo Gallinari, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace and Chase Budinger will all be available, causing Prince's market to thin.
Prince's net worth to any team is already decreasing because of his age, yet a shallow talent level in the small forward free agency pool this year boosts it just a bit. An integrated free agency period will result in such a boost disappearing. And then some.
The Phoenix Suns may have picked up Aaron Brooks' qualifying offer, and he may be comfortable with his backup role there, but this will not stop other teams from coming into play for the 26-year-old point guard. Unless the season is cancelled.
Brooks averaged 10.7 points and 3.9 assists in 21.8 minutes per game last season with the Suns and Houston Rockets, displaying his ability to lead offensive sets effectively. His attitude does hinder his value somewhat, but not enough that teams would run in the other direction. Actually, this might not be true next summer.
Brooks may be a restricted free agent now, but if the NBA loses an entire season he becomes an unrestricted free agent along with Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Raymond Felton next summer. With players such as the former available, Brooks' name would certainly be pushed further down the docket.
Who is going to want to make a play for a mostly unproven, egotistical athlete when proven veterans, who are not that much older, are available? We cannot say no team will be interested, but no organization is likely to make a pitch to Brooks without first waiting for a resolution regarding the aforementioned players first.
Brooks has potential, but potential cannot beat proven, consistent ability, which is why his stock could plummet in an integrated free agency period. And it is also why that even if the lockout is resolved, Brooks would be better off signing a multiyear deal this summer, saving himself from next summer's potential heartache.
As far as player stocks go, Tyson Chandler's is pretty damn high after averaging 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, while helping the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA title. That being said, this could all change next summer.
At 7'1", Chandler will always have a market in this league, yet how wide of one is the question. If one year passes by, so could the desire to offer him a fat contract.
Teams, including the Mavericks, would almost certainly wait until Dwight Howard's situation is resolved before making any major signings at the center position.
And even after Howard, there are still the likes of Nene, Marc Gasol and fresh unrestricted free agent Chris Kaman, and restricted free agents Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez to factor in.
This goes beyond Howard and the other centers, though. Chandler may have had a solid season in 2010-2011, but whose to say he does it again? Over the course of his career, Chandler has fluctuated in the types of numbers he puts up, and an entire season removed from the NBA, who knows what kind of production he will yield?
Additionally, at that point in time, Chandler would be 29 going on 30, which is a dreaded number for many NBA athletes. Once a team sees that milestone approaching, hesitancy ensues, often resulting in multiple years and millions of dollars being withheld in negotiations.
Chandler is no doubt an appealing addition to many teams right now, but one year down the road, his stock has the potential to take a big hit.
Caron Butler got off to quite a start for the Dallas Mavericks this past season, averaging 15 points, 4.1 rebounds and one steal in under 30 minutes for the first 29 games, but a knee injury ended his season there.
Butler was a devastating loss for the Mavs, having emerged as one of the more consistent shooters on the team. He helped relieve some of the scoring burden off of Dirk Nowitzki's shoulders and proved he could go up against the best of the league's small forwards.
Even after winning a title without Butler, Dallas still remains interested in bringing him back, but they will have competing offers from other teams in desperate need of instant offense.
Butler is 31, and if he doesn't gain the opportunity to explore his options until 2012, his stock will have dropped drastically. He will not only be one year older, but won't have played in an NBA game in over a year and half. And this will be a major concern for interested teams, including the Mavs.
Butler's season may have come to an early end, but right now, his early performance could prove to be enough to convince teams to shell out some major cash in exchange for his offensive prowess. One year from now though, this probably won't be true.
T.J. Ford's stock has already taken a tremendous hit with his lukewarm performance over the past couple of years, and if this NBA lockout leads to a cancellation of an entire season and an integrated free agency, he is in trouble.
Ford put up 5.4 points and 3.4 assists in 41 games for the Indiana Pacers last season, numbers that pale in comparison to the 14.9 points and 5.3 assists he averaged just two seasons earlier.
In Ford's defense though, he did not play as nearly many minutes, as Indiana preferred Darren Collison to handle the point-guard duties. That being said, two subpar seasons may be hard to recover from.
Currently, teams like the Miami Heat will show a strong interest in Ford, but even that could change looking toward next summer. No, not every team will be able to afford to make a push for Deron Williams and Chris Paul, but Raymond Felton could prove to be an affordable option for teams.
And then there are rival 2011 free agents Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Brooks, who will be unrestricted free agents by this time. Both are younger and coming off of better stretches than Ford.
An integrated free agency period next summer does not mean Ford will not find a new home, but with the plethora of talent that would be available at the point-guard position it does mean his market of interest will be smaller, decreasing any negotiating leverage he may have, continuing the cold streak he is currently on.
Kenyon Martin is a free agent that I personally believe teams should stay away from, and while many may disagree now, it could become a reality with an integrated free agency period next summer.
Martin is 33, injury prone and not nearly as big a presence in the low post as he used to be. Last season, in 48 regular season games, Martin averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, not exactly worth the $16.5 million the Denver Nuggets were paying him.
This summer, players like David West, Troy Murphy, Carl Landry, Glen Davis, Jeff Green and Kris Humphries are all likely to draw more interest than Martin.
If this year's class gets integrated with next year's, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, J.J. Hickson and Brandon Bass will all help push Martin's name even further down the docket.
An integrated free agency class not only means more players to choose from, but it also means Martin will be 34 and an entire season removed from NBA play. Does that sound enticing? No, and while he will still draw some interest, teams will no longer be forced to pay for his name.
This summer, we likely won't hear it, but if this free agency carries over to next summer, the words "veteran's minimum" may become a concept that Martin has to get used to.
If the NBA lockout results in the 2011 and 2012 free agency classes being integrated, expect to see a similar reaction as pictured above from Rodney Stuckey. Only this time, it will be more dramatic and last a whole lot longer.
In a point-guard market that is void of incredible talent, Stuckey's 15.5 points, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game seem breathtaking.
How would his production look next summer alongside Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Raymond Felton and Steve Nash, as well as restricted free agents Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose? Certainly not as impressive.
This summer, Stuckey's scoring abilities could help him land a pretty big payday, whether it be from the Detroit Pistons or another team. Next year though, his talent will pale in comparison to many, and teams will not be as apt to throw money at the then 26-year-old.
Stuckey will almost certainly draw interest from multiple teams if we cross that juncture next summer, especially from the ones who do not have the cap room to make a push for any of the top-tier level point guards.
However, much of Stuckey's leverage in the negotiating process would be gone. Presently, he can say he is a top-three point guard on the market, but come next summer that is not a reality he is going to be able to boast.
And for some reason being a top 15 available point guard just doesn't carry the same weight.
Jason Richardson is no longer the prolific, high-flying shooting guard we grew to embrace, but he still does provide instant offense. Unfortunately, that's about all he brings to the table.
When Richardson was at the top of his game, his defensive and decision-making deficiencies often went overlooked because he was putting up points in bunches and in an extremely flashy manner.
However, his days of hiding behind his vertical leaping ability are over, and his stock has already taken a considerably large hit because of this.
Last season, with the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, Richardson averaged 15.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, stellar numbers, but not in line with his career averages.
His knees are not what they used to be and it became rapidly apparent that he would be soaring through the air with much less frequency.
All this aside though, Richardson is not afraid to shoot the ball, and the instant offensive punch he provides is likely to entice multiple teams.
However, looking ahead to a potentially integrated free agency period in 2012, Richardson's value does not look as promising. Currently, whichever team signs Richardson is likely going to overpay him. Will he get the $14.4 million he commanded this season?
Hopefully not, but never say never. If his free agency gets pushed back to 2012 though, even his name and past accolades will not be enough to warrant any kind of heavy payday.
Richardson will be 31 next summer, and one year removed from the NBA, and while every other player will find themselves in similar situations in regards not having played in the league for a year, there will be even more options at the shooting guard position, most of whom will be younger, for teams to choose from.
Evan Turner, Gerald Henderson, OJ Mayo and even Landry Fields are all other players that teams may set their sights on. Additionally, in terms of veteran-level instant offense, Ray Allen will enter the fold, and while he is older than Richardson, he is more consistent.
This summer, Richardson is poised for a not-so-lucrative, yet still substantial payday. In an integrated summer of 2012, though, such a luxury would not be one he could look forward to.
DeAndre Jordan is one of the younger, more athletic centers of this year's free agency class, and having shown flashes of coming into his own last season, the restricted free agent is poised to draw some serious interest from other teams.
Jordan averaged a solid 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game last season, emerging as a capable low-post player to pair along with Blake Griffin. And with this year's free agency pool latent with age, and not talent, Jordan looks pretty impressive.
However, what if we add players like Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman to the fold? Is he still as enticing to teams? Not exactly.
While Jordan had a solid season, he is still relatively unproven and one season removed from the NBA could hinder further development, as well as the likelihood of teams investing big money in the now 23-year-old.
Currently, Jordan can cash in on his potential because of the shallow center pool, but an integrated free agency deepens the pool significantly.
Additionally, teams may even prefer to go after proven power forwards like Kevin Love and Tim Duncan over an unproven center.
Jordan may have a mountain of potential that could propel him to a large payday as a result of a bidding war this summer, but should this drag on until next summer, it will be a different story.
One that Jordan won't want to read.
After averaging 14.2 points and 3.2 assists per game off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks, and improving his reputation as a lights-out shooter, the 31-year-old Jamal Crawford is bound to draw some major interest from multiple teams that could result in a lucrative contract.
That being said, such a lucrative contract may not be on the table if this gets pushed to next summer. Crawford would then be 32 and facing doubts as to whether he could still perform at a high level.
Even with his impressive performance last season, Crawford's shot selection was murky, and while he did show some improvement, most become set in their ways and almost incapable of change at his age.
Maybe Crawford is the exception, though. Maybe his in-game intelligence will continue to rise and he will continue to put up numbers in line with his career averages of 15.4 points and 3.9 assists per game. Maybe he will continue to shoot 35 percent from beyond the arc. Maybe he will remain a threat to score 40-plus points on any given night.
Or maybe not.
One thing is for sure though, with younger players like Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, Evan Turner, Gerald Henderson and Landry Fields on the market, teams will not be as apt to take a chance to find out what he can still do. Or at the very least, will not be as willing to pay as much to find out.
This summer, Crawford is arguably the best, most athletic shooting-guard available. In an integrated free agency period next summer though? Not so much.
You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @DannyFavs2033.