2011 NBA Free Agent Shooting Guard Rankings


jamal crawford free agent

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. Jamal Crawford, Hawks (UFA)
Atlanta has a ton of money tied up into the contracts of Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith which likely makes 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: 3 years, $24 million
Possible Destinations: ATL, NJ, NO, WAS, SAC, DEN

2. 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: 4 years, $26 million
Possible Destinations: WAS, CHI, CLE, DAL, NO, DEN, NJ

3. Marcus Thornton, Kings (RFA)
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, $22 million
Possible Destinations: SAC, CLE, DAL, DEN, ATL, NJ, WAS, CHI, ORL

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.  The final year of his contract 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: 4 years, $20 million
Possible Destinations: DEN, CLE, CHI, ORL, NO, NJ, WAS

5. 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: 3 years, $12 million
Possible Destinations: ORL, DEN, NO, DAL, CLE, NJ, CHI

6. 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?  He is currently overseas as he signed a one-year contract to play in China and may not be let out of his contract until March which makes this a sticky situation.

Predicted Contract: 2 years, $8 million
Possible Destinations: DEN, CLE, NJ, ATL, DAL, NY

7. 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

8. DeShawn Stevenson (UFA), Mavericks
Stevenson started 54 games for the World Champs last season so he can definitely bring value to some team.  Dallas has a lot of free agents on the wing, but no cap space meaning they will likely be aggressive in re-signing their own guys.  If not, another contender would love to have Stevenson’s physicality and three-point shooting off their bench.

Predicted Contract: 3 years, $9 million
Possible Destinations: DAL, LAL, MIA, BOS, NY, NO, DEN, ATL

9. Shannon Brown, Lakers (UFA)
Brown struggled to find a niche in the league his first three seasons but has developed into a valuable reserve for the Lakers the past two seasons.  L.A. likely won’t let him walk, but could be outbid by another contender looking to add a valuable reserve to their bench.

Predicted Contract: 3 years, $9 million
Possible Destinations: LAL, SA, ORL, MIA, BOS, CHI, NY, DAL, ATL

10. Michael Redd, Bucks (UFA)
The lefty has played in just 28 games the past two seasons due to injury and is well past his prime.  However, expect a playoff team looking to take a flyer on a player who can hopefully prove he is healthy and provide a scoring punch off the bench.

Predicted Contract: 1 year, league minimum
Possible Destinations: MIA, BOS, CHI, NY, DAL, ATL, SA, ORL

Other Free Agent Shooting Guards:
Marco Belinelli (RFA), Rasual Butler (UFA), Daequan Cook (RFA), Marquis Daniels (UFA), Chris Douglas-Roberts (UFA), Willie Green (UFA), Luther Head (UFA), Jason Kapono (UFA), Roger Mason (UFA), Anthony Parker (UFA), Sasha Pavlovic (UFA), Morris Peterson (UFA), Garrett Temple (UFA), Sasha Vujacic (UFA), Von Wafer (UFA), Kyle Weaver (UFA), Sonny Weems (RFA), Delonte West (UFA), Mario West (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.

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