Top 2009 NBA free agents (cont.)
14. Mike Bibby, G, Hawks
Bibby, though he just turned 31, looks to be at a career crossroads. The team he helped buoy while it matured into a playoff contender is turning to other options at point guard (newly acquired Jamal Crawford, draftee Jeff Teague), so Bibby -- whose main stats were down slightly from his career averages -- will have to take a big cut from the $14.9 million he was paid last season or hit a market that already has Miller and Kidd.
15. Antonio McDyess, F/C, Pistons
The bad news on Yao Ming could be good news for players like McDyess, a still-solid pro who could fill Houston's sudden void in the middle. Other big men like Zaza Pachulia, Fabricio Oberto and Rasho Nesterovic should tell their agents to put Rockets GM Daryl Morey on speed dial. McDyess, who reportedly has a home in Houston, owes it to himself to pick a team where he won't be used as a trade tool, as happened with the Iverson deal last November.
16. Drew Gooden, F, Spurs
You would think Gooden might be tired of packing and unpacking by now, having spent time with six teams in his seven NBA seasons. But he might be enticed to move again, if someone wants a low-post scoring option with good rebounding skills.
17. Brandon Bass, F, Mavericks
For the mid-level payday he's seeking, Bass is an alluring package. He's 24, he's physical and plays bigger defensively than 6-foot-8 and he has the quickness to play in an up-tempo style. Assuming he doesn't get an offer beyond the expected mid-level of about $5.6 million to $5.8 million, Dallas can match without using its own mid-level. Bass' apparent willingness to fill a rotation spot, rather than a demand to start, improves his likelihood of staying put with the Mavs.
Frye has been a bit player and his marketability wasn't helped when the Trail Blazers declined to make him a qualifying offer. Despite a "soft'' label, the 6-10 Frye had his moments with the Knicks before being traded in 2007. Then he largely got warehoused on Portland's talent-rich roster. He also didn't come back strong from surgery for bone chips prior to last season. He's priced right, coming off a $3.1 million salary last season.
19. Anthony Parker, G, Raptors
20. Wally Szczerbiak, F, Cavaliers
Szczerbiak, after logging career lows in minutes (20.6) and scoring (7.0), figured to be a traveling man until the Cavs traded Sasha Pavlovic in the Shaq deal. Now, agent Gary Wichard said Tuesday, they might still have a place for his client's 41 percent three-point shooting, though at a bargain-basement rate from the $13.2 million his ever-popular expiring contract paid this season.
Restricted free agents
1. Paul Millsap, F, Jazz
Now that Boozer has decided to stay with the Jazz for at least one more season, rival teams can begin targeting Millsap in free agency. Utah wants to keep its 2006 second-round surprise and will have to pay at least the mid-level exception to get it done. Millsap averaged 16.0 points and 10.3 rebounds as a starter when Boozer was out, which explains the interest from Detroit, Portland and Oklahoma City.
2. Glen Davis, F/C, Celtics
Big Baby has been watching his diet and mastering martial arts, shedding an alleged 20 pounds since the playoffs ended. Any team wanting to lock him up long-term had better trust those habits, because getting a hefty payday -- and leaving the peer pressure of the Celtics' veterans -- could undermine Davis' physical regimen and take his effectiveness with it. Davis is happy to fill a role or start, depending on the quality of his teammates. He seems more likely to get part of ($3 million or so) rather than all of a team's mid-level.
3. David Lee, F, Knicks
Just because the Knicks' cupboard is so relatively bare, in terms of consistent production and blue-collar values, Lee is a little overrated. That also means New York isn't likely to just let the double-double big guy leave without matching or sign-and-trading. Drafting Jordan Hill and adding Darko Milicic makes some sort of deal more likely, though.
4. Raymond Felton, G, Bobcats
If Michael Jordan says the Bobcats plan to keep Felton, I suppose that's good enough for me. That doesn't really address whether they should or not, though, as there are enough skeptics of D.J. Augustin to justify Felton staying in Charlotte.
5. Ramon Sessions, G, Bucks
Sessions, the 56th pick in 2007, averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists and started 39 times. The Bucks hope to re-sign the point guard as they bring along first-round pick Brandon Jennings.
6. Linas Kleiza, F, Nuggets
Kleiza is an intriguing player, a reserve who can score in bunches and provide a spark but someone whose play in the regular season and minutes in the postseason were inconsistent. He's facing the problem of being restricted -- if he decides to take the one-year qualifying offer, he could get buried and lose even more value.
7. Marvin Williams, F, Hawks
Williams still is raw and young, having just turned 23, so the question is, will someone pay him on potential again? Or will he play for the Hawks' $7.3 million qualifying offer and be more of a known quantity in 12 months -- when teams building up cap space might spend more freely than now? Wrist and back injuries hurt Williams' production last season, so holding off on a big decision might be best for all concerned.
8. Marcin Gortat, C, Magic
In the NFL, the saying goes, your most important player is your starting quarterback and your second-most-important player is your backup QB. In Orlando, Gortat was pretty darn important giving Dwight Howard breathers and covering for his foul trouble. He stepped out from behind a curtain, too, with strong playoff exposure. He might command $3 million annually now.
9. Nate Robinson, G, Knicks
Robinson seems to irritate D'Antoni, but the pocket-sized guard has found a niche off the bench (17.2 points, 4.1 assists) and he would be a fan favorite wherever he plays, in a league never more sensitive to box-office challenges.
10. Jarrett Jack, G, Pacers
The Pacers want to keep him, but Jack might inspire some bidding. The 25-year-old from Georgia Tech averaged 17.6 points in March and 6.3 assists in April. He made $2 million in 2008-09.
11. Josh Childress, F, Hawks
Childress' three-year, $20 million contract in Greece allows him to escape after each season, and he would come back to the NBA with restricted status from the Hawks. Some think a bridge between the club and him got burned last summer, though. Frankly, I'd like to see his Euro experiment run a little longer, since it was touted as such a possible trend-setter last year.
12. Jamario Moon, F, Heat
Moon was as nice a piece with the Heat as he had been as a rookie in Toronto two years ago. But Miami isn't very committed to him, making him a qualifying offer that, according to published reports, guarantees him only about $200,000 of next year's pay.
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