The 2013 Free Agents
The 2013 free agent class got a huge boost when star center Dwight Howard decided to opt-in for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013. Along with point guard Chris Paul, Howard will headline a deep class that has everything from superstars to solid role players.
Please note; restricted free agents have been grouped together by position. While it is fun to imagine James Harden signing with the Chicago Bulls and starting next to Derrick Rose, restricted free agents rarely change teams. The bigger names, like Harden, generally re-sign with their current team either for one more season so they can become an unrestricted free agent the following year, or they work out a long-term deal.
Dwight Howard, Unrestricted
Howard is likely the top player on the free agent market in the summer of 2013. He is the most dominant big man of his generation and he is a force on both ends of the floor. Every team in the league will want Howard and he has already spoken publicly about his desire to enter free agency, so it’s unlikely he will sign an extension with the Magic. Plus, there is no incentive to sign an extension under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Howard’s agent received permission earlier this year to speak with three teams about a potential in season trade, the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets. Those three along with the Orlando Magic are likely to be the front-runners for Howard’s services. However, this year has proven that Howard is capable of changing his mind, and changing his mind, and then changing it again. So where he will end up, is truly anyone’s guess at this point.
Andrew Bynum, Unrestricted
The Lakers have been hesitant to add Bynum into any potential trade proposals, even rumored deals that involved Howard. Management has gone on record saying Bynum is a big part of their future and it would be surprising to see him in a uniform that isn’t the Lakers. It’s likely during this upcoming offseason the Lakers will attempt to extend Bynum, and while there is little financial advantage for him, with his history of knee issues he may choose long-term security.
If Bynum does hit free agency there will be plenty of teams lining up for him. Bynum is in the midst of a career year averaging over 18 points per game and almost 13 rebounds. He’s also yet to miss a game this year due to injury. If Bynum continues to stay on the floor and hits free agency healthy he’ll be in line for a maximum contract either with the Lakers or another team of his choosing.
Al Jefferson, Unrestricted
Jefferson may not have the impact on both ends of the floor as Howard or Bynum, but he has proven he can be an offensive force down on the block. Jefferson has averaged at least 16 points per game since the 2006-07 season. With post scoring at a premium, Jefferson is likely to have several suitors once he hits free agency. The cost is unlikely to be near a max contract, making him a good value for the teams that miss out on Bynum and Howard.
Samuel Dalembert, Unrestricted
If Al Jefferson is the offense only center on this list, Dalembert is his defensive counter part. Dalembert can change the outcome of games with his defensive presence and ability to block shots. He may not be flashy, but he is a proven veteran and would a valuable addition to any team needing a starting center or depth at the position.
Nikola Pekovic, Timofey Mozgov, DeJuan Blair, and Tiago Splitter
Zaza Pachulia, Unrestricted; Andris Biedrins, Early Termination Option
Josh Smith, Unrestricted
Power forward is arguably the deepest position, talent wise, in the 2013 free agent class, and the way Smith has been playing, he’s likely to be the most sought after of the group. Smith has been leading an injury plagued Hawks team all season. He has cut down on his long jumpers and has been a force on the defensive side of the ball.
Smith is just now entering what is typically considered the prime ages of his career, so it is likely he will have plenty of interest on the open market. Smith’s relationship with the Hawks has been tenuous at times, and if the Hawks fail to make a deep playoff run this season and/or next season, it’s quite possible they would consider trading him or letting him walk without getting into the bidding; meaning there is a good chance Smith could be on a new team by the start of the 2013 season.
Paul Millsap, Unrestricted
The knock on Millsap has been that he is too short to play power forward and he hasn’t been able to live up to the four year $30+ million contract he signed before the start of the 2009 season. These days, there are few who believe Millsap is overpaid. He is averaging over 16 points and almost nine rebounds per game, while also being the team’s go-to scorer in close games. While his size will always be an issue for some, he is listed at only 6’8’’, it is hard to argue he isn’t an all-star caliber forward.
The Jazz currently have four quality big men on their roster in Millsap, Jefferson, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors. With Millsap and Jefferson both unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2013, it’s likely at least one of them will be on the move if not both. Any team looking for a good value at the power forward spot, needs to look no further than Millsap.
David West, Unrestricted
West does a little bit of everything, he scores, he rebounds, and he’s a solid help defender. The big issue is his age. By the time the 2013 season starts he’ll be 33-years-old. West has looked very good at times this year, but at times has also looked a step slow. West is the classic veteran that a playoff team, like his current team the Indiana Pacers, is likely to make a run at in hopes that he is the missing piece to a championship.
Emeka Okafor, Early Termination Option
Okafor is a power forward who can also split time at center. Something that is very valuable in the NBA. The biggest question with Okafor is whether or not he will become a free agent or play out his contract. He stands to make more than $14 million in 2013-14, so it’s quite possible he will wait an extra year before he hits the free agent market. If he does become a free agent expect him to have plenty of suitors, but it’s unlikely any team would offer him close to $14 million per season.
Lamar Odom, Unrestricted
There is no denying Odom has struggled this year. He’s averaging a career low in points, rebounds and assists, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a difference maker for a team off the bench in a few years. If Odom can regain his confidence in Dallas, something Mark Cuban has said repeatedly he believes can happen, then Odom could be in line for one more contract before he starts thinking about retirement.
Restricted Power Forwards
Taj Gibson, Samuardo Samuels, Tyler Hansbrough, and Serge Ibaka
Other Power Forwards
Charlie Villanueva, Player Option; Josh McRoberts, Unrestricted; Amir Johnson, Unrestricted; Rashard Lewis, Unrestricted
Tony Allen, Unrestricted
Small forward is arguably the weakest position of the 2013 free agent class. There are several solid role players, but no stars or all-star players on this list. The top role player is even up for debate, with Tony Allen’s perimeter defense and ability to finish around the rim a leading candidate. A team needing toughness would do well to look at Allen, who has proven he can lock down most shooting guards and small forwards in big games.
Corey Maggette, Kyle Korver and Dorell Wright, Unrestricted
These three are grouped together because they are offense first players who can also knock down the open three. Wright and Korver are considered three-point specialist, while Maggette is someone who can get his own shot off at any time. If a team needs a shooter to help spread the floor, this is a good place to look.
Marvin Williams, Shawn Marion, Metta World Peace, Hedo Turkoglu, Early Termination Option; Richard Jefferson and Trevor Ariza, Player Option
These six players will have the option of becoming free agents in the summer of 2013, but it’s unlikely they will terminate their current contract. It seems unlikely they would be able to receive a contract similar to the one’s they are currently playing under, so expect most, if not all six of these players to be off the market in 2013.
Restricted Small Forward
Other Small Forwards
Reggie Williams, Unrestricted; James Jones, Player Option; Mike Dunleavy, Unrestricted; Quentin Richardson, Player Option; Stephen Jackson, Unrestricted
Monta Ellis, Early Termination Option
Ellis has turned himself into a two-way player who still averages over 20 points per game and six assists. His trade to the Milwaukee Bucks should only improve his defense under head coach Scott Skiles. If Ellis can continue to work on both sides of the ball, he could find himself in the desirable position of being the most sought after wing player on the market. He will only be 28 at the start of the 2013 season and barring injury is looking at another big payday.
Kevin Martin, Unrestricted
Scoring will always be at a premium in the NBA, and Martin has proven he can score. He’s a career 18.4 points per game scorer and will only be thirty when the 2013 season starts. Martin may not end up with as many suitors as Ellis does, but whatever team lands him will know exactly what they are getting.
Manu Ginobili, Unrestricted
Ginobili has been dealing with a myriad of injuries over the past several years, but there is little doubt he is one of the top players at his position when healthy. He’ll be 36 by the time the season starts, but he should still be able to provide valuable scoring and leadership either in the starting lineup or off the bench.
Ben Gordon, Player Option; J.J. Redick, Unrestricted
Gordon and Redick are both three-point specialists who would be valuable to any team that needs scoring off the bench. Neither will light the world on fire with their defense, but they can change the game with their range and accuracy on the perimeter.
Restricted Shooting Guards
Gerald Henderson, James Harden and Tyreke Evans
Other Shooting Guards
Ronnie Brewer, Unrestricted; Corey Brewer, Unrestricted; Martell Webster, Unrestricted; Anthony Morrow, Unrestricted
Chris Paul, Unrestricted
Paul, along with Howard, is the cream of the 2013 crop. Paul is a dominant playmaker who controls the tempo of the game and makes everyone around him better. He is currently in what appears to be the perfect situation for him. He is playing on a team with an athletic and big center in DeAndre Jordan, wing scorers in Nick Young and Caron Butler, and two-time all-star Blake Griffin.
It doesn’t seem to make any sense for Paul to leave the Clippers, but since there is no financial reward to him signing an extension, Paul will likely become a free agent in 2013. Once someone becomes a free agent, there is always a chance he could leave, and Paul is no different.
Jose Calderon, Unrestricted
Calderon isn’t a flashy point guard, but he does make everyone around him better. Over the last two years he’s averaged more than eight assists per game. He’ll be 31 when the 2013 season starts and would be a valuable asset either as a starter or off the bench for a playoff team.
C.J. Watson, Unrestricted
Watson has proven a capable backup on a championship caliber team, but he could also be an excellent value for a team looking for a starting point guard. Watson is unlikely to command the type of money Calderon or some of the restricted point guards will command, so turning to Watson could be the prudent move for some of the smaller market teams in need of a starter.
Devin Harris, Unrestricted
Harris never made the leap to stardom like many predicted after his all-star season in 2009, but he can still lead a team. Harris has career averages of 13 points and five assists per game. He will only be 30 when the 2013 season starts and would be an excellent fit either off the bench or in the starting lineup for any team fighting for the playoffs.
Restricted Point Guards
Jeff Teague, Rodrigue Beaubois, Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry, and Darren Collison
Other Point Guards
Daniel Gibson, Unrestricted; Will Bynum, Unrestricted; Mario Chalmers, Team Option; Shaun Livingston, Unrestricted; Jarrett Jack, Unrestricted; Earl Watson, Unrestricted