Free Agent Frenzy: Part 2 examines SFs and PFs entering unrestricted free agency on Tuesday. Click here for Part 1, which dealt with PGs and SGs. Don't read too much into the descending order of players, which moves roughly from most to least important. Where possible I've noted which teams are rumored to have interest in which players, while filling in contextual details and occasionally providing a season outlook.
If I don't mention teams who are interested in a player, it's because I either don't know or won't give credence to specific rumors. This list is still changing as players and teams make last-minute decisions prior to July 1 -- I'll update it as appropriate, but it will never be 100 percent comprehensive.
One final thought...almost every single free agent, restricted or unrestricted, says that they'd like to return to the team they're leaving. Such boiler-plate comments burnish a player's image, even while raising the perceived bar for other teams hoping to acquire them, and there is no downside. Although I make note of (too many) players saying such things, I'd warn against taking them very seriously.
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Unrestricted Small Forwards
LeBron James - The prevailing notion is that LeBron will re-sign with the Heat, and that script won't change unless the Big 3 begin scheduling meetings with other franchises. Every team in the league covets LBJ, including the Clippers, Suns, Mavericks, Bulls, Lakers and Rockets, and you can find constant updates on his free agency at his Rotoworld player page. His reasonable desire for a max contract isn't expected to prohibit the Heat from keeping their Big 3 while still building a deep enough core to regain their championship footing. UPDATE: LeBron's agent has met with the Cavaliers, Mavericks, Rockets and Suns. The Heat are still in the running, to be sure, but LeBron may meet with three 'finalist' teams in Cleveland next week. With any luck, it won't be televised this time around.
Carmelo Anthony - Melo may well return with the Knicks next season, but he's already scheduled meetings with the Bulls (Tuesday) and the Rockets and Mavericks (Wednesday). The Lakers may also get into the mix at some point, and Melo said that he hopes to make a decision by the second week of July. UPDATE: The Lakers are expected to offer Melo a four-year, $97 million contract if he chooses to sign with L.A. Thus far there are no indications of which team he's leaning toward.
Luol Deng - Deng's season ended on a down note in Cleveland, as he was limited by an Achilles injury and Kyrie Irving's ball-dominant style. He is healthy and will play with Great Britain this summer, and is expected to command between $10-12 million annually as a free agent. The Hawks are eager to sign him and the Mavericks have expressed interest, while the Cavs appear lukewarm on a reunion -- the feeling is surely mutual. UPDATE: Deng has already been contacted by the Clippers, Hawks and Mavericks, and the Heat may also pursue him depending upon how their free agency situation plays out. He's reportedly "intrigued" by a sign-and-trade sending him to the Clips.
Trevor Ariza - Ariza fills a sweet spot as a free agent. He won't command a sky-high salary, he's healthy and in his prime at age 28, and he's a versatile defender who also made 2.3 triples while shooting 40.7 percent beyond the arc in 2013-14. He racked up third-round fantasy value last year and is poised to do so again this season as a default starting SF -- plenty of teams are already expressing interest, including the Wizards (who are on his 'short list'), Lakers, Mavericks, Rockets, Clippers, Cavaliers, Raptors and Suns. He's unlikely to sign a deal until LeBron and Carmelo are under contract. UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski names the Cavaliers as having "significant interest" in Ariza, but plenty more teams are hot on his trail. Wizards coach Randy Wittman will be in L.A. to meet with Ariza on Tuesday morning.
Paul Pierce - Pierce will take a big pay cut from the $15.3 million he earned last season, and he said after the Nets' playoff defeat that he hopes to play for one or two more years "at most." He stayed healthy last season and can still be a deadly option in the right situation, but he'll be 37 years old in October and no matter where he signs fantasy owners shouldn't consider drafting him until after the middle rounds. UPDATE: The Clippers reportedly think they may be able to lure Pierce to L.A. to rejoin Doc Rivers. He's also been contacted by the Bulls, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Nets and Trail Blazers.
Shawn Marion - The Matrix intends to retire after two more seasons in the NBA, and he said that his goal in free agency is to sign wherever he feels he'll have "the best chance to win another championship." His defense was an integral part of the Mavs' success last year, and he snuck into the top-75 for nine-cat fantasy value, but his pursuit of a championship-caliber team may result in a diminished role for the 14-year veteran. The Bulls have been mentioned as a possible destination, and the Heat might also be a good fit if they keep their core intact and Marion is willing to sign for a minimal annual salary.
Ryan Kelly - The Lakers' second-round pick thrived as a rookie, taking advantage of an injury-riddled roster to average 22 minutes per game with 25 starts at small forward to his credit. As I wrote in a blurb early on Monday morning, "Kelly ... averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.1 blocks in 25 minutes per game after the All-Star break as a rookie. He also made 0.9 threes per game, but it's his defensive stats which are truly eye-catching from a fantasy perspective." The Lakers' finances are wide open this summer and they're in a perfect position to retain him, so his value depends upon which coach they hire and how their roster shapes up. UPDATE: The Jazz have expressed interest in Kelly.
Al-Farouq Aminu - The Pelicans tried and tried again to mold Aminu into a starting-caliber SF, but it didn't work out for coach Monty Williams. ''His focus and mentality has to be focused on [rebounding and defense] as opposed to scoring and things ... that look sexy," Williams said during the season. Athleticism and a penchant for rebounding will only carry Aminu so far in the NBA, and he's unlikely to recover substantial fantasy value next year. UPDATE: The Mavericks have expressed interest in Aminu.
Marvin Williams - The Jazz are reportedly eager to re-sign Marvin, presumably as much for his off-court mentorship as his on-court production, but he's also drawing "significant interest" from championship contenders. The Heat, for example, may look to sign him with one of their salary-cap exceptions. UPDATE: Marvin has been contacted by the Spurs, Heat, Wizards, Hornets, Clippers, Magic and Suns. No doubt all of those teams want him to sign a short-term deal for close to the veteran's minimum, giving them a 3-point-shooting veteran to fill out their depth chart on the cheap, and no matter where he lands Williams is a poor fantasy option.
Caron Butler - After falling to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, Butler is assuredly looking to sign with whichever team will give him the best odds of winning a championship. The Heat reportedly approached him after he'd already committed to the Thunder last summer, so if Miami keeps their Big 3 it wouldn't be surprising for Butler to sign on at the veteran's minimum. UPDATE: Butler has received interest from the Lakers, Heat, Bulls and Thunder.
Kent Bazemore - The Lakers didn't give Bazemore a qualifying offer to make him a restricted FA, but he may re-sign anyway. He also expects the Suns to chase him, according to Yahoo! Sports. If he manages to earn a starting role (e.g. if the Suns sign him but lose P.J. Tucker), Bazemore should be a solid fantasy contributor -- on a per-36-minute basis last season, he notched 15.9 points, 1.7 threes, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. UPDATE: Soon after free agency began, Bazemore received calls from the Lakers, Hawks, Celtics and Mavericks. The Spurs also reportedly joined in the pursuit of Bazemore on Tuesday afternoon.
Danny Granger - Granger declined his $1.3 million player option to seek a bigger payday and/or a longer contract. He's unlikely to return with L.A. and at this point he's nothing more than a risky 3-point specialist (he barely cracked the top-250 for eight-cat value last year, on a per-game basis). UPDATE: Granger agreed to a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Heat, giving them a veteran sharp-shooter to bring off the bench.
Richard Jefferson - RJ earned a whopping $11.1 million last season but his deal finally comes off the books on July 1. He's done an admirable job expanding his shooting range, prolonging his career by shooting at least 40 percent from deep in three of the past four seasons, but that's the extent of his negligible fantasy appeal.
Michael Beasley - Beasley failed to ingratiate himself with the Heat last season, irking LeBron James and others with his perpetually poor work ethic, but his sheer talent and impressive physical skills should earn him a short-term contract somewhere.
James Jones - Jones has quietly spent *the past six seasons with the Heat after being drafted in the second round in 2003 by Indiana, but even lobbying from LeBron James failed to earn him a bigger role under coach Erik Spoelstra. The 33-year-old will fill a niche role as a 3-point shooter wherever he signs.
Unrestricted Power Forwards
Dirk Nowitzki - Dirk has repeatedly said that he'll stay in Dallas, making him one of the least suspenseful free agents under discussion. He had a terrific 2013-14 season, ranking as a top-10 player thanks to remarkable efficiency and only two DNPs, but at 36 years old he's more appealing as a second-round pick in fantasy drafts. UPDATE: As expected, the Mavericks quickly locked up Dirk on a three-year, $30 million contract.
Chris Bosh - Bosh was the final member of Miami's elite triumvirate to opt out of his contract, but like LeBron and D-Wade it seems likely that he'll restructure his deal to remain with the Heat. He's already suggested that he's willing to take a pay-cut to aid Miami's re-building process. UPDATE: Bosh reportedly agreed to a five-year deal worth $11 million in the first season of his new deal, but that report has since been refuted by his agent. The Rockets have reportedly dangled a maximum four-year deal worth $96 million, which Bosh may accept if LeBron James decides to leave the Heat. Stay tuned.
Josh McRoberts - McRoberts declined his $2.8 million option and will enter unrestricted free agency after a terrific season with Charlotte in 2013-14. He proved to be an under-the-radar gem, ranking second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio and third in the league for 'Win Shares' among big men who averaged at least four assists per game (trailing only Joakim Noah and Kevin Love). A lack of scoring kept him off most fantasy owners' radars, but he returned borderline seventh-round value in only 30 minutes per game. He should play at least that many minutes with whichever team ponies up the cash to acquire him this summer. For what it's worth, Hornets GM Rich Cho said that his decision to draft Noah Vonleh doesn't impact their desire to retain McRoberts. UPDATE: McRoberts has verbally agreed to a four-year, $23 million deal with Miami.
Channing Frye - Frye turned down a $6.8 million player option to enter unrestricted free agency. Although he'll likely earn less on an annual basis, the security of a multi-year deal makes sense for Frye after he missed the entire 2012-13 season following heart surgery. He's coming off an excellent season in which his 3-point shooting combined with zero DNPs to give him consistent mid-round fantasy appeal. Andre Iguodala has already lobbied for him to join the Warriors, and the Cavs also have interest, but both teams face stiff competition from the Suns.
Boris Diaw - Diaw was sliding toward oblivion with the Bobcats, playing disinterested basketball and gaining enough weight to become an object of derision, but he found a second wind with Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. As highlighted by Paul Garcia on ProjectSpurs.com, Diaw averaged the third-most passes per touch on the Spurs, he scored from all over the court, and he proved to be one of the Spurs' best (and most versatile) defenders. He said that he "wouldn't mind" returning with San Antonio, which may be a coy means of driving up his value, but whichever team signs him should have a renewed appreciation of his skill-set. The bad news is that Diaw's efficiency and unique ability didn't add up to much for fantasy owners last year, and he's best left undrafted in standard leagues. UPDATE: Diaw and the Spurs quickly agreed to a three-year, $22.5 million contract.
Jordan Hill - Hill suffered from Mike D'Antoni's ever-changing whims, and the fact that he couldn't spread the court with shooting the way D'Antoni desired. He's already drawing interest from the Mavericks, Rockets and Lakers (with a new coach), all of whom might be able to better utilize his rebounding and ability to score in the paint, but he's a marginal fantasy option unless he lucks into a 25-30 minute role.
Jeff Adrien - Adrien emerged as a fantasy option with the Bucks following Larry Sanders' orbital bone surgery and Ersan Ilyasova's season-ending ankle injury. He averaged 13.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks in 12 starts for Milwaukee, but the Bucks' interest may have waned once they drafted Jabari Parker. The blue-collar PF isn't a likely source of fantasy value no matter where he lands.
Ed Davis - The Grizzlies didn't offer Davis a $4.3 million qualifying offer, allowing him to test the market as an unrestricted FA. He hasn't done much to distinguish himself since being taken in the lottery of the 2010 draft, though in fairness he didn't get many opportunities in the Grizzlies' frontcourt the past two years. Davis averaged 5.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 15.2 minutes per game last season.
Trevor Booker - The Wizards will allow Booker to enter unrestricted free agency, largely because his $3.4 million qualifying offer increased to $4.7 million once he met "starter criteria" by starting in more than 41 games last season. The 26-year-old will be a useful part of someone's frontcourt rotation next year, in D.C. or elsewhere, but his game doesn't translate well to fantasy leagues.
Glen Davis - Big Baby opted out of his deal, worth $1.2 million, and he's not expected to return with the Clippers despite his familiarity with coach Doc Rivers. Even if he lucks into a bigger role elsewhere, his fantasy value is ruined by a lack of defensive stats and middling shooting percentages. UPDATE: Clippers writer Brad Turner now reports that L.A. is interested in keeping Davis, and his representatives have been in contact with the team.
Kris Humphries - The nine-year veteran found himself in a less-than-ideal situation last season, playing for a poor Celtics team in a contract year and competing with younger big men for playing time. To his credit, he shot 50.1 percent from the field with 5.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in under 20 minutes per game. He's still 29 years old and his reality-TV fiasco has largely faded from view, so he should earn a decent chunk of change for a team looking to bulk up their frontcourt depth chart. No teams have been explicitly linked to him, though Marc Berman of the NY Post has floated the notion that the Knicks could sign him with their mini-mid-level exception. UPDATE: Humphries has been contacted by the Celtics, Clippers, Heat, Hornets, Mavericks, Timberwolves and Wizards.
DeJuan Blair - Blair found a niche off the Mavs' bench last season in his usual blue-collar role as a backup PF/C, where he averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds with little else to recommend him in fantasy leagues. He came up big in the playoffs vs. the Spurs (his suspension for kicking Tiago Splitter notwithstanding) but it's hard to envision him earning more than 20 minutes per game no matter where he signs this summer.
Drew Gooden - The 12-year veteran found a perfect landing spot when the Wizards signed him last year, averaging a solid 10.3 points on 56.2 percent shooting in March. He struggled to produce once Nene returned to health and wouldn't be likely to find a multi-year deal as a free agent, and his ability to retain Bird rights by re-signing in D.C. makes it a foregone conclusion that he'll pad the Wizards' frontcourt depth chart in 2013-14.
Dante Cunningham - Cunningham played in 81 games for the Wolves, even starting seven games, but he averaged a mere 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He was also arrested twice in April and faces charges for felony domestic assault, so it's no surprise that his name hasn't come up in free agency rumors.
Matt Bonner - "I'd love to be back, especially if everybody is coming back." It's hard to imagine the Red Rocket playing anywhere outside of San Antonio at this point, even though his role dwindled to a mere 11.3 minutes per game last year and the emergence of Boris Diaw has relegated him to a small role off the bench. If he doesn't get the ideal offer in free agency, the nine-year can always fall back on his no doubt lucrative "Sandwich Hunter" blog and New Balance quasi-endorsement.
Jason Smith - Smith's season ended in January after surgery to remove loose cartilage in his right knee, and the Pelicans silence about his future speaks volumes. He's a non-factor for fantasy owners until he proves he can stay healthy -- he's averaged 36 DNPs over the past three seasons.
Jan Vesely - His athleticism has never been in doubt, but Vesely's total lack of offensive polish has been his undoing through two NBA seasons. Fantasy owners should take one look at his career 40.4 percent FT shooting and proceed in the other direction.
Kenyon Martin - K-Mart had ankle surgery to remove bone spurs in late April and it's reasonable to question whether he'll call it a career this summer, but for now it seems he's intent upon returning for his 14th NBA season. He said in April that he'd like to remain with the Knicks.
Anthony Tolliver - Tolliver made 1.6 three-pointers per game with the Bobcats last year, shooting a career-best 41.3 percent from deep, but that's the extent of his fantasy appeal. He's certain to earn guaranteed money as a perimeter shooter who stands 6'8", but there's no reliable fantasy value to be had here.
Antawn Jamison - At age 38 and coming off a lousy season in which he played in 22 games, there's a good chance Jamison will hang up his sneakers after 15 years in the NBA.
Other FA forwards not mentioned...Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis, Al Harrington, Metta World Peace, Ivan Johnson, Darius Miller, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Francisco Garcia, Earl Clark, , B.J. Mullens, Cartier Martin (UPDATE: Martin signed a one-year deal with Detroit), Hedo Turkoglu, Robbie Hummel, Rasual Butler, Charlie Villanueva, D.J. White...and lest we forget, teams can also have their pick of Tyrus Thomas and Royce White.
Check back soon for the third and final installment of the Free Agent Frenzy, exploring this year's UFA centers, restricted FAs, and other players with contract options.
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