The 2012 free-agent market has been picked pretty clean. How does next summer's class shape up? SI.com concludes its countdown of the top potential 2013 free agents with Nos. 10-1. Jefferson has been the centerpiece of the Jazz offense since they parted ways with Deron Williams in 2011, but his future with the team is anyone's guess. Utah has a talented backup big man in Derrick Favors and also has to deal with the status of fellow unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap, meaning Jefferson and his $15 million salary could be elsewhere in 2013-14. A talented scorer on the block, the 27-year-old would have teams lining up for his services even with his defensive deficiencies.
2 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
9. Andre Iguodala
The sometimes forgotten man in the Dwight Howard megatrade, Igoudala will play out the 2012-13 season in Denver on a $14.7 million contract. George Karl will love his new swingman, an egoless leader, who sets the tone with his selfless play and commitment to defense. The 28-year-old seems like he'll love Denver, too, but he's still a lock to exercise his ETO in search of that last lucrative, multiyear contract next summer.
3 of 10Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
8. Stephen Curry
If it weren't for a fragile reputation, Curry would be No. 6 on this list. The 24-year-old does it all for Golden State on offense, scoring, facilitating and even flirting with the exclusive 40-50-90 club. He's no slouch on defense either; during his rookie year he finished second behind only Rajon Rondo in steals. The Warriors will likely wait until training camp to make a decision on Curry, but if he can prove he's healthy, it's unlikely he'll even hit restricted free agency.
4 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
7. Ty Lawson
The second best point guard on this list, Lawson put together a career year for the Nuggets in 2011-12, averaging 16.4 points, 6.6 assists and 1.3 steals. With Andre Miller set to be 37 next summer (and a free agent), locking up the 24-year-old Lawson is a priority for Denver.
5 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
6. Manu Ginobili
Given that he's played professionally since 1995, Ginobili should be an old 35. But the smooth Argentine has averaged 66.7 games per season over his career, and his per-36-minute averages last season (20 points, 6.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds) suggest he isn't really slowing down. He won't match the $14.1 million he's scheduled to make next season in his next deal, but he seems like he has one more multiyear deal left in him.
6 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
5. James Harden
Harden, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is a sensational weapon off the bench for the Thunder. But with $56.9 million already committed to just four players in 2014-15, Oklahoma City has a tough financial decision to make. For what it's worth, Kendrick Perkins thinks Harden will re-sign with the reigning Western Conference champs.
7 of 10Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
4. Josh Smith
Smith was the subject of trade rumors last season, and it's possible the Hawks could part ways with him -- and his $13.2 million salary -- during the 2012-13 season if they get off to a slow start. A versatile defender inside and out, the 26-year-old has averaged 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals over his career. On offense, his baseline-to-baseline speed is devastating, and he's even a willing passer, averaging 3.9 assists last season.
8 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
3. Andrew Bynum
After seven years in Laker Land, Bynum will play out the final season of his contract as the focal point of the Philly offense. Playing amid increased attention will be a transition for the 7-foot center, but his real challenge will be staying healthy; he's averaged only 56 games a year over his career. Despite the injury concerns, the Sixers are reportedly preparing an extension offer for Bynum which could be worth around $20 million a season.
9 of 10Damian Strohmeyer/SI
2. Dwight Howard
Despite the hoopla surrounding this summer's megatrade, Howard is no sure thing to re-sign in L.A. The 6-foot-11 center will definitely wait until next summer to sign a contract as he can potentially earn $40 million more then, but it's hard to see him leaving the Lakers if they can even come close to their vast potential. A lock for Defensive Player of the Year when healthy, the 26-year-old said there's currently no timetable for his return from back surgery.
10 of 10Robert Beck/SI
1. Chris Paul
No team faces more pressure this season than the Clippers. If they can't put together a deep postseason run, Paul is sure to bolt for greener pastures. A devastatingly efficient table-setter, Paul has led the league in steals five of the last seven seasons. The 6-foot guard declined a three-year, $60 million offer from the Clippers earlier this year, and while Los Angeles probably won't deal him during the season, this situation has the makings of the next Decision.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!