The 2011 NBA free agency period is very much in limbo with the potential of a lockout looming. The rules of the game can completely change in terms of how long/how much a player’s contract can be depending on what is agreed upon by the owners and players association. Regardless of what happens, here are my rankings for the free agent shooting guards this off-season and where they could possibly end up once all the dust is settled.
By: David Kay
1. Jamal Crawford, Hawks (UFA)
Atlanta has a ton of money tied up into the contracts of Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith which might make Crawford too expensive to re-sign. He has been invaluable coming off the bench and could be seeking a starting role this summer which he won’t see in the A-T-L as long as Joe Johnson is around. Question is; will any team be willing to give him a big contract to come and be a starter?
Predicted Contract: 4-years, $38 million
Possible Destinations: ATL, NJ, NO, WAS
2. Jason Richardson, Magic (UFA)
Richardson put up the worst numbers of his career once he was dealt to Orlando. He is only 30 years old but probably will be sought after by playoff teams with their mid-level exception, which would be a serious cut in salary from the near $14.5 million he made this past season.
Predicted Contract: 4-years, $24 million
Possible Destinations: ORL, DEN, NO, DAL, CLE, NJ
3. Nick Young, Wizards (RFA)
Young blew up in his fourth season as a pro nearly doubling his career scoring average. He will be due a raise from the $3.7 million due on the final year of his rookie contract. If I am the Wizards or any other team for that matter, I am not sure I would be ready to throw an expensive extension his way especially since Young does not really contribute on the floor outside of scoring.
Predicted Contract: 5-years, $28 million
Possible Destinations: WAS, CLE, DAL, NO, DEN, NJ, PHX
4. Aaron Afflalo, Nuggets (RFA)
The former UCLA Bruin had his best season in the NBA and is starting to realize his niche as a defender/three-point threat. His qualifying offer is worth less than three-million dollars for next season so he will be due a bump in salary. Denver should try to ink him to an extension if the price is right and another team does not grossly overpay for his services.
Predicted Contract: 5-years, $23 million
Possible Destinations: DEN, CLE, CHI, ORL, PHX, NO, NJ
5. Vince Carter, Suns (TO)
How the mighty have fallen… There is no way on earth Phoenix will be pick up the $18-million option Carter has for 2011-2012 since he is well past his prime. It is time for Carter to suck it up and realize that he is nothing more than a complimentary player these days. If he is willing to accept that fate, he should land somewhere as a reserve. If VC still thinks he is a stud, he might be willing to play for a re-building team and take one last stab at being their “star.” Whatever the case may be, he better be prepared to take a major paycut.
Predicted Contract: 2-years, $10 million
Possible Destinations: CLE, CHA, BOS, MIA, DAL, NO, DEN
6. Marcus Thornton, Kings (UFA)
After being in the doghouse in New Orleans at the start of last season, Thornton was great once he was dealt to the Kings, averaging 21.3 ppg. Considering he is only entering his third year in the association, there should be a nice payday in his very near future. I imagine he would want to sign somewhere he can start since he would likely make more rather than settling for reserve money. Expect Sacramento to make a serious bid to re-sign him.
Predicted Contract: 4-years, $18 million
Possible Destinations: SAC, CLE, DAL, DEN, ATL, BOS, NJ
7. J.R. Smith, Nuggets (UFA)
Smith is loaded with talent and athleticism but has yet to truly figure it out as a NBA player. His numbers took a bit of a dip this season which might hurt his value a bit. At this point, he is still a bench player but can he help a team win a title? That will be the question teams will face when pursuing Smith this off-season.
Predicted Contract: 4-years, $20 million
Possible Destinations: DEN, CLE, NJ, ATL, DAL
8. Leandro Barbosa, Raptors (PO)
Barbosa has the option to pick up the $7.6 million he is owed on the final year of his contract. Coming off a second straight disappointing season in which he battled injuries, Barbosa does not have a ton of value if he were to become a free agent. Expect him to play it safe and stay in Toronto rather than test the open market.
Predicted Contract: Picks up option on his contract
Possible Destinations: TOR
9. Sam Young, Grizzlies (TO)
With a team option worth less than a million dollars for next season, the Griz would be foolish not to bring Young back and might even look to sign him to an extension. He provides great depth on the wing for Memphis, even starting 46 games this past season.
Predicted Contract: Griz pick up option
Possible Destinations: MEM
10. Tracy McGrady, Pistons (UFA)
T-Mac proved he still has some gas left in the tank as he actually put together a decent season in Detroit. He played more games in the 2010-2011 than he did the past three seasons combined which an encouraging sign for a player who has been unable to stay healthy. He should draw some interest as a role player and probably come at a rather affordable cost. I still would not expect any team to give him longer than a two-year deal due to his injury past.
Predicted Contract: 2-years, $5 million
Possible Destinations: MIA, BOS, CLE, DET, NY, DAL, NO, DEN, ATL
Other Free Agent Shooting Guards:
Marco Belinelli (RFA), Rasual Butler (UFA), Shannon Brown (PO), Daequan Cook (QO), Marquis Daniels (UFA), Chris Douglas-Roberts (QO), Willie Green (UFA), Luther Head (UFA), Eddie House (PO), Jason Kapono (UFA), Roger Mason (UFA), Jodie Meeks (TO), Anthony Parker (UFA), Morris Peterson (UFA), Mickael Pietrus (PO), Michael Redd (UFA), DeShawn Stevenson (UFA), Jermaine Taylor (TO), Garrett Temple (UFA), Sasha Vujacic (UFA), Von Wafer (UFA), Kyle Weaver (UFA), Bill Walker (TO), Delonte West (UFA), Mario West (UFA)
CHECK OUT MY 2011 NBA FREE AGENT POINT GUARDS
CHECK OUT MY 2011 NBA FREE AGENT SMALL FORWARDS
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.