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Old 03-23-12, 02:01 AM
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Top 10 free agents in 2012

Top 10 free agents in 2012
Huge names make 2012 class a possible bumper crop
Updated: March 16, 2012, 3:41 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider


Now that the trade deadline has passed, it's never too early to look at the next wave of player movement: 2012 free agency. Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Dwight Howard have all been taken off the market, but there are plenty of big names -- young and old -- on the summer's list.

With apologies to Gerald Wallace, Ray Allen, Ersan Ilyasova, Jeremy Lin and O.J. Mayo, here are the top 10 free-agent targets this summer along with their contract status.


1. Deron Williams | Age: 27 | 2011-12 PER: 21.4 | FA type: Player option


Now that Dwight Howard is off the board, all eyes will be on Williams this summer. And rightfully so. Don't sleep on this guy just because he played on a bare-bones roster this season; he's one of the top dozen or so players in the game. Yes, he's in the midst of a down year on 2-pointers, but he can still bring a stronger package than almost every point guard. Just to remind everyone how good he is, he casually scored 57 points on 29 shots the other day. He will be looking for a max offer from somebody, and he's earned it. And he's been adamant he won't pull a "Dwight" and opt in. He's hitting the market.


2. Brook Lopez | Age: 23 | PER: 22.3 | FA type: Restricted


If you come from the school of thought that players don't become injury-prone overnight, then Brook Lopez is the guy for you. Battling a litany of foot/ankle injuries this season, Lopez has played just a handful of games during his contract season. There's little chance that the Nets don't reel Lopez back this offseason, but he'll be one of the many big names in a center-heavy crop of free agents. His rebounding struggles are a legitimate concern going forward, but few players can rival his offensive skill set at the center position. It's not the case with Williams, but as Lopez is a restricted free agent, the Nets will have the last say when it comes to his future home.


3. Ryan Anderson | Age: 23 | PER: 22.4 | FA type: Restricted


It's unlikely that the Magic will let go one of the best young players in the game, but there's a tiny chance that someone gives Anderson an outrageous offer that even his current team won't find palatable. Anderson might not be a household name, but consider him a lesser version of Kevin Love. Anderson is the league's premier 3-point shooter and despite his habitat on the perimeter, he also boasts one of the top offensive rebounding rates in the league. It's hard to imagine the Magic letting this youngster go, but it's no secret that NBA GMs have a soft spot for stretch 4s. He won't be underpaid for long.


4. Steve Nash | Age: 38 | PER: 22.0 | FA type: Unrestricted


Can you imagine if Nash played on a contender rather than spending his time in NBA purgatory (also known as the Phoenix Suns)? The magic is still there even as he approaches 40 years young. He owns the top effective field goal percentage in the league, the top assist rate in the league and arguably the top make-everyone-around-him-better rating the game has ever seen. It's almost a crime that a talent of his caliber hasn't played with an All-Star since Amare Stoudemire in 2009-10. Nash won't play at this level forever (we think), and you can expect multiple contenders will be bidding for his services even though he's one of the oldest players in the sport.


5. Roy Hibbert | Age: 25 | PER: 18.7 | FA type: Restricted


Would you be interested in a 7-foot-2 center with legitimate offensive skills? Get in line. Though he may not move like Derrick Rose out there, Hibbert has made big strides from a skills standpoint as he seems hell-bent on grabbing every rebound available to him this season. He's averaged 15.3 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes this season while blocking his fair share of shots (eighth in block rate). He's still got some work to do defensively, but he's a willing passer and, from every indication, a great locker-room presence. As far as productive young centers go, Hibbert is one of the best of a dying breed.


6. Eric Gordon |Age: 23 | PER: 17.0 | FA type: Restricted


Gordon's long-term value has taken a nosedive this season, but he'll still find a home on this list. Even though the Hornets have been tight-lipped on the exact nature of his latest knee injury, it's easy to forget that he's still just 23 years old and can get back on track before he hits his prime. Is he the franchise player the Hornets can build around? There were questions about that before his serious injury, and now those concerns are validated. However, he ranked as the league's top young shooting guard just a season ago and he has the talent to reclaim that status. But will his body let him?


7. Nicolas Batum | Age: 23 | PER: 17.9 | FA type: Restricted


Part of the impetus for the Portland contract purge at the deadline was to clear enough cash to comfortably build around Batum once he becomes a free agent this summer. The rare wing player who can stroke it from downtown and average a steal and a block per game, Batum is a perfect hyper-efficient complementary piece for a contender. The Blazers won't be there any time soon, but Batum is young enough to endure the rebuilding years and still develop into the lockdown defender every playoff team covets. No, he won't be a No. 1 option, but he could be a Tayshaun Prince-type player for a title team some day.


8. Kevin Garnett | Age: 35 | PER: 20.6 | FA type: Unrestricted


Just a couple of years and a knee injury ago, it seemed like everyone was ready to stick a fork in this Hall of Famer's career. Well, reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. As Garnett rolls into the other side of age 35, the numbers on his stat line haven't fallen off in recent years. In fact, he's still a knockdown mid-range shooter and an above-average rebounder at his position. He's not the all-world defender he once was, but there's a reason the Celtics have been about five points better defensively with him on the floor. There's still plenty of gas left in the tank.


9. Tim Duncan | Age: 35 | PER: 21.2| FA type: Unrestricted

It feels wrong to imagine Tim Duncan in another uniform other than San Antonio's black and silver, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. Duncan controls his destiny this upcoming summer and there will be plenty of teams angling for his services. Like Garnett, Duncan's career isn't on life support. If you think it is, consider that Pau Gasol, Josh Smith and DeMarcus Cousins still look up at Duncan in the PER rankings. He's lost a few steps defensively and he can't be counted on for 35 minutes a night anymore, but he can still be an integral part of a contender.



10. JaVale McGee | Age: 24 | PER: 19.7 | FA type: Restricted


The ultimate wild card. It will be fascinating to see how McGee responds to George Karl's guidance for the rest of the season in Denver, because few players have a higher physical ceiling than this 7-foot pogo stick. He's a block vulture of the highest degree, so he still needs some serious polishing on the defensive end. We always like to say that some players could use a change of scenery, and considering his upside and the toxic environment in Washington, McGee qualified as one of those players. Someone will gamble on his extraordinary physical tools, but his basketball IQ might always hold him back from reaching his potential.
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Old 03-23-12, 02:03 AM
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this person isn't on Danny Green's jock
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Old 03-23-12, 03:38 AM
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I´m sorry, but putting seven restricted FA, and specially those... meh
At least half of them are not going anywhere.
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Old 03-23-12, 03:44 AM
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I can't believe ESPN pays dudes to write such drivel. What is with all the "list". ESPN could fire half their staff and improve the quality of their content. Besides Yahoo Sports NBA guys blow away any of these idiots in quality. "insider" yeah right... People pay for this crap?
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Old 03-23-12, 08:47 AM
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Bottom line....Duncan ain't going no where....
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Old 03-23-12, 08:47 AM
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I dont see why tim is below KG. His per is better.
As far as who i would like the spurs to go after, I would love for them to get get Hibert or Brooke Lopez. Then i would want them to go out and try to get both Robin Lopez and Anthony Randolph and lorbek. I wold like them to resign green and anderson (not likely). Then maybe trade away neal blair and bonner if we got all the players i wanted.
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Old 03-23-12, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parkfan View Post
I dont see why tim is below KG. His per is better.
As far as who i would like the spurs to go after, I would love for them to get get Hibert or Brooke Lopez. Then i would want them to go out and try to get both Robin Lopez and Anthony Randolph and lorbek. I wold like them to resign green and anderson (not likely). Then maybe trade away neal blair and bonner if we got all the players i wanted.
It's the ESPN hard-on effect for Garnett and the Celtics, and they aren't big fans of SA.
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Old 03-23-12, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parkfan View Post
I dont see why tim is below KG. His per is better.
Probably because they are factoring in that TD is not likely to leave at all.
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Old 03-23-12, 12:54 PM
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Most of those restricted guys are staying put first off.(except maybe McGee because he wants crazy money according to reports) Deron Williams is pretty much only big timer on there. Dallas? KG is leaving. Maybe trade P.Gasol and sign with the Lakers? TD, I hope is staying. I'm calling it right now. Toronto Raptors sign Steve Nash. I think he wants to end his career in Canada and the Suns will lose him like Amare with no compensation. Toronto will have the cap space to get his services. Also these are just my opinions. Should be a fun summer.
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Old 03-23-12, 01:18 PM
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Toronto might be the destination for Nash. Although isn't he from western Canada?

And it would be a shame if he went out like that. As a Spurs fan I don't want him on a contender, but it would be a nice way for him to end his career.
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Old 03-23-12, 01:53 PM
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After we sign TD, do we have any dinero in the bucket to spread to the masses?
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Old 03-23-12, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alh1020 View Post
After we sign TD, do we have any dinero in the bucket to spread to the masses?
we're trying to sign a ball player, not cure world hunger! jk Alh
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Old 03-23-12, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius View Post
we're trying to sign a ball player, not cure world hunger! jk Alh
I hear ya, but come 1 July timeframe, these free agents take on the 'Latrell Sprewell' dialogue that they need to feed their families and think their talent is the best thing since sliced bread. I was wondering if we'll have any pocket change after Timmy is secured. Also, how soon can we pull Leonard aside and renegotiate his contract to long term? Is it during his option year (next summer)?
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Old 03-23-12, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius View Post
we're trying to sign a ball player, not cure world hunger! jk Alh
Nowa days it's about the same cost.
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