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Free Agency Predictor

Posted on: May 5, 2010 12:55 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2010 1:00 pm
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The long awaited free agency bonanza of 2010 is not far away. Some will go, some will stay. Here you will find my predictions on where the top 20 impact free agents-to-be (in my opinion) will end up, along with a short witty blurb about stuff and things. It's important to note that currently, the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards are all set to have ample cap room. Not all of those teams will wish to immediately purge themselves back into cap hell once they have finally dug their way out, but it is these teams that have the flexibility.

Feel free to agree, disagree and/or post your own predictions in the comments section.



LeBron James - CLEVELAND Cavaliers - He’ll make everyone sweat it out but he’ll stay. My guess is that he signs another short deal to keep pressure on the front office.

Dwayne Wade - MIAMI HEAT - He’ll stay if they get another stud, which they will. See below.

Dirk Nowitzki - DALLAS Mavericks - Frustration with another 1<sup>st</sup> round loss will compel him to look around but no one will cater to his every whim like Mark Cuban.

Chris Bosh - CHICAGO BULLS - I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a sign-and-trade. If the Bulls will part with Noah, which they should if it means landing Bosh, it’s a done deal.

Amare Stoudemire - NEW YORK KNICKS - He wants the big market and a reunion with the guy who doesn’t require him to play defense, Mike D’Antoni.

Joe Johnson - NEW YORK KNICKS - There’s a big pay day in New York. That’s what he’s looking for.

Carlos Boozer - MIAMI HEAT - Utah will settle for starting Paul Milsap. Boozer has already said he would love to play in Miami.  

David Lee - OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER - A perfect fit. OKC needs a post presence in the worst way. Lee has the lunch pale approach that won’t clash with Durant’s dominance of the ball.

Yao Ming - HOUSTON Rockets - With his debilitating injury streak no one will pay him as much as he is making in Houston.

Paul Pierce - BOSTON Celtics - If he didn’t leave back when they were a bottom feeder he certainly isn’t leaving now.

Rudy Gay - MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - The Wolves will beat out other teams for Gay because they have plenty of trade options and they will be willing to drastically overpay. Cosmically speaking, it would also unite Kevin Love and Rudy Gay. Think of the headline possibilities.

Ray Allen - CHICAGO BULLS - Boston will want him back but Chicago will sharply outbid them. The Bulls will be nasty with a Rose - Allen - Deng - Bosh - Noah (?) lineup.

Richard Jefferson - SAN ANTONIO Spurs Above average role player at this point but he fits well with San Antonio. Why would anyone leave San Antonio?

John Salmons - ATLANTA Hawks - Desperation move in order replace JJ. Nice consolation.

Josh Howard - NEW JERSEY NETS - Nets have enough for a max contract but the Knicks have enough for two. The team not playing in Newark will win out in the East Coast battle, leaving the Nets with a couple of second tier guys.

Kenyon Martin - DENVER Nuggets - No team left with money will need him and Denver is a good fit anyways.

Al Harrington - NEW JERSEY NETS - Not an ideal power forward to go with Brook Lopez but he’s still an underrated performer and will drastically improve the Nets front court.

Tyson Chandler - SACRAMENTO KINGS - The Kings' bigs are kinda pathetic. Chandler will at least give them some great defense.

Peja Stojakovic - LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - The Clips have plenty of cap room and Stojakovic will be far from their top priority but I can’t see any of the the top wing players, which is what they want, going there.

Shaquille O’Neal - LOS ANGELES Lakers -  He’ll sign a two year deal and close out his career as a fan favorite from where he enjoyed his glory years. Of course, backing up Andrew Bynum might be a bit of a strange role for him.



* I recognize that I didn't award a single player to the Wizards despite their ability to pay a max contract. They're unfortunately such a mess right now that I just can't see a top free agent not opting for a different team.

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Category: NBA
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Since: May 21, 2010
Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:32 pm
 

Free Agency Predictor

B ASKETBALL REPORTER

is quietly optimistic about the as they get ready to start the second half of their season.

"I haven't been this encouraged in a while," the seven-year veteran, who leads his team in scoring and rebounds, said after practice yesterday. "Before it's been tough, not winning as many games and kind of leaving things on the table. But this year, we can really start pushing ourselves over .500 and see where we can get at by the end of the season."

The second half begins tonight the same way the first did - with a date against the Cleveland .

Toronto (21-20) will be on the road this time, and will be hard-pressed to duplicate the opening-night upset it recorded against , and friends.

Cleveland (31-11) started the season 3-3 and are now returning from a five-game Western Conference road swing, during which it went 3-2. In between, the Cavaliers were 25-6 and have the best record in the East, second in the NBA to the .

But win or lose tonight, the Raptors have a lot to look forward to based on their 10-3 stretch in the past month, and 14-7 mark since the one-quarter pole of the season.

Toronto is in what is shaping up to be a three-way fight with the Miami and Charlotte for the fifth seed in the East - which is significant, as the No. 5 team would likely avoid a first-round matchup with the Cavaliers, Boston or Orlando , considered the three best teams in the conference.

The Raptors have shown an ability to change on the fly under head coach Jay Triano. On pace, at one stage, to be one of the worst-performing defensive teams in NBA history, the Raptors have tightened things up considerably and won converts with a more aggressive, trapping style.

"We're defending a lot better right now," Triano said. "There's a purpose and attitude toward getting stops and we didn't have that earlier in the year. We were thinking more than we were reacting. Now, we're reacting and it's a lot easier for our guys."

In their past 13 games, the Raptors' defensive rating - points allowed per 100 possessions - is 104. Extrapolated over an entire season that mark would make them the eighth-best defensive team in the NBA. Even so, Toronto is currently still last in the NBA with a rating of 112.6 for the season (the NBA average is 106.8), but a big improvement from the abysmal 116.3 it had in mid-December.

Triano said the early season struggles were somewhat predictable. Not only did the team have a lot of new faces, it played its first 30 games in 53 days, leaving almost no time to practice. Now, the Raptors are in a stretch where their next 30 games are in 73 days, and the players are benefiting from the extra practice time and added rest.

Triano's biggest problem is finding playing time for everyone on a healthy roster that can go 10-deep regularly, but that shouldn't be an issue if they continue to have success.

"If you're winning, what can anyone say?" the coach said.

With winning comes a will to sacrifice, which usually begets more winning.

Bosh is on his way to a stellar season, heading to career highs in every significant category and a shoo-in for his fifth consecutive all-star appearance next month. But having led bad teams in the past, he's much more interested in leading a good one, numbers aside.

"My success depends on team success," the 25-year-old forward said. "At this point, numbers don't really mean much. Leading up to all-star weekend, and after, it's about getting wins and making the playoffs and stuff like that."

After tonight's stern test, Toronto then goes to Milwaukee to face the on the second night of a back-to-back - a situation in which the Raptors have only won once this season.

But thanks to a strong finish to the first half of the season, they can approach their mini road trip with confidence.

"[Before,] we would have a little bit of doubt," Bosh said. "An ounce of doubt is really going to show on the court. Now, we're stepping on the court and we're, 'Okay, we can beat these guys.'

"You have to have that mentality."




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com