NBA Free Agency 2011: 10 Free Agents and the Teams Where They Would Fit Well
With the NBA lockout still going on, basketball fans are just aching for the league to get it together.
They want to see their teams build toward their ultimate goal, a NBA Championship.
Since the lockout is going on, free agents are not able to sign any contracts with teams. However, that doesn't stop us from speculating where the top free agents could end up.
This offseason doesn't provide the pizazz of players like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer or Amare Stoudemire (wow, that really was a ridiculous class), but there are still many solid building pieces that will be free.
The CBA could potentially change the way contracts are and the salary cap works, so these are determined based on how the current CBA works. Most importantly, the use of luxury tax when a team goes above the cap.
Under the current CBA, these ten free agents would fit best with these ten teams.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Word is, Mario Chalmers is out in Miami.
He could find himself a Los Angeles Laker. This is why.
If the Lakers do decide to go with another option besides Derek Fisher, Chalmers would be a relatively cheap option for an experienced player with true point guard skills.
Fisher is a fixture in Los Angeles, but he is getting old. The lockout is not helping his case either. Chalmers may have to take a bench role at first, but he could develop into a starting point guard with the Lakers considering Fisher only has so much time left.
I don't think Chalmers will be demanding big money, but with his playoff experience, he could be a serious asset to a team in need of his position.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Grant Hill just won't seem to go away. I am fine with that, though, because I love his play.
At this point in his career, I can't imagine Hill wanting to make a move. So I expect him to return to Phoenix.
Phoenix poses the best option for Hill because they don't really have a small forward ready to take over. With him and Steve Nash, the Suns will keep two pieces that have been consistent with the team for years.
I don't see Hill having many years left, but I do see him finishing his career with the Suns.
Hill will likely not demand huge money, so the Suns will have a chance to fill in the pieces elsewhere.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Even though he is a restricted free agent, I could see the Chicago Bulls offering Afflalo a pretty good sized contract. Now depending on what the CBA says, the Nuggets are currently far below the cap.
If the Bulls do see Afflalo as their answer at the shooting guard spot, owner Jerry Reinsdorf is not shy about opening his checkbook to pay the luxury tax if it is for a good reason.
I think Afflalo is a good reason to open it up. Afflalo does not put up incredible numbers, but he could be the perfect fit for the Bulls system. At 6'5", Afflalo offers good size at the two position, especially considering the Bulls' small roster.
The Nuggets do of course have the option to retain Afflalo, but I expect to see the Bulls to sign Afflalo to an offer sheet. We will have to see if the Nuggets pay up.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
"Big Baby" Glen Davis will be back in Boston next year.
This is another age-related issue. Kevin Garnett only has so much time left, but Davis has shined when he has subbed in for Garnett.
I also don't see Davis fitting in with many teams; whereas the Celtics' system has worked for him in the past.
The Celtics parted with big body Kendrick Perkins last season, bringing in Jeff Green. The Celtics saw how losing that mass affected their defense in the post.
Davis will fill that gap. Especially with the Perkins move, one would assume that the Celtics were more interested in keeping Glen Davis around for years to come.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jamal Crawford has been a solid bench player for the Atlanta Hawks, but perhaps he could be looking to crack the starting line up like he had during his Chicago days.
Where could Crawford do this?
The Milwaukee Bucks could become a dangerous team with the addition of Crawford. With a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Bucks' potential line up could be Brandon Jennings, Crawford, Stephen Jackson, Drew Gooden and Bogut. Drew Gooden is not as high-profiled as the rest of these guys, but he is a solid role player and has played that role to perfection in the past.
With the addition of Crawford, and perhaps another power forwarded to start ahead of Gooden, the Milwaukee Bucks could be the threat that teams thought they were going to be.
They have the pieces in place, and the addition of Crawford may be the final piece for the Bucks to finally become relevant again.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Yes, the Memphis Grizzlies just acquired Shane Battier mid last season, but they are about to hand out a huge contract to Marc Gasol. I can't imagine the Grizzlies spending money on Battier, especially with the potential Gasol deal and the return of Rudy Gay.
Well, there is a team that is short on small forwards. That would be the Charlotte Bobcats.
After trading Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, the Bobcats are short of a serious player at small forward. They are short of a serious veteran presence, too
With rookie point guard Kemba Walker, Shane Battier would be a solid veteran option to pair with the young UConn guard.
Battier has changed teams many times, and I expect him to be changing teams once again this offseason.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tyson Chandler really has not been that good over the years, but he sure showed up in Dallas this last season. It is not even that Chandler won a championship, but he actually looked like the player that people expected him to be.
Chances are, the Mavericks are going to try and retain Chandler for next season. I see Chandler ending up elsewhere, though.
A combination of Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire down low in New York would put the Knicks over the top. Amare is not known for his defense, so he would really benefit by having Chandler at his side.
Amare, Chandler and Carmelo Anthony would be a pretty good core for the New York Knicks. I know the Knicks' fans, and perhaps their management, want to target a high profile point guard. Perhaps, though, going after a player like Chandler would be a better move.
What is the point in adding a guy like Chris Paul to a duo of Anthony and Stoudemire? All three need the ball, a lot. Amare and Carmelo are OK, but I think Chris Paul would put them over the top in touches.
The Knicks are better off going after a true point guard, like a Tony Parker who won't be demanding such a huge contract in 2012 or acquire him via trade. The Knicks do have Chauncey Billups, but we will have to see how he shows up next season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A restricted free agent this offseason, Greg Oden, the injury-plagued center, has yet to really play since being drafted back in 2007.
I think the Blazers are ready to move on from Oden, as all they see is a huge mistake everyday. I think Oden has all the potential, but it is just sad how much injuries has brought him down.
A guy who won't be afraid to give Oden a shot is GM Pat Riley. Taking on Oden will be a huge risk, as it is essentially a coin flip if he will be good to go or not, but could you imagine a healthy Oden with the Big Three? That would be scary.
If Oden realizes he is not worth much because of his history, he perhaps will sign an offer sheet with the Heat. The question is if Portland will be reluctant to let their past draft pick go. Oden has made plenty of money just riding the bench, so perhaps with limited life in the NBA, he may decide the quickest route to a ring will suit him best.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Jason Richardson may be heading elsewhere this offseason, so who better to replace him with then essentially a younger version of him.
J.R. Smith would fill the gaping hole left at shooting guard if the Magic and Richardson part ways. Smith has pretty good range, and he can get to the rim and make big plays happen down there.
The Magic need to do whatever they can to keep Dwight Howard from wanting to leave, so the luxury tax is not a problem. They payed $14 million for J.J. Reddick last year, so I don't see them holding back on J.R. Smith.
The one piece that stands in the way of Smith is Gilbert Arenas and his $20 million contract. The Magic might not find it feasible to go out and spend more money, but perhaps J.R. Smith will take a pay cut to have a shot at a ring.
That seems unlikely though, since he is one of the bigger names in the pool. As previously mentioned though, the Magic are not afraid to pay a little extra to the NBA to get what they need.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Houston Rockets finally made it official, and they lost their primary scorer in Yao Ming.
With Ming's retirement, the Rockets are going to be looking to fill their low post scorer role.
Hence David West.
The Rockets did acquire Hasheem Thabeet, but he is not going to put up the numbers on offense. Thabeet will replace the size they lost with Yao, but adding a player like David West will fill in for the lost scoring.
The Rockets do have Jordan Hill, but the former Arizona Wildcat just has never shown to be the dominant player he was in college.
West has floated around 20 points per game for the last six seasons, so he has proven that he can be a reliable scorer. Considering the mess in New Orleans, it is very likely David West will be on the move.