This post will be looking at two guards, small forwards and combo forwards. Out and out power forwards will be in the big man section.
Top 10 — Unrestricted Wings
#1 Hedo Turkoglu –– Signed with the Raptors for 5 years in a deal worth $53 million
Hedo Turkoglu is a rare breed in the NBA. He is a wing player with the skill set of a point guard, a brilliant passer who can double up and run his team’s offense for large chunks of games. A player who can create offense for both himself and for others.
There’s simply not many guys (ten, give or take) in this league who bring this skill-set to the table. Now, the others are better versions of this skill set than Hedo, but Turkoglu is a mighty fine player in his own right.
Oh, and his defense is under-appreciated. I think he’s a good defender and doesn’t deserve the criticism that he receives for his work on that end of the floor.
It’s unfortunate that Orlando acquired Vince Carter, at least for Hedo, because it’s taken Hedo’s strongest suitor off the market. It’s also taken the best home for Hedo off the market, and really the only team/system that gave him enough freedom to be a star player.
The market place could shrink even further if Hedo is unlucky, since there is only two other teams who figure to be interested enough in him and have enough cap space to offer him a major contract — Detroit and Portland.
If the Blazers or the Pistons choose to go in different directions, which is quite possible considering the talent already there on their wings, then Hedo will be forced back to an MLE contract or desperately searching for a sign and trade (very unlikely due to tax concerns for Magic).
The market is grim place for Turkoglu. Previously he was looking for a contract in the $10 million range, but he might have just been pegged back a few notches.
#2 Ron Artest — Signed with the Lakers for a 5 year MLE deal with an early termination clause after three seasons
The final borderline All-Star in free agency on the wing.
Ron-Ron is an elite defender, an excellent one-on-one defender, and a good scorer. His overall efficiency offensively isn’t pretty, but he’s a good third option, and a solid passer when the spirit moves him. His rebounding is decent.
Ron Artest will be staying in Houston. I expect him to resign for $8-9 million per annum.
#3 Shawn Marion — Signed with Dallas for $39 million over 5 years
Okay, at this stage in Shawn Marion’s career there are two Shawn Marions:
(1) The small forward — a good role player. Someone who plays solid (not very good or excellent, but solid) perimeter defense, is a superb rebounder, and is mediocre and inefficient scorer offensively who can’t make a jump shot. Also, is a decent ball handler and passer.
(2) The power forward — the player who puts up All-Star caliber numbers and scores 17-20 points, while grabbing 10+ rebounds, plays good to very good defense, and is a major influence out there on the court.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Raptors are planning on signing him and playing him on the wing. He’s going to sign a contract worth $7.5 to $9 million per annum, and it will likely take three or more years to get him to sign.
#4 Trevor Ariza — Signed with Houston for a five year MLE Disabled Player Exception contract (same value as MLE).
Ariza’s jump shot came on leap and bounds this past season. This was the final stage of him becoming an elite role player and that is exactly what he is today.
Ariza is a very good rebounder, very good defender, excellent cutter, forces turnovers, hits open jumpers, and scores well for a complementary player. He is one of the ultimate glue guys in the NBA today.
Ariza will get at least the MLE in free agency this summer, and likely a little more than that.
#5 Grant Hill — Signed with the Phoenix Suns for $6.24 million over two years.
A good all-round player. He plays defense, he rebounds well, he is an excellent passer and ball handler, a good scorer with a good jumper out to 22 feet.
Grant Hill took less money (LLE) to join the Phoenix Suns two years ago and there’s a strong chance he’ll do so again, for the right to contend for an NBA title.
Hill is one of the best bargains and one of the best difference makers available in free agency to hopeful contenders this summer. He’s a free agent who should be watched closely.
#6 Marquis Daniels — Has agreed to sign with the Celtics. Terms still undefined.
Marquis Daniels is looking at a pay cut this summer.
Daniels is a good defender, a very good rebounder for a two and a solid rebounder for a three, a good ball handler, a good passer and a good slasher with solid scoring skills. His jumper leaves him somewhat vulnerable (inconsistent, generally poor) but he contributes enough in other areas to be fine without it.
Daniels will be looking at a contract worth a large portion of the MLE, likely in the $4 million per annum range. He’d be a very good first wing off the bench for a contender, and should garner a lot of interest this summer. Indiana will also make an attempt to resign him.
#7 Keith Bogans
Good role player. Bogans plays good defense, rebounds, shoot well from distance and plays within himself. He’s smart and plays hard. I’ll say it again.
Bogans is likely looking at a contract worth $2-3 million this summer. If some team could get him for the LLE, they’d be doing very well from themselves. He’d be a solid first wing off the bench, or an excellent fourth wing in the rotation, for a contender.
#8 Anthony Parker — Signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for $6 million over two years.
Anthony Parker’s game has slipped considerably over the past two seasons. Still though, he’s a quality role player. He plays smart, great shooter, solid handle, solid passer, and plays decent defense. He’ll make a nice role player on a contender.
Parker’s market value has fallen hard over the past 6 months. He was looking at a short contract paying at or above $4 million a season back at the start of the year, but Toronto’s poor form and Parker’s middling season have made it unlikely that he gets that type of cash from someone this offseason. Most likely, now, he’s down in the $2-3 million per annum on a two to three year contract.
Parker will be able to make more money by going back to Europe, it’ll be interesting to see whether he takes that option or prefers playing in the NBA.
#9 Quinton Ross — Signed with the Dallas Mavericks for an undisclosed amount.
Ross is a very good defender and has an improving jump shot, outside of those things he’s not much use.
Ross will likely be available for the minimum and will be the best defensive player in that price range. He’d make a good fourth wing in the rotation for a good team.
Side Note — I’d love to see Washington sign Ross, start him, and play him 15-20 minutes a night. Let Ross take the toughest defensive assignment and let him help beef up that pathetic perimeter defense. Then use Foye and Miller off the bench and play them big minutes.
I’m not sure any other playoff team would offer Ross that big of a role, and he’d do it very well, so I’d love to see this happen. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will.
#10 Von Wafer — Left the NBA for Europe, signed with Olympiakos.
Von Wafer is a solid defender, a good scorer and an efficient scorer with great range on his jump shot. He’s also still somewhat erratic.
I left him down to #10 in large part because I don’t think he’s the finished article yet. I think it’s important that he sticks around in a strong locker room, somewhere that can keep him in check and stop him from hurting his own career.
Prior to this season, Von Wafer did absolutely nothing outside of scoring the ball to help his team, and it’s important that he now continues to focus on his defense and maybe even adds other elements to his game.
Until Von Wafer shows that he can be relied upon in the larger sense of the word, I’m going to keep him pegged as a low level free agent.
I’d love to see him stay in Houston for one more year. I think it could make the world of difference to the rest of his career. I just not sure he’s ready to move on, he might be, but he might not be and that could end up being a costly mistake for someone.
Von Wafer is likely in the $3 million range on a medium term deal, say three years.
There’s about five more good wings beyond this. As usual, the best low priced talent in free agency is found on the wing.
Top 5 — Restricted Wings
#1 Marvin Williams — Re-signed with the Hawks for $40 million over 5 years
Marvin Williams is an elite glue guy.
He’s one of the best defenders in the league at his position, and a versatile defender at that due to his ability to defend two through four. He’s also a good rebounder, good scorer, efficient and a solid scorer.
He’s worth the MLE or slightly above and that is what he is likely to receive this summer. There’s no chance Atlanta doesn’t match an MLE offer, and it would likely take $8 million a year to get him out of there. In other words, he’s staying in Atlanta.
#2 Linas Kleiza — Left the NBA for Europe, signed with Olympiakos.
A 6-8 240lb small forward with very good scoring skills, and possessing a very impressive inside-outside game. Kleiza is also a strong rebounder for a small forward, but a poor defender.
Unfortunately for Kleiza, he hasn’t been able to expand his game nor been able to fulfill his potential while playing 20 minutes a night coming off the bench. This is important to note, because acquiring teams should only pay him big bucks and hope for vast improvement if they themselves are willing to give him 30-35 minutes a night to grow into talent.
Kleiza is looking for contract around the MLE, likely slightly below. If he’s unlucky, he’ll have to settle for a contract down around $4 million per season … it’s hard to see his value slipping below that.
#3 Carlos Delfino
Incredibly inconsistent. Over-dribbles the ball. Is a poor defender.
Very good rebounder for a two guard. Good ball handler when he’s not overdribbling. Good passer. Can create off the dribble. Good scorer with effortless range on his jump shot.
Delfino will be looking at a contract in between $3 million to $4 million, over two to three seasons, this offseason and he’s a near lock to get it from the Toronto Raptors. He’s a solid signing in that price range.
#4 Josh Childress — Childress went back to Europe
I generally don’t like wings who can’t shoot, can’t create their own shots, and are poor defenders. Therefore, I do not like Josh Childress.
That is not to say that he’s a very bad player, just not the type of wing I like to have knocking around.
Childress does do some very valuable things. He’s a very good rebounder, mostly because of his excellent offensive rebounding. He’s also a solid scorer and is incredibly efficient at putting the ball in the basket. He’s a serviceable ball handler too.
Childress will be looking for a contract at the MLE. I don’t think he’s worth it, but he will receive a lot of interest. It’s unclear whether Atlanta will match — heard a lot of people who think they won’t, but I think the Hawks would match —
#5 Jamario Moon — Signed with the Cavs for $6.25 million over two years
A good rebounder, solid defender, solid shooter and decent scorer.
Unfortunately he’s brain dead, and lacks a coherent understanding of what makes him valuable as an NBA player. This makes him inconsistent and he suffers poor spells as a result, and also makes him unreliable.
Jamario Moon will be looking at a short contract worth $2-to-$3.5 million per year. If he gets more than that, the acquiring team will likely regret it.