There's few things I enjoy more about analyzing basketball than trying to make predictions. It's fun to use what little knowledge I have about the inner workings of the league to put my best guess forward. A few days ago I reread my predictions for every teams records at the end of last season and to put it nicely: I couldn't have been more wronger about what happened last season. You win some you lose some, I suppose. But over the next few days, I will be making some predictions about the NBA and what will transpire in the upcoming days and months. No inside sources, no phone calls to agents. Just me and my gut. Today, we take a look at the best free agents and where they might land.
NENE HILARIO- The New Jersey Nets- 4 years, $60 million
The New Jersey Nets are going to try and pry Dwight Howard away from the Magic. But after quickly realizing that Brook Lopez and a few draft picks will never entice Orlando, they will move quickly and desperately and overpay the top free agent, Nene. And the Brazilian center is going to be a 7 foot domino that falls hard and causes big ripples around the league this offseason.
TYSON CHANDLER- Toronto Raptors- 4 years, $50 million
Clark, what the crap are you talking about? I'm not sure really. I'm just following my gut. No one is expecting the Raptors to be much of a player in free agency, but Chris Broussard's sources tell me they surprisingly buy out or use the amnesty clause on Leandro Barbosa and overpay Tyson Chandler. The Raptors covet a defensive center type player to either pair with Andrea Bargnani or Ed Davis. In reality, if Chandler pans out, the Raptors could then actively pursue a trade of Bargnani.
DAVID WEST- New Orleans Hornets- 5 years, $60 million
I think West will draw a lot of interest, but teams will ultimately be scared off by his wonky knee. According to Yahoo sport's Adrian Wojnarowski, West is being pursued the most by the Indiana Pacers and Hornets. But the Pacers have to make the right offseason signing and won't take the risk. This will be good and bad news for the Hornets. Good because they will get West back, but bad, because it won't be enough to Keep Chris Paul around and the Hornets will have overpaid for West in the context of their .500 team in upcoming years.
MARC GASOL- Houston Rockets- 4 years, $60 million
My second big surprise of the free agency period is the thoughtful and somewhat desperate Houston Rockets. Gasol is a restricted free agent, meaning someone will have to overpay him to pry him from the somewhat cash-strapped Grizzlies. The Rockets need to make a splash in free agency and they want a center for Christmas. They will use their amnesty clause on Hasheem Thabeet to free up a little space to offer Gasol a close to max deal.
DEANDRE JORDAN- LA Clippers- 5 years, $30 million
The clippers will benefit from people using up their money on other centers and be able to retain their center. They'll overpay him a bit, but Jordan is improving and may be a key in trading for Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012 when the NBA will be saved from worldly destruction by John Cusack and a limousine.
THADDEUS YOUNG- Indiana Pacers- 4 years, $40 million
The Pacers will pass on David West and be unable to trade for Paul Millsap and will go for the next best option. The Sixers are a little strapped for cash and will not be able to match a big offer for their up and coming, young combo forward. He's a little small for the power forward position, but could start their along side Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert. I love Thaddeus Young and he's going to get overpaid this offseason. Good for him and good for the Pacers.
ANDREI KIRILENKO- Golden State Warriors- 4 years, $20 million
The Jazz are moving on from the Andrei Kirilenko era. I strongly believe that from said gut and from the vibe I get from people surrounding the Jazz organization. AK will get lots of offers, but he'll eventually join up with the team that was made for Andrei Kirilenko. Honestly, if there is a team other than the Jazz that I want to see utilize AK-47, it is the Warriors. AK will play all 5 positions, sometimes in the same game. It will also help the Jazz, because it will improve the warriors enough that we can acquire their pick next offseason. Momma, there goes that man.
JAMAL CRAWFORD- Washington Wizards- 4 years, $40 million
TAYSHAUN PRINCE- LA Clippers- 4 years, $20 million
I love the LA Clippers roster and they are going to pick up a veteran small forward this offseason to lead their young stars. It doesn't hurt that Prince played high school ball in Compton.
SHANE BATTIER- Miami Heat- 4 years, $20 million
CARON BUTLER- New Jersey Nets- 4 years, $30 million
The Nets are going to do whatever they can in order to keep Deron Williams around. So they will sign the best big and the best wing they can. The will also resign Kris Humphries Kardashian. I can't believe this is the first time I realized that Kris Humphries agreed to a marriage that would give him the same name as his mother in law. That's a huge no-no in my book.
JASON RICHARDSON- Indiana Pacers- 3 years, $15 million
Richardson will win the free agency "get signed by a team that is desperate to spend their money and fill a needed position" sweepstakes. Pacers have tons of cap space and they currently have Dahntay Jones and a guy named Price as their shooting guards. Perfect storm for the aging Richardson to get a weird deal.
ARRON AFFLALO- Chicago Bulls- 4 years, $20 million
That's right. Denver is going to lose 3 of their players to China basketball and both of their free agents to better teams. Dozens of Bulls fans that stumbled upon this post are wetting themselves right now, because, hey, their last starting shooting guard was Keith Bogans.
EARL WATSON- Utah Jazz- 2 years, $5 million
RONNIE PRICE- Utah Jazz- 1 year, veteran minimum
I like Ronnie Price, but he just isn't a very good NBA player. But since he will be the 3rd string point guard, you can pay a player who is a good locker room guy who knows the system the minimum salary.
Samuel Dalembert- Sacramento for way too much money
Kwame Brown- Besiktas
Mike Dunleavy Jr.- Detroit Pistons for 1 year, $4 million
Mike Dunleavy Sr.- New GM for the Portland Trailblazers
Glen Davis- Cleveland for their trade exception.
If some of these deals seem ludicrous, that is because they are. See you at the next lockout.