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Tag:Caron butler
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Butler looking at Bulls, Spurs, Nets, Clippers?

Posted by Royce Young

Take away a major knee injury and Caron Butler might be one of the prizes of this free agent class. Not to say he's not something contending teams are after though. He's still a very enticing piece to someone's puzzle.

Question is, who is that someone? Because there are a lot of them. After reports of legit interest in the Bulls, Butler is said to be meeting with the Bulls and Clippers on Monday, the Spurs on Tuesday and the Nets on Wednesday and Thursday he could talk with the Pistons, according to ESPN Dallas.

Of note: The Dallas Mavericks aren't among the teams with interest in Butler right now. Not all that surprising given the Mavs roster and financial situation, but there was a thought that Dallas would try and keep him. The Mavs have said they'd like to keep Butler, but as of now, there's no reported meeting.

Problem for the Mavs is, they're already worrying about Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea, plus the new luxury tax rules that could change how they spend.

The Clippers will meet with Butler face-to-face at heir practice facility Monday.

You can be sure the Bulls will sign a wing in the next few weeks whether it's Butler, Arron Afflalo or someone else. The Clippers want more scoring to go with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. The Spurs are always in the market for cheap veteran talent and with Richard Jefferson being iffy, Butler could be a nice replacement. The Nets want anything.

If I were handicapping this, I'd say the Bulls are the top option for Butler, but it's just whether or not the interest is mutual. It probably will depend on if the Bulls think they can get Afflalo. If not, the Clippers really do seem like a fit. They need a small forward badly and have the money to pay Butler.

And unfortunately for Mavs fans, I might put Dallas last in that list. Just doesn't seem like Butler will be back there.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Free Agency Buzz 12.3.11: Howard eyes L.A.?

 

Posted by Ben Golliver

On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz. 

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011

9:51 p.m.
  • DraftExpress.com reports that 19-year-old Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, will not be released by Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas so that he can join the Toronto Raptors during the 2011-2012 NBA season. The Raptors selected Valanciunas knowing that they might need to wait a year for contract purposes but a report surfaced earlier Saturday that said Toronto would investigate his potential availability now that the lockout has ended.
6:39 p.m. 
  • The Oregonian reports that Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent center Greg Oden will undergo a medical evaluation on Thursday that could lead to him being cleared for contact. Oden is expected to return to the court no earlier than January following a Nov. 2011 microfracture surgery. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft hasn't played in an NBA game since Dec. 2009.
2:27 p.m.
  • ESPN.com reports that the Toronto Raptors might hold off on making a free agency splash until next summer because they don't have a chance of landing Memphis Grizzlies restricted free agent center Marc Gasol and because they would need to amnesty someone to be able to make the big-dollar offer. 
  • The New York Post reports that the New Jersey Nets have a "quiet confidence" in their ability to sign Denver Nuggets free agent center Nene Hilario, with the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets seen as the top competition for his services.
  • HoopsWorld.com reports that he Indiana Pacers would investigate a sign-and-trade for Memphis Grizzlies free agent center Marc Gasol with center Roy Hibbert to dangle as bait. The site also reports the Pacers have interest in free agent guard Jamal Crawford.
11: 50 a.m.
  • SI.com reports that the trio of top-flight big men that are free agents -- Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler and Denver Nuggets center Nene Hilario -- are all looking for the biggest payday possible: "According to sources, Nene, Chandler and Gasol all set their early asking prices in the neighborhood of maximum-contract territory, starting at $14.8 million for Gasol, $17.7 annually for Nene, and $20.7 million for Chandler. There is plenty of crossover in their respective lists of salary-cap-friendly suitors, with the Nets, Rockets and Warriors appearing to be the hungriest shoppers, and the Pacers and Trail Blazers strolling the big man aisles as well."
  • The Boston Herald quotes Billy Duffy, agent for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, in response to recent trade rumors involving his All-Star client: "It’s just disturbing. It’s disturbing for everybody. It’s disturbing for me. It’s disturbing for him, because it makes one think, ‘Where do I stand in this relationship?’ Particularly because he’s a darn good player, and this is a very successful franchise, and he’s one of the key players on the franchise. When the uncertainty of your situation becomes a prominent topic — not just within your household, but on a national basis — it is a bit challenging."
  • The Boston Globe reports that David Falk, agent for Celtics forward Jeff Green, "hopes" he can reach a new deal with the Celtics and that his client "feels like he has unfinished business in Boston."
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Back in the habit

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we ask KB about what the Hornets and Magic should do, what the Bulls are looking for, and when things will pick up for free agency. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. Good gravy we started fast, didn't we? If you were going to tell the Hornets and Magic one thing that you learned from the Melo Debacle, what would it be?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com:  Don't panic. Nuggets VP Masai Ujiri's best trait during the Melodrama was patience. He surveyed the landscape, recognized what cards he was dealt, and let everything play out until he extracted the best deal he could get under the circumstances. He also cultivated a positive relationship with Anthony so there was mutual trust. Otis Smith must do this with Dwight Howard, and Dell Demps with Chris Paul. But having said all this, the time pressure on the Magic and Hornets will be exponentially greater than it was on the Nuggets, who always knew they held the key to Anthony getting a max extension with the team of his choice. My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can't risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they'll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we're on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.

2. What are the Bulls looking for in a two-guard?

KB:  They're looking for more offensive production, but aren't willing to break the bank to get it. They'd like to upgrade, but they did win 62 games with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at the two. Not a catastrophe if they don't make a major upgrade, and they're definitely not going to overpay. Jason Richardson is the best fit basketball-wise, but not sure how he'd otherwise fit -- and the Bulls may want someone younger who can grow with Derrick Rose.

3. Nene's clearly the biggest name out there. But sussing out his motivations has been tricky. Is he looking for the money? The ring? Some combination of the two?

KB:  Well, if he pushes for a trade to Miami (no assets) or Dallas (some), he'd be signaling that he wants to win. But this might be the only chance he'll get in his career to get a max deal. Only in this free-agent class could a guy who averages 14 points and seven rebounds get a deal starting at more than $17 million.

4. Players are reportedly going to vote on the deal on December 8th, with training camps starting December 9th. Do we always have to cut these things so damn close? (Marty McFly'd)

KB:  Yeah, it's going to go down to the wire. It's going to be a marathon for the lawyers to get this deal in shape and resolve all the B-list issues in time to vote. Same thing happened after NFL lockout, when players essentially voted as they reported to camp. Once all the heavy lifting is done over the next few days, the voting process for both sides should be a formality -- with one exception. Do dissident agents have enough support from clients to get Billy Hunter ousted as executive director of the NBPA as a condition of ratification? My overwhelming opinion is no, but the way this process has gone, expect another flareup of drama before it's over.

5. How much of a scramble are front office executives in to try and figure out this deal which isn't even done yet?

KB:  That's why there's been so little real activity; agents and teams are trying to digest what players are worth under the new rules, what the new rules are, and what impact they will have on their books/strategy for the next few years. I think you'll begin to see teams begin to make firm offers over the weekend, and the activity will pick up starting Monday.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:18 am
 

No rings for Mavericks on Christmas



By Matt Moore
  

As much as everyone outside of the state of Florida may have wanted to enjoy watching the Heat as the Mavericks get their championship rings, it's not to be. Those interested in schadenfreude will have to settle for the Miami 3 watching the Mavericks' first championship banner be raised. 

WFAA in Dallas reports that Mark Cuban has informed them the Christmas Day season opener against the Heat will not be ring ceremony night for the Mavericks. It's customary for the first home game of the season to be ring ceremony night, but Cuban says that due to so many people likely having made other plans for Christmas in light of the ongoing lockout, he didn't want to leave them out. 

However, the banner will be raised to the rafters so fans can celebrate their championship team on their home floor for the first time. The Heat of course lost to the Mavericks in six games in last season's Finals.

The story should be about the Mavericks, but it will, as always, be about the Heat. How will they react watching the banner they were two wins away from obtaining be raised in front of them? Does it spell an omen or serve as motivation? Will it affect how they approach their first game of the season? A loss would leave the Heat 0-2 in season openers under the new Triad after last year's loss to the Celtics in Boston.

Either way, it's going to be a fairly brutal process for the Heat to sit and watch the title they nearly won be celebrated on their opponents' home floor. Great drama, just the thing to kick off the season with to start moving past the lockout.  
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Report: Caron Butler has legit interest in Bulls

Posted by Ben Gollivercaron-butler

Miami Heat All-Star forward averaged 25.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.0 blocks per game in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls. What more do you need to know about where Chicago should focus its attention during free agency than that?

The Chicago Tribune reports that Caron Butler, a big, athletic and skilled wing, could land in Chicago to help close the drastic perimeter gap between the two odds-on favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this year.
Caron Butler has been working out in Chicago this offseason and is fully rehabilitated from surgery on his right knee. As the NBA free-agency period begins the test-the-waters mode, Butler's interest in the Bulls is legitimate, according to league sources. One source close to Butler said that Butler said early Thursday morning, "I hope I don't have to leave."

Interest in Butler is widespread. The Spurs, Heat, Clippers and Bulls are among the teams that expressed serious interest in him on Wednesday, the first day teams could contact agents. It's possible the Mavericks will enter the arena in an attempt to re-sign him too. 
Dallas is in a tough spot here. They are already well over the salary cap and will go into luxury tax territory if they are able to accomplish their top free agency goal: re-signing center Tyson Chandler. Butler has said he wants to return but retaining him would come at a doubly steep price for Dallas. Same thing for fellow free agents J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson. Nobody wants to bring the whole title-winning crew back more than owner Mark Cuban but it is a fiscally insane proposition.

Butler got a taste of a title last season but a serious knee injury prevented him from making an appearance down the stretch. He's three seasons remove from his career year -- 2008-2009 -- and he's 31 years old now, so the downslide is approaching. His scoring ability and 6-foot-7, 217-pound size are the major selling points and are badly needed by the Bulls. It's possible a team that is below the cap could offer Butler more than a Mid-Level Exception but if he leaves Dallas he probably makes the most sense as a full-MLE guy on a team with a real shot at title contention. That would, obviously, include the Bulls.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:13 pm
 

Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing 11.4



By Matt Moore
 

The Mavericks and Spurs have had some titanic battles through the course of the past decade-plus during this time of contention for both teams. For the first time, we would be seeing the Mavericks as the defending champs, as the team that figured things out, while the Spurs are the team that couldn't put it together, who fell apart at the wrong time.

These battles are precious. We're only going to see Dirk Nowitzki go at Tim Duncan so many more times as both head towards retirement. Already Duncan is not the player he used to be, as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker take more of a role. But it's still Duncan vs. Dirk, Parker vs. Jet, Manu vs. well, whoever the Mavs put on him. The Mavericks now have the bruisers inside, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, while it's the Spurs with the defensive sieves in DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.

This game would still be a huge clash of juggernauts, though, especially with the shooters on each side. Both teams had titanic offenses last week, while it was only the Spurs who ran into the iceberg against Memphis.

Jason Kidd against Tony Parker is a smarter matchup than it seems, while Kawhi Leonard would be facing Caron Butler in a past-face-present. It would have all the rivalry that Texas teams demand, and the drama of a battle between two teams with five championships and six Finals appearances over the past twelve seasons.

And we get none of it.

Today is Day 127 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 3:07 pm
 

Caron Butler looking to sign long-term with Mavs

Posted by Royce Young

Caron Butler is now an NBA champion. And a free agent. Though with both, he didn't really contribute much to either cause the last few months.

Butler had knee surgery in January which forced him to shut down his 2010-11 season early. He tried to return for the NBA Finals but just wasn't completely ready. The Mavs won without him but with quite a bit of roster uncertainty in the future, Butler being a part of that, it's a question as to what the Mavs would do with him.

But if Butler gets what he wants, he'll be re-upping long-term with Dallas. Via ESPN Dallas, Butler's agent Ray Brothers sees him staying for a while in Big D.

"After the championship was over," Brothers said, "[president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson] texted me and told me he wanted Caron to be part of the team long term."

Brothers also told NBA.com that the lockout actually might be helpful to Butler too. With the extra time to rehab and get back to 100 percent, Butler isn't going to be rushing anything when training camp starts.

"The lockout's good for Caron Butler," Brothers said. "It gives him more time. He's already passed the time necessarily for him to heal, but he's going to come back stronger and better ... when I could talk to the (Mavericks') doctors, they told me that his knee's probably going to be better than it was before."

It's all about giving the Mavs confidence that he can return to form. Butler is Dallas's No. 2 or 3 option in terms of scoring and really helps fill a hole at either shooting guard or small forward. Because of the injury he might not require a hefty salary and is probably a pretty attractive option for Dallas.

Someone will pay him because he can play. Yeah, the injury might slow him down but he should recover and be back to normal. In our free agency rankings, we slotted him 15th, and that was really only because of injury concerns.

Butler definitely wants to return to the Mavs because it's a good team, a good market and a place with money. And if Donnie Nelson really wants Butler back, then I'm sure that's where he'll be.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:52 pm
 

The Top 40 Players in NBA Free Agency

Posted by EOB Staff

When free agency starts there's a relatively lackluster class to choose from. Nevertheless, here are the top 40 players available in unrestricted or restricted free agency now that they tentatively have this sorted out.

Rankings are based on overall value, factoring in production, age, potential, star power, interest and market value. For the full list of free agents this offseason, check out our tracker

1. Nene, C: You're looking at a cornerstone piece in Nene, which means someone's got to pay cornerstone money. He's just now hitting his prime at 29 years old and as the second half of last season proved, he's top guy material. The Nuggets are definitely looking to put pretty much all of their eggs in Nene's basket, but there could be another big spender that tries to swoop in and grab him. He's a prize and someone that can be a building piece for the next four or five years. 

2. Marc Gasol, C:
The perfect combination of factors lead Gasol to our No. 2 spot. Talent, capitalizing on a stellar playoff run, centersmarc-gasol being at such a premium in the league and Gasol's age of 26. There are bigger names on this list, but no one is as valuable as Gasol. His restricted free agency status only drives his value farther, as a front-loaded contract is the only thing that might push the Grizzlies off matching an offer.

3. David West, F: Were West not coming off of a significant injury at 31 years old, he'd likely be in the top spot on this list. A former All-Star with excellent mid-range skills and a heap of attitude, West opted out and enter free agency, presumably to attempt to get a front-loaded contract before any CBA restrictions drive down his long-term value. He'll have bidders if the Hornets don't quickly recapture him once free agency begins.

4. Tyson Chandler, C: Hitting free agency just after being the starting center and a key factor for a championship team -- talk about great timing. Chandler is a lock to return to Dallas as there's no way Cuban lets the guy who validated all that work escape. But Chandler's going to have whatever offer he wants. Which is stunning for a guy who can't contribute much offensively outside of the lob. But that's the difference a ring makes.

5. Jason Richardson, SG: Richardson's age is kind of a concern here; he'll be 31 next season. But he's the best overall offensive weapon and has a few more years of contribution left in him and is the kind of veteran that teams look for. Orlando may be looking to make room for a bigger trade, so Richardson could fetch offers on the market. But if teams have learned anything from the Joe Johnson valuation, they'll keep it within reason.

6. Thaddeus Young, PF: It's really hard to imagine Philadelphia letting one of its very best young options get away, but Young has become one of the most lethal bench weapons in the game. He can realistically play three positions and is one of the game's most versatile players. He became a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate and as he matures -- he's still just 23 -- he could become one of the 76ers prized future pieces, making him a valuable asset.

7. J.R. Smith, SG: Unstable? Probably. Unreliable? Possibly injured? He may be all of these things. But Smith's a scorer whose not on the downslide of his career. A sixth-man scorer with guts. Think Ben Gordon a few years ago with a worse attitude.

8. Glen Davis, PF: "Big Baby" has a championship ring and has shown he can contribute to a winner. The only thing keeping him lower on this list is a disappointing playoff run after a tremendous season; 14 points and 7 rebounds per 36 with great defense and the ability to take charges will get him the rest of the way.

9. DeAndre Jordan, C: In a normal year, Jordan's the top of the B rankings. This year, he's the seventh-best available player considering value. Jordan had a tremendous year for the Clippers and is nearly a lock to be re-signed by the Clippers. Then again, it's the Clippers. Jordan averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 last season but more importantly started to show understanding of defensive rotations, which makes it much tougher to turn away from him.

10. Grant Hill, SF: Anyone else think Hill's career is going in reverse? If Hill doesn't want to return to Phoenix, there will be contenders left and right vying for his services.

11. Tayshaun Prince, SF: Part of the worst locker-room environment in the league last year, Prince should have a higher value, even at 31. He's still capable of excellent defense and averaged 14 points on 47-percent shooting last season. Seeing him in another jersey would be bizarre, but after last season's hijinx, it's a coin flip.

12. Wilson Chandler, SF: Chandler's a young and versatile player. Denver is unlikely to re-sign him considering their need to get Nene back in house and they have Galinari and drafted Jordan Hamilton. Chandler has been rumored to be interested in a return to the Knicks, if they've got the scratch to pay him.

13. Jeff Green, SF/PF: This one is mostly on account of his market value. Green is not a good rebounder. He can't really take over offensively, and he's not a great defender. But Danny Ainge thinks he's the bee's knees and will overpay to keep him, plus he could theoretically develop any of the aforementioned skills. This one caused some debate among our crew in developing these rankings.

14. Jamal Crawford, SG: Crawford made it public knowledge that he wanted a big extension last year, but the Hawks declined to oblige him. Crawford is 31, and his numbers took a dive last season (42 percent FG percentage, 14 points per game down from 18). But he's likely to still pull offers based on star power. The question will be whether it comes close to matching what Crawford thinks he's worth. His playoff heroics should help matters on that front.

15. J.J. Barea, SG: Barea's stock could not be higher coming off the Mavs' championship win. He answered every question about himself and showed the ability to compete at the highest level. He won't dictate a huge asking price due to his diminutive size, but for a role player, he'll collect a tremendous amount of interest, though like Chandler, it's certain Cuban will re-sign him.

16. Caron Butler, SF: So many Mavericks, such a poor free-agency class to drive up their value. Butler's over 30, coming back from injury, and has been on the slide for quite a while. Still, veteran defender who can shoot (or at least can have a few hot shooting nights) is going to get offers. Cuban will likely re-sign Butler in a wave of goodwill on his championship high.

17. Aaron Brooks, PG: The best point guard in the free agent class. How depressing is that? Brooks is a high-usage, low-assist-rate pointaaron-brooks-suns guard who's undersized. And yet because of his work in Houston before getting shuffled off to make room for Kyle Lowry, Brooks is rumored to be on the radar for Sacramento among others, but as a restricted free agent, the offer will have to be significant for Phoenix not to match.

18. Marcus Thornton, SG: Guys who can drop 40 in a night are rare in this league. "Buckets" has that ability coming off his rookie contract. Yes, his shot selection needs work, and he's undersized for a two-guard, but he's scrappy, hustles and can hit big shots. Thornton should be high on every team's list if the Kings elect to let him slide after adding Salmons and Jimmer.

19. Arron Afflalo, SG: A 26-year-old guard with great athleticism who shot 50 percent from the field last season coming off his rookie contract? Afflalo could be a steal if the Nuggets decide not to match for some reason. Odds are that he's headed back to Denver, though.

20. Samuel Dalembert, C: Dalembert played surprisingly well last season for Sacramento. But he's an aging center with injury questions who has never contributed much offensively. So why is he top-20? Seriously. NBA centers. Not good right now.

21. Carl Landry, PF: A below-average rebounder who learned to work well with Chris Paul (who doesn't) late last season. Landry didn't gather a huge contract last time he was in free agency and will probably not draw much this time. Still, he's a reliable power forward who's great defensively even if his defensive rebounding is a significant letdown.

22. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG: A combo guard's combo guard, Stuckey may have outstayed his welcome in Detroit, even in restricted free agency. Teams looking for quality guard play could definitely look to Stuckey who may have some improvement left in him at 25.

23. Kris Humphries, PF: The Incredible Hump is looking to cash in after averaging a double-double, finding himself in the Most Improved Player discussion and locking down a Kardashian last season. The Nets have expressed interest in David West but will be very motivated to retain Humphries if that chase doesn’t work out.

24. Shane Battier, SF: After taking part in a miracle run past the San Antonio Spurs, it would be heartbreaking to watch Battier and the Memphis Grizzlies part ways. At the same time, Battier has reached the “latch on with a contender as a very valuable role player” stage of his career. Would be a huge get for a team looking for an experienced, gritty wing defender.

25. Mario Chalmers, PG: Chalmers got buried behind Mike Bibby for no apparent reason by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra but, nevertheless, made a solid name for himself by being the most capable and consistent member of the Big 3 support staff. He enters free agency as a young talent with upside if given more minutes, but the Heat, without another point-guard option, will likely do what it takes to keep him.

26. Nick Young, SG: When given the opportunity after Gilbert Arenas was dealt, Young became quite the scorer, finishing up at better than 17 points per game. He was a bit trigger happy however and one has to wonder how he'd fit in a more traditional offense. He's not a go-to scorer but will make a nice bench option or even second or third starting scorer for someone. But that's the thing: He has to realize that.

27. Luc Mbah a Moute, SF: It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for the Bucks to retain him. Even though the Stephen Jackson trade muddles up the available minutes on Milwaukee’s wings, a low-cost, quality defender is worth keeping around.

28. Jeff Foster, C: Life isn’t very complicated for Foster. He’s a lunch-pail worker who does the dirty work and not much else. He’s getting up there in years but always seems to find a niche. Indiana’s frontcourt is fairly shallow aside from Roy Hibbert, so if the Pacers strike out in their attempts to get bigger fish in free agency, Foster could be a good fallback option.

29. Jonas Jerebko, SF: A tough-minded wing who has been lost because of injury and the coach-killing mess left by his higher-profile teammates. President Joe Dumars is preaching a fresh start after Thursday’s draft, and it makes sense that Jerebko, a fresh-faced worker, would be a part of that.

30. Andrei Kirilenko, SF: The Utah Jazz are finally freed from one of the ugliest contracts in recent memory. Where will AK land and at what price? Very difficult to say. He’s a quirky guy who brings loads of versatility and should have some miles left. If a contender throws its mid-level at him, that could get real interesting.

31. Marco Belinelli, SG: The Hornets have concerns than Belinelli. Namely, David West. Belinelli's future is uncertain, although his shooting is a clear role player asset that should draw interest, if not big dollars.

32. Kwame Brown, C: The only other big man Charlotte has on its roster is DeSagana Diop, so if Brown leaves in free agency, there will be a gaping hole in the middle. That will be a sure sign that the Bobcats are truly committed to a full-scale rebuild. Once a punchline, Brown has emerged as a serviceable defender.

33. Greg Oden, C: One less knee surgery and Oden's probably a top 15 free agent on this list. Two less and he'd be top five. Butgreg-oden then, that's another universe, and the reality is that Oden is too much of an injury risk to devote money to. For all the promise born in his frame, there's a desperately terrible injury to go with it. At some point there's only so much damage you can do before you're relegated to lemon status until you prove you can stay on the floor.

34. Marquis Daniels, G/F: Daniels wasn't a terrific player but a pretty good one. But he's coming back from a gruesome injury, and that's going to raise red flags.

35. DeShawn Stevenson, G/F: The only Maverick free agent not in the top 20. Stevenson did a fantastic job in the Finals, but the "Ariza effect" is something to be wary of. A strong playoff run does not make up for an overall career of questionable production. Still, Stevenson could be a value pick up for another team... or they could overspend dramatically, blinded by the shine of his championship ring.

36. Earl Clark, F: This one caused some consternation within the committee for where to put Clark. Athletic, low production, warned off in the draft, cast off by Phoenix, produced marginally for Orlando with some intriguing potential. But Clark is young, healthy and can be had for cheap. This is a value slot.

37. Tracy McGrady, F: McGrady actually wasn't bad last year for the Pistons. I mean, the Pistons were bad last year for the Pistons, but still. McGrady isn't going to be a difference-maker, but he can contribute some points, assists and rebounds every now and then to finish out his career. Provided he stays healthy. You can file that under "Famous last words."

38. Josh McRoberts, PF: McBob was surprisingly productive for the Pacers last season, and in a league where big men are overvalued, he'll find a spot.

39. Kenyon Martin, PF: There are dozens of reasons not to sign Martin. But if you need someone with experience to bring a metric ton of attitude to your team, Martin's as good a pickup as any. Remember when this guy was part of a Finals squad?

40. Yi Jianlian, PF: An unrealized offensive talent, Yi still seems like he should be every bit the player of an Andrea Bargnani. Yi's not a strong defender or rebounder, but at seven feet with touch to the 3-point line and just 23 years old, he's going to be worth a contract to see if he can sniff a little of that lottery potential.



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