1) David Lee, 6-9 250, 27 years old Power Forward
SUITORS: New York, New Jersey, Washington, Phoenix
COMPARISONS: A more skilled version of Anderson Varajeo
SUMMARY: Lee is different than the above free agents. To start with he knows his role on the team. He isn’t going to be a star or the go-to-guy. Instead he is going to do the dirty work, hustle for rebounds and will score when needed. He is coming off of an All-Star year in which he added 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and was selected to the All-Star Game. Considering he played for the Knicks, it would be more realistic to assume he’d go for 15 points/10 rebounds consistently.
ROLE: Starting Power Forward: Lee would probably be more serviceable starting at power forward, which means the Nuggets would most likely deal Kenyon Martin. Lee would be a big drop off on defense, but would really help on the glass and offense
COST: Since the Nuggets are over the cap they would have to do a sign and trade to get him. An offer of JR Smith, rights to Linas Kleiza and a package of picks may work. A contract of $45 million for 5 years is realistic (It is more than what Charlie Villanueva was overpaid at $40 million for 5 years)
2) Luis Scola, 6-9 245, 30 years old Power Forward
COMPARISON: Dino Radja
SUMMARY: When Yao Ming went down for the Rockets last season, Scola kept the squad afloat. His reward, the Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson. While Houston has stated that they will match all offers for Scola (they offered him the qualifying offer Wednesday), it doesn’t make much sense. The Rockets are getting Yao back, and with Patterson they currently have five big man (Yao, Patterson, Chuck Hayes, David Anderson and Jordan Hill) who are going to demand playing time. Why overpay for another big? It wouldn’t be too surprising if Scola puts up similar numbers as last year (16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds), but considering he just turned 30 and just finished his best season.
ROLE: Starting power forward or third big: Much like Lee, Scola will play power forward, but Scola also wouldn’t be a bad option coming off the bench next season and starting after that.
COST: $34 million for 4 years (due to his age few teams would offer more)
3) Tyrus Thomas, 6-10 217, 24 years old Power Forward
SUITORS: Charlotte, New York
COMPARISON: Tyson Chandler (smaller)
SUMMARY: Thomas has the athleticism and hustle to be another Ben Wallace. His attitude has been in question, but despite that the Bobcats have already offered Thomas the qualifying offer which means Denver will have to overpay to get him. This kid can jump out of the gym and block any shot at any time. He also runs the floor like a deer and usually beats the opponents down the floor. But he has a low basketball IQ and doesn’t bring a lot on offense. Thomas should put up better numbers than last season (9.4 points/6.2 rebounds).
ROLE: Starting power forward or third big: Like Scola, Thomas wouldn’t be a bad option coming off the bench, despite his lack of an offensive game. He could learn from K-Mart and quite possible develop a similar type of game as Martin.
COST: $30 million for 4 years (Might get more due to his potential)
Jermaine O’Neal, 6-11 242, 32 years old Power Forward (O’Neal signed a 2-year deal with the Boston Celtics)
Tyson Chandler, 7-1 235, 28 years old Center
(Chandler has decided not to opt out and is no longer a free agent option)
4) Shaquille O’Neal, 7-1 325, 38 years old Center
COMPARISON: Um, none. It’s Shaq, maybe Wilt Chamberlain.
SUITORS: Dallas, Boston, New York, Cleveland
SUMMARY: 38 years young, Shaq would help the Nuggets in many ways. His size, scoring touch in the paint and veteran experience are hard to replace. Sure, he can’t play much more than 25 minutes a game and probably would be hurt half the time, but when you have the Big Diesel on the bench life in the paint just got easier. However, is it really worth $8 million for two years? He could give the Nuggets similar numbers as last season (12 points, 6.7 rebounds) and play the same amount of games.
ROLE: Third big man: For Shaq to work in Denver he would have to be willing to come off the bench and provide the Nuggets with bench scoring.
COST: $8 million for 2 years (That is what somebody mentioned that Shaq is worth).
Drew Gooden, 6-10 250 29 years old Power Forward (SIGNED WITH MILWAUKEE FOR $32 MILLION FOR 5 YEARS)
Brendan Haywood, 7-0 266, 30 years old Center (HAYWOOD GOT PAID, he signed a $55 MILLION DEAL FOR 6 YEARS) We had him down for $24 million for 4 years.
5) Al Harrington, 6-9 250, 30 years old Forward
COMPARISON: Tim Thomas
SUITORS: Phoenix, Houston, Cleveland Atlanta, Portland, Detroit
SUMMARY: It is crazy to think about Harrington turning 30, it seems like just yesterday he was upset about coming off the bench in Indiana and needless to say it seems he still has the same complaint and the same role. Harrington can score in bunches, it is the rest of the game he has never figured out. He’d be good for 12 to 15 points a game and of course three or four rebounds.
ROLE: Third big man: Harrington isn’t a good mix with the Nuggets due to his size. But he’d be a spark off the bench for any team though.
COST: $18 million for 4 years. (He might get the mid-level, but there really isn’t a need for a guy that chucks up the ball).
Channing Frye, 6-11 244, 27 years old Center/Power Forward (RESIGNED WITH SUNS FOR $30 million for 5 years
PROJECTED COST: $12 million over 3 years. (A team would be overpaying for his services if they offer him more than $4 million a year.)
6) Ben Wallace, 6-9 240 36 years old Center/Power Forward
COMPARISON: Dikembe Mutombo
SUITORS: Retirement, Detroit, Chicago
SUMMARY: Big Ben was supposed to be done after last season, but yet he averaged over eight rebounds and was dominant on defense in the post.
ROLE: Third big man: Defensively he will help, offensively he’d help.
COST: $7 million for 2 years. (It would take a good offer to lure him out of retirement.
7) Brad Miller, 7-0 261, 34 years old Center
COMPARISON: Luc Longley
SUITORS: Boston, Orlando, Houston, New Jersey, New York
SUMMARY: Miller is a smart, savvy veteran who has range out to 20 feet and is a great passer for a big man. He also is a solid rebounder, but poor defender. He also played all 82 games last season, so you don’t worry too much about him getting hurt. He’d be good for around eight to 10 points a night.
ROLE: Third big man: He’d be the consistent backup center that the Nuggets have been lacking.
COST: $15 million for 3 years. (Considering that there are a number of teams interested in him, he will probably get offered the mid-level).
8) Udonis Haslem, 6-8 246, 30 years old Power Forward
COMPARISON: Kurt Thomas
SUITORS: Miami, Philadelphia, Utah
SUMMARY: Haslem is the consummate pro. He does everything asked of him. He rebounds, plays defense and can shoot a 20-foot jumper. He also has a career in coaching after he retires. He’d consistently be good for 8 points/6 rebounds a night.
ROLE: Backup power forward: Good guy to have behind Kenyon Martin, well, if size wasn’t an issue already.
COST: $11 million for 3 years. (He will probably take the mid-level.)
9) Louis Amundson, 6-9 238, 27 years old Power Forward/ Center
COMPARISON: Chris Andersen, only better
SUMMARY: Amundson is the classic dirty player in the League. He has made it in the League because he has a knack for pissing off his opponents and working harder than anybody else on the court. Despite being undersized he stepped in and was Stoudemire’s backup last season and the Suns didn’t regret it one bit. However, the Suns have drafted Gani Lawal and want to develop Earl Clark and are doubtful to make an offer to Amundson. He is also a fan favorite like Andersen. Think Dahntay Jones only in the post. He outworks everybody on the floor and is tantalizing defender, who gets into opponents face. Zach Randolph and the Nuggets very own Nene have both been ejected thanks to Amundson’s play.
ROLE: Backup power forward: Amundson would be a great replacement to Andersen, but not next to him.
COST: $15 million for 4 years. (He might get more, but doubtful he’d get a salary close to Andersen).
10) Ian Mahinmi, 6-11 230, 24 years old Center
COMPARISON: Steven Hunter
SUITORS: San Antonio
SUMMARY: There are rumors that Mahinmi will be signing a new contract with the Spurs, but if not he should get a team to bite, just due to his potential. He did score 15 points, 9 rebounds against the Nets last season.
ROLE: Fourth big man: Mahinmi shouldn’t play more than 20 minutes during his first year or at least until he proves himself. Doubtful the Nuggets will go after him.
COST: $12 million for 3 years, mainly due to his potential. (Marcin Gortat was offered $34 million for five years and it should be obvious now that he isn’t worth that much.)
11) Matt Bonner, 6-10 240, 30 years old Power Forward
COMPARISON: Austin Croshere
SUITORS: San Antonio
SUMMARY: Bonner should not be in the NBA, and that is a fact. He can’t score on his own, he can’t rebound or defend. But he can shoot the 3-ball with the best of them and there is always a spot in the League for big shooters.
ROLE: Backup Power Forward: He’d come in to spread the defense and that is it.
COST: $9 million for 3 years (Channing Frye signed a contract worth $5 million for 2 years)
12) (R) Joel Anthony, 6-9 245, 28 years old Power Forward/Center
COMPARISONS: A young Ervin Johnson
SUMMARY: Anthony is a terrific shot-blocker and defender, he is tough and athletic. Has zero offensive skills and isn’t a really strong rebounder.
ROLE: Fourth big: He’d come in and be a strong defender next to Chris Andersen
COST: $5 million for 2 years.
13) (R) Jon Brockman, 6-7 255, 23 years old Power Forward
COMPARISON: Adam Keefe
SUMMARY: Brockman is like a bulldog, he will bully anybody in the paint until he gets the ball. He will outwork everybody else on the glass and is the workman that does the dirty work. And that should keep him in the League for a few years.
ROLE: Backup Power Forward: See Amundson
COST: Mid-level (not sure there is a market for undersized workhorses).
14) Kyrlo Fesenko, 7-1 270, 23 years old Center
COMPARISON: Jim McIlvaine
SUMMARY: Just his size pretty much guarantees him a contract and it made an impact in the first round of the playoffs against the Nuggets. Despite his size, he isn’t an every day starter or player and still needs to develop his game more to be considered a viable option in the post.
ROLE: Backup Center: Somebody that would have six fouls and provide size.
COST: $14 million for 4 years, due to his size. (See Gortat)
15) Johan Petro, 7-0 247, 24 years old
COMPARISON: Francisco Elson
SUITORS: Atlanta, Minnesota
SUMMARY: Petro is a legit 7-footer, but has an awkward shot. He is a good shotblocker and is too young to say he is a bust but he hasn’t worked hard enough to get the salary he wants.
ROLE: Backup Center: The Nuggets worst-case scenario, but doubtful he’d get regular minutes.
COST: $5 million for 2 years. (Elson signed a $3 million/2 year contract after his breakout year.)
16) Josh Boone, 6-10 237, 25 years old Center/Power Forward
COMPARISON: Jeff Foster
SUMMARY: Boone could find an important role in the League with his defense and hustle. If only he would do it on a nightly basis. He isn’t skilled on offense and can’t shoot the ball, but he can rebound and play defense. Just not big enough to play center consistently.
ROLE: Fourth big man: He’d be behind Andersen coming off the bench.
COST: $5 million for 2 years.
17) Nathan Jawai, 6-10 280, 24 years old Center/Power Forward
COMPARISON: Glen Davis
SUMMARY: Jawai is another player who is worth a luck due to his potential. He’s a decent shooter and is a big body. Two things that should keep him a job in the NBA.
ROLE: Emergency Big: Somebody to play if anybody else goes down.
18) Theo Ratliff, 6-10 235, 37 years old Center
COMPARISON: Ervin Johnson
SUITORS: Charlotte, San Antonio
SUMMARY: Ratliff is one of the best shot blockers in the NBA and is a very good defender in the post. But he also is 37 years old and can’t play more than 15 to 20 minutes a game, if that.
ROLE: Fourth or Fifth big:
COST: Veteran minimum
19) Kurt Thomas, 6-9 238, 38 years old Power Forward/Center
COMPARISON: Vin Baker
SUITORS: San Antonio
SUMMARY: If Thomas has anything left in the tank, he should find a role on a team. He will rebound, shoot a 20-foot jumper and play good defense in the post. The thing that makes him valuable is he can guard centers. Other than that, Thomas’s career is long gone.
ROLE: Fourth or fifth big
COST: Veteran minimum
20) Tony Battie, 6-11 240, 34 years old Power Forward/Center
COMPARISON: Malik Allen
SUITORS: LA Lakers
SUMMARY: See Kurt Thomas, only add length.
ROLE: Fourth or fifth big
COST: Veteran minimum
21) Shelden Williams, 6-9 250 27 years old Power Forward/Center
COMPARISON: Brian Skinner
SUMMARY: This former top 10 pick still hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he probably learned a lot last season and if a team is smart and offer him a multi-year deal they make get a steal. He is a beast in the post, but lacks tact on offense.
ROLE: Fifth big: somebody a team would invest in for the future.
COST: $3 million for 2 years.
22) Francisco Elson, 7-0 235 34 years old Center
COMPARISON: Dan Gadzuric
SUMMARY: Elson is a mobile big man and can give solid minutes if given the opportunity. His better days are behind him, but he wouldn’t be a bad option off the bench – especially considering he is experienced and is a 7-footer.
ROLE: Fourth or fifth big: not a bad worst case scenario.
COST: Veteran minimum.
*-Note ages are how old the players will be to start the 2010-11 season.
(Photos by Jonathan Maness)
Topics: Al Harrington, Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, Brendan Haywood, Channing Frye, David Lee, Denver Nuggets, Drew Gooden, Free Agents, Ian Mahinmi, Jermaine O'Neal, Joel Anthony, Johan Petro, Jon Brockman, Josh Boone, Kurt Thomas, Kyrylo Fesenko, Louis Amundson, Luis Scola, Matt Bonner, Nathan Jawai, Shaquille O'Neal, Shelden Williams, Theo Ratliff, Tony Battie, Tyrus Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Udonis Haslem