Well, we've already lost two weeks of the regular season and
there's still no agreement. That's not going to stop SBR from looking at the
NBA's top free agents and where they might land.
Atlanta's Jamal Crawford is free to test the waters and he
could be a nice pickup for a lot of NBA teams looking for a veteran guard
presence. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009/10 with the Hawks.
Crawford was huge in the postseason last year as well,
averaging 20.5 points in the upset series-win over the Orlando Magic in the
first round. He has been quoted as saying he would be interested in a return to
New York to play with the Knicks, whom he played for for over four seasons.
The Boston Celtics have quite a few unrestricted free
agents, including Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic and Delonte West. Jeff Green is the
only restricted FA this year.
Big Baby has been waiting his turn with Kevin Garnett the
obvious starter at power forward, but has been very efficient when given
playing time. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 5.4 RPG last season.
Reigning champs to be broken up?
Neither the Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls or Cleveland
Cavaliers really have any standout players who are free agents. Charlotte's big
men, Kwame Brown and Joel Przybilla, will be free to look elsewhere, while
Chicago's Kurt Thomas, Rasual Butler and Brian Scalabrine are free agents as
The defending champion Dallas Mavericks, though, have quite
a few impact players who are free to leave once the lockout ends.
Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, JJ Barea,
Peja Stojakovic and Brian Cardinal are all unrestricted FA. I expect most of
these guys will return to Dallas to try and defend that title, but it would be
a huge blow to Mark Cuban's team if someone bolts and the chemistry is broken.
For the Denver Nuggets, there will definitely be some big
decisions that have to be made. Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler are
restricted free agents, and Nene Hilario, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin among
others are unrestricted.
Previously Nene has already turned down a hefty extension,
and losing the big man who put up 14.5 PPG and 7.6 RPG last season would
certainly not be in Denver's best interest.
Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey is a restricted FA,
while Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince and Chris Wilcox are unrestricted. It
seems likely some moves will be made given the drama last year and how
downright terrible the Pistons have been in recent seasons.
No star players on the Golden State Warriors will be testing
the market, though Reggie Williams, Al Thornton and Vladimir Radmanovic are a
few players out of contract that could be solid additions to any team.
Plenty of talent out there for the taking
There could be a shakeup in Indiana where Mike Dunleavy and
Josh McRoberts, as well as a few others, are unrestricted free agents. Though
injuries will always be an issue with Dunleavy, he has a skill-set that could
be extremely useful to many squads around the league.
With Yao Ming retiring, only Chuck Hayes is a free agent on
the current Houston Rockets roster. Hayes is coming off his most productive
season (7.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG) and I would expect the Rockets to do everything in
their power to bring him back.
Between the two Los Angeles teams, probably the two most
important names on the market are the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan and the Lakers'
One of the most explosive jumpers in the NBA, Jordan had a
breakout season last year and it would be shocking if he's not locked up to a
contract once the lockout is done. Brown is similarly a tremendous athlete and
has been a great spark-plug off the bench for the Lakers.
And finally we've got the Miami Heat, who fell just short in
the NBA Finals last season. Mario Chalmers is restricted and should return, but
some key bench pieces including the likes of sharpshooter James Jones and Mike
Bibby are unrestricted FA.
I'll be interested to see what moves Heat GM Pat Riley makes
as he desperately tries to bring back the Larry O'Brien trophy to South Beach.