This post will look at point guards and combo guards. Out and out shooting guards will be on the wings list, which will be out tomorrow.
Top 10 Unrestricted Guards
#1 Andre Miller — Signed with the Blazers for $22 million over 3 years. Final year is a team option.
The 33 year old guard is coming off an excellent season that saw him average 16.3ppg, 6.5apg, and 4.5rpg. He was one of the two best players on a Phily squad that made the playoffs and pushed the Eastern Conference Champs, the Orlando Magic, to six games.
Miller is looking for his last big payday. It’s unclear how much that deal will be worth though. His best chance at getting a contract significantly above the MLE will be by resigning with his own team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers are the frontrunner to sign Miller. It’s hard to see any of the other teams who are below the cap, making a hard push to sign him, so it could easily be a limited market place for Miller.
#2 Ben Gordon — Signed with the Bulls for $55 million over 5 years
Ben Gordon is a quality two guard who is a prolific and efficient scoring machine. He plays decent defense but the rest of his game needs work (passing, rebounding).
I’d love to see someone like the Portland Trailblazers sign Ben Gordon and try to convert him into a point guard. Of course, only teams with wing players who are as gifted as Brandon Roy as playmakers and floor generals could pull this off, otherwise Gordon would be a disaster there.
Ben Gordon is looking for a contract ranging from $8-11 million.
The Chicago Bulls have said they’re interested in resigning him, although there’s a mixed level of believe in those words from many fans, as for myself, I think they honestly want to keep him and are willing to pay a contract worth $8-9 million. Not sure how much higher they go beyond that though.
The Detroit Pistons will be the other leading candidate to sign Gordon. The sign and trade market will be weak for Gordon, as it was last season, with teams being unwilling to both (1) pay him big buckets, and, (2) give up someone of value.
#3 Jason Kidd — Signed with Dallas for $27 million over 3 years
Jason Kidd was the best guard on this list last season but his advanced age (36 years old) drops him down a few pegs.
Kidd will be looking at two offers; the first will be from Dallas and worth around $7-8 million per annum on a multi-year deal, and the second will be the MLE and that come from several different teams. I think Dallas will resign Kidd and try to make acquisitions through the trade market, they’re still in a win-now mode and Kidd fits that purpose.
#4 Mike Bibby — Signed with the Hawks for $18 million over 3 years
Did any free agent get screwed over as badly as Bibby did on draft night?
Mike Bibby made $14 million last season, and was looking at a substantial pay cut, but all his leverage, and perhaps all of the Hawks interest in him, vanished after the Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford ($10mil per) and Jeff Teague.
Mike Bibby’s best chance at earning a contract in the $7-10 million range looks very poor right now. He’s likely looking at the MLE and quite possibily a bench role next season.
#5 Flip Murray
I didn’t know where to put this guy. He was one of the better backup guards in the NBA last season, but he had a career year and stands out like an eye sore.
Can he repeat last season’s success? That looks a dodgy proposition, but if he can, then he’s one of the best guards available in free agency this summer.
I think he’ll earn anywhere from $2-4 million next season. That will be money well spent if he repeats his form from last season, or money thrown down the drain if performances as he has throughout the rest of his career.
#6 Anthony Carter — Signed with the Nuggets for one year at the minimum
A decent backup point guard. He plays solid defense, rebounds the ball, moves the ball around offensively, plays hard every night, good leadership, and scores the occasional basket.
The Nuggets draft day acquisition of Ty Lawson likely makes Carter superfluous to their needs, so he’ll be readily available for teams in search of a new backup point guard.
He’ll likely cost somewhere around the LLE.
#7 Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson has dropped down this list because of his flaws – ostracizes his teammates, pounds the ball into the floor, very difficult to play alongside, bad defender, tweener combo guard, needs mass minutes/touches/shots in order to be effective so the team has to be built around his talents — and his ensuing uselessness to high quality teams.
Allen Iverson could still put up good numbers if given complete freedom, large minutes, and made into the #1 scoring option. Of course, many of those stats will come at the detriment of his teammates and more will be given right back on the other end of the floor.
The main question with Iverson this summer will be:
Will a contender take a chance on him?
I don’t think any contender will sign him to play a starring role, but it’s possible that some team decides he’s worth the risk as a backup guard and rolls the dice (Danny Ainge?).
If not, Iverson’s value will plummet quickly. I actually think his best chance at earning the best possible contract for himself, will come from Europe.
#8 Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury was absolutely atrocious last season, but he had barely played basketball in the previous 12 months and may be able to improve in a huge way after a tough summer workout regime, a good training camp, and a stable role with some team.
All signs point to Marbury being disciplined + hungry in his attempts to get his career back on track, so at the very least you can depend on his best effort.
Still, it’s difficult to know what you can expect out of him next season. He’s a wild card.
Marbury will be looking at a minimum contract, or a low value contract worth $2.5 million or less.
#9 Ronnie Price — Signed with the Utah Jazz for an undisclosed amount.
Excellent third string point guard or decent primary backup point guard. Price plays with great energy and gritty play – good defense, good rebounder, good ball hawk – Ronnie’s decision making and composure have improved considerably while playing under Jerry Sloan in Utah, and he’s turned himself into an impressive player.
Price will likely be available for a minimum contract this summer.
#10 CJ Watson
An offensive orientated change of pace backup point guard. Someone who’s capable of coming in and dropping 8-10 quick points, while doing so efficiently, and giving his team a bolt of energy in the process.
The rest of his game is still weak, but he’s a very good scorer for a backup point guard.
Watson is also likely available for the minimum, but he could earn a bit more if he gets lucky. I think he’s likely to get offered a backup gig somewhere, but it’s possible Watson may have to settle for a third string role.
This is a bad year for teams who are searching for major help in the backcourt, especially with their point guard or backup point guards. There is some good quality through the first four players, but it drops off fast and hard from then on.
Top 5 Restricted Guards
#1 Ramon Sessions
In twenty seven and a half minutes last season, Sessions scored 12.5ppg, handed out 5.7apg, and pulled down 3.4 rebounds. He’s a very good rebounder and also a very good playmaker.
His defense still needs work, but he has good size and there is some level of competence and promise there. Sessions is also a solid scorer but his scoring efficiency is mediocre.
Sessions will earn a contract around the MLE from someone. It’s unclear whether the Bucks will match it or not, but since they traded RJ you’d have to think they’re more likely than not to do so.
#2 Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton is a borderline starter to excellent backup point guard.
The best defensive player at the point guard position in free agency this summer … however, his offensive game leaves a lot to be desired.
Felton is horribly inefficient with his scoring and jump shooting. His playmaking and general floor leadership have improved considerably over the past season under Larry Brown, but there’s still concerns there.
The Bobcats will resign him for a contract worth around the MLE. If anybody signs him to a comparable offer, the Bobcats will match it.
#3 Nate Robinson
The Knicks cannot afford to keep Nate Robinson. It would muddy their 2010 plans. They must let him leave … and they likely will let him leave, so he’s fairly available for a restricted free agent.
Nate Robinson was brilliant last season and was their second or third best player. He was a very good scorer off the bench, efficient, rebounded the ball well, and played decent defense.
He’s a good game changing reserve, someone who’ll come in and change the complexion of the game.
Nate Robinson will earn a contract worth the MLE or a large portion of it. So we’re probably looking at the $4-to-$5.5 million range here. It’ll be very interesting to see who signs him.
#4 Jarrett Jack — Signed for $20 million over four seasons with the Toronto Raptors.
Jarrett Jack is a very good backup point guard. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none, type of player.
Larry Bird will resign him and will be pay him a substantial contract, anywhere from $4-to-$5.5 million.
#5 Shannon Brown — Signed with the Lakers for two years, in a deal worth $4.5 million
Very good defensive guard … but questionable offensively. His jumper is still unproven, and his ability to run a team is still unproven. There will be a lot of question marks from NBA execs about how successful Shannon Brown can be outside of the Triangle offense.
For Brown’s sake, he best hope LA resigns him. Shannon Brown is likely looking at a minimum contract, but he could earn up to $2.5 million.
If anybody wanted to make a crazy offer, LA would surely let him leave due to other more pressing financial needs.