The 2010 NBA free agent class was unlike anything we have seen in the history of the league; loaded with superstar talent switching homes and of course, “The Decision.” The 2011 free agent class is going to be the exact opposite. It is going to be weaker than a Survivor contestant on the 37th day of eating nothing more than mangoes and rice.
Since I first posted this article at the end of last July, a lot of the possible big names in the 2011 class have signed extensions that will prevent them from hitting the market. That list includes Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Tony Parker. Here is an updated look at the very underwhelming crop of free agents that will be available this off-season.
By: David Kay
1. Chauncey Billups, PG, Knicks (TO)
Billups still has game and it would be hard to imagine New York choosing not to pay him the $14.2 million he would owed for the 2011-2012 season and leaving a massive void at the point. Billups will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2012 so picking up his option would not kill New York’s salary cap situation and he could actually be used as a trade chip if the Hornets decide to deal Chris Paul.
2. Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies (UFA)
He has always been filled with talent and now that Randolph has seemed to mature, his value will be awfully high this summer. The 6-9 lefty is averaging 20 points and a career-high 13 boards per game. I would expect him to test the market and try to cash in though he won’t make near the $17.6 million he is getting paid this season.
3. David West, PF, Hornets (PO)
Since his player option is only worth $7.5 million for next season, I would expect him to opt out and try and sign a more lucrative long-term deal… but will that be with New Orleans? With Chris Paul’s future in the air, I am sure West will want to commit to the Hornets if CP3 is going elsewhere.
4. Jeff Green, F, Celtics (RFA)
One would assume Boston traded for Green with the intention of keeping him for the long haul. They will certainly extend the qualifying offer worth about $5.9 million for Green and but will they be able to afford signing him to a long-term contract with the Big 3 and Rajon Rondo already eating up so much cap? Other teams will obviously have interest and try to pry Green from Beantown but Danny Ainge will have the option to match any offer sheet Green signs.
5. Tyson Chandler, C, Mavs (UFA)
Chandler has been able to stay healthy this season which does wonders for his value this summer. He is an active big man and with Dallas committing so much to Brendan Haywood this past off-season, you would think that would not want to ink Chandler to an equally long, expensive contract. Then again, when has Mark Cuban ever been stingy with in opening up his wallett.
6. Jamal Crawford, SG, 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 to expensive to re-sign. He fit perfectly with the Hawks last season earning NBA’s 6th Man of the Year honors, but Crawford could be seeking a starting role next summer which he won’t see in the A-T-L as long as Joe Johnson is around.
7. Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies (UFA)
His numbers may have taken a bit of a dip this season, but Gasol is still a very productive, 26-year old big man who will draw a good deal of interest this summer. He will be due a handsome pay raise from the $3.5 million he is making this season and might want to head to a better situation than the one in Memphis even though the Griz are on the verge of returning to the post-season.
8. Nene, C, Nuggets (PO)
Since trading ‘Melo, Denver has stated that they want to sign Nene to a long-term extension. His player option is worth $11.6 million next season and he may choose to take his talents elsewhere since the Nuggets are going through a bit of a re-building project.
9. Kendrick Perkins, C, Thunder (UFA)
If Perkins proves to be the muscle inside that Oklahoma City has been looking for, expect them to re-sign the big man. However, GM Sam Presti is not going to overpay for anyone’s services and if Perkins is asking for too much money, OKC will likely let him walk. Perkins will be one of several quality centers highly sought after this off-season but his recent injury concerns might turn some teams away. Still, size is always in demand in the league and Perkins should cash in somewhere. (UPDATE: Perkins signed a 4-year, $34.8 million extension with OKC)
10. Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets (RFA)
Playing in the run-and-gun Knicks offense, Chandler put up some bloated numbers before getting dealt to Denver. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that type of production with the Nuggets. Regardless, he will be due more than the $3.1 million qualifying offer that Denver will certainly extend this summer. I would expect him to be part of their long-term future if they insisted he be involved in the ‘Melo trade. If the Nuggets do not sign him to an extension, expect a lot of teams to try and steal him away.
11. Tayshaun Prince, SF, Pistons (UFA)
Detroit is an absolute mess with the players recent protest against head coach John Kuester and management needs to figure things out this off-season. If I am Prince, I realize that this franchise is in disarray and I move on with my career in search of joining a title contending team. The 30-year old is still a very productive player and would be a great addition to any team due to his versatility and defensive ability. He would likely turn down more money in Detroit if he chose to sign a mid-level with a playoff team, but it might be worth it.
12. Glen Davis, PF, Celtics (UFA)
Davis will likely be looking for a starting job this summer and if he feels that will not come in Boston, he could be gone. However, the allure of playing for a title contender might be too much to pass up. Since the Celtics have so much money tied up in their four All-Stars, they may not be willing to pay Davis as much as other teams.
13. Vince Carter, SG, Suns (TO)
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. They may try to bring him back at a much cheaper rate but VC might need to suck it up and accept a mid-level deal from a contender if he cares about playing for a winner.
14. Nick Young, SG, Wizards, (RFA)
In his fourth year with the Wiz, Young has developed into a dynamic scorer averaging almost 18 points per game. Washington will certainly extend the $3.7 million qualifying offer to Young and will probably try to lock him up to an extension before some other team swoops in and offers him a long-term deal.
15. DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers (RFA)
Jordan’s development as a shot blocker and rebounder makes him an intriguing free agent this summer. Expect the Clips to try a lock him up to an extension which would then make Chris Kaman expendable this off-season via trade. I would not be surprised though if some team throws a massive offer at the 22-year old that is too rich for L.A. to match.
16. Aaron Brooks, PG, Suns (RFA)
The NBA’s most improved player a season ago, Brooks took a major step back this season and ended up in the Rockets’ doghouse before being dealt to Phoenix. Since the Suns gave up a first round pick to acquire Brooks, I would imagine he is part of their long-term plans and a possible replacement for Steve Nash who could get dealt this summer. His qualifying offer is worth almost $3 million and the Suns may wait to see how much interest is out there for Brooks before trying to lock him up to an extension.
17. Shane Battier, SF, Grizzlies (UFA)
When Memphis acquired Battier, it was a short-term solution to help out while Rudy Gay battles injury. If I was a title contender looking to use my mid-level exception on a veteran forward, Battier would be high on my list of candidates. He is 32 years old, but still very effective in so many ways on the floor and a terrific presence in the locker room as well.
18. Jason Richardson, SG, Magic (UFA)
J-Rich is making $14.4 million to average less than 14 points per game for the Magic right now. He will be lucky to earn half of that next season and it will be interesting to see if tries to cash in on the largest contract possible regardless of the team or if he maybe takes a mid-level to play with a contender. Since Orlando is incredibly over the cap, they may try to re-sign Richardson at a more reasonable rate rather than lose him and have to find a cheap replacement.
19. Caron Butler, SF, Mavs (UFA)
Butler is only this low because of a knee injury that has sidelined him for the rest of the season. That definitely hurts his value for this off-season. Butler turns 31 in March and is still a capable starter in this league so I would expect Dallas to re-sign him as long as they feel he is healthy.
20. Andre Miller, PG, Blazers (TO)
When Miller was signed last summer, it was more a temporary solution at the point for Portland. His team option is worth about $7.8 million next season and I would not surprised to see the Blazers shop his services if they feel they can find an up-grade.
Greg Oden, C, Blazers (RFA)
For someone who has only played in 82 NBA games during his four seasons in the league and has missed the entire 2010-2011 campaign, I cannot see any team throwing a long-term deal at him. Still, there seems to be interest in Oden because of the long shot possibility that he actually gets healthy and lives up to his potential. I would expect Oden to take his $8.8 million qualifying offer from the Blazers for next season.
Yao Ming, C, Rockets (UFA)
There have been rumblings that Yao might retire this season due to foot injuries that have sidelined him for this entire season. If he is healthy, it will be interesting to see what kind of interest there is for his services knowing he is an injury liability.
Other Notable 2011 Free Agents: PF-Carl Landry (UFA), F-Andrei Kirlineko (UFA), SG-Michael Redd (UFA), SG-Marcus Thornton (UFA), PF-Troy Murphy (UFA), PF-Kenyon Martin (UFA), SF-Grant Hill (UFA), SF-Peja Stojakovic (UFA), C-Samuel Dalembert (UFA), SF-Tracy McGrady (UFA), SF-Mike Dunleavy (UFA), PF-Kris Humphries (UFA), C-Nazr Mohammed (UFA), SF-Josh Howard (UFA), PG-Mike Bibby, PG-Rodney Stuckey (RFA), SF-Thaddeus Young (RFA), SG-Leandro Barbosa (PO)
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 fomer contributor at The Washington Times Communities. You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.Follow paulmbanks