Quantcast 2010 NBA Free Agency: Best Plan B Free Agents

 

Plan B: The Best of the Rest in Free Agency

 

These are the unrestricted free agents teams around the league will be targeting once the big names have been locked up, but all of them could provide a solid upgrade to a team if cast in the right system. Some of these guys will have sizable contracts thrown their way while others will be waiting by the phone as teams go down the list searching for additions. Most of these names won’t dazzle, but all of them can still produce.

Obviously names like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, and Carlos Boozer have been left off as they’ll be at the top of everyone’s list in that order. Dirk Nowitzki has been excluded because it’s questionable he’ll even be available. Nowitzki can opt out of his contract and bypass the $21.5 million he is owed for next season, but it’ll be hard for him to walk away from numbers like that.

 

  • David Lee - The 26-year old big man may not have the household name other star players in the NBA have, but he’s about as good as any true center short of Dwight Howard. Lee is averaging 20 ppg and 11.4 rpg on .557 shooting this season to lead the New York Knicks. Perhaps the team’s 19-32 record has left the All Star Game Replacement as somewhat of an afterthought in free agency. Lee plays bigger than his 6-9 frame and his physical style has turned this one blue collar role player into one of the top young big men in the league. There are only three players in the NBA averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds, Lee is the only one of these who’ll be hitting the market this summer. Expect a heavy push from at least a handful of suitors.

 

  • Ray Allen – The second best long range shooter of all time is fast approaching Reggie Miller for the most three-pointers in NBA history. Allen is currently 180 makes from downtown away from tying Miller’s record of 2560. A core member of the Celtics’ title run in 2008, Allen can still stretch the floor as well as anyone. Though the 14-year veteran has definitely lost a step at 34, he takes to the hoop better than most and his .450 (.388 3PT) shooting is good enough to get the job done. Allen isn’t afraid of the limelight, he thrives in it. Boston will try to retain the former All-Star, but they might not be willing to match the contracts Allen will receive from around the league. Somebody is going to pay good money for this shooter’s services.

 

  • Kenyon Martin – The 32-year old has never been spectacular in his career, but he’s been consistently productive on both ends the floor year in and year out. Teams look for that when bringing in players and you can bet Martin will draw a good crowd once free agency gets going. He’s averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, and 1.1 bpg on .469 shooting, slightly below his career numbers, but just about where he’s been the last three seasons. At 6-9, Martin can guard the rim, rebound with the best of them, and provide a solid offensive effort without being fed the ball much. He isn’t the type of player who needs touches and will often turn rebounds into points.

 

  • Al Harington – Since being traded from Indiana in 2004 after six years with the team, Harington has bounced around the league and been another one of the overlooked players out there. Like his teammate Lee, the 29-year old Harington has been plagued by his team’s poor record for years and been regarded more as a good player on a bad team than simply a good player. Harrington’s numbers are down a little bit from last season, but he still puts up 17.8 ppg. He can start or play of the bench and wouldn’t have much trouble finding a role on respective teams. Harington has been in enough situations over his 11 years in the league to know how to fit. He would serve as an excellent sixth man off the bench or start at the four and stretch the court on defenses.

 

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  • Raymond Felton – The talk of trade rumors for the last three seasons, Felton will have the chance to test the waters this summer as probably the best option available at point guard. Because so many teams are lacking at the position and Felton stands as one of the few good names out there, he’ll likely cash in with a hefty contract once teams step up to bat. Averaging 12.1 ppg, 5.1 apg, and 1.7 spg, he has not played as consistently as he has the past few years, but the 4 year veteran is only 25 and still has room to grow. Felton has shooting almost 40 percent from downtown, well above his career average, and is starting to develop a strong outside game to complement what he already brings to the table. Felton is a bit small, but he plays big and isn’t afraid of contact in the paint.

 

  • Marcus Camby – Another player constantly fueling the rumor mill, Camby will soon be shipped out to Portland for the remainder of this season. The Trail Blazers have agreed in principle to deal Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw to the Clippers for Camby. The 13-year veteran has been one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the NBA throughout his career. Camby is as aggressive as they come, never giving up easy baskets around the rim. He contends everything thrown his way and blocks out like a machine on the boards. His 12.1 rpg is second only to Dwight Howard this season and his 1.94 bpg is sixth best in the league. At 35, Camby is getting up there in age and he’s seen a drop off in production the last few seasons, but he can still lockdown the paint with the best of them. Someone is going to toss a nice two- or three-year deal his way, that’s for certain.

 

  • Brendan Haywood- Haywood and Marcus Camby were a tossup on the list, but Haywood gets the edge because of age. At 30 years old, he still has a lot of NBA ball left in his legs. For the first six years of his career Haywood wasn’t given the contribute much on offense, but he’s picked it up the last three seasons. An excellent rebounder and shot-blocker, the 7-footer is 10 th and 5 th in the league in those categories respectively. He also brings almost 10 ppg to the table to complement his solid defensive skills. A 53 percent shooter for his career, Haywood is capable of playing near and away from the rim and consistently attacks the boards after missed shots. His 4.1 offensive rpg is second in the NBA behind Zach Randolph. Haywood may be on the wrong side of 30, but there are going to be very few centers available capable of averaging a double-double.

 

  • Jermaine O’Neal – Since his six-straight All-Star appearances for the Pacers between 2001-2007, O’Neal has become a shell of his former self. But he’s still producing in the top half of starting centers in the NBA so there will be a market for him. Matched with the right team, O’Neal can produce good, but not great numbers, and still shows flashes of his golden years from time to time. At the 31, the 13-year veteran has seen more games than most players his age, having entered the league out of high school in 1996. His knees are wearing down and the ups that used to make him one of the league’s top shot-blockers just isn’t there anymore. We’re still talking about a guy who’s averaging 13 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 1.4 bpg so it’s not like he’s disappeared entirely. He’ll find a home, but teams will be wary of signing him to long term deals because of all the issues with his health. O’Neal has missed 141 of 492 possible regular season games over the last six seasons. Although he’s managed to stay healthy so far this year, there’s no telling how long he can last.

 

  • Manu Ginobili – The oft-injured guard has never been afraid to throw his body around the court, but that aggressive style that’s become his trademark has caught up with the 31-year old in recent years. Ginobili missed 38 games last season due to injury and has been sidelined with various bumps and bruises for a good portion of the last few years. His numbers are down in 2010, but the former All-Star is still a lethal weapon out of the backcourt. Ginobili is averaging 13.4 ppg and 4.5 apg, but his .403 shooting percentage is the lowest of his seven year career. The Argentinean has been a staple of San Antonio’s championship runs and the Spurs will look to resign him in the summer they can. With the team’s payroll over $90 million this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they let Ginobili walk. He’s talked of retiring at the end of the year, but there will be plenty of suitors to try and convince him otherwise. Ginobili could produce as one of the top sixth men in the league if matched with the right franchise.

 

  • Udonis Haslem – Haslem is the model blue collar player who produces well above his natural talent. The 29-year old power forward’s career 10 points and 8 rebounds per game have been consistant throughout his career and you’ll rarely get less from him. Haslem moved to the bench this season to make room in Miami’s starting lineup for Michael Beasley. He took it like a pro and embraced his new role as the team’s sixth man. Though his minutes and numbers are down slightly from the last two seasons, Haslem still provides solid production when he’s on the court. Matched with a good center, he’ll do all the dirty work and clean up the weak side on defense. The Miami native has spent his entire six-year career with the Heat, but with the team poised to make a splash in free agency, they might not have enough left over to retain the leader of their locker room. Haslem took a sizeable pay cut once to remain with Miami and he may not be willing to do so again this time around.

 

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By: Michael Pinto
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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