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OutletPass
05-19-2003, 01:04 PM
2003 NBA Free Agent Watch
by Chad Ford

With teams like Chicago, Miami and Toronto losing their patience with the whole rebuilding thing, free agency, not the draft, is where they'll have to look to find impact players. The last thing the Bulls need is another lottery stud who thinks he's the center of the universe. There's been a lot of talk for the past year about the golden free-agent class of 2003. Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Jermaine O'Neal, Gary Payton ...

The names might be A-list, but the teams with enough cap room to actually lure them away are all small-time gigs. San Antonio, Utah, Denver and the Clippers have cash to burn. But would Kidd leave the bright lights of New York for the sleepy confines of the Alamo? Would O'Neal bolt the up-and-coming Pacers for the down-and-out Nuggets? And once the Spurs, Jazz and Nuggets get done spending (we're leaving the Clippers out of this right now) is everyone else going to have to settle for a mid-level exception?

Exclusive complete 2003 free agent list
Key = (R) - restricted free agent | (PO) - player option

1. Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs (PO)
Outlook: All signs still point to Duncan staying in San Antonio next season. In fact, he may not even opt out of his deal. Given that the cap has actually dropped since he signed his last deal, Duncan would actually lose money if opted and out and went for a new deal in San Antonio.

2. Jason Kidd, PG, Nets (PO)
Outlook: Kidd is still determined to play the free-agent market. Sources close to Kidd have indicated that he'd like to finish his career on the West Coast with a contender. The only team he's interested in with enough cash to sign him straight up is the Spurs. The Clippers would probably fit in that category too, but unless Duncan agrees to come along for the ride and Donald Sterling gets a lobotomy, you know that isn't happening. A return to the Bay Area also isn't out of the question. The Warriors have enough young assets to work out a sign-and-trade if that's where Kidd wanted to land.

3. Jermaine O'Neal, PF, Pacers
Outlook: O'Neal was considered a lock to re-sign with Indiana until a late-season swoon put that into question. The Spurs, Jazz and Nuggets would all love to have him. However, Pacers sources continue to insist that O'Neal has not wavered in his commitment to re-sign with the organization. Why would he leave the comfortable East Coast (where he's clearly the best power forward in the conference and a perennial all-star) for the harsh and cruel Western Conference? Playing against Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Malone and Pau Gasol every night isn't a piece of cake.

4. Elton Brand, PF, Clippers (R)
Outlook: Everyone has interest, but so do the Clippers. Brand doesn't want to re-sign with L.A. unless Sterling also forks over some cash for Michael Olowokandi and Lamar Odom. Expect the Jazz and Spurs to flirt with him, but in the end, he'll probably take the Clips' one-year tender and hit unrestricted free agency next summer.

5. Gilbert Arenas, PG, Warriors (R)
Outlook: He's the hottest free agent on the market. The Warriors desperately want to keep him, but the most they can offer him is $4.5 million next season. Expect teams like the Nuggets and Heat to offer him a contract starting at around $7 million a year. That may be just too much for Arenas, or anyone else, to pass up.

6. Michael Olowokandi, C, Clippers
Outlook: His stock has dropped considerably since last summer. Olowokandi held out for a max contract last summer, and right now it doesn't appear that the gamble has paid off. Injuries, a bad attitude and a terrible Clippers squad will haunt him as he tries to find another team willing to pony up the cash. The Heat, Spurs and Nuggets are all interested in Olowokandi, but at what price?

7. Andre Miller, PG, Clippers (R)
Outlook: The Clips can't afford to pay everyone and most feel that Miller will be the casualty. Despite a terrible season, after Kidd and Arenas, he's the best point guard on the board. Expect the Jazz to make him a big offer. He wants to return to Utah and the Jazz would love to have him. He's a perfect fit in the Jazz's system and a great heir to John Stockton.

8. Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Clippers (R)
Outlook: No one's stock has risen more this season than Maggette's. We've known for a while that he's one of the best athlete's in the league. But his development of a consistent long-range jumper has really opened up the game for him. Again, he's likely to be another casualty of the Clippers' salary-cap woes. The Nuggets look like they're the most interested in bringing him into the fold.

9. Juwan Howard, SF/PF, Nuggets
Outlook: Howard will likely go from being one of the most overpaid players in the history of the league to one of the best bargains. He's gained a huge amount of respect for the way he handled himself on the lowly Nuggets this year. The Nuggets want him back, but expect him to try to work out a sign-and-trade with a team in a better position to win now. The Pistons, Bulls, Sonics, Spurs, Heat and Magic all remain good possibilities.

10. Gary Payton, PG, Bucks
Outlook: The Bucks still maintain that they want Payton to re-sign this summer, but with the way they're playing, it may not be an easy sell. If the Bucks miss the playoffs, there's a chance George Karl will be gone, which of course means Payton will be out the door, too. However, it isn't like the Glove has a lot of other options. No one is going to spend a huge chunk of their cap on a 35-year-old point guard, no matter how good he is. If he decides to bolt Milwaukee, the best he can hope for is a mid-level exception contract with a team like the Pacers, T-Wolves, Warriors or Heat.

11. Karl Malone, PF, Jazz
Outlook: He turns 40 in July but the Mailman continues to deliver. It will be interesting to see what the Jazz and Malone do this summer. The team would like to start rebuilding, but it also wants to see him retire in Utah. Malone couldn't command a huge, long-term contract anywhere, but he can still help a playoff contender if he's willing to settle for the mid-level exception. But can Malone really leave Utah?

12. Lamar Odom, SF, Clippers (R)
Outlook: If he's healthy and gets his head on straight, he's a top-five talent. Pat Riley loves him. But so does Elgin Baylor? Will the Heat give him some love? If they do, will the Clippers match? Odom's not in a bad situation either way.

13. Brad Miller, C, Pacers
Outlook: It's not a great year for big men in free agency or the draft. That could mean very big things for Miller despite a so-so year. Indiana wants to re-sign him, but don't be surprised if the Spurs come after Miller if Kidd and Olowokandi don't pan out.

14. Rasho Nesterovic, C, T-Wolves
Outlook: Next to Maggette, no one has helped his stock more this year than Nesterovic. He's been a solid force in the middle for the T-Wolves. This time, agent Bill Duffy's gamble, he turned down a six- year deal from the Wolves last summer, paid off big time. The Wolves want him, and they'll have to pay handsomely to keep him.

15. Jerry Stackhouse, SG, Wizards (PO)
Outlook: Stackhouse won't opt out of his contract unless he gets a guarantee of a big extension from the Wizards. Either way, he's in Washington next season.

16. Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons (R)
Outlook: He had a big year in Detroit, meaning that the Pistons are trapped in the same dilemma they faced with Stackhouse. They really want to re-sign him, but what is he worth? Hamilton can play the free-agent market all he wants, but with the free-agent talent pool so deep, there may not be any money left by the time Rip bubbles to the top. Look for the Pistons to get a real bargain on Rip.

17. Keon Clark, PF, Kings (PO)
Outlook: Slender star was on his best behavior this season in Sacramento. But will there be any money for him this summer? Clark may be better off sticking with the Kings next season and then trying things again in 2004 when the free-agent field isn't so crowded.

18. Jason Terry, SG, Hawks (R)
Outlook: 6-foot-2 shooting guard anyone? Anyone?

19. P. J. Brown, PF, Hornets
Outlook: He's not the flashiest player on the list, but his toughness in the paint could really help a team like Dallas, Seattle or Boston. If he wants to bolt New Orleans and he's willing to play for the mid-level exception, he should be very popular this summer.

20. Alonzo Mourning, C, Heat Outlook: Mourning said he thinks he can play next season. No one is going to risk big money on him, but he'll make more than you think if he can pass a physical. Can Mourning really desert the Heat after all they've done for them. In our book, after two years of paid vacation, Mourning owes them a season or two at the veteran's minimum.

Best of the Rest: Dion Glover, SG, Hawks (R); DerMarr Johnson, SG, Hawks; Jumaine Jones, SF, Cavs (R); Donnell Harvey, PF, Nuggets; Jon Barry, SG, Pistons; Earl Boykins, PG, Warriors; James Posey, SG, Rockets (R); Reggie Miller, SG, Pacers; Eric Piatkowski, SG, Clippers; Travis Best, PG, Heat; LaPhonso Ellis, SF, Heat; Darrell Armstrong, PG, Magic; Kenny Anderson, PG, Hornets; Kenny Thomas, SF/PF, Sixers (R); Tyrone Hill, PF, Sixers; Derrick Coleman, PF, Sixers; Scott Williams, C, Suns; Antonio Daniels, PG/SG, Blazers; Scottie Pippen, SF, Blazers; Jim Jackson, SF, Kings; Stephen Jackson, SF, Spurs; Speedy Claxton, PG, Spurs; Elden Campbell, C, Sonics; Predrag Drobnjak, PF, Sonics; Rafer Alston, PG, Raptors; Voshon Lenard, SG, Raptors

LRB
05-19-2003, 01:26 PM
<< 8. Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Clippers (R)
Outlook: No one's stock has risen more this season than Maggette's. We've known for a while that he's one of the best athlete's in the league. But his development of a consistent long-range jumper has really opened up the game for him. Again, he's likely to be another casualty of the Clippers' salary-cap woes. The Nuggets look like they're the most interested in bringing him into the fold.

>>



Would love to get a young athletic player like Maggette who can play both sides of the ball and go to the basket aggressively. Don't see a way we can get him, but would love to have him.

Thanks for the article OP.

Evilmav2
05-19-2003, 02:25 PM
Would love to get a young athletic player like Maggette who can play both sides of the ball and go to the basket aggressively.

For he last couple of games Raja Bell has looked like that kind of playeri/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif...

Ummmmm Ok
05-19-2003, 02:28 PM
<< Would love to get a young athletic player like Maggette who can play both sides of the ball and go to the basket aggressively.

For he last couple of games Raja Bell has looked like that kind of playeri/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif... >>



Good One!!! i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

LRB
05-19-2003, 05:41 PM
<< Would love to get a young athletic player like Maggette who can play both sides of the ball and go to the basket aggressively.

For he last couple of games Raja Bell has looked like that kind of playeri/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif... >>



Yeah, but we already have Raja and I'm greedy as hell. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif