The free agents available for the 2011-12 season at the center position include some particularly attractive names for teams with obvious voids in the middle.
There is going to be a lot of teams looking for an emphatic upgrade at the position before the campaign gets underway, and there's little doubt that we could see some exciting player movement.
Going forward, several clubs are going to have to evaluate how their preferred target(s) might fit into the long-term picture, and it's going to be more important than ever for decision makers to make the right move.
Fesenko is an unrestricted free agent, and after failing to make his presence on the court felt during his first four seasons with the Jazz, it's probably time for this big man to move on.
Despite possessing legitimate size, Fesenko has fallen down the depth chart considerably now that the team rosters Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur and Enes Kanter.
His best chance at making an impact is with another team.
Ajinca has been a serious disappointment since being drafted 20th overall by Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats back in 2008, and he has been with three clubs in just four seasons.
He's probably going to find a nibble or two as a center at the end of the bench given that he's just 23 years old and stands seven feet tall, but he really hasn't shown much to indicate that he can be a real contributor.
Elson is a veteran center who has bounced around the league and played with six different teams, but he should continue to draw interest as a player with size and a ton of experience.
He'll come extraordinarily cheap for a team looking to boost the end of the bench, and it wouldn't be surprising if he has more clubs clamoring for him than some could imagine.
Battie brings his professional approach to any team he joins, and there's a reason that he's been in the league since being the fifth overall pick back in 1997.
He was seldom used by Philadelphia last season so it's unlikely he'll be back with that club, but he could certainly help a young team like the Indiana Pacers, who need for a veteran big man capable of playing 10-15 minutes per night.
Mbenga spent last season with the Hornets, but there's been no indication that New Orleans is seeking to retain him, and it's probable that he'll be playing with a different jersey on next season.
He's truly an illustration of how important size is in the league considering he offers absolutely nothing offensively, but he'll likely get the veteran's minimum to sit on the end of some team's bench that's desperate to build depth on the front line.
Dampier didn't do much outside of sit on Miami's bench last season despite the team's obvious need for contributions at center, and that's a bad sign for what his future might hold.
He's going to have to settle for a similar role with whatever team he latches onto next, but given the lack of quality centers floating around the league, it's hard to imagine Dampier getting nothing to his liking.
Thomas is probably better known by some fans for his work during the recent lockout negotiations rather than his on-court contributions, but those certainly shouldn't be minimized.
He's a smart player who can really help a team as a mentor for a young and talented starting center.
It wouldn't be shocking to see him get a contract worth slightly more than the veteran's minimum due to how many teams need help in the size department.
Foster has spent his entire career with the Pacers, and it's hard to imagine him moving on considering the team is going to need a veteran backup center behind Roy Hibbert.
At 34 years old, it certainly shouldn't take more than the veteran's minimum for the two parties to come together on an agreement, and it would be awfully strange to see him in any other uniform.
Thomas is still contributing at 39 years old, and he played a very important role for the Chicago Bulls last season due to injuries in the team's frontcourt.
In 37 games as a starter, Thomas showed that he can still be relied upon to produce by averaging 7.4 rebounds and a block per game, and he's going to be one of the most coveted veteran centers on the open market for clubs looking to add depth.
Przybilla is a really interesting name for teams in need of a center because of consistent issues with his knees, but he's a defensive-minded player who is likely to come at a very reasonable cost.
He'd fit a number of clubs looking for some help inside including Boston, San Antonio and New York, as he's probably looking at a one-year contract in an effort to help rebuild some of his stock around the league.
Brown enjoyed some success in Charlotte last season as the starting center, but it would be a mistake for any interested team to commit to him for longer than just a season.
He's a player who will likely have to take a one-year "prove it" type of contract to illustrate that his contributions last season weren't a fluke, and he's already been linked to the Knicks as potential landing spot.
Oden has played in just 82 regular-season games over a four-year span, and that's an eye-popping statistic to fathom for those clubs that might be interested in taking a gamble.
Oden's agent seems to think that his client will be back in Portland, as the Trail Blazers chose to extend him an $8.8 million qualifying contract offer prior to the lockout, and that's a salary he's highly unlikely to claim anywhere else.
Gray could wind up being the largest value of available big men considering he's unlikely to land a lucrative multi-year contract, and he showed signs in New Orleans that he can definitely contribute in the right lineup.
As a starter, Gray averaged 6.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play, and he could make for a very effective solution for a team looking to fill a void in the starting lineup in a frugal manner.
He'll be just 27 years old when the season kicks off, and that's relatively youthful compared to some other veterans in the market.
Hawes was the 10th overall pick in 2007 out of Washington, but he's failed to live up to his draft slot despite coming into the league with considerable hype around him.
Despite starting 81 games for the Sixers last season, Hawes registered just 7.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and didn't even average one block per game, so if the team is going to match an offer he receives (he's a restricted free agent), it's going to have to be a reasonable one.
Dalembert is going to be at the forefront of the list for several teams targeting a defensive-minded center, and he's already got suitors lined up for his services before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is even put into ink.
The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks have been identified as options by Dalembert, but he's already said that joining the Miami Heat would be "fantastic" and there's thought to be interest on Miami's side as well.
Hayes isn't going to draw interest as a center for several teams because he's just 6'6", but he showed that he can be an effective starter in the middle for Houston last season by averaging 8.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in that exact role.
He would need to play alongside a power forward with some serious size and who is a capable source of rebounds, but there's no doubt he could definitely provide value and should be able to net at least a two-year deal.
Jordan is in line for a major pay raise as a restricted free agent, and although several teams are going to be interested in signing him to an offer sheet, it's really difficult to imagine the Clippers choosing not to match any deal he garners.
His role for Los Angeles next season (assuming he is re-signed) will depend on Chris Kaman getting injured (again) or being dealt out of town, but the team clearly views Jordan as the long-term answer alongside Blake Griffin in an insanely athletic frontcourt.
Chandler had arguably the best season of his career during his first season in Dallas, and after looking like the missing link to lead the Mavericks to a title, he's in line to cash in with a huge contract.
Whatever team winds up signing Chandler will likely regret handing him the enormous annual salary he's likely to command.
However, as one of the premier big men available and after demonstrating the ability to remain healthy for a full season, he's going to have no shortage of teams looking to sign him to a deal.
Nene is viewed as a power forward by some teams, but he's played center for the Nuggets over the last few seasons and has had no trouble filling that role.
He's viewed as the one of, if not the best big man on the free agent market.
Gasol is a near lock to return to Memphis as a restricted free agent, as there's just no chance the Grizzlies will let him walk out with an opportunity to match any offer he receives.
He's gone on the record stating that he'd like to re-sign with the Grizzlies, and despite the lucrative extensions the club has recently handed out, Memphis shouldn't have trouble retaining him, as there is plenty of cap space available.