NBA: Jeff Green and 10 Top Restricted Free Agents
This is going to be a long summer for NBA fans.
At least the Miami Heat lost in the Finals.
With the lockout in its beginning phases, and NBA teams forbidden from making any trades or signings, there will be plenty of time to speculate on who's signing where, and who's being traded to whom.
Details of the lockout are sparse, but many NBA experts are expecting 2011 restricted free agents to remain restricted once the lockout is lifted, unlike the NFL.
Regardless, we can still take a look at 10 restricted free agents who could remain with their teams or sign elsewhere.
10. Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat, PG
Chalmers, a solid young point guard for the Miami Heat, may have played his way into a nice contract this offseason.
He barely played for Miami at the beginning of the season, but by the time the Finals came around, he was the Heat's second best guard after Dwyane Wade. He averaged 11.5 PPG and 3.5 APG, while being a solid shooter from beyond the three-point line.
Just like he did back in his Kansas days, Chalmers came up big when it mattered most.
He also earned himself a lot of respect from around the league.
Result: Chalmers is signed away from Miami. Potential suitors: Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves
9. Nick Young, Washington Wizards, SG
Since being drafted in 2007, Young has developed into a really nice NBA scorer.
He can put up points in bunches, and, surprisingly, he doesn't turn the ball over a whole lot. Young averaged 17.4 PPG last season, but managed only 2.7 RPG and 1.2 APG.
And therein lies Nick's problem.
He is a one-trick pony. With Young, you are getting a shooter and a slasher, but not someone who's going to make his teammates better.
Young is a perfect sixth-man type player in the mold of Jamal Crawford.
Result: Young, despite Jordan Crawford's emergence, remains with the revamped Wizards. Potential suitors: Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers
8. Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons, F
Jerebko had a very good rookie year with Detroit, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, while averaging 9.3 PPG and 6 RPG.
He may not seem like much, but for a team in desperate need of a big man next to this year's breakout Greg Monroe, Jerebko will be a very valuable asset.
In the second half of his rookie season, Jonas improved across the board, and showed flashes of a very nice potential. He had 10.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 49 percent FG (38.5 percent 3FG), plus 1.6 steals.
Result: After sticking with him through his disheartening Achilles injury all of this season, Detroit seems like a no-brainer to re-sign the 6'10" forward from Sweden. Potential suitors: Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks
7. Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings, SG
Thornton really shined once he went to Sacramento.
The only problem is that now he is blocking the most popular player in basketball, Jimmer Fredette.
Marcus exploded with the Kings, averaging 21.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG. He proved that he could definitely be a starter in this league, which is more than Nick Young can say.
He has surprisingly good rebounding numbers for a player who is only 6'4".
Result: Despite signing Jimmer, the Kings ink Thornton to a long-term deal to star in Sacramento's backcourt with Tyreke Evans for years to come. Potential suitors: Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls
6. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons, G
Stuckey had another good year for Detroit, but he hasn't been able to make the leap that the Pistons have expected him to make in the last couple of years.
For now, Rodney is an automatic 15 PPG, 5 RPG and 3 APG, but he was expected to take on a heavier scoring load after he broke out in 2008. Still waiting, Detroit drafted Brandon Knight to play alongside Stuckey.
Knight plays pretty similarly to Rodney, but he's not as prolific offensively.
With Knight in tow, Jerebko coming back, and the addition of Kyle Singler, Detroit is moving in the right direction.
Result: Stuckey stays in Detroit despite some pretty good offers from other teams. Potential suitors: Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic
5. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, C
The Clippers struck gold with this second-round pick from 2008.
Jordan is an athletic freak (where have I heard this before?) who is a perfect complement to Rookie of the Year winner Blake Griffin.
DeAndre can block shots, rebound and throw it down like it's nobody's business.
His free throws are a different story, but let's stay positive.
Because he dunks so often, Jordan shot 68.6 percent from the field. He needs to learn to hit free throws, and how to stay in the game—he averaged 3.2 fouls in only 25 MPG—but Jordan is only 22 and he has a bright future.
Result: The Clippers finally do something right, and they match all offers in order to retain the young center. Potential suitors: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets
4. Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets, SG
The 25-year-old guard from UCLA has turned into an efficiency machine in the NBA.
Afflalo shot 50 percent FG, 42.5 percent 3FG, and 85 percent FT, on his way to 12.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.4 APG and only one turnover per game.
What a terrific jump for the fourth-year Nugget.
He's gotten significantly better every year he has been in the league, and there is no reason to think that he will stop now.
Arron is totally underrated, totally overshadowed and totally worth whatever he costs.
Result: Denver lets Nene and K-Mart go, but keep their most important FA, Arron Afflalo. Potential suitors: Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls
3. Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, C
The tragic story of Greg Oden continued last year, as he missed yet another season in the NBA.
Oden is a beast, but he is never healthy.
In our one glimpse of a healthy Oden in the last two years, No. 52 didn't disappoint: 11.1 PPG (on 61 percent shooting), 8.5 RPG (3.1 off), and 2.3 BPG in only 26 MPG.
All of this suggests one thing.
Portland has the worst luck in the NBA draft out of any team in history.
First Bowie, now Oden.
Maybe this is the year, but I'm not holding my breath.
Result: Portland holds on to Oden, and then proceeds to hold a team prayer session. Potential suitors: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Charlotte Bobcats (can you imagine him and Biyombo?)
2. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, C
Yes, that time has finally come.
Marc Gasol is more desired than his older brother, Pau.
I have no clue how it happened, it just did. Either way, Marc played well enough in the playoffs to deserve some serious consideration this summer.
Out of the 13 games he played in the postseason, Marc had games with 17, 17 and 21 rebounds. He's just a really big dude.
He doesn't really do anything spectacular, but there is such a lack of size in the NBA right now, that he is a very valuable asset.
Result: Gasol will get some huge money offers this summer, and I think he eventually gets an offer that Memphis can't match. Potential suitors: Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks
1. Jeff Green, Boston Celtics, F
Green might not be the most important player in this group, but he had the biggest impact on the NBA landscape this year when he was traded to Boston in the Kendrick Perkins deal.
He has unlimited potential, but has failed to reach that potential due to a mixture of his lack of size (he doesn't really have a position) and killer instinct.
Green is a terrific scorer, though.
He can light it up once he is in a rhythm, but with PP, Ray-Ray and KG ahead of him, minutes have been scarce.
Allen or Pierce may have to sit in order to allow Jeff more minutes this season.
With the Perkins trade looming over their playoff failure, Boston must be very careful if they are thinking about letting Green leave.
While Jeff may not be the best fit in Boston, letting him go would rile up the fans and create a huge stain on Danny Ainge's pretty terrific record.
Result: Ainge locks him up long-term, and then builds around Paul, Jeff, Rajon, Avery Bradley and rookie JaJuan Johnson. Potential suitors: Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic