NBA Free Agency 2011: Players Each Team Hopes to Keep and Add in the Offseason
At the conclusion of the 2011-12 NBA season, free agency will be the talk of the basketball world. This year's free-agent class isn't as hyped as last season's unit or even next season's group for that matter.
Even though this season's class doesn't have a superstar, that doesn't mean it's not important. Role players mean as much to the big teams as stars mean to the small teams. Adding a Lamar Odom or Rasheed Wallace to your roster can result in a NBA Championship.
Kobe Bryant knows what it's like to be a free agent. After the 2003-04 season in which the Los Angeles Lakers were stunned by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, Bryant entered the free-agent conversation. Oddly enough, Bryant's other top candidate was the Los Angeles Clippers, his current team's in-city rival.
Bryant chose to stay with the Lakers then, and he did so again in 2010 by signing an extension.
Another superstar that tested the waters of free agency was LeBron James, and he may have been the most sought after free agent in the history of the NBA this past summer. Plenty of teams with proper cap space made runs for James, but he ended up signing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.
Here's a rundown of a player each team should maintain and one they should pick up from free agency.
**This list only includes players that are free agents this year, so Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are not included.
Keep Jamal Crawford:
Crawford is averaging 14 points and 30 minutes per game without a start this season. He's the third-highest paid player on the team at over $10 million this season.
Crawford is part of a guard-heavy unit that can score on the opposition from the perimeter. The Hawks shouldn't pay Crawford as much as he enters his 12th season in the league. They also shouldn't let a scoring talent like Crawford leave if they want to win now.
Add Samuel Dalembert:
Dalembert would be a good fit for the Hawks, who like smaller, athletic big guys. He may not start, but like Crawford, could provide a spark off the bench. Dalembert is a strong defender and a solid rebounder. He would be able to provide sufficient relief for Al Horford.
Or the Hawks could be bold and start Dalembert at center and move Horford over to power forward. They could then bring Marvin Williams off the bench as North Carolina did with Williams when he was a freshman. The addition of Dalembert would greatly strengthen their big-man rotation.
Keep Jeff Green:
The Boston Celtics may have made a mistake in terms of their chances this year by dealing Kendrick Perkins. However, Jeff Green can be a great player in this league and in terms of future impact, they may have gotten a steal.
With the core of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett aging quickly, Green will soon be thrust into a much bigger role. With Rajon Rondo on his side, Green can easily average 20 points a game. He has been shooting well in Boston, and can be an All-Star caliber player for Boston a few years down the road.
Add DeAndre Jordan:
The Celtics are pretty much set for now. It's hard to imagine adding another player to their roster because, when they're healthy, they have a pretty big rotation. DeAndre Jordan would be a move for the future of the Celtics.
This year, Jordan was paid less than $1 million and he's done pretty well as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan is a young talent in this league and could be the center of the future for the Celtics. He could develop behind the likes of Kevin Garnett and possibly Shaquille O'Neal.
Keep Kwame Brown:
The Charlotte Bobcats seem to have accepted Kwame Brown's role on their team. Although Brown will never be the outstanding prep-to-pro player that he was expected to be, he can still be a better-than-average center for them.
Brown fits the athletic mold that the Bobcats have made their standard. If he commits to sharpening up his offensive skills and adds a 10-foot jump shot, they would be more likely to keep him.
Add Caron Butler:
The Bobcats need a small forward to replace Gerald Wallace. Butler is not the same type of player as Wallace, but he's more fundamentally sound. Butler can shoot the ball better and is used to being a team's second or third option.
With Stephen Jackson's love of hoisting shots, a small forward that demands shots would not mesh well. With Butler, the Bobcats would be adding a player that doesn't force shots and can readily distribute the ball.
This only works if the Bobcats are willing to let a bunch of their other unrestricted free agents go—which they should be.
Keep no one:
The Chicago Bulls could lose Kurt Thomas, Brian Scalabrine and Rasual Butler to free agency this season. None of these players serve a significant enough role on the time for them to be re-signed.
The trio of players combine for just over 30 minutes a game, most of which is served by Thomas. Thomas saw some starts at center while Joakim Noah was hurt. Other than that stretch, these players have been relatively insignificant this season.
Add Grant Hill:
The Bulls could use a veteran backup for Luol Deng and Grant Hill would serve two purposes in Chicago. First and foremost, he would be a veteran addition to the extremely young team. Secondly, he would be a mentor for Deng at the position.
Hill possesses a great knowledge of the game and he would be able to pass on some of that basketball IQ to Deng.
The Bulls could also choose to get a backup center. As they are now, Noah has to log a lot of minutes because Thomas isn't the best of reserves. Thomas is playing on old legs and isn't as effective as he once was.
Keep Ryan Hollins:
Since Ryan Hollins entered the league in 2006, he has yet to find a true home. The seven-footer has incredible ups and quite the upside. Hollins has had his fair share of highlights in the NBA thus far.
The main thing keeping Hollins from breaking through is his weight. At 240 pounds, Hollins gets bullied around in the paint, and his upper body could use some definite work. The Cleveland Cavaliers, however, have been using Hollins more in March. He even saw 30 minutes of action in one contest for the first time since the preseason.
Add J.R. Smith:
The Cavaliers can use a pure scorer in their lineup. Some may argue that Antawn Jamison is that type of player, but his career is nearing its end. Smith is a one-dimensional player, but when that part of his game is working, it's a beautiful thing to watch.
Smith is an incredible athlete, as proven by his dunk contest performance and 360 highlights. He can shoot the lights out when he's feeling it and that's something the Cavs could use right now. The problem with this scenario is his attitude and selfishness with the ball.
There is the potential that Smith might not mesh with the team in Cleveland.
Keep Caron Butler:
While Butler is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks understand the worth of Butler to their team. When Butler went down with injury, some people felt like the Mavericks lost their reputation as title contenders. That's how good Butler is.
The Mavericks were 21-7 with Butler before his injury. Butler can score without shooting too much and plays above-average defense. He is also the type of player to accept whatever role a team has for him. He was arguably a top option in Washington and a third option in Los Angeles.
Butler is the type of player to keep his mouth shut and do what's asked of him—sometimes more.
Add Shelden Williams:
The Mavericks need to get a serviceable power forward to take some minutes off Dirk Nowitzki's legs. They need a player that will work his tail off while he's in the game and not complain about minutes.
If anybody knows about playing hard when he's in the game and not complaining it's Shelden Williams. He was a star at Duke, but came into the league with experience at center and the physique and height of a power forward. Williams fights for boards on each possession and has a great passion for the game.
If the Mavericks want Nowitzki to last as long as he can, they need a player like Williams to split minutes with him.
Nene is the heart and soul of the Denver Nuggets, bringing intensity to the floor each night and making opponents earn points down low. When Carmelo Anthony bolted for New York, the Nuggets didn't skip a beat.
Nene and company played just as hard while the tried to understand the new system and players. Nene is still not a big-time scorer for the Nuggets, but he's a high-energy player. The Nuggets are a more balanced team without Carmelo and other teams are having a hard time figuring out who to key on.
Add David West:
The Nuggets would be smart to let Kenyon Martin go and aim for a player like David West.
Although West just went down with a season-ending knee injury, the Nuggets should not lose interest as he was averaging a shade under 20 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field.
West would pair up with Nene well and the Nuggets have a surplus of guards to sort through. If the Nuggets choose wisely, they could have one of the scarier backcourts in the NBA next year.
With new additions Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, the Nuggets could be the surprise team of next season—leaving Denver fans saying Carmelo who?
Keep Rodney Stuckey:
Rodney Stuckey has proven his worth in a Detroit Pistons uniform.
He's shown how quick he is around the court with a scoring point guard's mentality. He still needs to work on his assist-to-turnover ratio, but that's something that will improve if he gets better players around him.
Currently, the Pistons are paying Stuckey less than $4 million a year. Stuckey will likely look to up that, and there are teams out there willing to offer the restricted free agent more than that. Stuckey is set to run the Pistons back to the playoffs, but they are not ready quite yet.
Add Shannon Brown:
Shannon Brown doesn't have much of a role with the Lakers right now as playing behind Kobe Bryant doesn't allow for many minutes or opportunities. However, Brown may be one of the most athletic shooting guards in the NBA.
Brown can sky through the air and get down the floor with incredible quickness. Brown has slowly been improving his jump shot to make himself a dual threat in the league and the Pistons could use a young, upstart player to take over for Richard Hamilton who is on the downside of his career.
Hamilton and Ben Gordon are locked in long contracts though, so they would need to be moved for this to work out.
Golden State Warriors
Keep Al Thornton:
Al Thornton hasn't been a member of the Golden State Warriors for too long, but he's been impressive so far. Not too far removed from Florida State, Thornton is still growing in the NBA. He's not at the level he was as a Los Angeles Clipper, but he's also not seeing the same minutes.
Thornton could be the type of player that keeps the guard-oriented Warriors from shooting too many outside shots. He's a strong player that scores in the post and if the Warriors want to win more games, they need to slow down their offense some and get the ball down low.
This will keep from constant long rebounds that leave them vulnerable to transition offense.
Add Tyson Chandler:
To further the transition to a more well-rounded offense, the Warriors could use another post presence. Chandler would be a huge improvement in the center over Andris Biedrins.
Chandler is a muscular post player who has helped the Mavericks try and shake their reputation for being "soft." He is a better rebounder than most people give him credit for and gives the Warriors more potential for blocked shots.
Keep Yao Ming:
The Houston Rockets aren't ready to give up on the former No. 1 pick just yet. Yao Ming was supposed to be a sensation, but injuries have kept him from progressing in the NBA. Every time people think he's about to take the next step towards stardom he gets hurt.
Yao is still an intimidating presence because of his height and the Rockets would be crazy to let him go elsewhere. He has the height advantage every time he takes the floor, making his shots tough to block. The Rockets have built a team that can win without Yao. Imagine what they can do with him.
Add no one:
The Rockets are actually a pretty deep team. They have an abundance of undeveloped talent on their bench with players like Terrence Williams, Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. They'd be best off focusing on developing these players.
Rather than blitzing the free-agent market and overpaying for a player they don't really need, the Rockets can just breed from within. Williams can play, as he showed in Louisville. Hill is a physical specimen from Arizona. Thabeet is an extremely talented defender with a very choppy offensive skill set.
The Rockets may have what they need on their bench, they just need to get these players some game experience. Now might be a good time to start.
Keep Josh McRoberts:
Surprise, surprise. Josh McRoberts is yet another player from Duke that knows how to play the game. McRoberts is an extremely athletic, 6'10" forward for the Indiana Pacers. This year, McRoberts has seen 51 of his 54 career starts and he's made the best of them.
He can usually be found finishing alley-oops because of his athleticism. McRoberts can shoot the ball very well and is capable of putting it on the floor. He's beginning to eclipse former Duke great Mike Dunleavy, Jr. for the best Blue Devil on the team.
Add Chuck Hayes:
If the Rockets re-sign Yao, they will not really have much use for Hayes. Hayes has proven he can do a lot of things people didn't think he could down low. Other than his mid-range shooting ability, Hayes is a pretty complete player.
Hayes could play some relief minutes and give advice here and there to Roy Hibbert. The young center from Georgetown is continuing to improve and his stats are slightly up from last season, but he more importantly looks like a more polished player.
Los Angeles Clippers
Keep DeAndre Jordan:
The Los Angeles Clippers know they'll be keeping Blake Griffin for a long time. DeAndre Jordan is a good compliment to Griffin. He's also a big finisher around the rim, but he doesn't need the ball nearly as much as Griffin.
Jordan has only put up double-digit shots in one game this season and went 9-for-10 in an upset win over Boston earlier this month. Jordan knows his role on the Clippers, but he's still quietly improving as Griffin gets all of the credit.
Add Kenyon Martin:
As Martin's playing days wind down, he could do something else with the remainder of his career. Martin—if willing—could be the backup and mentor for Griffin. If he didn't mind taking the backseat to the next big thing, Martin could be known for the person who helped elevate Griffin's above-the-rim game.
Martin would likely have to take a giant pay cut. Martin may not be ready to take on a backup role just yet, but he'd have a bigger impact this way than if he stays with the Nuggets. I don't think this is something Martin will do, just an idea for the oft-injured player.
Los Angeles Lakers
Keep Shannon Brown:
If the Los Angeles Lakers haven't realized it yet, they were lucky to have Brown join their team. Brown's athleticism is among the best in the NBA. As I said before, he's also improving his jump shot.
Brown is the backup behind Kobe Bryant, but his minutes will surely increase in the coming years as Kobe's decrease. If the Lakers hold on to Brown for a few more years and he cleans up his game under the tutelage of Kobe, he could be a great player.
Add no one:
If the Lakers are smart, they will stay as they are now. Basically, they are keeping a team together that clicks well. On a deeper level, they are trying to build enough funds to possibly make a run for Dwight Howard next summer.
Even if they don't get Howard—who they don't necessarily need—the roster they have now is good enough to win games for years to come. Deep on the bench is Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, so the Lakers have a young core they can develop rather than go searching for the next big thing.
Keep Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol:
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are cornerstones for the Memphis Grizzlies, forming the starting frontcourt for a team that is still trying to recover from the loss of Marc's brother Pau Gasol. Randolph is one of the most unknown 20/10 guys in the league.
The combination of Gasol and Randolph has given a lot of teams fits this season. If Rudy Gay was healthy going into the playoffs, the Grizzlies would be a scary team to face. Even without Gay, the Grizzlies could still put up a good fight against any team out west.
Add Aaron Brooks:
Brooks would be a good point guard to rotate in and out with Mike Conley, Jr. Brooks is a fast-paced player that might be uncomfortable with the Memphis system at first. If he works at it, Brooks could see around 20 minutes as a member of the Grizzlies.
Brooks would have to be content with dumping the ball off to the big guys inside finding Gay or O.J. Mayo. He might even be able to challenge Conley, Jr. for the starting spot, but the Grizzlies would favor Conley, Jr.'s comfort of playing with a skilled big man.
Keep Mike Bibby:
Bibby seems to get tons of criticism for his defense. Whatever the critics say, Bibby is a good thing for the Miami Heat. He's a veteran guard that can still distribute the ball to the three stars and can still shoot the three.
Bibby can also help out Mario Chalmers. Chalmers needs a veteran to guide him through a time in which three players are basically running the team. Depending on Chalmers' personality, he could get easily frustrated by the situation or love the opportunity. Bibby can attempt to keep him happy by explaining to Chalmers how to embrace the role and thrive in it.
Add Ryan Hollins:
If the Heat are able to sign anyone to the mid-level exception, it may be Hollins. Hollins is improving in a Cleveland uniform, but not enough to make him a highly sought after free agent.
Hollins is an athletic center that could run the floor with the Big Three. He, like Chalmers, would have to accept the fact that he wouldn't receive much publicity. If individual recognition doesn't mean much to Hollins, he should follow LeBron James footprints to Miami.
Keep Lucas Mbah a Moute:
Lucas Mbah a Moute showed off some excellent skills during his time at UCLA. Now a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, he has already showed that his talent will translate to the NBA. Mbah a Moute is getting significant minutes for the Bucks, who are still in the playoff hunt.
Mbah a Moute is regarded as one of the game's best defenders. His rebounding numbers haven't really improved since his rookie season, but that can be attributed to Andrew Bogut, who cleans up on the glass. Mbah a Moute hasn't really taken the next step, but he hasn't declined either. The Bucks should see that as a sign that he's a true player.
Add Sasha Vujacic:
The Bucks are in need of a true point guard. Brandon Jennings needs a backcourt mate that he can rely on to share ball-handling duties. Vujacic is smart with the ball and deserves a shot at a starting lineup.
Vujacic showed the Lakers how good he could be in his stint with them before ending up in New Jersey. He is a tenacious defender and a dead-eye three-point shooter with the confidence to shoot at any point in the game. He can go to the Bucks and spread the floor, so the Bucks can figure out what players they can run with in the future.
Keep Sebastian Telfair:
Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves have an overload at the point guard position with Luke Ridnour, Sebastian Telfair and Jonny Flynn on their roster. They plan to bring Ricky Rubio over to the United States very soon to add to the confusion.
It's just not sure which ball-handler is the best fit for Minnesota. Telfair came straight out of high school and was one of the most highly touted prospects of all time. He has immaculate court vision, but lacks a confident jump shot. Telfair's potential makes him hard to release because each team wants to be the one to help him live up to the hype.
Add James Jones:
The Timberwolves have a bunch of guys on the blocks that can pull down rebounds. The weakness of the team seems to be a guy that can hit the long shots. Adding Jones to the roster will give the team a deep threat.
This could stretch out the defense and give more room to Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. Jones is the reigning three-point contest champion and he wouldn't mind testing his worth as the go-to shooter for the Timberwolves.
New Jersey Nets
Keep Brandan Wright:
It may cost them a little more than they'd like, but the New Jersey Nets should hold on to Brandan Wright. He has done virtually nothing for the Nets so far, but he could eventually be playing alongside Brook Lopez in the frontcourt.
Wright got drafted in 2007 as a prospect out of North Carolina and has something that can't be taught—length. He has amazingly long arms that allow him to use the baby hook on offense and he's a persistent and effective offensive rebounder. On defense, his shot-blocking abilities are prevalent, but expected.
Add Ronny Turiaf:
Turiaf is a slightly undersized big man in the NBA. He's made a living scoring over players bigger than him, but his ability to box out is uncanny. Turiaf started out with the Lakers, but has made his way to the New York Knicks.
The Nets already have Lopez inside, but Turiaf would be a nice change of pace off the bench. With a drastically different build, Turiaf may match up better with certain players than Lopez. If an opponent isn't as tall, Turiaf could force the player into more mistakes than Lopez.
New Orleans Hornets
Keep David West:
The injury to David West is bad for the New Orleans Hornets right now, but it does slightly diminish other teams' interest in West for now. That's a good thing because before he went down, West was leading the Hornets in scoring.
West is a powerful forward, which he has to be to compete in the Western Conference night in and night out. Before he got hurt, West was having a career year for the Hornets, and in his so-called contract year, West was earning his paycheck.
Add Caron Butler:
Chances are the Hornets will try to bring in a big name to convince Chris Paul to stay. If it's through free agency, Butler is the only player that makes sense to bring in. Even that might not be enough to keep CP3 from heading to New York to join the Knicks.
If West departs in free agency, maybe the Hornets can make a blockbuster trade to sway their star to stay. Making a move for a premier power forward to replace West would be a must. The Hornets need to make sure they find a No. 2 to compliment Paul as the team's No. 1.
New York Knicks
Keep Derrick Brown:
Derrick Brown hasn't been a New York Knick for very long, but the Knicks would be smart to keep the young high-flier. The 6'8" forward from Xavier is a natural athlete that likes to score most of his baskets from above the rim.
Brown only shoots high-percentage shots. He was spectacular in the preseason when given more minutes, putting up double-digit points in all but one of the preseason games. The most impressive factor is that he never shot more than 10 times. Brown is still young, but could see some sub minutes for Carmelo.
Add Greg Oden:
The Knicks should be jumping at the chance to add a defensive-minded center to their roster. With their defense looking offensive since the Carmelo trade, the Knicks could use a shot-blocker like Oden to get them back on track.
Paired with Stoudemire, the frontcourt would be one of the most feared in the NBA. Teams would have to rely on jump shots with the two guys in the middle fully capable of swatting away any shot. Oden can also help the Knicks with their defensive rebounding, which is low due to their lack of height.
If Ronnie Turiaf leaves too, the Knicks might be able to get Chris Paul. Talk about completely changing a roster.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Keep Nazr Mohammed:
The Oklahoma City Thunder made it very obvious that they are trying to win right now. The difference between them and the Boston Celtics or San Antonio Spurs is they have a team that can win in the future too.
By adding Mohammed and Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder tended to their frontcourt problem without sacrificing much. They are building around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are both very young, yet very developed.
Mohammed is the backup center, but is almost as valuable as Perkins. Depth down low is huge when a team is in the Western Conference.
Add no one:
The Thunder made the moves they needed to make at the trade deadline. With almost everyone returning, the front office can sit back and relax during the summer. The team can get in some repetitions and even more experience together during the playoffs.
The big offseason for the Thunder will be the next one because Westbrook is a restricted free agent. He is a player the Thunder have to hold on to if they want to have any chance of winning. Westbrook seems perfect for the style of offense they run, but there's an off chance he could get sick of Durant's shadow.
The Thunder likely will—and should—pay any amount of money to keep their young point guard.
Keep Jason Richardson:
The Orlando Magic could go either way with Jason Richardson. If they re-sign him, it would have to be for a huge pay cut and there's no way J-Rich deserves over $14 million per season. However, he's still a player that can explode for 30-plus points on any given night.
If they don't keep him, it's because they're ready to try playing Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas together. Arenas would likely move to shooting guard because he's the better shooter and Nelson is the more-talented passer. If the Magic could make them work together, Richardson holds little value to them.
Add no one:
Just like the Thunder, the Magic need to save some serious cash flow to make a gigantic offer to Dwight Howard next offseason. If they lose Howard, they will have to completely rebuild. Howard is getting better with each day, and is currently in the talks for MVP.
If they let Richardson go, they may have to pick up a cheap shooting guard to play behind Arenas. Someone like James Jones or Nick Young would suffice. These are players used to coming off the bench and not in line for big offers.
Keep Thaddeus Young:
Thaddeus Young may have lost his starting gig with the Philadelphia 76ers, but that doesn't mean he stopped producing. Young has been just as effective in significantly less minutes off the bench. The 76ers would be smart to ink a long-term deal with the young gun from Georgia Tech.
Young reminds me of another Georgia Tech player by the name of Chris Bosh. Young can shoot the ball exceptionally well for a player his height and moves around the court like a guard. Around the hoop is where Young is at his best, just like Bosh.
Add Greg Oden:
If the Sixers dump the contracts of Darius Songaila and Jason Kapono, they make a serious run for Oden. Adding a center with more upside than Spencer Hawes would push the Sixers into the upper echelon of the NBA.
Just like he would with Stoudemire, Oden could also pair up well with Elton Brand. The two would challenge any guard that came in their area. Oden would also take some of the double teams away from Brand, allowing him to back down his defender. All in all, the Sixers are an above-average center away from being a title contender.
Keep Aaron Brooks:
Brooks might not be the passing magician that Steve Nash is, but he's definitely the point guard of the future. Brooks is lightning fast around the court which helps the Suns against the division-rival Lakers.
If Nash works with Brooks a little and teaches him the offense, Brooks can add some flair to his game. He's already proven that he can shoot the ball and get to the lane. Court vision is the next step in Brooks' progression in the game and there's not a better player in the game to teach him than Nash.
Add Samuel Dalembert:
Dalembert is the type of center that the Suns have liked in their offense for the past few years. He's a big man that can run the floor, but can still muscle up against the stronger centers in the league. I'm actually surprised that Dalembert hasn't been a Sun yet in his career.
The Suns need a player to assist Marcin Gortat with all of the dirty work down low. Robin Lopez has been pretty soft thus far in his career, and neither Hakim Warrick or Channing Frye are big enough. Time to bring in a guy that's guarded some of the game's best centers and held his ground.
Keep Greg Oden:
I actually wrote an entire article on places Greg Oden could end up. The piece can be found here. I stressed the fact that the Blazers need to do all they can to hold on to Oden. It's not time for them to give up on their investment.
Oden has had some terrible luck with knee injuries, but still deserves a healthy shot at the NBA. Portland doesn't want to see Oden in another jersey succeeding before they give him a shot to do just that in a Trailblazers uniform.
Add T.J. Ford:
It seems like Ford has been replaced in Indiana. The Pacers have been running the offense through young point guard Darren Collison while Ford sees less than 20 minutes a game. The Pacers likely will not offer too much money to Ford.
That's where the Blazers can step in. Portland has a little money to work with and they'd like to have either a replacement for, or a backup for Andre Miller, depending on what they do. Ford is no average Joe. A severe injury to his spinal cord plagued him for a long time.
Ford is likely itching for the chance to get back into a starting spot.
Keep Marcus Thornton:
Thornton may have found a new home in Sacramento. Since joining the Kings, he has averaged over 22 points a game and even had a career-high with 42 points against the Warriors on March 14. Thornton has been deadly from three-point range.
He has a quick release on his jumper that makes it hard to defend. Also, Thornton's first priority is getting to the rim, which makes him a dangerous dual threat. This year Thornton is making next to nothing from the Kings and next season, that's bound to change.
Add Yao Ming:
If the Kings lose Dalembert, they need to hire a replacement. DeMarcus Cousins is listed as a center, but he's one of two in the starting lineup. The Kings may have the cap room to make a run for Yao Ming. Yao will be the height and DeMarcus Cousins will be the strength inside for the Kings.
Jason Thompson is also another big guy the Kings have always liked. If they don't add Yao, they'd probably start him alongside Cousins.
Yao saw Kevin Martin come in from Sacramento and take over a big portion of the scoring for Houston. He could do the exact opposite and try to start anew in Sacramento. The Kings haven't had a big name center since Brad Miller and it might be time for the Kings to get another high-quality center.
San Antonio Spurs
Keep Tim Duncan:
Duncan has the ability to terminate his contract early this offseason. Although he probably won't just walk away from $21 million, Duncan is still the Spurs biggest concern right now. They don't have any other big names to worry about.
Duncan will have to suffer a pay cut because of the Over-36 Rule, even though he's not 36 years old yet. He isn't likely to make any more than he did in his premier contract, so it's not really a big deal to Duncan. Although Duncan is on the downside of his career, he looks as if he'll remain a San Antonio Spur for life.
Add Al Thornton:
The Spurs need to be on the lookout for their next great power forward and Thornton might not be a bad addition for the Spurs. Duncan definitely has a few solid years and playoff runs left in his career, but the Spurs need to find his replacement soon.
Thornton could be picked up for next to nothing so it's worth a shot. The Spurs can't really pursue a guy who wants a big contact and starter minutes, so Thornton may be the next big thing. Duncan can also teach the young guy from Florida State a couple new tricks.
Keep Joey Dorsey:
Dorsey hasn't received a fair shot at success in the NBA after a great career at Memphis University. Dorsey has insane muscle tone to his arms and shoulders, comparable to that of Dwight Howard.
When he's in the game, he rebounds—a lot. At 6'8" and a whopping 268 pounds, Dorsey is a tough guy to box out. He is averaging over four rebounds per contest in less than a quarter of action. Dorsey isn't really an offensive force, but his rebounding could allow him to see more playing time next season.
Add Caron Butler:
The Toronto Raptors need a small forward. James Johnson currently plays the position, but has backup written all over him. If the Raptors could swoon Butler, they would be doing themselves a favor.
As mentioned in previous slides, Butler is a very versatile player. He can fit into a variety of roles and seem like he's been on the team for years. The addition of Butler could send the Raptors toward the playoff race in the East. The Raptors are still reeling from the loss of Bosh—and will be for a while.
Keep C.J. Miles:
Miles is having a breakout year for the Utah Jazz and has finally crossed into double-digits in points scored. His minutes, rebounds, steals and blocks are all up too. Miles may be in his sixth year in the league, but he just turned 24 over a week ago.
Miles was one of the last players to come straight out of high school into the NBA. He is yet another high-flier on the list, but a streaky shooter. Miles hit 6-of-7 threes earlier this month against the Timberwolves in a 40-point outburst. Miles is still developing and the Jazz are sold on his skills.
Add Jason Richardson:
With the departure of Deron Williams, the Jazz have some money to work with. The Jazz should cut ties with the overpaid Andrei Kirilenko and make a run for Richardson. Kirilenko is a great defensive player, but the Jazz need offense.
The Jazz have lost their last six games and their offense is completely hit or miss. Richardson can score in bunches, and has been able to fit in pretty well with a multitude of teams. If they can't land Richardson, the Jazz could look at Arron Afflalo. Afflalo has shown steady improvement in four years as a professional.
Keep Nick Young:
The Washington Wizards have watched Young progress into the player he is now and he leads the Wizards in points this season with over 17 per game. The big guard from USC is basically just a scorer, but that's the role the Wizards need him to play.
John Wall tallies most of the assists while Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee grab the majority of the boards. Young is known for his athleticism around the rim more than a deadly jump shot and if he sees a seam in the defense he attacks it. Young isn't afraid to improvise in the air, as he did on a phenomenal 360 reverse layup.
Add Grant Hill:
The Wizards are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They are in the bottom 10 in points against, opponent's field goal percentage and three-point percentage. The Wizards have decent defenders under the basket, but they could use a good perimeter defender.
Grant Hill is a lock-down defender for the Suns. Adding him would mean fewer small forwards or even shooting guards lighting up the floor against the Wizards. The Wizards are 2-35 on the road and have had a hard time stopping star perimeter players when they leave home.
With Hill, the Wizards could probably nab 10 road wins next season.