Top 50 2010 NBA Free Agents

Here they are (via Hoopsworld, Real GM and DX Express)! Who do we go for or do we stay pat and dig into the draft?
What can you put together for a Chip or Bandaid?
The biggest free agent dance party of the millennium is right around the corner. General managers and fans alike have had smiley faces etched on the July 1, 2010, spot on their calendars forever. That date marks the date in which the best free agent class of the modern era becomes available. From LeBron to Wade to Joe Johnson, from Bosh to Amar’e to Boozer, from Shaq to Big Z, J.J. Redick to Rudy Gay, there is too much intrigue in store.

What happens in July could dictate what happens in the NBA for the next decade. (C.J. Watson isn’t available every year, OK?!) As such, you can’t get ready too early. Peer deep inside FanHouse’s Top 50 2010 NBA Free Agent ranking, where I sort, discuss and (yes) rank the free agents to be.

Share516 You’ll notice a few things. Many of these players have player options or early termination options — I’ve made judgment calls on who may opt into free agency based on perceived value and that looming collective bargaining battle in 2011. (Note that I don’t differentiate between player options and ETOs in individual player entries — they work the same, for all intents and purposes.) Also note that I typically place restricted free agents lower than they might otherwise have been, due to the issues which make acquiring RFAs more difficult than unrestricted FAs. Finally, know that every team has different needs. In the end, this is one man’s ranking of how valued the members of the free agent class ought to be.

All statistics current as of April 5, 2010. Per-game averages used.

Update Log
April 12, 2010: Removed Manu Ginobili (signed contract extension); added Matt Barnes (previous oversight).
May 5, 2010: Removed Marcus Camby (signed contract extension) and Kelenna Azubuike (picked up player option for 2010-11); added Richard Jefferson (surprise potential opt-out) and C.J. Watson.
May 13, 2010: Removed Grant Hill (won’t opt out); added Linas Kleiza (reportedly interested in returning to NBA). Added the “Five More” feature.



1. LEBRON JAMES, SF


Age: 25 | Height: 6-8
Experience:
7 years | ’09-10 Team: Cavaliers
2009-10 Stats: 29.9 pt | 7.3 reb | 8.5 ast
Status: 2010-11 player option for $17.1 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: LeBron is the only player in the world who could have two New York teams effectively forfeit an entire season just so they can bid for his services. And bid they will, along with any other franchise which believes it has so much as a dream of landing the finest player of this generation for the prime of his career. LeBron brings every tool to the arena: he’s the game’s most unstoppable weapon on offense, with a repertoire of moves and solid efficiency all over the floor, and he’s an ace defender.

2. DWYANE WADE, SG


Age: 28 | Height: 6-4
Experience:
7 years | ’09-10 Team: Heat
2009-10 Stats: 26.6 pt | 4.9 reb | 6.6 ast
Status: 2010-11 player option for $17.1 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Wade remains the league’s most explosive guard, keeping defenses on their heels every possession he plays. He still hasn’t developed his three-point range, but it hardly matters — he’s the perfect example of a player who relies almost exclusively on his strengths. On defense, Wade’s strength continues to be off-ball action, where he’s again on pace to rack up more than 100 blocks this season and threatens to average two steals a game for the third time in his career. The contract Wade signs this summer will take him well into his 30s, a minor concern given Wade’s past injuries.


3. CHRIS BOSH, PF


Age: 25 | Height: 6-10
Experience:
7 years | ’09-10 Team: Raptors
2009-10 Stats: 24.3 pt | 11 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option for $17.1 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Bosh is seen as the second choice (behind LeBron) for many teams; as James is seen bethrothen to only two or three teams, Bosh is really the big question mark. Could he join LeBron or Wade somewhere? Could he stay in Ontario? Could he hang his own shingle in Chicago, teaming with Derrick Rose and Luol Deng? If all eyes are on LeBron, at least half of them will be shifting nervously toward Bosh.


4. DIRK NOWITZKI, PF


Age: 31 | Height: 7-0
Experience: 12 years | ’09-10 Team: Mavericks
2009-10 Stats: 24.8 pt | 7.6 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option for $21.5 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Nowitzki, the lifelong Maverick, could be a surprise entrant in the 2010 derby, should Mark Cuban decline to offer up a max contract. While Dirk will turn 32 before free agency begins, he keeps himself in impeccable shape, and it’s safe to say Cuban learned his lesson in letting Steve Nash go back in 2004. But so long as Dirk doesn’t ink a new contract, he belongs here in the list of prospective free agents. Nowitzki failing to get a contract extension before July could at the very least throw a wrench into the Mavericks’ summer focus.


5. YAO MING, C


Age: 29 | Height: 7-6
Experience:
8 years | ’09-10 Team: Rockets
2009-10 Stats: Out with injury
Status: 2010-11 player option for $17.7 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Is Yao Ming, pushing 30 with a history of foot injuries, worth a maximum contract? If Houston doesn’t think so, will any other team? Yao is a huge business boon (ask his teammates, with their Li-Ning shoe contracts), but he will have played in only 58 percent of Houston’s regular season games since 2005-06. Can the Rockets — or anyone else — afford that risk for the next five years, too, especially with the salary cap likely to shrink?


6. JOE JOHNSON, SG


Age: 29 | Height: 6-8
Experience:
9 years | ’09-10 Team: Hawks
2009-10 Stats: 21.2 pt | 4.6 reb | 4.9 ast
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Johnson, the backcourt star of the Hawks, is one of the few high-level unrestricted free agents without a player option. Johnson reportedly turned down a four-year, $60 million extension offer from the Hawks last summer. Will he get that much on the open market? It seems likely, given the sheer number of teams (eight) which can offer more than $15 million in starting salary. Chicago has been a top rumor. Atlanta will undoubtedly try hard to retain the star guard.


7. AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE, PF


Age: 27 | Height: 6-10
Experience: 8 years | ’09-10 Team: Suns
2009-10 Stats: 22.9 pt | 8.8 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option for $17.7 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Stoudemire has been a constant on the trade rumor mill for two solid years now, owing to a long-burn reboot in Phoenix focusing on defense (hardly S.T.A.T.’s strong suit) and the forward’s big salary and high desirability. Negotiations on a contract extension fizzled by February, but given how much Amar’e is said to like Phoenix, don’t be surprised if he directs his agent to take a sub-max contract to help Steve Nash ride into the sunset. If the Suns and Stoudemire can’t work something out, Miami, New York and New Jersey figure to be top suitors.


8. CARLOS BOOZER, PF


Age: 28 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 8 years | ’09-10 Team: Jazz
2009-10 Stats: 19.6 pt | 11.3 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Boozer shook Utah by delaying free agency a year, and given what happened in July 2009 (few teams spent cash), it worked: Boozer has had a lovely season for the Jazz, and high-scoring big men will be needed by several teams with cap space. Like Amar’e, Boozer’s defensive reputation suffers. But on the boards, Boozer’s a champ, and he’s younger than most folks assume. Utah seems an absolute dead end this summer (with a big payroll and Paul Millsap in hand); Miami could be Boozer’s top realistic choice.


9. PAUL PIERCE, SF


Age: 32 | Height: 6-6
Experience: 12 years | ’09-10 Team: Celtics
2009-10 Stats: 18.2 pt | 4.4 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option (early termination) for $21.5 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Paul Pierce, a free agent? That’s a new one. But given a few factors, The Truth could very well find himself on the market. It’s his call — he’s under contract for $21.5 million in 2010-11, a massive sum he’d never grab on the open market at age 32. But Pierce is aging, and with the 2011 CBA looming this could be one last big contract opportunity. If Pierce opts out and wins a four-year contract for $12 million or so annually, he could very well come out ahead of taking $21 million and hoping for a deal under rougher circumstances, one year removed. Think Baron Davis in 2008. I would expect Boston would look to re-up Pierce if he does take the plunge.



10. RUDY GAY, SF


Age: 23 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Grizzlies
2009-10 Stats: 19.7 pt | 6 reb
Status: Restricted free agent ($4.4 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Gay was maligned enough by fans and media heading into 2009-10 that his demands for an extension with an average salary greater than $10 million met with guffaws. But it’s Gay laughing now, as a much-improved game for a much-improved Grizzlies team has left Rudy in position to get such a contract offer this summer. Memphis can match any offer sheet Gay signs, and the circumstances of restricted free agency will likely make Gay one of the August signings (assuming Memphis doesn’t quickly meet his demands). If not Memphis, the Wizards or Clippers seem like appropriate suitors. Minnesota could be a dark horse, likely requiring a sign-and-trade to get something done.


11. DAVID LEE, PF


Age: 26 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Knicks
2009-10 Stats: 20.4 pt | 11.9 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Lee played this game last summer, the most ignored potential 20/10 free agent in recent memory. Skittish teams and New York’s restricted free agency handcuffs kept Lee in the Big Apple for another season, with the forward-center eventually signing a fairly fat one-year deal. No such RFA restrictions apply this go-round, and while Lee has seemingly made himself indispensable to the Knicks, the team is trying to swim with bigger fish. Don’t count on New York renouncing the rights to Lee until the minute a second big name free agent gets ready to put ink to paper (in other words, the Knicks will maintain its ability to give Lee a six-year deal until the moment they would be forced to renounce him to clear his cap hold, which would be required if the team seeks two max free agents as expected). As such, I could see a lesser free agent suitor targeting Lee from the outset and prying him away from the Knicks before Donnie Walsh and Co. can straighten out their affairs with said bigger fish.


12. JOSH CHILDRESS, SF


Age: 26 | Height: 6-8
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Olympiakos (Greece)
2007-08 Stats: 11.8 pt | 4.9 reb
Status: Restricted free agent (Hawks; $4.8 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Childress hasn’t played NBA ball in two years now after fleeing in the False Alarm Foreign Flight of 2008. As troubling stateside finances and an infusion of cash in Eastern Europe heaved the summer into rumors of a mass exodus of America’s star players, Childress ended up being the only American-born player of note to take the loot. Chills flirted with a return in 2009, meeting with the Bucks but finding himself unable to secure a deal in a skittish market in time to opt out of his Olympiakos pact. I suspect Childress will at least test NBA waters again this July, perhaps with more success. A rangy, hyper-efficient defender like Chills certainly has a place in the NBA.


13. RAY ALLEN, SG


Age: 34 | Height: 6-5
Experience: 14 years | ’09-10 Team: Celtics
2009-10 Stats: 16.2 pt | .361 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Allen is certainly wrapping up his career, now in his mid-30s. The abandonment of his shooting stroke as 2009-10 moves along renders as both shocking and disheartening, given that’s really all Allen had left in the first place. Perspective is in order, of course — Ray hasn’t been up to his lofty standard of offensive efficiency, but he’s still better than a big portion of two-guards earning major minutes. While Ray can’t (and surely doesn’t) reasonably expect to top $10 million a season on the market, he can be a big boon for a good team, and you could see the power franchises bid him up a bit. It’s unclear whether Boston would be a party to that, given the team’s attempts to pawn him off for a younger asset at the trade deadline, and given the speed at which the core is crumbling. Allen could be a great fit with LeBron, wherever he ends up (including Cleveland … heck, especially Cleveland).


14. LUIS SCOLA, PF


Age: 29 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 3 years | ’09-10 Team: Rockets
2009-10 Stats: 16.1 pt | 8.8 reb
Status: Restricted free agent ($4.1 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Scola, the world’s most robust concoction of craft and mettle (and stubble, as it were), meets the end of his rookie contract at the lovely age of 30, just late enough to prevent a truly outstanding contract but early enough to prevent a dearth of offers. Reason stands that Houston won’t allow Scola to get too far away from home — the team traded capable stand-in Carl Landry for backcourt help at the deadline, and has made public declarations it will thusly keep Scola. But if the Argentine thinks he can get some decent offers in the most wide-open market in ages, you could see him forcing Houston’s hand by signing a sheet. Scola could be a sensible option in New Jersey.


15. TYRUS THOMAS, PF


Age: 23 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Bulls/Bobcats
2009-10 Stats: 9.2 pt | 6.3 reb | 1.6 blk
Status: Restricted free agent ($6.2 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Chicago eventually cut ties with Thomas, the feisty forward who never seemed to get along with any coach the Bulls hired. Whether that’s the fault of the organization or T.T. remains to be seen. Still just 23, Thomas has long been considered a vastly talented defender. While his offense is worse than inconsistent (it’s consistently bad, misshapen), the jaw-dropping righting of the U.S.S. Josh Smith ought to get T.T. plenty of attention this summer, assuming the Bobcats don’t lock him up quickly.



16. JOHN SALMONS, SG


Age: 30 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 8 years | ’09-10 Team: Bulls/Bucks
2009-10 Stats: 15.1 pt | .382 3P%
Status: 2010-11 player option for $5.8 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Salmons has vacillated between vital and superfluous for years now. In Sacramento, he was good enough to be the team’s best player through Kevin Martin’s torturous 2008-09, but just old enough to be disposable, sent off to Chicago with albatross Brad Miller. In Chicago, it ended up the same: Salmons was key in the playoff run of ’08-09, but a wasted rotation spot the following year. In Milwaukee, he’s been a world-beater. No doubt the Bucks would appreciate Salmons taking that $5.8 million — it’s difficult to imagine Milwaukee handing out a long-term deal if Johnny opts out. But the market may be too hungry for Salmons to ignore.



17. BRENDAN HAYWOOD, C


Age: 30 | Height: 7-0
Experience: 9 years | ’09-10 Team: Wizards/Mavericks
2009-10 Stats: 9.3 pt | 9.5 reb | 2.1 blk
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Haywood went to Dallas at midseason, considered by many the more important half of the pair of starters Wizards pawned off the Mavericks. It’s unclear whether the Mavs agree — Mark Cuban told reporters after the deadline he would have made the trade without Haywood included. Haywood is a defensive-minded big man, a decent rebounder and good shotblocker who knows his role on offense and sticks to it. At age 30, he can’t expect a massive contract, but he should draw plenty of interest among contenders.


18. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, C


Age: 38 | Height: 7-1
Experience: 18 years | ’09-10 Team: Cavaliers
2009-10 Stats: 12 pt | 6.7 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Removed from the magical pools of forever young Phoenix, Shaq has slipped on the court in Cleveland. But considering the Suns saw him at legit All-Star status, O’Neal is still a decent player, even at age 38, with the odometer threatening to quit. Shaq has said he’d like to play a couple more seasons, and as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world he’ll get interest. And why not? He’s still a frequent scorer (18 points per 36 minutes) and a strong rebounder. Who cares if his pick-and-roll defense looks like a penguin mating dance and his famously awful free throw stroke has devolved further? It’s Shaq!


19. RAYMOND FELTON, PG


Age: 25 | Height: 6-1
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Bobcats
2009-10 Stats: 12.1 pt | 5.5 ast
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Felton took a one-year flyer with the Bobcats to get to unrestricted free agency, and it hasn’t exactly come out aces. Felton’s minutes are down, and while his per-minute performance remains (remarkably) consistent, his stock has suffered. Is Felton a legit starting point guard in most cities? It’s hard to decide. He’s really consistent, a good passer and a decent defender. The type of point guard you’d want on a team with a ballhog supernova at the two or three. But it’s hard for top-5 picks in their mid-20s to accede to such a definition (few dream of being the next Derek Fisher), and I imagine some team will fall in love with the pedigree, ignoring the data just enough to give Felton the keys. As long as the price isn’t too outrageous, it could be a decent move.


20. RONNIE BREWER, SG


Age: 24 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Jazz/Grizzlies
2009-10 Stats: 8.8 pt | 1.6 stl
Status: Restricted free agent ($3.8 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Brewer never made a huge splash as a scorer with Utah, but he did make a name for himself as one of the top perimeter defenders in the league. That’s the scouting report he’ll tout in a free agent market heavy on scorers. Brewer is also near the top of the list in steal rate (percentage of opponent possessions in which Brewer gets a steal), finishing second in 2007-08 and seventh in 2008-09. He’s also quite efficient from the floor with his infrequent shots, and a decent rebounder at the two (but bad for a small forward).


21. J.J. REDICK, SG


Age: 25 | Height: 6-4
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Magic
2009-10 Stats: 9.5 pt | .401 3P%
Status: Restricted free agent ($3.9 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: No longer a punchline, Redick’s role as a bench (and sometimes starting) scorer continued to grow in 2009-10. More than half Redick’s shots come from long-range, but defenses still aren’t able to figure out how to stop him. His defense continues to be a problem (size), and he’s a minus rebounder at shooting guard. Since he’ll never be anything but a two-guard, that’s a continual issue. But teams looking for an under-control Nate Robinson might be looking Redick’s way if Orlando doesn’t lock him up quickly.


22. UDONIS HASLEM, PF


Age: 29 | Height: 6-8
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Heat
2009-10 Stats: 9.7 pt | 8 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Haslem is a Shane Battier All-Star — little in the way of stats, but a big impact on games. Udonis is undersized at the power forward position but a plus defender (Dirk remembers ’06) and a good rebounder. He plays under control and unselfishly on offense, and he’s considered a good leader in the locker room. His minutes have been pinched by the drafting of Michael Beasley, and his effectiveness perhaps limited by the odd big man rotation in Miami. But he’s got plenty of basketball left, and he could really help a team on the upswing.


23. RICHARD JEFFERSON, SF


Age: 30 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 9 years | ’09-10 Team: Spurs
2009-10 Stats: 12.3 pt | 4.4 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option for $15.2 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Jefferson is a surprise entrant in the “get it while you can” CBA-related free agency push. Jefferson told FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson he’s considered opting out around midseason, just as his Spurs started to get hot. Of course, the Spurs might very well be relieved if Jefferson leaves his $15.2 million on the table — they surely wouldn’t pay him that, nor would any other team. Despite his increasing reliance on finesse instead of athleticism, on the right team Jefferson can be an effective scorer and in the past he’s been a solid defender.


24. TRAVIS OUTLAW, SF


Age: 25 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Blazers/Clippers
2009-10 Stats: 8.8 pt | .384 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Outlaw, who went to L.A. in the Camby deal, made enough true believers in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 (13/4 in limited minutes each season) to survive an iffy 2009-10 campaign. Better yet, he’s young and suitable as a sixth man. After LeBron and Gay, this is free agent market light on young small forwards. With shooting range and athletic defense always at a premium, Outlaw really is a name to watch. If he doesn’t stick in L.A., there should be a job in Minnesota waiting for him.


25. NATE ROBINSON, PG


Age: 25 | Height: 5-9
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Knicks/Celtics
2009-10 Stats: 10.3 pt | .389 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: KryptoNate found himself in Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse early in the season before breaking out and eventually getting himself traded to Boston. So far, he’s had only a minor impact, playing few minutes and scoring few points. Since scoring is just about all N8 the Gr8 does, that’s a problem. No NBA team can get away with starting him because of his size and lack of passing acumen, but in the right system he can be a great bench scorer. The market largely ignored Robinson in 2009, but there should be enough money out there to get Robinson a decent multi-year deal.


26. AL HARRINGTON, PF


Age: 30 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 12 years | ’09-10 Team: Knicks
2009-10 Stats: 17.7 pt | 5.6 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Harrington has become a full-time bench player under Mike D’Antoni for the first time since the end of his premier stint as a Pacer. Harrington’s been around longer than you think — if the game’s faster in Golden State, perhaps the effect is such that time moves more quickly too. He’s played more than 23,000 minutes already, and this season will completely his eighth consecutive campaign of at least 2,000 minutes played. His three-point shooting hovers around league average, his rebounding akin to that of a small forward (not a power forward). Teams in need of a frontcourt shot creator to come off the bench will take a look at Harrington, but not at nearly the salary he has been accustomed to earning.


27. ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS, C


Age: 34 | Height: 7-3
Experience: 13 years | ’09-10 Team: Cavaliers
2009-10 Stats: 7.3 pt | 5.3 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Ilgauskas suffered more than anyone because of Cleveland’s acquisition of Shaq, dropping from 27 minutes a game in 2008-09 to just over 20 minutes in 2009-10. His shots always dropped, from 14 per 36 minutes to 11. But much of this adjustment was due to a role change, not age. Big Z remains a good rebounder and solid defender, despite his lack of agility. The interest shown by several contenders upon Ilgauskas’s brief midseason free agency should match the market this summer.


28. MIKE MILLER, SG


Age: 30 | Height: 6-8
Experience: 10 years | ’09-10 Team: Wizards
2009-10 Stats: 10.6 pt | 6.3 reb | 3.7 ast
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Miller changed his game completely in Minnesota in 2008-09. Most agree the change was for the worse: MiMi effectively stopped shooting, turning himself into a facilitating wing. The problem? Miller is one of his generation’s best shooters, a career 40-percenter from three. His team needs him to shoot, shoot, shoot. Miller didn’t revert to form in Washington, though; in fact, he got worst, shooting threes at a frequency lower than any other season in his NBA career. It’s inexplicable, and a huge red flag for any team looking to sign Miller this summer.



29. MATT BARNES, SF


Age: 30 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Magic
2009-10 Stats: 8.7 pt | 5.4 reb
Status: 2010-11 player option for $1.6 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Barnes has now proven himself an NBA player thrice, in Golden State as one of the cogs of We Believe!, in Phoenix as a rangy gunner and now in Orlando as a … well, rangy gunner with a tough streak. After getting shut out on a mediocre Sixers team and getting cut by the awful Knicks a few years back, it’s a brilliant little resurgence. Barnes has been a near full-time starter for Stan Van Gundy; given Barnes’s below-average three-point efficiency this season, I suppose that means SVG thinks the dude plays solid defense. He’s certainly one of the best rebounders at the small forward in the league, and he has a real mean streak. Teams fall in love with tough dudes from playoff teams, so Barnes should capitalize this summer, even at age 30.


30. JOSH HOWARD, SF


Age: 29 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Mavericks/Wizards
2009-10 Stats: 12.7 pt | 3.6 reb
Status: 2010-11 team option for $11.8 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Howard had a slow death in Dallas, losing favor with former coach Avery Johnson back in 2007 before eventually becoming the franchise’s least reliable rotation player under Rick Carlisle. Howard had trouble staying on the floor before his trade to Washington, upon which he tore an ACL four games in. Howard’s days as a lockdown defender appear to be over, and as he was always a fairly inefficient scorer he won’t be much of big name this summer. Expect him to land a deal at or below the mid-level exception, or just over $5 million.


31. JORDAN FARMAR, PG


Age: 23 | Height: 6-2
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Lakers
2009-10 Stats: 7.4 pt | .372 3P%
Status: Restricted free agent ($2.8 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Farmar bounced back from his painful third season … but not all the way to the level expected based on his first two seasons in L.A. In total, Farmar has been a disappointment, having been given every opportunity to be the Lakers’ point guard of the future over the past four seasons, and having never won the role. As it is, the Lakers could very well be looking for a new point guard in free agency a la 2009′s Ron Artest acquisition. As a restricted free agent, Farmar might not be able to secure anything richer than his small qualifying offer, and as such could stick around L.A. one more year and enter unrestricted free agency in 2011.


32. JERMAINE O’NEAL, C


Age: 31 | Height: 6-11
Experience: 14 years | ’09-10 Team: Heat
2009-10 Stats: 13.8 pt | 7.1 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: O’Neal, long sighed upon due to a slipping game and a rising salary, had a decent bounceback season for Miami, scoring more efficiently than ever before, thanks no doubt to a smaller offensive role than ever before. Miami really provided a blueprint for how teams can effectively utilize O’Neal in the final years of his NBA career: pair him with a high-usage perimeter player and let him focus on defense. J.O. remains one of the league’s better interior defenders, but his age and injury history should muzzle his value this summer.



33. IAN MAHINMI, PF


Age: 23 | Height: 6-11
Experience: 2 years | ’09-10 Team: Spurs
2009-10 Stats: 3.3 pt | 1.9 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Mahinmi has played sparingly in the pros, having been injured in 2008-09 and usually hanging around on the bench or in the NBA D-League as a Spurs prospect. When he does play, he performs. He ranks as the third best player in D-League history according to PER, one of its most efficient players, a great shotblocker and rebounder. So why does he see only garbage time in San Antonio? Beats me. Someone needs to unleash him, though.



34. LINAS KLEIZA, SF


Age: 25 | Height: 6-8
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Olympiakos (Greece)
20089-09 Stats: 9.9 pt | 4 reb
Status: Restricted free agent (Nuggets; $2.7 million)

The Skinny: Kleiza left the NBA when it became simultaneously apparent Denver couldn’t afford to keep him and the rest of the league was content to wait for 2010. Kleiza took a two-year, $12 million deal with Greek club Olympiakos, but there’s an opt-out clause to allow Kleiza to return to the NBA, where he was a top-tier bench option for four years. Kleiza may not make $6 million per annum in the NBA, but he could lock into a long-term deal before the new CBA hits. But considering he led the Euroleague in scoring this season yet may never get an opportunity as a full-time NBA starter, perhaps the Lithuanian will stick with Olympiakos.


35. STEVE BLAKE, PG


Age: 30 | Height: 6-3
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Blazers/Clippers
2009-10 Stats: 7 pt | 4.5 ast | .388 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: You can count on one hand the NBA players who could beat Steve Blake in a mixed martial arts fight. But on the court, Blake is less a tough guy and more a finesse shooter, one of the league’s best from behind the arc. That and an ability to avoid turnovers remain Blake’s only offensive attributes of note; he’s woeful inside the arc (near 40 percent) and draws a laughably low number of fouls. His defense is regarded as decent, but that’s not easily assessed or an appropriate ballast considering the offensive limitations.



36. AMIR JOHNSON, PF


Age: 22 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Raptors
2009-10 Stats: 5.5 pt | 4.8 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Amir Johnson, at this stage, is everything right with basketball. He’s a defensive role-player with bombastic athleticism and a fantastic motor. He has almost no offensive game. But unlike so many other young bucks looking to make money and a name from themselves, Amir knows he has no moves, and thus rarely shoots. He’s like a regular Jarron Collins! Actually, he’s not, because he’s actually good. Johnson is a great rebounder at the power forward spot, a fine shotblocker (though better in years past with Detroit) and an all-round exciting defender. He could be a future two blocks/two steals player, joining fairly exclusive company. This is a kid who deserves the attention some fellows further up the list will grab.


37. LUKE RIDNOUR, PG


Age: 29 | Height: 6-2
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Bucks
2009-10 Stats: 10.3 pt | 4 ast
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Ridnour moved to the bench in his second season under Scott Skiles thanks to rookie Brandon Jennings, and Luke re-bloomed in the role. Ridnour shot more frequently than ever before (14 FGAs per 36 minutes) and simultaneously boosted his efficiency to new heights. Ridnour’s been a valuable cog to Milwaukee’s machine, and it’d be surprising if the Bucks didn’t make a real effort to keep him around while Jennings develops. But other teams — the Knicks, for one — could make it hard on Milwaukee, especially with just one NBA-ready point guard (John Wall) in the draft.


38. ANTHONY MORROW, SG


Age: 24 | Height: 6-5
Experience: 2 years | ’09-10 Team: Warriors
2009-10 Stats: 13.2 pt | .454 3P%
Status: Restricted free agent ($1 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Morrow is undoubtedly one of the league’s best shooters — he shot almost 47 percent on threes as a rookie, and just about 45 percent this season, all while taking almost 40 percent of his FGAs from long-range for a team that lives behind the arc. Morrow is also a solid rebounder at the two-guard (below average at SF — Don Nelson is the only NBA coach who would play Morrow there),and a effort-giving defender. He’s a much better Daniel Gibson in other words, and deserves attention from contender and rebuilder alike.



39. KYLE KORVER, SF


Age: 29 | Height: 6-7
Experience: 7 years | ’09-10 Team: Jazz
2009-10 Stats: 7.4 pt | .550 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Korver sure made up for lost time once he returned to the line-up following preseason knee surgery. K.K. came back Dec. 14, and hit 55 of his first 100 three-pointers, threatening to break Steve Kerr’s single-season accuracy mark of 52.4 percent. Korver has taken more than half his career field goal attempts from behind the arc, and has hit them at a 41 percent clip. He’s a reliable outside threat, but he leaves much to be desired on the defensive end and basically at any point in time in which he isn’t shooting or serving as a decoy. But teams who need designated snipers can hardly do better than Korver.



40. CHANNING FRYE, C


Age: 26 | Height: 6-11
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Suns
2009-10 Stats: 11.2 pt | 5.3 reb | .436 3P%
Status: 2010-11 player option for $2.1 million; unrestricted free agent if option is declined

The Skinny: Frye became the latest benefactor of Steve Nash’s Awesome Virus. The center became the world’s longest two-guard, unleashing an uninhibited Tommy Gun of three-pointers for Phoenix. He hit better than 40 percent of them, helping the Suns get their offensive mojo back. He’s in a perfect role with the Suns, so here’s hoping that for his sake Phoenix is willing to repay. If not, perhaps a return to the Big Apple — where he began his career — or Indiana, another shot-happy club, could be in order.


41. ROGER MASON JR., SG


Age: 29 | Height: 6-5
Experience: 8 years | ’09-10 Team: Spurs
2009-10 Stats: 6.4 pt
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Mason fell out of favor without doing anything wrong in San Antonio. More than anything, Mason was victimized by the high-priced acquisition of Richard Jefferson and the continued ascension of George Hill. Mason ended up going from a 30-minute nearly full-time starter to a player who averaged fewer than 20 minutes a night. Mason is an excellent deep shooter, a decent if uncreative ball-handler and a passable defender. He deserves a sixth-man role somewhere in the league, but won’t likely earn a contract much higher than the $3.8 million he made in 2009-10.


42. RANDY FOYE, SG


Age: 26 | Height: 6-4
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Wizards
2009-10 Stats: 10.1 pt | 3.3 ast
Status: Restricted free agent ($4.8 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Foye, acquired with Mike Miller for Washington’s No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft (Ricky Rubio), didn’t make the impact expected in D.C. A guard once traded for Brandon Roy and cash, Foye has been a bust, clearly a bench player, and perhaps not even a good one at that. A middling scorer who gets his points inefficiently, a poor defender lacking instincts, Foye’s only real positive attributes are his ball-handling skills, which are good for a two-guard and below average for a point guard. But combos off the bench are all the rage, and the fact that Foye has been on nothing but bad teams might lead some GM to make Foye a decent offer.


43. MATT BONNER, PF


Age: 30 | Height: 6-10
Experience: 6 years | ’09-10 Team: Spurs
2009-10 Stats: 6.9 pt | .396 3P%
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Bonner obviously isn’t a standard big man (by any stretch of the imagination), and he won’t work on every team (or even most teams). Nearly 55 percent of Bonner’s shots since the beginning of 2008-09 have come from behind the arc, and he remains one of the worst frontcourt rebounders in the league. But he hits those threes — better than 40 percent for his career — and makes few mistakes. He won’t grouse about playing time or his role, and he figures to be pretty cheap. The Spurs may not keep him, but another team with a dominant pivot could be looking for Bonner.


44. KYLE LOWRY, PG


Age: 24 | Height: 6-0
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Rockets
2009-10 Stats: 9.3 pt | 4.4 ast
Status: Restricted free agent ($3 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Like too many recent point guards, Lowry is a really poor shooter. But thankfully, he understands his limitations and spends most of his offensive possessions passing the ball and attacking the rim. Lowry averages six free throws per 36 minutes, and he hits them at better than 80 percent. That buoys his True Shooting percentage, thankfully, which suffers from his deplorable shooting percentages from the field (28 percent on fairly infrequent threes, 39 percent overall).



45. HAKIM WARRICK, PF


Age: 27 | Height: 6-9
Experience: 5 years | ’09-10 Team: Bucks/Bulls
2009-10 Stats: 10.1 pt | 4.3 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Warrick still can’t find a home, signing a one-year flyer with Milwaukee after being discarded by Memphis, but falling behind Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute before a trade to Chicago, a team just looking to save cap space. He’ll be a mercenary bench power forward again this summer, offering up decent scoring ability, mediocre (at best) defensive rebounding, and just about nothing else. The cheaper Charlie Villanueva, if you will.


46. BRAD MILLER, C


Age: 34 | Height: 6-11
Experience: 12 years | ’09-10 Team: Bulls
2009-10 Stats: 8.5 pt | 4.8 reb
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Miller, a huge part of Chicago’s stirring playoff run in 2009, sloughed into a much smaller role with the Bulls in 2010. Miller slipped to 24 minutes a game while starting about half the season due to necessity. His rebounding has fallen from mediocre to unacceptable, and his shot has disintegrated, and his defense hasn’t been good in years. But he has been considered a good locker room presence (despite being one of the few NBA players to be busted for marijuana in the past couple seasons) and remains a great passer in the high post.


47. CARLOS ARROYO, PG


Age: 30 | Height: 6-2
Experience: 8 years | ’09-10 Team: Heat
2009-10 Stats: 5.7 pt | 3.1 ast
Status: Unrestricted free agent

The Skinny: Arroyo came back to the States after spending a season with Maccabi Tel Aviv, a season which saw the Puerto Rican guard win MVP of the Israeli Super League finals. Arroyo joined a Heat team desperate for steady play at the point — the team tried second-year player Mario Chalmers, Nets cast-off Rafer Alston and Arroyo there — and performed about as well as you could expect. He’s not a great shooter or the most consistent passer, and he really thrives most in an offensive role not dissimilar to that of Dwyane Wade. The problem is that he can’t be a high-usage player in the NBA, because he’s not good enough. It may be back to Europe for Arroyo, unless a team wants to see if he can do better than he has in their jersey.


48. SERGIO RODRIGUEZ, PG


Age: 23 | Height: 6-3
Experience: 4 years | ’09-10 Team: Kings/Knicks
2009-10 Stats: 6.3 pt | 3.3 ast
Status: Restricted free agent ($2.8 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: Sergio, aka Spanish Chocolate, was finally freed from Nate McMillan’s thumb, but the young point guard wasn’t able to blow the world apart as so many fans theorized he eventually would. Rodriguez found himself stuck deep in the Sacramento rotation for the first half of the season, wedged behind Beno Udrih and Tyreke Evans at the lead-guard spot. A trade to New York saw Sergio’s opportunity expand, but the results weren’t quite as expected: his per-minute scoring and assist numbers went down, despite NY’s quick pace. Sergio doesn’t have much of a jumper and turns the ball over extraordinarily frequently. But he’s young and a brilliant passer. With some refinement, he could end up being a quiet prize of free agency, provided he doesn’t return to Europe.


49. WILL BYNUM, PG


Age: 27 | Height: 6-0
Experience: 3 years | ’09-10 Team: Pistons
2009-10 Stats: 9.8 pt | 4.5 ast
Status: Restricted free agent ($1 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: The bolt known affectionately as Bynumite sloughed off a bit this season, as seemingly all Pistons did. Previously known as an explosive scorer (get the nickname?), Bynum continued to develop his playmaking skills, exceeding four assists per game in a bench role. He shot far less frequently this season, though, and has never been efficient. He seems to be a decent fit in Detroit, but he’d be a credible back-up combo guard almost anywhere — a more defense-and-passing version of Nate Robinson.



50. C.J. WATSON, PG


Age: 26 | Height: 6-2
Experience: 3 years | ’09-10 Team: Warriors
2009-10 Stats: 10.3 pt | 2.8 ast
Status: Restricted free agent ($1.2 million qualifying offer)

The Skinny: For the second straight season, Watson somehow became one of Don Nelson’s most trusted reserves, playing almost 30 minutes a night as various other guards — Monta Ellis and Kelenna Azubuike among them — suffered injuries. Watson plays like a two-guard, a low usage one at that. He has a real knack at avoiding turnovers, and shoots reasonably well. Any team which needs a back-up point guard to create shots might avoid Watson, but those teams with facilitators elsewhere on the court could be giving him a whirl.

Five More …

Dorell Wright, SF (unrestricted): Wright is a plus defender who can shoot the three, which means one of those Spurs copycats — or the Spurs themselves — could take a cheap flyer. It’s clear he won’t be sticking around the Heat any longer, though. Miami has given up on Wright more times than the NBA has given up on Gerald Green. Which is saying a lot.

Kyrylo Fesenko, C (restricted): Playoff playing time may have actually hurt Fesenko’s free agent stock. The Ukrainian didn’t perform well in Mehmet Okur’s stead against either Denver or L.A., and it seems unlikely any team will offer more than a nominal contract, despite Fesenko’s youth and size.

Tracy McGrady, SF (unrestricted): Two words — veteran minimum.

Chris Duhon, PG (unrestricted): The only nice thing you can say about Duhon’s potential future with the Knicks is that it’s brighter than that of McGrady. Duhon is certainly no more than an NBA back-up, but there’s a real question as to whether he can even fit that role effectively as he reaches his, ahem, prime.

Jon Brockman, PF (restricted): If he sticks in the league, Brockman could rival Kevin Love and DeJuan Blair for the title of the League’s Best Offensive Rebounder for the next few years. Brockman is expected to re-sign with the Kings, and is reportedly working on adding a 15-foot jumper to his arsenal.

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