Lebron James: Miami Heat / SF/ ETO
Despite the massive interest this 2-time champion will command, leaving Miami probably is not something Lebron will want to do. The opportunities still given by the Heat organization are more than any other destination, such as Cleveland or NY.
While many people will cheer for a return to the Cleveland homeland, they must be logical at the same time. Miami has now reached 4 straight NBA Finals. Cleveland has not made the playoffs since LeBron’s departure. That’s a major step down for King James.
Best option: Miami Heat
Carmelo Anthony: NY Knicks /SF/PO
Also expected to command interest league-wide, Melo and his Knicks look like they are headed toward a renewed future with each other.
With the addition of Phil Jackson and the title experience and hopes he brings to the table, Melo should take a careful look before moving on to other teams. The money he can get from NY is so much greater than what Chicago or Houston can offer and likely will result in Melo returning to the big apple.
While Chicago, Houston, and LA all provide interesting opportunities, they would need to blow up their rosters to acquire Melo. Who wants to go to a team of 2-3 starters and a bunch of minimum contract guys?
Melo is at the time where he needs to win now. At 30 years old, the clock is ticking for Melo to mark his name in the history books.
Best option: NY Knicks
Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat/SG/ETO
Lets be realistic. The things that Wade has done for the Heat and what the Heat have done for him are just too great to warrant a change of scenery. Wade nearly signed with Chicago in the summer of 2010, but even if LeBron does bolt, I still believe Wade will remain a Heat player for the remainder of his career.
Best option: Miami Heat
Chris Bosh: Miami Heat/PF-C/ETO
Time to shake things up.
For a long time Chris Bosh has gone unappreciated in South Florida. Although the 2 championships may make up for it, Chris Bosh deserves max money and max attention. Neither of which he would get in a return to Miami.
A return to where his career started could be eye opening to many and shift the power out East. The raptors are no joke from here on out. His return could raise them to a conference power and contender. With the resigning of Kyle Lowry, the Raptors could look pretty fierce with a lineup of the resilient Lowry, emerging star of Demar DeRozan, a streaky scorer in Ross, a young Jonas Valanciunas, and the champion star in Bosh.
Best option: Toronto Raptors
Greg Monroe: Detroit Pistons / PF/RFA
Greg Monroe is just waiting to break out as a top 10 Power forward in this league. He just needs a team to do it on.
While Max money will definitely be one of his main goals, he should favor places where he can succeed on a team and individually. He has a few options here. He could pair with Al Jefferson in Charlotte, take over their weak 4 spot and form a scary duo, or do the same in Dallas with Dirk as a 5 man. Other options include a team like NY Knicks or Toronto Raptors.
Best option : Charlotte Hornets
Dirk Nowitzki : Dallas Mavericks / PF / UFA
Dirk isn’t going anywhere.
While the money may not blow his mind, Dirk is the ultimate team player. He is more than willing to take a pay cut so that Mark Cuban and co. can bring more talent to Dallas.
Best option: Dallas Mavericks
Tim Duncan : San Antonio Spurs / PF / PO
Very similar to Dirk, Tim’s options are basically retirement or re-sign with the Spurs. If the Spurs do take the championship trophy home this year, though, Duncan is likely to call it a career.
Best option: San Antonio Spurs
Eric Bledsoe: Phoenix Suns / PG-SG/RFA
The chemistry has really struck gold in Phoenix, despite playing 2 point guards in the starting lineup.
The success of Goran Dragic may lead some to believe Eric is not needed in Phoenix, but I disagree. His best option would be to lead the suns into a new post-Nash era and build around himself and Goran.
Their success this past season should inspire Bledsoe to be the star they need to carry them back to their playoff days.
Best option: Phoenix Suns
Luol Deng: Cleveland Cavaliers / SF / UFA
After a disastrous trip to Cleveland this year, I doubt his return is even worth considering. A trip to a contender this offseason should be his top priority, with teams like the LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Charlotte Hornets all viable options.
A short term in Cleveland left Deng in basketball purgatory. He is likely in no mood to return to any rebuilding team. Phoenix may just be able to end their rebuild after this loaded draft (of which they have three first rounders) and become an attractive free agent destination.
Best option: Phoenix Suns
10: Zach Randolph: Memphis Grizzlies / PF/PO
After an up and down year with the Grizzlies, a change of scenery could be nice for Zebo.
Despite proclaiming his satisfaction with the team before, his name has been heard in rumors the last two years. Perhaps better fits such as the NO Pelicans to pair with Anthony Davis, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards, or Sacramento Kings.
Best option: New Orleans Pelicans
11: Pau Gasol: LA Lakers / PF-C / UFA
After a whirlwind trip with the Lakers, including titles, injuries, trades that happened but didn’t, trades that should have happened, and so on, it may be time for Pau Gasol to Say Goodbye to LA
. It would be a tough departure, but a necessary one. If the aforementioned Zebo does in fact leave, Memphis could look to reunite the Spaniard Brothers and form a twin towers of excellent size and skill. Other options could be Houston, Portland, or Minnesota; all places he has been linked (or traded) to.
Best option: Memphis Grizzlies
12: Kyle Lowry : Toronto Raptors / PG / UFA
After a wildly successful contract year, Kyle Lowry will be looking to cash in big time. Most likely to be pursued by top free agent destinations such as LA Lakers and NY Knicks, this little tank of a man could fit best right where he is now. They offer the biggest win now option and a sizeable contract to go with it.
Toronto and the whole league really fell in love with Lowry’s style of play, and I think Lowry will want to be a part of what Toronto is putting together up north.
Best option: Toronto Raptors
13: Rudy Gay: Sacramento Kings /SF / PO
If Rudy and his agent knows what is best, then re-signing with the Kings should be his top option. No one will pay him close to what his last deal brought him ($17,888,932 in his last year, per Hoopshype.com), but Sacramento will likely do their best to keep this veteran wing around.
Opting in to his $19 million player option would be favorable to his bank account, but may screw the Kings financially. If he really wants to be a part of what Sacramento has built around him and DeMarcus Cousins, he should opt out and sign a new, team friendly deal.
Best option: Sacramento Kings
14: Lance Stephenson: Indiana Pacers SG/UFA
The contract offered by and the playoff success with the Indiana Pacers these next few months will be the final saying on Lance Stephenson’s future.
Being a bench warmer just a few seasons ago, and now about to command a huge deal, is quite an accomplishment. His numbers of 13.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg (Per Hoopshype.com) do not begin to tell the story of his affect on the basketball court. If the contract the pacers concoct is not to Lance’s desire, I expect him to bolt for a team who will pay him whatever it takes to acquire him, such as Charlotte or Portland, who both have wholes at the 2-3 combo spot.
Charlotte has expressed interest in bringing him in this offseason, and a starting role on an up and coming team like the Hornets should be attractive to Stephenson.
Best fit: Charlotte Hornets
15: Gordon Hayward: Utah Jazz / SF / RFA
A very successful 2013-2014 campaign along with a nice young career has Hayward and his agent thinking big bucks.
With the fifth pick in a stacked 2014 draft class, I don’t believe Utah will spend the $50 millon Hayward’s agent is rumored to be looking for to bring back the Butler product. A reunion with former Butler Bulldogs-now Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens would be beneficial for both parties.
Best fit : Boston Celtics
16: Isaiah Thomas : Sacramento Kings / PG / RFA
A breakout campaign in 2013-2014 has led Isaiah to be one of the more coveted Pg free agents in the upcoming class.
A team would always like numbers like 19.2 PPG and 6.4 APG from their point guard, and teams who I expect to take a serious look at Mr. Thomas would be the Philadephia 76ers, LA Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. A return to SAC will only depend on the contract offered.
Best fit : LA Lakers
17: Evan Turner: Indiana Pacers / SF-SG/ RFA
This situation really depends on the way Indiana handles Lance Stephenson. If they go all in on a contract, this restricted FA is headed for a new home. If they save cap space and try to resign Turner instead, Turner will most likely be back in a Pacers uniform next year. If he does get out then Charlotte, Boston, Cleveland, Washington, and Detroit could all use his services.
If the Wiz let Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat both walk, then they would have cap space to offer Turner a good deal while maintaining the ability to offer a max deal to a star next offseason.
Best fit: Washington Wizards
18: Paul Pierce: Brooklyn Nets / SF / UFA
Paul Pierce has had an interesting year in Brooklyn, posting career lows in nearly every statistical category.
With his contract up at the end of the year, this veteran is sure to have options. One of them may be a expected but perhaps meant to be reunion. A return to Boston to assist the rebuild and give back to the Celtics organization would be something Paul would look at.
Best fit : Boston Celtics
19: Marcin Gortat: Washington Wizards / C / UFA
Marcin has enjoyed a nice season in Washington and a return may be in the books. If he is not interested in a return, the suitors will be plenty. The Wizards may decide to let him walk, though, and save cap space for the offseason of 2015.
Expect NY, LAL, Brooklyn, Miami, and Dallas to all have interest.
Best fit: Dallas Mavericks
20: Danny Granger : LA Clippers / SF / UFA
After being disrespected by the Pacers after all he has done for them, I would assume Danny would not look at a return. Dallas, SA, Miami, and New Orleans among others will most likely be interested, but I think a return to LAC may be the best for him.
Despite not receiving a huge amount of playing time in his small stint with LA, it may be the best spot for his contractual needs and a place to experience success.
Best fit: Los Angeles Clippers
21: Mario Chalmers: Miami Heat / PG / UFA
A productive guard shadowed by his Hall of Fame teammates, Mario could look to find some good money after already adding 2 rings to his resume.
I would expect contenders to be interested, but also teams looking for PG depth. I doubt he would sign anywhere without a starting job guaranteed. He could put up big numbers on a team like SAC or LAL. After all, he was the starting PG for 4 straight finals appearances. That should command some credit in the FA market.
Best fit: Sacramento Kings
22: Ray Allen : Miami Heat / SG / UFA
Ray Allen has long been a household name in this league. After adding a ring last year to his career, a ringchasing player like him may look to resign. Other contenders will surely come calling, though.
Retirement may also be an option here, depending on how this year’s Finals go.
Best fit : Miami Heat
23: Trevor Ariza: WAS Wizards / SF / UFA
An amazing year in Washington this year will lead to a healthy dose of cash for Trevor Ariza, whose averages of 14.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg this season do little to his credit. I expect WAS to let him test FA, but ultimately try to resign him. If not, look at Charlotte, Memphis, DAL, Phoenix, and Atlanta to pursue him on FA.
Best fit: Atlanta Hawks
24: Spencer Hawes : Cleveland Cavaliers / C / UFA
After a surprisingly productive year in both PHI and CLE, Hawes could see a big contract come from the market this summer.
I doubt anyone would want to return to CLE after a year like this past one. A team chasing a productive center that could be paid reasonable money should be looked at. These teams include NOP, MIA, POR, WAS, and SA.
Best fit: Portland Trail Blazers
25: Rodney Stuckey: Detroit Pistons / SG / UFA
After a perhaps overstayed welcome in Detroit, I would expect Rodney to jump for greener pastures. These places could be but are not limited to OKC, LAC, MEM, and WAS.
He would bring OKC a much needed bench scorer that they have lacked since James Harden and Kevin Martin. OKC needs to look at ways to drastically improve after failing to reach the finals the past two seasons, and Stuckey is the way to start.
Best fit: Oklahoma City Thunder