ESPN Insider Request NBA Free Agents '10

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[h2]Free-agent class of 2010: The top 30[/h2]

By Chad Ford
ESPN.com
Archive

AP Photo/Mark DuncanOh the possibilities! D-Wade could try to convince LeBron to flee Cleveland for Miami this summer.

Loomingover last week's trade deadline was the major storyline of 2010: themost-anticipated free agent class in NBA history, with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (and maybe even Kobe Bryant) potentially available.

Teams have cleared a total of about $150 million in salary-cap space, hoping this will be the year the big names actually do change cities.

Exactly who could be available? Here's our latest scorecard for the Class of 2010:
[h3]Group I: The "big 10" ETO or player option candidates[/h3]
Theseare the players with an "early termination option" or "player option"in their contracts, meaning they can opt to forgo the final year(s) oftheir deals and instead become unrestricted free agents in the summerof 2010. Here's the star-studded lineup:

Key: player option (PO) | early termination option (ETO)


James​

1. LeBron James, Cavaliers (PO)
The ongoing buzz surrounding LeBron's foray into free agency thissummer has been the loudest in NBA history. Several teams have focusedtheir entire strategy on having a chance to sign him or anothersuperstar on this list.

Butwill LeBron actually leave Cleveland? The Cavaliers did their part intrying to convince him to stay when they pulled off a deadline deal forAntawn Jamison, who should help give LeBron his best shot at an NBA title.

Still, other teams will make a run at him, offering him a bigger market or more talented teammates.

TheNew York Knicks and New Jersey Nets were thought to be his biggestsuitors, and they'll both have the money to pay him. But both teams areso depleted from a talent standpoint that he might not want to jointhem. A couple of other teams, including the Miami Heat and ChicagoBulls, also will be far enough under the cap to pay him if he wants togo to a team that already has a superstar (D-Wade) or potentialsuperstar (D-Rose) on the roster. And don't count out the Los AngelesClippers, who have a lot of talent and the cap room to pay him aftertheir deadline moves.

While I think LeBron ultimately will stayin Cleveland, he will create some thrills and very worried Cavs fans ifhe shops around this summer.


Wade​

2. Dwyane Wade, Heat (PO)
Wade's potential departure hasn't had nearly the same hype as LeBron's,for two reasons: (1) most people in the league believe Wade wants tostay in Miami, and (2) he turned 28 in January, so he's not the youngfranchise cornerstone LeBron is.

Still,there will be plenty of teams interested in Wade, especially theChicago Bulls, who will try to court him back to his hometown. But theHeat will use Wade as a recruiter in an attempt to get one or more ofthe top free agents to come to Miami instead.

3. Kobe Bryant, Lakers (PO)
It's unclear whether Kobe will stay on this list. He's eligible to be afree agent in 2010 or 2011 (his choice), but there appears to be littlechance he'll actually leave the Lakers, who have been working on athree-year extension with him. It's a bit mysterious that they don'talready have something in place.

Ifthings were to fall apart in L.A., any number of teams would betremendously interested, with the Knicks at the front of the line; Kobeand coach Mike D'Antoni have a great relationship.


Bosh​

4. Chris Bosh, Raptors (PO)
Bosh has been pegged since last year as the major free agent mostlikely to bolt his team. But the Raptors have been playing betterbasketball of late and decided to roll the dice and not trade Bosh atthe deadline. Although Bosh has been privately pining to return to theStates -- especially somewhere warm -- I don't think it's a foregoneconclusion that he'll leave. Still, the Raptors are really going to besweating it out.

Youcan expect every one of the teams with cap space to make a push forhim, with the Heat as the most interesting option; a Bosh-Wadecombination would be very formidable. And don't count out the Bulls,who would love to add him to their young core of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.

5. Amare Stoudemire, Suns (ETO)
When healthy, Stoudemire can compete with any other big man in theleague. Still only 27 years old, he's very athletic and a monster onthe offensive end. But questions about his knees, an eye injury and hisattitude have hurt his stock a bit, so he won't be pursued asvigorously as the first four guys on this list.

TheSuns are unsure whether they want to keep him, having tried both tosign Stoudemire to an extension and to trade him this year; neither hasworked out yet. The public back-and-forth has angered Stoudemire andhis agent, so it's unlikely he will return to Phoenix.

The Heatand Cavs showed the most interest in Stoudemire at the trade deadline,but teams like the Bulls and Nets could also make a play if their firstoptions don't work out.

[h4]POTENTIAL 2011 FREE AGENTS[/h4]
Yao Ming, C, Rockets
Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
Pau Gasol, F/C, Lakers
Tim Duncan, C, Spurs
Caron Butler, G/F, Mavs
David West, F, Hornets
Richard Jefferson, F, Spurs
Tayshaun Prince, F, Pistons
Jason Richardson, SG, Suns
Andrei Kirilenko, F, Jazz
Kenyon Martin, PF, Nuggets
John Salmons, SG, Bulls
T.J. Ford, PG, Pacers
Troy Murphy, PF, Pacers
Mike Dunleavy, F, Pacers
Nick Collison, F, Thunder
Samuel Dalembert, C, Sixers
Michael Redd, SG, Bucks

Complete list of 2011 free agents

6. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks (ETO)
Nowitzki, who will be 32 in June, is still playing at an All-Starlevel, and Dallas is hoping to get a few more quality seasons out ofhim. Given their commitments to Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd over the next few years, I'd expect them to lock up Dirk, too.

7. Yao Ming, Rockets (ETO)
Yao obviously would be much higher on this list if his entire careerweren't in jeopardy at the moment. He had major surgery on his footlast year and has spent the entire season rehabbing it. The Rockets arehoping he has a Zydrunas Ilgauskas-like recovery and goes on to have several more productive seasons in Houston.

Giventhat Yao will be out the entire season, it seems unlikely he'llterminate his contract this summer. But if he does and can show he'shealthy, he obviously will have interest from every team with cap space.

8. Paul Pierce, Celtics (ETO)
Pierce has been pretty adamant that he wants to be a Celtic for life,and it looks as though it will play out that way. Although he is stillgoing strong, Pierce, who turned 32 in October, probably has only twoor three more highly productive seasons left in him. Most likely, theCeltics will give him an extension.

9. Richard Jefferson, Spurs (ETO)
After trading for Jefferson last summer, the Spurs thought they'd becontending for a championship. Instead, Jefferson is having one of theworst years of his career and the team is struggling to live up toexpectations. Given all that, it's highly unlikely he'll opt out; onthe open market he wouldn't get anything close to the $15 millionsalary he's due to receive in the 2010-11 season.

10. Channing Frye, Suns (PO)
Frye is likely to opt out this summer. The Suns don't pay him much andhe's had a renaissance in Phoenix as a spot-up 3-point shooter. I'm notsure many other teams could use him the way Phoenix does, but ifnothing else, he's due for a raise.

Other notables: Kenyon Martin, Nuggets (ETO); Tyson Chandler, Bobcats (ETO); Michael Redd, Bucks (ETO); John Salmons, Bucks (ETO); Joel Przybilla, Blazers (ETO); T.J. Ford, Pacers (PO); Peja Stojakovic, Hornets (ETO); Vladimir Radmanovic, Warriors (ETO); Grant Hill, Suns (PO); Willie Green, Sixers (ETO); Jason Kapono, Sixers (PO); DeShawn Stevenson, Mavericks (PO); Sebastian Telfair, Cavs (PO); Eddy Curry, Knicks (PO).
[hr][/hr][h3]Group II: The restricted free agents[/h3]
Only six first-rounders from the draft class of 2006 -- Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, Andrea Bargnani, Thabo Sefolosha and Renaldo Balkman-- signed contract extensions last summer, leaving a huge number ofrestricted free agents this summer. As we've seen in the recent years,it's very difficult for restricted free agents to move. Don't expectthings to change this year, even though there will be more teams withserious cap space.


Gay​

1. Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
Gay could be one of the big winners from this year's trade deadline.With so many teams now under the cap, it's pretty much guaranteed atleast one of them will make a run at the 23-year-old swingman thissummer. Although his game is a bit one-dimensional at the moment, he'sa terrific athlete and an accomplished shooter who is having a goodseason.

Withthe Grizzlies running a bare-bones operation the past few years, it'sunclear whether owner Michael Heisley is ready to break the bank tomatch a huge offer for Gay. The Ronnie Brewer acquisition at the trade deadline may be a sign that Memphis is hedging its bets.

2. Tyrus Thomas, Bobcats
In the midst of another rocky season in Chicago, Thomas was dealt tothe Bobcats at the trade deadline. And the move seems to havereinvigorated him -- he's off to a terrific start for Charlotte.

IfLarry Brown, who has a good track record of working with difficultplayers, can get through to Thomas, the young power forward could be infor a nice payday this summer. But even if things don't work out,Thomas will still get money from a team that hopes he matures one day.


Scola​

3. Luis Scola, Rockets
A pleasant surprise for the Rockets, Scola has proven to be a legit threat in the paint. Given that the Rockets dealt Carl Landry at the trade deadline, I expect they'll re-sign Scola.

4. Ronnie Brewer, Grizzlies
Brewer's numbers aren't sexy, but he's a versatile guard who can defendand get to the basket. If he could ever figure out how to shoot ajumper, he could be really good. The Grizzlies got him from the Jazz inexchange for a protected 2011 first-round pick, and I don't think theywould have given away a pick without having the intention of re-signinghim.

5. Josh Childress, Hawks
After failing to be wowed by an offer from an NBA team last summer,Childress went back to Greece for a second season. He's having a solidyear, which means he should be able to garner the midlevel exceptionfrom some team.

TheHawks still hold his restricted rights, but no one thinks they wouldactually match an offer for him now. So while Childress' Europeanexperiment paid him big bucks in the short run, it looks as though itdamaged his NBA value in the long run.


Foye​

6. Randy Foye, Wizards
Foye has not lived up to his lofty draft status yet and might foreverbe known as the guy for whom the Minnesota Timberwolves swapped BrandonRoy. But when he's been healthy, he's been a solid scorer in acombo-guard role. He hasn't had a great season in Washington and willlikely be looking at a deal for less than the midlevel exception thissummer.

7. Kyle Lowry, Rockets
Lowry brings energy and can be a tenacious defender, but his offensivegame is lacking. I don't think anyone believes he's a starting pointguard, but he still has a lot of value as a feisty backup off the bench.

8. Jordan Farmar, Lakers
Once viewed as one of the top young point guards in the league, Farmarhas showed over the past two seasons that he's probably better suitedto be a reserve. Still, if his future isn't with the Lakers, some teamwill take a flier on him. He is young and still has upside.

9. J.J. Redick, Magic
Redick hasn't made a big splash in the league, but some around theleague say that's partly due to playing time. With more opportunitiesthis season, his numbers have improved, and he's shown he can be anefficient marksman off the bench.

10. Sergio Rodriguez, Knicks
An afterthought until he was traded to the Knicks at the deadline,Rodriguez could suddenly become a hot name this summer. Young pointguards who can score will always find a home in this league, and withD'Antoni (who has a way of inflating players' numbers), Rodriguez has achance to show he's one of those guys.

Other notables: Hilton Armstrong, Rockets; Adam Morrison, Lakers; Josh Boone, Nets.
[hr][/hr][h3]Group III: The real, honest-to-goodness unrestricted free agents[/h3]
Finally,here are the guys who will be on the market with no strings attached.There is a lot of star power here, but some of the big names are on theback end of their careers.


Boozer​

1. Carlos Boozer, Jazz
Everyone expected Boozer to opt out of his contract last summer, but aseason full of injuries combined with a lack of attractive places toland persuaded him to stay in Utah. The Jazz explored trading him, butnever got an offer that blew them away.

Thegood news for the 28-year-old power forward is he's healthy and puttingup strong numbers again. Teams like the Heat and Bulls might take along look at him this summer, and don't count out the Pistons, whomight be willing to do a sign-and-trade involving Boozer and Tayshaun Prince in the summer.

2. Joe Johnson, Hawks
Johnson is having another terrific season in Atlanta. He has theability to score in a lot of ways and play both backcourt positions.And he just turned 28, so he probably has four or five years leftplaying at a high level.

Althoughthe Hawks have taken another step toward being title contenders thisseason, it's unclear whether they'll be willing to pay Johnson what ateam like the Knicks or Bulls can. If he gets a max offer from one ofthose teams, he might bolt.


Lee​

3. David Lee, Knicks
Lee was a coveted free agent in 2009, but a lack of teams with cap roomcombined with his restricted status forced him to sign a one-year dealwith the Knicks. He should finally be able to cash in this summer as hecontinues to put up huge numbers in D'Antoni's system.

Ifthe Knicks can't land LeBron, Wade and/or Bosh, they'll probablyre-sign Lee. But if the Knicks strike gold on a couple of big freeagents, he's probably changing uniforms.

4. Manu Ginobili, Spurs
Age and injuries are starting to catch up with Ginobili, who turns 33in July. A number of GMs I spoke with question how much longer he cankeep up his fearless style of play. He's been healthier this season(after playing only 44 games last season), but not as effective.

TheSpurs will most likely sign him to an extension, but if he hits thefree-agent market, he might not be able to garner as much money asyou'd think.

5. Shaquille O'Neal, Cavs
Playing second fiddle to LeBron, Shaq is out to prove he can still helpa team win a title. So far the results have been promising: He hasplayed well and been on his best behavior.

Ifthe Cavs win a title, there's probably a GM or two who would be willingto offer him lots of money on a two- or three-year contract. On theother hand, he turns 38 in March, has played more games than any otheractive player in the league and has many outside interests, so itwouldn't be a complete surprise if he just called it quits.


McGrady​

6. Tracy McGrady, Knicks
When he's healthy, McGrady is still a heck of a player, as Knicks fanswitnessed in his Garden debut. The question is, can he stay healthy?Back issues and microfracture knee surgery have limited T-Mac to just ahandful of games this season, 35 last season and only 62 the seasonbefore that.

IfMcGrady can prove over the rest of the season that he can still be adominant player, teams (including the Knicks) will be interested. If hepulls up lame again, he can probably kiss a long-term deal goodbye.

7. Ray Allen, Celtics
Allen is another player whose game has been in decline this season. At34, he has become a liability on the defensive end. But he'll drawinterest because he can still shoot, and that skill doesn't deterioratemuch with age.

8. Raymond Felton, Bobcats
Felton was in the same boat as Lee this past summer when a lack ofteams with cap room and his restricted status hurt his ability to get areal offer sheet. Given that he's still just 25 and currently havingthe best season of his career, he should find a team willing to givehim a sizable deal -- if not Charlotte, then one of the many teamsunder the cap.

9. Marcus Camby, Blazers
Despite the fact that he'll turn 36 on March 22, Camby continues to bea shot-blocking and rebounding force. And he should get much morepositive exposure now that he's anchoring the Blazers and in a playoffrace.

Althoughno one is going to commit to him in a long-term deal, he could be themissing piece for a contender trying to add some size and shot-blockingin the short term.

10. Josh Howard, Wizards
Howard really struggled to adapt to his new role in Dallas this season and eventually was swapped in a multiplayer deal for Caron Butler.The Wizards hold a team option on his contract, but virtually no onethinks they'll exercise it, especially now that Howard is out for theseason with a knee injury. That means he's in line for a big pay cutthis summer.

Other notables: Travis Outlaw, Clippers; Al Harrington, Knicks; Mike Miller, Wizards; Nate Robinson, Celtics; Udonis Haslem, Heat; Brendan Haywood, Mavs; Luke Ridnour, Bucks; Steve Blake, Clippers; Derek Fisher, Lakers; Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Wizards; Jermaine O'Neal, Heat; Brad Miller, Bulls; Larry Hughes, Kings; Kyle Korver, Jazz; Drew Gooden, Clippers; Chris Duhon, Knicks; Craig Smith, Clippers; Roger Mason, Spurs; Earl Watson, Pacers; Eddie House, Knicks; Darko Milicic, Timberwolves; Antoine Wright, Raptors; Amir Johnson, Bucks; Raja Bell, Warriors; Bobby Simmons, Nets; Rasual Butler, Clippers; Mike James, Wizards; Dorell Wright, Heat; Kwame Brown, Pistons; Joe Alexander, Bulls; Oleksiy Pecherov, Timberwolves; Javaris Crittenton, Wizards; Alando Tucker, Timberwolves; Sean Williams, Nets; Ian Mahinmi, Spurs; J.R. Giddens, Knicks.
 
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Pau Gasol is not a free agent in 2011.  This an old retread article or somethin? 
 

steve212

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Funny how they bring up D. Wade's age, and not Joe Johnson.  Joe Johnson turns 29 this year, and has two seasons over D. Wade. 
 
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Originally Posted by Steve212

Funny how they bring up D. Wade's age, and not Joe Johnson.  Joe Johnson turns 29 this year, and has two seasons over D. Wade. 
?



2. Joe Johnson, Hawks
Johnson is having another terrific season in Atlanta. He has theability to score in a lot of ways and play both backcourt positions.And he just turned 28, so he probably has four or five years leftplaying at a high level.

Althoughthe Hawks have taken another step toward being title contenders thisseason, it's unclear whether they'll be willing to pay Johnson what ateam like the Knicks or Bulls can. If he gets a max offer from one ofthose teams, he might bolt.
 
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Originally Posted by JumpmanJordanAddict89

Originally Posted by Osh Kosh Bosh

Although Bosh has been privately pining to return to theStates -- especially somewhere warm

Hilarious. American media is a joke.
you really think hes gonna stay in toronto?


I don't know, neither do you. That's the point American media is just making up stuff now.It's pathetic.

Hurbis is amazing, you're all born with it down there.
 
U

User 15002

Guest
The most important question is: Who will the Heat end up with?
 
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Originally Posted by Osh Kosh Bosh

Originally Posted by JumpmanJordanAddict89

Originally Posted by Osh Kosh Bosh

Although Bosh has been privately pining to return to theStates -- especially somewhere warm

Hilarious. American media is a joke.
you really think hes gonna stay in toronto?
I don't know, neither do you. That's the point American media is just making up stuff now.It's pathetic.

Hurbis is amazing, you're all born with it down there.



Wow, the weather jab was clearly just a joke. Don't get your panties in a bunch.
 
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Originally Posted by Osh Kosh Bosh

Originally Posted by JumpmanJordanAddict89

Originally Posted by Osh Kosh Bosh

Although Bosh has been privately pining to return to theStates -- especially somewhere warm

Hilarious. American media is a joke.
you really think hes gonna stay in toronto?
I don't know, neither do you. That's the point American media is just making up stuff now.It's pathetic.

Hurbis is amazing, you're all born with it down there.



Easy there, Own the Podium.
Anyhow, when it's all said and done I think the 2010 FA season is going to turn out to be much ado about nothing for the most part.  I see Lebron and Wade likely staying after flirting with NY and Chi respectively, and Bosh probably 50-50 as well (if he does go I see him most likely going to Miami, or pairing up with another star in NY).  The only one of the big 4 I definitely see moving is Amare.  There is going to be a lot of money thrown at nice-but-not-franchise-changing players like Johnson, Gay, Boozer, Lee, etc.  Just too many teams ready to buy on the big 4, but I don't know if there will be 4 to be bought.
 
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