With the NBA Lockout coming to an end, we now know that teams can start signing free agents on December 9th. Like the NFL experienced once their lockout ended, there will be a frenzy period for teams to fill out rosters with the season tipping off on Christmas.
With the new labor agreement, there are some changes to NBA free agency. A player can only receive a four-year maximum deal (five-year deal if they re-sign with their current team) and beginning in the 2013-14 season, teams will start receiving a harsher luxury tax penalty if they exceed the salary cap. Teams will now only have three days to match an offer sheet for one of their restricted free agents. Also, some names will be added to free agency after teams decide which players will be released under the one-time amnesty clause option.
With the salary cap expected to be around $58 million, half of the teams will under that number and have room to sign free agents. Check out the bottom of the page to see which teams have space and how much.
Here is a look at the top free agent power forwards, where they might sign, and what kind of payday they will receive.
1. David West, Hornets (UFA)
West has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. He is coming off a season ending ACL injury but says he is feeling healthy and will be back to full strength. Since it is a weak crop of free agents, he will get a lengthy contract from somebody and may want to bolt from New Orleans who seems to be heading towards re-building mode with Chris Paul likely heading elsewhere.
Predicted Contract: 4 years, $40 million
Possible Destinations: NO, NJ, IND, GS
2. Kris Humphries, Nets (UFA)
I am not sure anybody had a more active lockout than the now former Mr. Kim Kardashian. Humphries had a career best season at the perfect time; his contract year. He averaged a double-double for the first time in his career as he became the team’s starting power forward due to the trades of Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors. New Jersey does not have a lot of options at power forward but will they be willing to sign him to the long-term extension that he will surely be demanding.
Predicted Contract: 4 years, $30 million
Possible Destinations: NJ, IND, SAC, DEN, NO, GS, TOR
3. Jeff Green, F, Celtics (RFA)
One would assume Boston traded for Green with the intention of keeping him for the long haul, but will they want to sign him to a long-term extension when never truly fit in with the Celtics after the deal? Other teams will probably have interest and try to pry Green from Beantown but Danny Ainge will have the option to match any offer sheet he signs.
Predicted Contract: Plays out final year of his contract
Possible Destinations: BOS, NO, DEN
4. Carl Landry, Hornets (UFA)
New Orleans was Landry’s third team in the past two seasons which is surprising since he has proven to be a valuable commodity. Expect several playoff teams to pursue Landry with a chunk of their mid-level exception since he brings great energy and scoring off the bench… unless of course Landry is in search of a starting role.
Predicted Contract: 3 years, $15 million
Possible Destinations: NO, IND, BOS, DAL, POR, DEN
5. Glen Davis, Celtics (UFA)
This is just my gut feeling, but I would imagine Davis is ready for a full-time starting gig which he will not get in Boston as long as Kevin Garnett is around. I can see him accepting the biggest contract from whichever team wants him to start. If not, he may have to settle for a mid-level type deal.
Predicted Contract: 4-years, $22 million
Possible Destinations: NO, DEN, BOS, NJ, IND, POR
6. Kenyon Martin, Nuggets (UFA)
K-Mart signed a contract to play in China this season and there is some uncertainty as to whether or not he will be allowed to play in the NBA this season. If he is let out of his deal, he will be a risk for any team even thinking of signing him to a multi-year deal due to his injury history. Martin posted a career-low in points but can still be a solid rebounder and is never afraid to mix it up down low. If Denver is not interested in bringing him back as a starter, he should draw interest from several teams looking to add an experienced, tough power forward.
Predicted Contract: 2-years, $7 million
Possible Destinations: DEN, NO, POR, NJ, ORL, SA
7. Josh McRoberts, Pacers (UFA)
McRoberts posted career numbers as he found a regular role in Indiana this past season. He is probably nothing more than a reserve and the Pacers could look to bring him back but I would imagine they are looking for an up-grade alongside Tyler Hansbrough.
Predicted Contract: 3-years, $9 million
Possible Destinations: IND, DAL, NO, SA, DEN, NJ
8. Jonas Jerebko, Pistons (RFA)
After solid rookie season, Jerebko misses all of last season with a torn right Achilles tendon. All indications are that the Pistons have every intention to bring him back and I doubt any team would risk pursuing a player who is coming off a serious injury.
Predicted Contract: Plays out final year of contract
Possible Destinations: DET
9. Troy Murphy, Celtics (UFA)
After a decade of solid productivity, Murphy battled injury to start the season and never re-gained his old form after being traded to Golden State, released, and signed by Boston. I find it hard to believe that Murphy has nothing left, but his worth has taken a huge hit. He can still be a valuable player on the right team due to his ability to stretch defenses with his outside shot and should get looks from teams looking to add depth inside.
Predicted Contract: 1-year, $3 million
Possible Destinations: IND, DEN, NO, POR, ATL, LAL
10. Brandan Wright, Nets (UFA)
Can we officially label Wright as a bust? He was the eighth overall pick in the 2007 Draft but has not played more than 39 games in a single season and has career averages of 5.4 points and 3 boards per game. Expect some re-building team to roll the dice that he finally can stay healthy and reach his potential.
Predicted Contract: 2-years, $4 million
Possible Destinations: CLE, TOR, POR, SAC, NO, DAL, ATL
Other Free Agent Power Forwards:
Jeff Adrien (UFA), Alexis Ajinca (UFA), Malik Allen (UFA), Brian Cardinal (UFA), Dante Cunningham (RFA), Ike Diogu (UFA), Joey Dorsey (UFA), Reggie Evans (UFA), Juwan Howard (UFA), Darnell Jackson (UFA), Jared Jeffries (UFA), Yi Jianlian (UFA), Leon Powe (UFA), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (RFA), Brian Scalabrine (UFA), Craig Smith (UFA), Jason Smith (UFA), Darius Songaila (UFA), Chris Wilcox (UFA), Shelden Williams (UFA)
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. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.