NBA Free Agency: Where They SHOULD Go Part 1

It’s that time of year again. To the armchair GMs like myself, this is one of the best weeks of the year. I was originally going to call this “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, but due to a limited salary, I felt a lawsuit from “The Clash” could get pricy. So here is my take on where this year’s relevant free agents will go, and where they SHOULD go. You’re welcome, NBA GM’s.

Jeff Teague, PG, Atlanta Hawks (RFA)Atlanta-Hawks-ALT

Where he should go: Golden State

Where he probably will go: Atlanta

At this point, Golden State is in need of a solid pass-first point guard. While Jarrett Jack is a great piece player, he is known for his inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. Teague is a little more complete and will be a little better fit in Golden State. However, a few things come into mind. First, could Teaguje handle a starting role? He’s only really been one thing in his career, and this is a BIG step. Secondly, Golden State would have to offer Teague a lot more than he’s really worth to a lot of teams. Teague is a solid role player, but look for Golden State to have to pay starter bucks to get him out of ATL. Big starter bucks say Teague stays in Atlanta.Josh Smith

Josh Smith, PF, Atlanta Hawks

Where he should go: Dallas

Where he probably will go: Atlanta

In a previous article I wrote, I said that Josh Smith would be a perfect fit in Dallas. Dallas needs a star player to play alongside Dirk in the final act of his career. And let’s face it; Dirk REALLY needs help. With Smith, Nowitzki, and a potential center in the front court, Dallas could return to contender status overnight. This would also free up Atlanta to pursue Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, with Horford at the 4 spot (the more natural spot for him). But there is NO way Atlanta can afford Smith, Paul, Horford, and Howard all on the same ticket. It’ll be tight just filling out roster without Smith on it. It would be fun to watch, but no player is willing to cut out of the max deal for it (so much for team players). And sure, it sucks that Dwight and Josh are such good friends and they will never get to play together, but tough nuggets. As the old story goes, Josh will probably end up staying in Atlanta and Hotlanta will continue about their merry way, exiting next year’s first round playoff with emphasis. The only question is; will Danny Ferry be the guy to FINALLY shake things up?

Ben Gordon, SG, Charlotte Bobcats (P)

Where he should go: Orlando

Where he probably will go: Milwaukee

Ben Gordon has been given the short end of the stick during his time in the NBA, going from one rebuilder to another. Some players are dealt that hand. But on the other hand, he did make twelve million dollars last year.  Now who feels sorry for him? Gordon could set himself up to be a real scorer in Orlando (yes, another rebuilder) with the majority of the offense departed, Orlando lacks an offense that Gordon (provided he could play at a high level again) could be eventually given the keys to. That said, this is a long shot. Orlando will probably throw some rookie to the wolves and then won’t understand why he doesn’t perform at a high level with no experience and no development. Sigh. Look for J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis to depart Milwaukee and are replaced with Ben Gordon, due to Milwaukee being one of the only teams to offer him a starting gig with an oversized contract. Same game, different city.

O.J. Mayo, SG, Dallas Mavericks (P)Dallas Mavericks

Where he should go: Dallas

Where he probably will go: Dallas

I think O.J.would be stupid to decline his option AND THEN look elsewhere. There’s not much else to say about the Mayo debacle. Dallas is a rising ship and he really isn’t going to find a better deal elsewhere. Better deal implying good money in a good market with the best owner in the league. He should’ve learned about being buried in a roster in Memphis. Would you rather make mid-level money and compete for a title…or make overpriced money and live out your days playing for a rebuilder. The choice is yours young pad wan.

Andre Iguodala, SF, Denver Nuggets (ETO)

Where he should go: San Antonio

Where he probably will go: Sacramento, Detroit, Orlando, insert sinkhole rebuilder team.

This one might throw some for a loop, but if San Antonio loses Tony, Manu, and Timmy when they ride off into the sunset (or even one of them for conversation sake) could make the starting lineup virtually wide open for the Spurs. One might ask themselves…well wouldn’t San Antonio be a rebuilder if the original Big Three left? And I would reply with “sure, only if you’ve never watched the San Antonio bench play before”.  Even if the whole bunch comes back for another year, Andre could benefit greatly by joining this squad. His starter days aren’t over by a long shot, but Manu’s pretty much are. The cynic in me says Andre will end up going to some slack team because he sees dollar signs. Who knows…Philly might even be gassed up to welcome him back.

 

Rodrigue Beaubois, PG, Dallas Mavericks (RFA)

Where he should go: Anywhere but Dallas

Where he probably will go: Dallas

It’s safe to say Rodrigue has been a sheer disappointment in Big D. His welcome mat that was thrown out during the 2010 playoffs has officially been worn out. He would be fine as a bench player anywhere…but Dallas. If Dallas is looking to sudo “clean house”, Beaubois one of the first people I would tell to get lost. Granted, he’s only a restricted FA…but offers will probably come through for him. Like a bad man who’s no good for a woman, a cocky franchise (Minnesota or Brooklyn) will probably think they can “fix” Beaubois. Likely as it is, Dallas (out of respect for their own ego) will probably be a team to think they can fix him. High school never ends, does it?

Darren Collison, PG, Dallas Mavericks (RFA)

Where he should go: Dallas

Where he probably will go: Houston or Indiana

Again, in a previous article I wrote, I said that Collison could fight for the starting job in Dallas and would make a good addition to the starting rotation. With that said, Collison might see a different path in mind. If Howard goes to Houston, I could see Collison (and others) try to jump on that dynasty train. Even if it means playing limited minutes. On the other hand, I also see Dallas making a legitimate effort to sign him. If both hoops fell through, though, I could also see Indiana taking him back. Stranger things have happened…

Brandan Wright, PF, Dallas Mavericks

Where he should go: Dallas

Where he probably will go: Wide Open

Brandan Wright is a nice little addition to the Dallas bench that has made himself known as a solid bench player. If Dallas fails to re-sign him, (shame on you Donnie) just about everyone and anyone would be willing to pay him mid-level money. No one is expecting Wright to be a starter. Again, Dallas would be a fool not to re-sign him. But if not, he’s a very desirable bench player to give relief to post players.

Corey Brewer, SG, Denver NuggetsDenver Nuggets

Where he should go: Denver

Where he probably will go: Memphis or Phoenix

Corey Brewer has never really lived up to his Bradley Beal expectations. After coming off a Gator title team with Joakim Noah,  Al Horford, and others Brewer hasn’t quite lived up to his hype. With that said, Denver has lost enough already this season. I think it would wise of them to keep him and exploit him for his talent; relieving starters and camping out behind the arc. His shot creation leaves something to be desired, but his mid to outside range is where the gold lies.  Should Denver say sayonara, a team looking to add quality backup minutes would be welcoming. My money says Phoenix is looking for a transition guard like Brewer, or Memphis to add to a somewhat steady backcourt.

 

Jose Calderon, PG, Detroit PistonsDetroit Pistons

Where he should go: Los Angeles Lakers

Where he probably will go: Detroit

Calderon was another Toronto “international love” bust that didn’t really live up to what the Canadians wanted him to. Needless to say, the Raptors really know how to pick ‘em. To be fair, he wasn’t really given a lot to work with except other busts and busts in the making. Boy does Toronto need help. I digress; L.A. could be looking for a solid backup for Steve Nash, should Stevie keep biting the injury bug. Calderon could come in and keep up with D’Antoni’s fast paced fun and could also serve as a solid role player should they need him to fill in at times. Sadly, the cynic in me says Detroit will dump some money into him, leaving him freezing in Michigan.

 

Charlie Villanueva, PF, Detroit Pistons (P)

Where he should go: Dallas or Boston

Where he probably will go: Chicago

Remember when Charlie V. used to be relevant? A big fish in a small, Milwaukee pond? Yeah, me either. He went as fast as he came. Let me jog your memory; a few years back, Detroit jumped the gun to make (what we thought was) an awesome deal to get Villanueva from Milwaukee, leaving us imagining a young Ben Gordon and Charlie V. reviving Detroit with what was left of a title team. As they say, the rest is history. But the light isn’t as dim as some think for Villanueva. As Charlie should decline his option, and given the right circumstances, Villanueva could end up working his way back into the sixth man role for a good team. I think at 28, and considering his lack of production, the starting role ship has sailed. But Dallas or Boston could use him as a role player, for now, and could eventually work his way back in should he improve his consistency on both sides of the ball. Think of it like the Shawn Marion experiment, when Dallas got declining Shawn from Toronto. That said, Chicago could be in the mood to take a chance for a mid-level type of deal. Anything more would be added pressure on an already crumbling player. As Steve Perry said, (with no relevance to Villanueva whatsoever) “Don’t Stop, Believing!”

 

Jarrett Jack, PG, Golden State WarriorsGolden State Warriors

Where he should go: Dallas or Portland

Where he probably will go: Golden State

Jack has made awesome strides to become a more versatile and desirable player than when he backed up Chris Paul. The key point; he’s still not there yet, and is getting to the point where maybe this is what we get from Jack. His main deal is consistency. He can make some great plays as a combo guard, but also sometimes thinks of himself before his teammates on the floor.  Some play with Dirk or even O.J. Mayo would set him straight.  Terry Stotts could also use him in Portland to help develop some future talent around and could provide Jack with some decent minutes in return. Joining the real world again, I think Golden State will say “why fix what isn’t broken” and re-sign him to a mid-level offer, which he will take.

 

Brandon Rush, SG, Golden State Warriors (P)

Where he should go: Golden State

Where he probably will go: Golden State

I will say this, Brandon Rush would not be a fool to decline his player option in return for more money, BUT would be a fool to look elsewhere. Like I said about O.J. Mayo, Rush would be smart to get more money out of Golden State, but in return pledge his commitment to a rising ship. They gave him solid minutes, a solid role, and in return he played hard and gave no lip. The perfect relationship. I think this is an open and shut case. Sign Rush to a new four year deal worth about 18 or 20 million and keep it moving. Wham bam, thank ya ma’am.

 

Tyler Hansbrough, PF, Indiana Pacers (RFA)Indiana Pacers

Where he should go: Indiana

Where he probably will go: Toronto

As a restricted free agent, I think Indiana has seen enough from Psycho-T to keep his around as a solid role player. We all knew Tyler was never going to be the big gun in the NBA. I think there is a solid mutual interest between the two parties. The only problem; I foresee a team like Toronto or Charlotte poison pilling the crap out of Indiana and taking him away from a solid team. I sincerely hope Tyler likes free healthcare and Justin Bieber, because I don’t foresee Tyler coming back to Indy next season. You know what they say, ”if it’s meant to be, then some other cellar team will take them away from you and you’ll never hear about them again.” The end.

 

D.J. Augustin, PG, Indiana Pacers

Where he should go: Indiana

Where he probably will go: Detroit, Atlanta, or Milwaukee

D.J. Augustin may have somewhere he can actually stick in. After riding the Charlotte roller coaster the last few years, playing the same role he has been in Indiana, Augustin seems like someone the Pacers could keep as a potential backup combo guard. Augustin has done enough to show he can be a viable member of a good team focus, but also could be a target to one of these smaller teams looking for a breath of fresh air. Combo guards are the hot item right now, and at only 25, Augustin fits the bill for many teams. Beware, if any other teams like the mentioned above should offer more than what D.J.  is worth, he should think about getting his home on the market. Indiana likes him, but only will pay so much to get him back. This is what you call, an expendable player.

David West, PF, Indiana Pacers

Where he should go: Indiana

Where he probably will go: Golden State

If David West were smart, he would keep his head down in Indy, take what they want (because Indy wants you back to), and stay on the success train. Like I’ve said about other players, don’t be stupid. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. Should David West see differently, I think the Warriors show the most promise of signing him, as they are in the same boat as Indiana.

Sam Young, SF, Indiana Pacers

Where he should go: Sacramento, San Antonio

Where he probably will go: Wide Open

Call me crazy, but I think Sam would actually benefit from gaining a little more playing time and experience from a low-level team looking to re-build. Young was given more minutes (12.5mpg) in Indiana, but didn’t really play up to the standard of those minutes given.  IF Indiana gets him a deal, it wouldn’t be worth a lot because, in my eyes, he hasn’t played well enough to deserve it. However, I think new Sac-town management would be intrigued to develop Sam a little more and get him into being more of an active shooter and solid role player. If not, I think San Antonio always has room for his type of player to develop into their own thing. For post-Indiana purposes, though, the destination possibilities are endless.

Matt Barnes, SF, Los Angeles ClippersLA Clippers

Where he should go: Los Angeles Clippers

Where he probably will go: Los Angeles Clippers

I think this is another open and shut case. Given the minutes LA gave Barnes, I would say they are pleasantly satisfied with him. They got him cheap, and would probably like to keep him. If they gave him a little bump in pay (5 million over 2 years), I think that’s be enough to make him stay. Done.

 

Lamar Odom, PF, Los Angeles Clippers

Where he should go: Retirement

Where he probably will go: Los Angeles Clippers

It’s been a slow, twisting knife in the back for Lamar Odom since he was Sixth Man of the Year for the Lakers a few years back. He had on (and off) court issues in Dallas, where he was pretty much reserved a retired number, AND THEN didn’t make things any better when he showed up to Clipper camp overweight.  The even worse part; everyone raves about how good of a guy he is and how good of a teammate Lamar is. Heck, I even root for him. But enough is enough. If it’s not in you anymore, then don’t keep going on the same path. I think it’s time for Lamar to just hang it up. I think that he’s well-spoken and intelligent enough to work in broadcasting or coaching. Maybe it’s time to think about it. As it is, I fear Lamar will hang on too long and end up eroding everything he built up in his career.  Chances are, LA (or some cellar dweller) will sign him.

 

Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles ClippersChris-Paul-State-Farm-Cliff-Paul-300x170

Where he should go: Atlanta

Where he probably will go: Los Angeles Clippers

If Chris Paul is really in need of a change of scenery, I think Atlanta would be an almost perfect suit for him. Paul is closing in on 30 years old. And for a star NBA player, 30 can mean a lot of things. Bottom line; he needs to get on a title team. If Atlanta could swing it they could dump Smith, get Howard and Horford on board, and then add a solid two and three (O.J. Mayo or Andre Iguodala to name a few) to have a starting lineup worth talking about. To add everyone would take son finesse on Danny Ferry’s part. But on paper (and theoretically), it’s possible. The most useless place for a deal to have stability from is theory. Worst case scenario is; Atlanta just signs Paul and Smith back, with Horford and a solid two guard, which is still a solid title contender. In all reality, I see Paul mending fences and staying with the Clippers.  More to come on Atlanta possibilities shortly.

 

Dwight Howard, C, Los Angeles LakersLakers

Where he should go: Atlanta

Where he probably will go: Los Angeles Lakers

See above the Chris Paul scenario for how Atlanta SHOULD play this out. Now hear this; Howard would be a fool to leave Los Angeles unless it’s an All-Star trio gathering like Atlanta, Dallas, or Houston. Dallas is the only one who wouldn’t be able to swing Paul and Howard. But no one said anything about Paul/Iguodala or Howard/Iggs. If Howard could team up with Paul and Horford in Atlanta, this could be a nightmare for competitors. The likelihood of this happening is slim to none. The GMs and owners aren’t stupid. They know when a team is building a franchise and who could build a team like that. You could listen to all the talking heads you want, but in the end, Howard and Paul will likely stay in Los Angeles.  Can you really blame them?

 

Metta World Peace, SF, Los Angeles Lakers (ETO)

Where he should go: Miami

Where he probably will go: Los Angeles Lakers

By releasing a few old farts in Miami, Pat and the gang might be able to free up some space to nab bad boy Ron Artest (your REAL name)/Metta WP. WP already fits the mold in Miami, and could be a nice addition to the defensive side of the ball. There is definitely a spot adjacent LBJ, but the only question is will Miami be smart enough to see it? Going from one contender to another would be a dream for Metta. If this deal falls through, look for WP to come crawling back to Hollywood. Must be tough being Metta World Peace.

 

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Comments

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3 Comments

  1. Ben Gordon to Orlando isn’t happening. I don’t disagree with your logic but it’s a tough fit with Affalo and Oladipo currently there.

    Calderon to the Lakers would be perfect except for the fact the Lakers can’t acquire him. They can’t offer nothing more than the mini-exemption and because they are so far into luxury tax territory they can’t sign and deal for him.

    I like the other scenarios laid out though. Ron Artest could be more valuable to the Heat then he currently is to the Lakers.

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