So far, it's been quite an epic offseason full of free agent signings and surprises, but some players have really decided where they are headed next season. Here are the top remaining restricted and unrestricted free agents.
Restricted Free Agents:
At this point of the free agent market, Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks haven't come to terms on the right deal, so, in result, they are pushing for a sign-and-trade out of Atlanta. Some teams that have drawn interest are the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, or even the Los Angeles Lakers. However, sign-and-trades are very difficult to pull off these days.
Josh Smith seems to be, by most teams, a future All-Star forward. His best assests are probably his defensive skills, acknowledged mostly by his blocking repertoire, his freakish athleticism, and his versatility, meaning he can do it all! He is on the verge of soon becoming the NBA's most talented weak-side shot-blocker as well.
Now, I have a couple of trades in mind, and first off, I would like to say that whoever made that Smith-to-LA rumor up is crazy. I don't think that Los Angeles would ever pull that off. Anyway, I could see Atlanta trading Josh Smith and his approximate $12 million contract, Solomon Jones, Speedy Claxton, along with his horrible contract, and Dallas' 2009 1st Round Pick for Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Bass, Eddie Jones, and cash.
C - Dampier, Diop C - Horford, Pachulia, Morris
PF - Nowitzki, Jones, Singleton PF - Williams, Bass
SF - Smith, Green, Foster SF - Howard, Stackhouse
SG - Terry, Wright, McLeod SG - Johnson, Evans, Jones
PG - Kidd, Barea, Claxton PG - Bibby, Law
Or what about this? Trading Zaza Pachulia, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Solomon Jones, and Speedy Claxton to Detroit for Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Cheick Samb, Amir Johnson, and Arron Afflalo, and Detroit's 2009 2nd Round Pick.
C - Wallace, Morris, Samb C - McDyess, Pachulia, Jones
PF - Horford, Johnson PF - Smith, Maxiell, Sharpe
SF - Johnson, Evans SF - Prince, Williams
SG - Hamilton, Afflalo SG - Stuckey, Washington
PG - Bibby, Law PG - Billups, Claxton, Bynum
Overall, I think Josh Smith will go to a team that begins with D, even the Denver Nuggets possibly. He has the highest upside of all the players listed during this blog, so whoever picks him up will be a very lucky team.
Many players on the rise turned down big extensions, but Andre Iguodala was one of the very few players that acctually had great success this previous season. A.I. turned down an outstanding $57 million deal last summer because he truely thought he deserved better. He established himself as the team leader and best player, and I myself believe he is going to be even better.
Now with Elton Brand in the Sixers clubhouse, I don't see how the 76ers would be stupid enough to lose Iguodala. The estimated salary he would receive is around 5 years, $60 million dollars. And, if you think about, what is Philadelphia without an A and an I?
Look for contenders in the Eastern Confrerence to be frightened by the outlook of AI and the Philadelphia 76ers, because not only can he catch and shoot on the perimeter, he has the ability to face up toward the basket and launch a shot in the post or even drive the lane and posterize his defender.
He seems to have been progressing ever since he entered the league 2004. Now that the ball won't be in his hands at all times, him and Elton Brand can be a really good duo, alongside players like Samuel Dalembert and Andre Miller.
Out of all the players that turned down extensions from their current teams, Ben Gordon made the most staggering decision by thinking he deserved more, when he didn't. The deal he turned down happened to be a five-year, $50 million offer that seemed above market value on a down season like his.
What teams like best about him is that he presents himself as an excellent scorer who consistently connects from mid-range with his deadly jumper, but last season, that wasn't necissarilly the case. He is instant offense off the bend and/or SG position. It would be a shame if he left Chicago, but if he did, which is what it looks like as of right now, it would again need to be completed by a sign-and-trade.
Even though he is seriously considering playing in Europe, I just believe that is a way to pressure the Bulls to offer him a larger contract. Anyway, a couple of teams come to mind when you think of Ben Gordon being traded there.
Some teams that come to mind are the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, or even the Charlotte Bobcats? The first possibility would be the Utah Jazz trading Matt Harpring, Jarron Collins, Andrei Kirilenko, Morris Almond, Ronnie Price, Mehmet Okur, and their 2010 1st round pick to the Chicago Bulls for Ben Gordon, JamesOn Curry, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Andres Nocioni, Kirk Hinrich, and Cedric Simmons.
C - Noah, Koufos, Fesenko C - Okur, Gray, Collins
PF - Boozer, Millsap, Simmons PF - Kirilkenko, Gooden
SF - Nocioni, Korver, Thomas SF - Deng, Harpring
SG - Gordon, Brewer, Miles SG - Hughes, Sefolosha, Almond
PG - Williams, Hinrich, Knight PG - Rose, Price
How about a situation with him boarding a plane to Philly? Trading Reggie Evans and Willie Green to Chicago for Ben Gordon makes sense for both clubs.
C - Noah, Evans, Smith C - Dalembert, Gray
PF - Deng, Gooden, Thomas PF - Brand, Speights, Simmons
SF - Nocioni, Sefolosha SF - Iguodala, Young
SG - Hughes, Green SG - Gordon, Rush
PG - Rose, Hinrich PG - Miller, Williams, Ivey
Hopefully, for whichever team obtains him, he will be back to his 21 point self.
At this point of the blog, these players are deseving of max contracts, so it looks like many teams are interested, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and previously, the Golden State Warriors, who recently traded for point guard Marcus Williams.
The reason he is being eyed by Cleveland is his natural scoring ability.He is a very explosive leaper. He will provide quickness and dribble penetration as the backup point guard, or potentially starting at point, for any team that picks him up.
Plus, I don't think this is something to be grateful about, but he became the best 3-point shooter on the worst 3-point shooting team.
At any circumstance, Louis Williams will probably stick with his team in Philadelphia. He will learn from Andre Miller, and when he leaves town, Philly won't be hesitant to insert him into the lineup. Him and Rodney Stuckey are at a very similar situation right now.
JR Smith has been the X-Factor for the Denver Nuggets SO many times last season. He had a breakout year last year, improving in almost all statistical catagories. He has the potential to score in huge bunches off dribble drives, cuts, and even spot-up jumpers. He is known as a sharpshooting SG, but has had some issues off the court as well, which is lowering his stock.
He is a game-changer from the perimeter, as he was Denver's most reliable shooter. But for some reason, he isn't receiving much interest from other clubs. There have been rumors of him going to either San Antonio. Overall, the gaping hole at the guard position for Denver will force him to stay. But their may be a concern.
Oviously, the Nuggets are attempting to get under the luxury tax, most notably by the Marcus Camby trade. They already signed Dahanty Jones. I know he isn't nearly as talented as JR Smith, but you never now what the Nuggets will do. Hey, they might even package him in a trade for a starting PG.
Landry was one of the most productive bench players last year for the Rockets. He has one of the strongest physiques I've seen from a player in the NBA. He finishes everything under the basket.
The major concern with him though that at the PF position, he is listed at 6'7". His size, or lack there of, is a big negative in his game. That's why teams are very reluctant to offer him a big contract.
But one team seems to be very interested, and that franchise would be the Indiana Pacers. They are also looking to get rid of the huge contracts of Jamaal Tinsley and Troy Murphy, so if they can do that, signing Carl Landry would almost be a lock.
And the more I look at the Houston Rockets lineup, the more I notice that they don't really need Landry. They have Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes at the PF position already. They need to go after a center, not an undersized PF.
I know the Cleveland Cavaliers might not pull this trade off, but if the Indiana Pacers somehow traded Travis Diener, Shawne Williams, Stephen Graham, Jeff Foster (Salary: $5,500,000 Years Remaining: 1), Jamaal Tinsley (Salary: $6,750,000 Years Remaining: 3), Troy Murphy (Salary: $10,126,984 Years Remaining: 3), and a future 1st round pick to Cleveland for Joe Smith (Salary: $4,795,000 Years Remaining: 1), Anderson Varejao (Salary: $5,784,480 Years Remaining: 1), Wally Szczerbiak (Salary: $13,775,000 Years Remaining: 1), Eric Snow (Salary: $7,312,500 Years Remaining: 1), Sasha Pavlovic, Damon Jones (Salary: $4,460,186 Years Remaining: 1), and their 2009 1st Round Pick. Then Indiana can sign Carl Landry.
C - Hibbert, Nesterovic, Baston C - Ilgauskas, Foster, Smith
PF - Varejao, Landry, McRoberts PF - Murphy, Wallace, Jackson
SF - Granger, Szczerbiak, Daniels SF - James, Hickson, Williams
SG - Dunleavy, Rush, Jones SG - Pavlovic, West, Graham
PG - Ford, Jack, Snow PG - Gibson, Diener, Tinsley
Again, another role player interested in going overseas. What a surprise! Delonte West wants Gibson-type money, but I don't think the Cavs believe he is worth that. Now they're in a contract dispute, and West is looking elsewhere.
Has provided stability at the point guard position all last season for the Cavs, but now that they have said Daniel "Boobie" Gibson is the starter, he will try to go somewhere else. There have been rumors of heading to Phoenix, Denver, or even Boston or Golden State before they made moves.
He needs to improve his quickness and driving ability if he wants to become a starter in the NBA somewhere. LeBron oviously doesn't want him there, because he like Daniel Gibson. What they need is someone that will be a playmaker, and that isn't Delonte West.
He does have plenty of value though, and if suddenly Cleveland decided on a sign-and-trade, they get some value in return.
Right now he is a borderline starter, but trust me, he will be a great player in the future. He definately has some three point range that can hurt you and he is very quick.
The Heat would be very stupid if they didn't offer him a contract. Chris Quinn and Mario Chalmers could be the point guards of the future, and unfortunately for Jason Williams, he will be leaving Miami.
Chris Quinn has gotten intrest from teams such as Minnesota, Los Angeles (Clippers), Atlanta, Golden State, Orlando, and Washington.
Quinn was ecspecially productive during the span of the last 17 games of the regular season when he put up great numbers, including averaging 14.4 points and 5.9 assists, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range during that span and having better than a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, when you want a young, solid point guard for the futuer, don't look elsewhere then at Chris Quinn.
Here is another Miami native, but with a different playing style. Many casual fans might have never recognized him, but he has shown very good athleticism, and at the same time, he likes to get out and run the floor. Also,many players sleep on his effective mid-range shot.
Not many proposed rumors have been happening, which is a surprise to me. He is a very talented "rookie" who is only getting better. There is no doubt that he is a solid backup SF for ANY team in this league.
He needs more experience, but when he gets that, watch out for player named Dorrell
Wright. Some call him the less talented and weaker version of Rudy Gay, but when he gets some NBA playing time, you never now what could happen.
I wouldn't be surprised if he left town though, because Miami just signed a player named James Jones, who plays the same exact position as him. Would you believe me if I said it was very possible if he went to Phoenix or San Antonio, ecspecially if they don't resign Michael Finley, but if they don't, that won't happen.
Who? That's what you probably said when you saw him, but he is acctually pretty good. Size, frame, and athleticism is what describes Robert Swift at best. Sure, he doesn't put up great stats, but he does the little things, and that's what counts.
He will be a solid backup center for whichever franchise would like to have his talent. It's highly unlikely that he will receive a big deal, but he still has enough upside to make him get some PT for a team that needs size down low.
Oklahoma City would match any offer given to him anyway.....