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NBA AM: The Playoff Free Agent Power Forwards
Posted By Steve Kyler On April 29, 2013 @ 9:16 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Today we’ll take a look at some of the Power Forwards that could hit free agency this summer:
Andray Blatche – Unrestricted
The Brooklyn Nets were able to land Blatche at the NBA minimum of $854,000 because he was amnestied by the Wizards, who are still paying him. The good news for Brooklyn is that Blatche is owed some $7.7 million next year from Washington so he could reasonably agree to another lower-dollar deal to remain where he has found some success. However, that success could up his value on the open market where another team might be willing to offer more guaranteed dollars and years. Blatche chose Brooklyn because of the chance to rehabilitate his image on a big stage and he has done that, whether he’ll sign on for more remains up in the air mainly because Brooklyn simply can’t and likely won’t commit long-term to Blatche because of where they are with other players. The smart money says Blatche is going shopping in July, however with Washington paying him for two more years he really can make the personal choice more so than the financial one.
Austin Daye – $4,135,392 (Qualifying Offer)
Since being acquired by the Grizzlies in the Rudy Gay trade with Toronto and Detroit in January, Daye has done very little for the Grizzlies, which makes you wonder if the Grizzlies would even issue the $4.1 million qualifying offer to restrict Daye’s free agency. Daye has seen some game action for Memphis and given where they are at salary cap wise it will be interesting to see how they handle Daye. The smart money says Daye will not be back in Memphis and that the Grizzlies will pass on his offer. It’s possible the Grizz negotiate a lower dollar deal for Daye instead of the offer sheet, but at $4.1 million Daye simply hasn’t shown that he’s worth that kind of money and it’s unlikely that he gets that level of an offer in free agency.
Carl Landry – $4,000,000 (Player Option)
Landry is finishing his sixth season in the NBA and it is amazing that he still hasn’t found a multi-year deal. That could change this summer. Landry has been a huge part of the Warriors success this year and that is likely going to lead to Landry opting for free agency if only to force a multi-year deal at his market value. The problem for the Warriors is they are sitting on roughly $73.78 million in salary commitments next season with lots of restrictions because of the new stiffer luxury tax payer rules. Landry will be in a position of leverage and the Warriors cap situation does get better in 2014-15 when cap killer contracts to Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins come off the books, so investing in Landry now only hurts for next season. Barring injury in the post season, the smart money says Landry is opting out if only to secure a longer-term higher dollar deal.
David West – Unrestricted
West signed a two-year deal coming off an ACL tear in New Orleans, meaning he won’t have full Bird rights this summer in Indiana, but that’s not really going to matter. The Collective Bargaining Agreement gives West what is called early Bird rights and Indiana can offer a new deal starting at 175 percent of West’s 2012-13 salary of $10 million and that deal can be anywhere from 2-4 years in length. Can anyone envision the Pacers not doing a new deal with West? West has been the engine that’s made the Pacers go on both ends of the floor this year and he has a found a niche that works for himself and his family. Now free agency is when business is done and the Pacers do have $57.017 million in commitments and ownership has always set a hard cap on spending at roughly $66 million, but with Danny Granger’s deal coming off the books in 2014-15 it is unlikely that the Pacers let West out of town, especially when they can go all the way to a NBA maximum to keep him. It is very likely that other teams try and convince West to bring his game to them in free agency, but it won’t be surprising to see the Pacers and West reach a new deal very quickly in free agency.
Tyler Hansbrough – $4,225,423 (Qualifying Offer)
The Pacers have gotten a ton out of Hansbrough this season and he has played a huge role off the bench for them. It is safe to say that the Pacers issue the $4.22 million qualifying offer to restrict hiss free agency, but the question becomes how much is too much for Hansbrough in free agency, especially with David West looking for his next deal? The Pacers have something of a cash crunch coming next season, but things lighten up in 2014-15. The Pacers could and likely would entertain deals on Danny Granger, the problem is how do you extract value out of a guy with a severely bad knee? Cash dumps in the NBA tend to cost draft picks and young players, so the smart money says Indiana matches reasonable offers on Hansbrough and tries to free up money in trade either during the summer or at the trade deadline. The Pacers historically have been capped by ownership at $66 million; it will be interesting to see if the Pacers will cross that line to keep this team somewhat intact.
Earl Clark – Unrestricted
There was a stretch in January and February when it seemed like Clark might be playing his way into a major payday; he has since settled to his norm. Clark would love to remain in LA with the Lakers, however the Lakers have some serious questions to ask themselves this offseason and a multi-year deal with Clark may not line up with their longer term plans of rebuilding in 2014-15. Clark has to go where the dollars are and the Lakers will have to pay luxury tax on every dollar they give Clark. It is possible that the best offer for Clark is in LA, if that turns out to be the case it is because the market soured on Clark and also means the Lakers would get Clark on the cheap. Clark has never had the big NBA payday so if he is playing somewhere else next season it is because someone offered more security. If Clark is back in LA next season its likely on a one-year deal and likely for not much more than the $1.24 million he earned this season.
Antawn Jamison – Unrestricted
Jamison is coming down the stretch of his career and thought a one-year deal at the NBA minimum in LA would give him a shot at a title. With the Lakers cleaning out lockers today it is hard to imagine the season could have gone any worse and given all of the uncertainties in LA it is hard to imagine that Jamison is signing on for another year of the circus. Jamison has played well this season and continues to say that his bothersome knee is better than it has been in a while meaning there is a case for Jamison to keep playing. The smart money says Jamison is going contender shopping and for the first time in a long time that likely means the Lakers won’t be in the mix.
Boris Diaw – $4,702,500 (Player Option)
Given Diaw’s health it is hard to imagine that he’s going to opt out of the $4.7 million he is owed next season. In a surprise move just before the playoffs Diaw had a small cyst removed from his back that was causing him pain and discomfort. It is possible that he returns to action at some point as the Spurs advance in the postseason. He has been taking part in practice with the team, so his outlook is improving and it is possible if Diaw has an amazing postseason that he considers opting out. However, the smart money says Diaw stays in his deal. There simply isn’t a case to be made for him to earn more than he’s owed by the Spurs, coming off a back issue it’s highly doubtful hat anyone offers him more in free agency.
Matt Bonner – $3,945,000 (Non-Guaranteed)
Can anyone envision the Spurs not picking up Bonner’s deal? On the season Bonner shot 48.7 percent from NBA three. So far in the playoffs he is a scorching 75 percent from three. Bonner has been a key reserve for the Spurs all season and logs a dependable 20 minutes a game. The Spurs couldn’t replace Bonner’s productivity and dependability for the $3.9 million owed to him and it is simply crazy to think they wouldn’t keep him right where he is. The Spurs have $48.658 in projected salary commitments next season so it is not as though they’ll need the money unless they can convince Dwight Howard to come be the future in San Antonio and who sees that happening? Although the Spurs would have the cap room if they wanted to make a run at a major free agent; that’s the scenario in which Bonner becomes expendable.
DeJuan Blair – Unrestricted
Blair is done in San Antonio. The Spurs tried to trade him in each of the last two offseasons and the deadline and found no one willing to give up the required first round draft pick for Blair, who is hitting unrestricted free agency. Blair is going to go where he can get paid, but also where he can have a defined role and play. To say Blair has been frustrated in San Antonio is an understatement. Blair was shooting a dominating 52.4 percent from the field this season and logs an impressive 52.8 percent field goal percentage on his four year career. The challenge for Blair is going to be convincing teams to invest significant money in his knees. Blair saw his draft stock tumble because teams were fearful of his knees and it will be interesting to see how teams look at Blair after four years in the NBA. It is very likely Blair agrees to a knee exclusion in his free agency deal, that’s how he got a four year deal out of the Spurs, agreeing to provisions in his contract that protected the Spurs against specific knee injuries. Blair could be an interesting free agent acquisition and it’s extremely clear that unless San Antonio ponies up serious money that Blair is out of the picture with the Spurs and that he’ll be shopping for a new team in July.
We Want To Know: The LA Lakers got swept out of the post-season with consecutive blowout losses. With so much up in the air and such a dismal outlook on 2013-2014 we ask you:
What Is Next For Dwight Howard?: The LA Lakers will start day one of the Dwight Howard circus today as they clean out lockers and head into a tumultuous off-season. If you were hoping for some answers or even a hint at a thought process, Howard gave little of either last night as he tried to avoid the 800 pound Gorilla in the room.
“I’m going to step away from everything for a couple weeks and clear my head before I do or talk about anything as far as next season,” Howard said Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times “I think I deserve that and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Howard reflected on what can only be called a failed season by LA Laker standards.
“It was like a nightmare,” Howard said. “It was like a bad dream, and we couldn’t wake up out of it. That’s what it felt like. It seemed like nothing could go right from the start — injuries and all that stuff. But we’ll get an opportunity to get some rest for guys who are injured or coming off of injuries, get a chance to rehab, and think about what we can all do to better ourselves.”
Howard also reflected on his role in the Lakers season.
“It was a rocky year,” Howard said. “A lot of things happened that I didn’t have any control over. I think I handled some situations good and I think I handled some situations bad, but it’s a growing process. You keep growing, you keep learning. That’s why we have the offseason, to get an opportunity to reflect on the good and bad things that happened during the season and try to make it better for the next year.”
Howard was asked about his relationship with Kobe Bryant, something that’s been contentious at times, but Howard says has never been the issue some have made it in the press.
“We’ve had a pretty good relationship before I got here and I think a lot of people twisted a lot of things,” Howard said. “The fake fights that people said we supposedly had.
“We maintained a pretty good relationship and we’ll continue to be here for him throughout a process that he has to go through recovering from his Achilles.”
Howard was also asked about his future and would he be open to playing another season with current Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.
“I don’t want to talk about anything that’s for the upcoming season and next year. I just want to reflect on this year and try to get myself better and come back 100 percent.”
The Lakers have some big decisions to make – namely is using their one-time Amnesty cut a smart move? They’ll have a small window between July 10th and July 16th to decide.
They have several options. Cutting Kobe Bryant and his $30 million salary would be the most devastating and shocking move. The Lakers could cut Pau Gasol and his $19 million; it won’t gain cap room, but it would reduce the luxury tax the Lakers would owe. Steve Blake and Metta World Peace also have contracts that the Lakers could cut with the one-time provision, so there are options there that the Lakers have to consider.
The Lakers will likely try and trade away Pau Gasol to get smaller dollar pieces, although there is a belief that hanging onto to Gasol and letting his contract expire in 2014 might be the better move.
The Lakers will also have endure what is likely to be a free agent shopping spree by Howard, who is likely going to listen to free agent pitches from other teams before ultimately deciding on where he is going to sign.
Howard can re-sign with the Lakers on a five-year deal worth an expected $118 million or he could opt to leave the Lakers and do a four-year $88 million deal with another team. There are 30 million guaranteed reasons to stay in LA, but Howard is going to shop, so that’s adds even more intrigue to the situation.
Day One starts today and between now and the July 1st opening of Free Agency expect to hear 900 different scenarios involving the Lakers, because that’s what happens when the NBA’s most popular teams flames out as badly as the Lakers did this season.
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