Sunday, June 28, 2009

NBA Free Agency 2009

I doubt any of the Magic rumors will come true, but depending on where the cap is set the team may be able to walk away with Brandon Bass or even possibly Rasheed Wallace, barring some sort of compromise.

Cleveland has been at the root at almost every single rumor: Turkoglu, Wallace, Hill, Kidd, Parker, and several dozen others. Lets see which role players the teams adds on to build toward a championship.

The biggest factor in this year's free agency will be Detroit. The team has Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, and Prince at the core of the franchise. It will be interesting to see if they load up on free agents this year (such as Boozer, Gordon, Turkoglu, and their own Rasheed Wallace) or wait until next year.

The next player will be Oklahoma City. If the team believes they can roll in the fans and tickets then they will be in position to make a big free agent move this summer. The Thunder are supposedly in the sweepstakes for Anthony Parker and Ben Gordon.

The busiest cities will be Toronto and Utah. Up in ol' Canada, Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker, and Jorge Garbajosa will all be free agents. Additionally, they have the second biggest rumor mill in Chris Bosh (number one belong to Amare). The Raptors have some decisions to make. I think it all depends on Marion. If they can resign him, then Bosh will feel tempted to stay and consequently Parker and Garbajosa will be interested too. Still Parker is no guarantee as there has been great interest in him from other teams. If not, then I expect them to trade Bosh to maximize his value.

In Utah, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Kyle Korver all have player options. It seemed inevitable for Boozer's departure as his name has been linked to free agents signings in Detroit since day one of this season. Aside from the difficulty of resigning Okur and Korver, several other of their role players have contracts expiring on July 1st. Paul Millsap, Ronnie Price, and Morris Almond will be must sign free agents. Millsap is the marquee name for the Jazz as he turned out to be an incredible second round pick. Price has been a very reliable back up point guard. And Almond has been spending time in the D-League but once he evolves out of being a one-dimensional shooter then he will be a formidable threat.

Finally here is my list of marquee free agents (these are the plan A's - the players teams will be seeking to sign first) and where they will end up (restricted free agents are not included):
  • Chris Anderson - Denver Nuggets - The Nuggets must have known that Chris Anderson was going to have a breakout season. That is why the traded MarcusCamby for a second round pick. Lucky or Genius?
  • Trevor Ariza - Los Angeles Lakers - Andrew Bynum's salary absolutely kills the Lakers off-season plan; however, with Ariza likely to make more than last year and Odom on the down side, both player will be willing to compromise and settle for contracts between $6 million and $8 million per year. Winning does bring happiness and when players are happy they are willing to compensate. Plus theLakers still have their Mid level exceptions.
  • Ron Artest - Houston Rockets - Artest has finally found a home that values him and his defense. He has been a focal point to the Rockets' success and both he and the organizationrecognize his importance.
  • Mike Bibby - Memphis Grizzles - The Hawks have hinted that they will not resign Bibby. The Grizzles have a nice base with Mayo, Gay, Arthur, and Thabeet. Conley is a solid point guard of the future, but I think the Grizzles will be better off with Bibby at the head leading such a young team. Plus the Grizzles have some room to offer up serious cash.
  • Carlos Boozer - Detriot Pistons - This has been a rumor since day one of the season. The Pistons not only have the room under the salary cap, but have the nucleus to be successful with the addition of Boozer.
  • Ben Gordon - Detriot Pistons - The Pistons will be the biggest mover of the season. I like Gordon in Detriot because he will be able to come off the bench like he is suited to and will not be pressured to start the way he was in Chicago (since the team has Hamilton).
  • Grant Hill - Cleveland Cavaliers - Hill falls within the available salary range for the Cavs and he will be looking to spare some cash in order to play for a contender once again at this age in his career.
  • Allen Iverson - Charlotte Bobcats - Iverson and coach Brown will reunite to form an eastern conference contender. Brown has been noted as saying he would love for AI to come to Charlotte since the team needs a scorer andIverson's agent has stated that AI wouldn't mind to play for coach Brown again. A little unlikely but without many options for Iverson out there, Charlotte may be the best option without a serious salary reduction.
  • Jason Kidd - Dallas Mavericks - I do not think anyone will pursue Kidd the way Cuban will. There have been Cleveland rumors, but Kidd would have to sign for much less than theMavs will offer him.
  • Shawn Marion - Toronto Raptors - There isn't much of a market out there for Marion after his fall from the pinnacle of Phoenix glory.
  • Andre Miller - Portland Trailblazers - With the drafting of Jrue Holiday it seems as though Miller is on the way out. It is probable that he will be taking a salary cut, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him take a little less to be with a contender. The Trailblazers still have their mid levelexception and have made it their off-season goal to upgrade at point guard over Sergio Rodriguez.
  • Paul Millsap - Utah Jazz - The Jazz will stick with this diamond they found in the rough.
  • Lamar Odom - Los Angeles Lakers - Look at Trevor Ariza for explanation.
  • Mehmet Okur - Utah Jazz - If Okur opts out then the Jazz will want to lock up Turkish giant.
  • Anthony Parker - Oklahoma City - The Thunder are one of several teams interested in Parker; however, they have the most cap space to offer Parker a serious contract.
  • Hedo Turkoglu - Sacramento Kings - Portland and Sacramento are two likely destinations. Portland may quench Turkoglu's playoff interest more than the Kings do; however, it seems as though Turk's main objective is to cash-in this off-season making the draft-robbed Kings avarice seeking Turkoglu's best option after the team will be looking to improve themselves after such a great disappointment. Portland is still a very realpossibility.
  • Anderson Varejao - Dallas Mavericks - The Mavs need some front-line help. There have also been numerous rumors pertaining to Mark Cuban's interest in Varejao if Cleveland doesn't resign him. With the Big Z and the Big Cactus (or whatever Shaq's new nickname will be), the Cavs will seek to add depth at another position.
  • Rasheed Wallace - Atlanta Hawks - With Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague coming in, all Atlanta needs is to sign a big man and this team can be a viable playoff contender
*Again this is a list of players teams will be going after first. Sean May is obviously a solid free agent, but it is doubtful that a team is planning their entireoff-season around him as some will be doing with Ben Gordon or Hedo Turkoglu . If a team fails to sign their Plan A then he will be a reasonable Plan B. The guys listed above will dictate how everything plays out.

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