NBA Free Agency 2014: ESPN's Elhassan Ranks the Top 30 -- And who the Jazz can target

Mike Ehrmann

ESPN's Amin Elhassan ranked the Top 30 NBA Free Agents for this upcoming off-season. Let's break down some of the data, add some new info, and try to make sense of this all.

ESPN's Amin Elhassan has this thing called the free agency big board. I guess part of their deal is to have people have their normal thing and just update it as the season goes on. Chad Ford does the draft. David Thorpe does the rookies. Marc Stein does the power rankings. John Hollinger used to do the other rankings and playoff odds. There's also the franchise future rankings. Well, Elhassan does the Free Agency one. Of course, it's In$ider, so you can read it all here. If you can I think you should because his analysis is what is the main draw.

He ranks players according to something called the AAV (Average Annual Value), which is, in his own words:

To make my contract value estimates, I used many of the same factors I used as a member of the Phoenix Suns' front office: age, injury history, value of recent comparable player contracts, irreplaceability of skill set, contribution to winning, history of production, fit with style and culture, marketability, and current cap situation, among other things.

Yup. Okay. This is cool.

Elhassan also does more than just makes a 'best fit' list, he went and detailed the contracts these players should get. I'm not going to spell it all out, and his details make the differences here. So with the data I present you're not getting all of the things like which player has an opt out clause, which player doesn't have a full guaranteed last year, and so forth. There is nuance with all the hard work he did, so I'm not going to take it all. What I am going to do is add some stuff that he did not. Not that he omitted anything. It's just that he's probably not as crazy as I am. Hence, well, everything about me. And what I am adding are things that he has already factored in for his AAV thingy.

Current New Contract
Player Age Exp Status Pos Team Salary Total Yrs / Year +/-
1 Carmelo Anthony 29.8 11 ETO Wing New York Knicks $21.4 $70.5 3 $23.5 $2.1
2 LeBron James 29.2 11 ETO Wing Miami Heat $19.1 $115.5 5 $23.1 $4.0
3 Chris Bosh 29.9 11 ETO Big Miami Heat $19.1 $100.5 5 $20.1 $1.0
4 Dirk Nowitzki 35.7 16 UFA Big Dallas Mavericks $22.7 $30.0 2 $15.0 -$7.7
5 Greg Monroe 23.7 4 RFA Big Detroit Pistons $4.1 $50.0 4 $12.5 $8.4
6 Zach Randolph 32.6 12 PO Big Memphis Grizzlies $18.2 $36.0 3 $12.0 -$6.2
7 Eric Bledsoe 24.2 4 RFA Point Phoenix Suns $2.6 $40.8 4 $10.2 $7.6
8 Tim Duncan 37.8 17 PO Big San Antonio Spurs $10.4 $20.0 2 $10.0 -$0.4
9 Pau Gasol 33.6 13 UFA Big Los Angeles Lakers $19.3 $30.9 3 $10.3 -$9.0
10 Gordon Hayward 23.9 4 RFA Wing Utah Jazz $3.5 $36.0 4 $9.0 $5.5
11 Lance Stephenson 23.5 4 UFA Wing Indiana Pacers $1.0 $38.0 4 $9.5 $8.5
12 Rudy Gay 27.5 8 PO Wing Sacramento Kings $17.9 $27.0 3 $9.0 -$8.9
13 Marcin Gortat 30.0 7 UFA Big Washington Wizards $7.7 $24.9 3 $8.3 $0.6
14 Emeka Okafor 31.4 10 UFA Big Phoenix Suns $14.5 $24.9 3 $8.3 -$6.2
15 Kyle Lowry 27.9 8 UFA Point Toronto Raptors $6.2 $25.5 3 $8.5 $2.3
16 Luol Deng 28.9 10 UFA Wing Cleveland Cavaliers $14.2 $22.5 3 $7.5 -$6.7
17 Spencer Hawes 25.8 7 UFA Big Cleveland Cavaliers $6.6 $22.2 3 $7.4 $0.8
18 Channing Frye 30.8 8 PO Big Phoenix Suns $6.4 $22.2 3 $7.4 $1.0
19 Ed Davis 24.7 4 RFA Big Memphis Grizzlies $3.2 $16.5 3 $5.5 $2.3
20 Trevor Ariza 28.7 10 UFA Wing Washington Wizards $7.7 $16.5 3 $5.5 -$2.2
21 Evan Turner 28.1 4 RFA Wing Indiana Pacers $6.7 $16.5 3 $5.5 -$1.2
22 Shawn Marion 35.8 15 UFA Wing Dallas Mavericks $9.3 $10.8 2 $5.4 -$3.9
23 Paul Pierce 36.4 16 UFA Wing Brooklyn Nets $15.3 $10.8 2 $5.4 -$9.9
24 Thabo Sefolosha 29.8 8 UFA Wing Oklahoma City Thunder $3.9 $15.0 3 $5.0 $1.1
25 Avery Bradley 23.3 4 UFA Point Boston Celtics $2.5 $13.5 3 $4.5 $2.0
26 Mario Chalmers 27.8 6 UFA Point Miami Heat $4.0 $9.0 2 $4.5 $0.5
27 Patty Mills 25.5 5 UFA Point San Antonio Spurs $1.3 $8.0 2 $4.0 $2.7
28 Andrei Kirilenko 33.0 12 PO Wing Brooklyn Nets $3.2 $10.5 3 $3.5 $0.3
29 Steve Blake 34.0 11 UFA Point Golden State Warriors $4.0 $6.6 2 $3.3 -$0.7
30 P.J. Tucker 28.8 3 UFA Wing Phoenix Suns $0.9 $9.0 3 $3.0 $2.1

Okay, so we have G-Time cracking the Top 10. Many of the guys getting big raises are people from Gordon's rookie year. Speaking of Gordon, he's only here because the Jazz and his people could not agree on an extension. I think he should be worth at least $9.0 million to the Utah Jazz, and if they didn't offer him at least that much then that's silly. On the other hand, I also don't think that Hayward expected to be shooting this poorly this season. So maybe he was looking at around $13 million per? That's just too much if you ask me.

The Jazz have more than just Hayward to worry about thought. Richard Jefferson ($11m), Andris Biedrins ($9m), Marvin Williams ($7.5m), Brandon Rush ($4m) and others (John Lucas III, Diante Garrett, Malcolm Thomas, and Ian Clark could be free agents too) are all off the books this July. One one hand that means we'll have cap space -- and in theory, money to throw at these free agents. On the other, the Jazz may just try to retain / defer 'flexibility' by taking on another team doing a salary dump if they throw some picks our way.

I don't know what our team is doing.

I do know that I don't expect all of these guys who have ETOs (Early termination options) to pull the trigger on them. I'm not crazy about many of these players either. Their age makes them prohibitive. More than that, to be a player in free agency you have to be willing to spend. And right now I think our team isn't really trying to go back into the cap anytime soon. We don't even know how much Raul Neto's buyout may be. (Do we? Peter?)

As for Elhassan's rankings, I don't see Melo being #1, but he is for now. The Jazz could afford him, and we're really only a big scorer away from the playoffs...

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