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Top 20 NBA Free Agents of 2011

Top 20 NBA Free Agents of 2011
The drama has been replaced by indifference, intrigue by disinterest. Yes, the Summer of LeBron James has given way to the post-lockout frenzy for Nene/Marc Gasol/David West and a bunch of other second-tier players who won't be making any announcements on prime-time television.

Still, while the list of available free agents isn't heavy on the hardware, there are a few difference-makers in the group. Here's a look at the top 20 free agents* who are up for grabs this offseason. You know, whenever that offseason begins.

Free agency is tentatively set to begin on Dec. 9, after the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. All salary information was taken from ShamSports.com

*J.R. Smith, Aaron Brooks and Wilson Chandler (previously ranked Nos. 9, 13 and 14 respectively on this list) signed with the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout. Because they signed deals with no opt-out clauses, they will not be able return to the NBA before the CBA's season ends, in March.

 
1
Nene
Age: 29 | 2010-11 Team: Nuggets | Position: C
'10-11 Stats: 14.5 ppg, 61.5 FG%, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 bpg
Status: Unrestricted -- $11.6 million early termination option
The Brazilian bruiser is everything a team could want in a center. He's young, physical and posted numbers that have been consistent (at least 75 games played, around 14 points and eight rebounds per game) over the last three seasons. Nene won't come cheap -- he reportedly is looking for more than $50 million over four years -- but he is a rare, almost All-Star-caliber starting center who can man the middle for a team for the next five years easily.
 
2
Marc Gasol
Age: 26 | 2010-11 Team: Grizzlies | Position: C
'10-11 Stats: 11.7 ppg, 52.7 FG%, 7.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.7 bpg
Status: Restricted -- $4.5 million qualifying offer
Which Gasol brother do you think teams want now? Marc's numbers slipped from 2009-10 in the regular season, but he posted 15 points (on 51.1 percent shooting) and 11.2 rebounds during Memphis' playoff run. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has put the word out he intends to match any offers for Gasol, who has developed a nice chemistry with recently re-signed power forward Zach Randolph.
 
3
David West
Age: 31 | 2010-11 Team: Hornets | Position: PF
'10-11 Stats: 18.9 ppg, 50.8 FG%, 7.6 rpg, 2.3 apg
Status: Unrestricted -- $7.5 million early termination option
West raised a few eyebrows when he elected to opt out of the final year of his deal with New Orleans, walking away from $7.5 million after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee three months ago. A healthy West is an effective low-post and pick-and-pop player, but his age and recent injury history will give smart teams cause for concern. The prolonged lockout gave him more time to recover and show teams he will be ready to go at the start of the season.
 
4
Tyson Chandler
Age: 29 | 2010-11 Team: Mavericks | Position: C
'10-11 Stats: 10.1 ppg, 65.4 FG%, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Status: Unrestricted
Chandler's history of injuries made him a questionable commodity going into last season. Now, after helping the Mavericks to their first championship, he's a desired one. Don't expect Mark Cuban to allow the anchor of Dallas' vastly improved defense to walk after his most productive season in seven years, not with an aging roster and a finite window to claim another title. New collective bargaining agreement permitting, Cuban will break the bank to keep Chandler -- or at least pay him more than the $7.6 million backup Brendan Haywood will make next season.
 
5
Thaddeus Young
Age: 23 | 2010-11 Team: Sixers | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 12.7 ppg, 54.1 FG%, 5.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
Status: Restricted -- $4.0 million qualifying offer
Funny, that tweener tag doesn't sound like a criticism when the player can defend three positions, run the floor like a gazelle and emerge as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Coach Doug Collins struck gold when he put Young in a reserve role, so don't expect the Sixers -- who are coming off a superb second half of last season and a competitive five-game first-round loss to Miami -- to allow Young to take his talents elsewhere.
 
6
Jason Richardson
Age: 30 | 2010-11 Team: Suns/Magic | Position: G-F
'10-11 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 44.7 FG%, 39.5 3PT%, 4.1 rpg, 1.8 apg
Status: Unrestricted
At 30, Richardson is no longer the explosive, 20-points-per-game scorer he was with Golden State. But there is still some pop in his legs and he has been remarkably durable the last four seasons. Richardson is ringless in 10 seasons, so if he doesn't re-sign with Orlando, he's a candidate to take a pay cut to play for a contender (Chicago, for one) in need of his services.
 
7
DeAndre Jordan
Age: 23 | 2010-11 Team: Clippers | Position: F-C
'10-11 Stats: 7.1 ppg, 68.6 FG%, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Status: Restricted -- $1.1 million qualifying offer
Blake Griffin's frontcourt mate made serious strides in his third season. Jordan is limited offensively, but with Griffin getting most of the touches, all he needs to do is rebound (which he does well), block shots (which he does very well) and defend (which he is getting better at). A center has to leave L.A., but it's Chris Kaman, not Jordan, who is most likely on the move.
 
8
Glen Davis
Age: 25 | 2010-11 Team: Celtics | Position: F-C
'10-11 Stats: 11.7 ppg, 44.8 FG%, 73.6 FT%, 5.4 rpg
Status: Unrestricted
On one hand, Davis is a big, sharp-shooting power forward coming off his best statistical season. On the other, he's an immature 25-year-old who admitted he checked out mentally last postseason (only 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game) and has had palpable friction with Celtics coach Doc Rivers. There is definitely a "Buyer Beware" sign dangling around Davis' neck, one that could keep an overflow of big-money offers from pouring in.
 
9
Grant Hill
Age: 39 | 2010-11 Team: Suns | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 13.2 ppg, 48.4 FG%, 39.5 3PT%, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 apg
Status: Unrestricted
Hill passed on offers from Boston and New York to re-sign with Phoenix in 2009 but with the Suns rebuilding, he may jump at another opportunity. Hill's injury history (multiple ankle surgeries) is a thing of the past -- he has played at least 80 games in each of the last three seasons, averaging 12.2 points on 49.5 percent shooting, 2.4 assists and 4.9 boards in that span. Toss in his leadership and many contenders will be knocking on his door.
 
10
Tayshaun Prince
Age: 31 | 2010-11 Team: Pistons | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 14.1 ppg, 47.3 FG%, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg
Status: Unrestricted
If anyone needs a change of scenery, it's Prince, who went from being a valuable contributor on Detroit's contending teams to a malcontent on a team trying to rebuild. Prince is durable and an excellent defender and his numbers last season suggest he has plenty of game left. He has been a winner before and in the right situation (Lakers perhaps, if they make a trade) he could contribute to a winner again.
 
11
Jamal Crawford
Age: 31 | 2010-11 Team: Hawks | Position: G
'10-11 Stats: 14.2 ppg, 42.1 FG%, 34.1 3PT%, 3.2 apg, 1.7 rpg
Status: Unrestricted
Crawford's numbers slipped from his 2009-10 Sixth Man of the Year season, an automatic warning sign for players on the other side of 30. But he gives defenders trouble off the dribble and still has a few 30-point nights left in him. If a team is willing to spend on an offensive weapon that plays no D, Crawford is your man.
 
12
Jeff Green
Age: 25 | 2010-11 Team: Thunder/Celtics | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 13.3 ppg, 44.9 FG%, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 apg
Status: Restricted -- $5.9 milion qualifying offer
Meet David Lee of 2011. Green, whose weaknesses are magnified at $8 or $9 million a season, is the kind of player you love at $4 million per year. He doesn't really have a position -- he was a power forward in Oklahoma City who alternated between both forward spots in Boston -- and doesn't rebound all that well. For Celtics GM Danny Ainge, the question is this: Is Green a building block for the post-Big Three Era in Boston?
 
13
J.J. Barea
Age: 27 | 2010-11 Team: Mavericks | Position: PG
'10-11 Stats: 9.5 ppg, 43.9 FG%, 34.9 3PT%, 3.9 apg
Status: Unrestricted
Barea has carved out a nice niche for himself in Dallas, where he has thrived as a part-time starter and a super sub. His value peaked after a strong postseason performance wiped away any trace of doubt that the (listed) 6-foot guard can be an effective player on a championship team. Barea says he wants to stay in Dallas, but it remains to be seen if Cuban is willing to shell out big bucks to keep him.
 
14
Shane Battier
Age: 33 | 2010-11 Team: Rockets/Grizzlies | Position: SF
'10-11 Stats: 7.6 ppg, 45.0 FG%, 38.2 3PT%, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
Status: Unrestricted
Battier is versatile enough to fit in on any roster and thrive in any system. His steady play in Memphis raised his stock and the impending return of Rudy Gay makes Battier a strong candidate to relocate. Scouts think Battier's best situation is on a team with an established inside game (like Memphis and Houston) which would allow the steady shooting Battier to slide to his sweet spots in the corners. Orlando, anyone?
 
15
Caron Butler
Age: 31 | 2010-11 Team: Mavericks | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 45.0 FG%, 43.1 3PT%, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg
Status: Unrestricted
Butler is starting to get tagged with the "injury prone" label (a ligament tear in his knee sidelined him for the second half of last season), which is never a good thing in a contract year. Still, Butler is a prototypical small forward who is just two years removed from a 20-point-per-game season. He's also a highly regarded locker-room leader that has handled some of the wildest situations (see Washington, 2008-09) with class and professionalism.
 
16
Arron Afflalo
Age: 25 | 2010-11 Team: Nuggets | Position: SG
'10-11 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 49.8 FG%, 42.3 3PT%, 84.7 FT%, 2.4 apg
Status: Restricted -- $2.9 million qualifying offer
Once upon a (recent) time, Afflalo was little more than a defensive replacement and spot-up shooter. Now, he's a well-rounded "2" guard and entrenched starter. Lots of teams like him, including the Nuggets, which is why they've made bringing Afflalo back a top priority.
 
17
Samuel Dalembert
Age: 30 | 2010-11 Team: Kings | Position: C
'10-11 Stats: 8.1 ppg, 47.3 FG%, 8.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Status: Unrestricted
Is Dalembert a starting center on a team with high expectations for him? No. Is he a starting center on a team that just needs him to rebound, block shots and run the floor? Absolutely. Miami would love to wrestle him away from Sacramento, as would Boston, Houston and New York. Dalembert has a history of being a locker-room headache, but if he was willing to accept a reduced role, his value is still very high.
 
18
Greg Oden
Age: 23 | 2010-11 Team: Trail Blazers | Position: C
'09-10 Stats: 11.1 ppg, 60.5 FG%, 8.5 rpg, 2.3 bpg
Status: Restricted
Tell me if this Facebook status update didn't intrigue you: "In LA right now working out. I ran the other day for the first time in awhile. Felt good!" Yes, Oden hasn't played an NBA game since December of 2009, is coming off his second microfracture knee surgery and has been largely a disappointment since being drafted No. 1 in 2007. But big, defensive-minded, rebounding 7-footers are an endangered species. The Blazers have already extended Oden an $8.8 million qualifying offer, which means any team interested in Oden will likely have to make an expensive, multi-year investment.
 
19
Carl Landry
Age: 28 | 2010-11 Team: Kings/Hornets | Position: F
'10-11 Stats: 11.9 ppg, 50.2 FG%, 4.6 rpg, 0.8 apg
Status: Unrestricted
Generously listed at 6-foot-9, Landry is an undersized power forward with oversized talents. A skilled back-to-the-basket player and a ferocious offensive rebounder, he has a knack for fitting into any system. His numbers in 53 games with the run-and-gun Kings and 23 with the pick-and-roll heavy Hornets last season are almost identical. And at his age, Landry is just entering his prime.
 
20
Kris Humphries
Age: 26 | 2010-11 Team: Nets | Position: PF
'10-11 Stats: 10.0 ppg, 52.7 FG%, 10.4 rpg, 1.1 apg
Status: Unrestricted
League sources say the Nets are reluctant to pony up big money to re-sign Humphries, in part because his career-best numbers were a product of playing heavy minutes on a bad team and in part due to the ongoing drama (see Kardashian, Kim) in his personal life. Still, the 6-foot-9 Humphries is a young, above-average rebounder (11.0 per 36 minutes played per game in his career) with a decent offensive game. He's a starter on many teams and a quality rotation player on all of them.
BEST OF THE REST: Rodney Stuckey, Andrei Kirilenko, Marcus Thornton, Mario Chalmers, DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jonas Jerebko, Jeff Foster, Kwame Brown, Marco Belinelli, Tracy McGrady, Earl Clark, Mike Dunleavy.
 
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