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Ask away Welcome to ESPN

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Welcome to ESPN Insider's early look at the 2013 NBA free-agent class.

While the free-agent class of 2013 is not rich with top-tier, franchise-centerpiece talent, there is still a good number of high-caliber players available. With the more draconian measures of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) getting ready to take effect, it is imperative for teams to accurately and effectively assess the amount of financial resources they are willing to devote.

The following is my ranking of 2013's top 30 free agents, sorted by the average annual value (AAV) of the new contracts I believe each player deserves under the rules of the CBA. To make my contract value estimates, I used many of the same factors that I used as a member of the Phoenix Suns' front office: age, injury history, value of recent comparable player contracts, irreplaceability of skill set, contribution to winning, history of production, fit with style and culture, marketability and current cap situation, among other things.

Please note that the AAVs listed below represent my estimation of the approximate value of each player, not a prediction of what the player will receive on the market this summer. (Values denoted in the millions of dollars.)

UFA = Unrestricted free agent; RFA = Restricted free agent; ETO = Early Termination Option

1Dwight Howard | C | UFA
2012-13 team: L.A. Lakers'12-13 AAV: $19.5'13-14 AAV: $23.6
AGE: 27PPG: 16.4RPG: 12.6BPG: 2.4

Despite all of the setbacks experienced this season -- be it the slow recovery from back surgery, clashes with teammates (most notably Kobe Bryant) or massive underachieving team performance -- Howard remains one of the league's most impactful players. As I recently wrote, his explosiveness and agility seem to be returning to pre-injury levels; even so, he's still managed to rebound almost 30 percent of available defensive rebounds and shoot nearly 57 percent from the field. Further, he's proved to be one of the most effective rim protectors in the league, discouraging opponent field goal attempts (FGAs) in the paint, as illustrated in "The Dwight Effect."

It's a no-brainer that Howard will command the maximum allowable contract, which for him comes out to roughly $118 million over five years, or an AAV of $23.6 million per year. The only question is whether he'll accept another year in L.A. before the Lakers finally hit the reset button on the Kobe era and build the franchise around Howard -- or whether he'll seek a sign-and-trade deal to a new destination.

PLAYER CARD

2Chris Paul | PG | UFA
2012-13 team: L.A. Clippers'12-13 AAV: $17.8'13-14 AAV: $21.5
AGE: 27PPG: 17.0APG: 9.6RPG: 3.7

When I wrote about the Clippers' long-term outlook a few months ago, I stated that any conversation about their future began and ended with Paul's contract. Paul is an elite point guard on both ends of the court, assisting on nearly 50 percent of all made field goals when he's on the floor and leading the league in steals (when he's on the court, nearly 4 percent of all opponent possessions end up in a Paul steal). And historically, he's been one of the most clutch closers in the league. He also has practically single-handedly turned around not only the culture of the Clippers' organization, but also their image in Los Angeles and around the league. Paul remains the Clippers' biggest selling point for other free agents to sign with them.

Ironically, the biggest assist Paul could give his team would be to accept less money to allow it the flexibility to surround him with quality talent, but the Clippers have to be prepared to offer him nothing less than the maximum allowable contract of $107.5 million over five years (AAV: $21.5 million).

PLAYER CARD

3Josh Smith | SF/PF | UFA
2012-13 team: Atlanta Hawks'12-13 AAV: $13.2'13-14 AAV: $14.0
AGE: 27PPG: 17.4APG: 4.3RPG: 8.4

Smith represents a dilemma. On one hand, he offers a unique skill set in terms of being an elite defender (one of only six players in the league averaging at least 1.0 block, 1.0 steal and a defensive rebound percentage of 20 or higher) who also fits perfectly alongside Al Horford in Atlanta's frontcourt. On the other hand, he has a penchant for mood swings and aspirations that extend beyond his effective abilities. Smith is incredibly efficient around the rim, but takes a lot of low-efficiency shots from the perimeter; moreover, he also tends to be a ball-stopper, opting for isolation matchups on the perimeter.

Regardless, he can cause matchup problems. His agent will compare him to combo forwards like Nicolas Batum ($11.5 million a year) -- and point out Smith's versatile production -- but I'd argue that his production still doesn't warrant a maximum allowable contract, which would pay him close to $18.9 million per year. A four-year deal with an AAV of $14 million per year would be the most I'd commit to Smith, with a player option that would allow him to cash in one last time in free agency should he choose.

PLAYER CARD

4Andrew Bynum | C | UFA
2012-13 team: Philadelphia'12-13 AAV: $16.9'13-14 AAV: $13.3
AGE: 25PPG: DNPRPG: DNPBPG: DNP

Nine months ago, before sitting out the entire season due to knee injuries, Bynum was almost assured of a maximum allowable contract. When healthy, Bynum is probably the premier low-post scorer at his position. He excels on either block and converts at a high rate (75 percent) around the rim. Plus, he's a voracious rebounder and doesn't turn the ball over much for a big. On the other hand, Bynum is not a good defender in space and has a quirky personality that can manifest itself in mood swings. While the talent is there, there's a serious question as to whether he has the mentality to be a franchise cornerstone.

Factoring in his lengthy injury history, it's difficult to commit to Bynum long term without protection. A three-year, $40 million deal with PIE (prior injury exception) language that allows a team to exit the contract with minimal exposure (if the player experiences serious injury) is the only way I'd be comfortable signing Bynum. A player option would allow him to exit his deal and sign for his true market value if he can stay healthy.

PLAYER CARD

5Andre Iguodala | SF | ETO
2012-13 team: Denver'12-13 AAV: $15.0'13-14 AAV: $13.0
AGE: 29PPG: 12.7RPG: 5.1APG: 5.1

Iguodala finally found acceptance after being traded to Denver, where his playmaking, defensive ability and up-tempo style are a perfect fit in the Nuggets' high-octane system. In Philadelphia, the fans saw Iguodala as overpaid because he isn't the type of player who can carry a franchise offensively; however, I'd argue that the skills that make him valuable are the toughest to quantify. Iguodala is one of only five players to average at least 12 points, five rebounds and five assists this season; the other four: LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Bryant and Rajon Rondo.

In order for Iguodala to maximize his talents, he has to play somewhere like Denver, surrounded by a deep roster of athletes. Demanding a maximum contract will only land him back in a Philadelphia-type situation. But Denver has to be careful payroll-wise, as Ty Lawson's extension kicks in next year, bringing it closer to the tax threshold. By signing Iguodala to a four-year, $52 million deal, the Nuggets can lock up cost certainty while creating enough room to re-sign one of their other free agents (Corey Brewer and Timofey Mozgov) without entering taxpayer territory.

PLAYER CARD

6David West | PF | UFA
2012-13 team: Indiana Pacers'12-13 AAV: $10.0'13-14 AAV: $11.1
AGE: 32PPG: 17.1RPG: 7.1BPG: 1.0

On one hand, West has been a crucial part of Indiana's success; he's the team's leading scorer, rebounder and the main offensive post option in crunch time. On the other hand, he's 32, not a particularly good rebounder and has a history of injuries. West's agent will point to his productivity (one of seven players in the last 10 years to average 15 points and seven boards at age 32 or older), and recent deals (Kevin Garnett received three years, $36 million at age 36) as comparables.

With the mantle of importance shifting to Paul George (who will probably seek a maximum extension this summer, which would kick in 2014-15) and Danny Granger on the books for $14 million in 2013-14, Indiana has a small window to keep its nucleus intact in win-now mode without increasing payroll. By structuring the contract so that it decreases over the lifetime of the deal ($12 million, $11.2 million), then offering partial protection (50 percent in Year 2, 25 percent in Year 3), it gives West some guaranteed money and allows the team to compete with this nucleus while offering it the ability to move in a different direction down the road.

PLAYER CARD

7Nikola Pekovic | C | RFA
2012-13 team: Minnesota'12-13 AAV: $4.8'13-14 AAV: $11.0
AGE: 27PPG: 15.8RPG: 8.9BPG: 0.8

This might come as a shock to many readers since the Timberwolves are not a national TV staple, but Pekovic, at 27, has quietly become one of the most effective centers in the game. He's as strong as an ox, runs the floor well and finishes in the paint. He also does a good job of sticking to his strengths and doesn't stray outside of his range. Pekovic sports a stellar free throw attempt rate of 0.42, and converts at the stripe (74 percent for his career). While he's one of the best offensive rebounders in the league (actually led the NBA in OREB% in 2011-12 at 15.8 percent), Pekovic isn't nearly as effective on the defensive glass.

Still, the going rate for centers has been set, and with Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert making about $15 million per year and JaVale McGee making $10 million per year, Pekovic will have strong leverage going into negotiation. A five-year, $55 million deal makes sense for both sides; Minnesota locks up a productive young center, and Pekovic nets a nice deal on par with his peers.

PLAYER CARD

8Al Jefferson | C | UFA
2012-13 team: Utah Jazz'12-13 AAV: $15.0'13-14 AAV: $10.0
AGE: 28PPG: 17.4RPG: 9.1BPG: 1.2

How can a player with a career PER more than 20 be valued so low? First, Jefferson gets a hit for not winning. He's been paid like a franchise player, yet his teams have not achieved consistent playoff appearances. I'm not putting it all on Jefferson, but he's got to have a more positive impact on his team's win-loss percentage. Second, it's a virtual lock that he will not return to Utah, given the development of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

The Jazz will seek a sign-and-trade to recoup some value for Jefferson, but if that can't get done, he'll have to sign with a team with cap space. He's a better defensive rebounder than any of the above-mentioned centers, and his low-post game, while unorthodox, is extremely effective. But he's less efficient overall from the field (he's taken 300 long 2-point attempts versus 249 at the rim), and he's a train wreck defensively. If I could pair him with a defensive-minded big and get him to improve his shot selection, he'd be a worthwhile free-agency target at four years, $40 million.

PLAYER CARD

9Paul Millsap | PF | UFA
2012-13 team: Utah Jazz'12-13 AAV: $8.6'13-14 AAV: $9.0
AGE: 28PPG: 14.9RPG: 7.3BPG: 1.0

Millsap has been the backbone of the Jazz in terms of the team's culture and identity the last few years, and some would argue that he's been the face of the franchise since the departure of Deron Williams. He's improved his skill set dramatically since entering the league as an undersized rebounding specialist in 2006. His rebounding numbers have dropped from his early years, but that's to be expected when he's paired with other great rebounders like Jefferson, Favors and Kanter. Millsap lacks the upside of his younger Jazz teammates, and thus could be looking to land somewhere else this offseason.

His numbers this season are almost identical to those of David West, but West gets a bump for being an integral cog for a title contender, while Millsap gets more guaranteed dollars in his deal for not having a sordid injury history.

PLAYER CARD

10O.J.Mayo | SG | Player option
2012-13 team: Dallas Mavericks'12-13 AAV: $4.0'13-14 AAV: $8.5
AGE: 25PPG: 16.1APG: 4.4RPG: 3.6

The scuttlebutt around the league was that Mayo signed a discounted deal in Dallas in order to preserve team cap space in 2013, with the understanding that he could opt out after the first year of his deal and be "rewarded." Mayo has held up his end of the bargain, putting up his most efficient offensive season. DeMar DeRozan ($9.5 million a year), Rodney Stuckey ($8.5 million a year) and Arron Afflalo ($7.5 million a year) are all recent comparables that Mayo will point to as less-talented peers, but I wouldn't give him anything more than a four-year, $34 million deal.

PLAYER CARD

11Tyreke Evans | SG | RFA
2012-13 team: Sacramento'12-13 AAV: $5.3'13-14 AAV: $8.3
AGE: 23PPG: 15.5APG: 3.7RPG: 4.5

Evans (23) needs to separate himself from Sacramento. It will be his agent's responsibility to either find a sign-and-trade destination for Evans (more likely) or convince the Kings to rescind his qualifying offer (less likely). I've always liked Evans' potential, and he's had his most efficient season this campaign, but I'd still want to see him "prove it" before I commit big money long term. A three-year, $25 million deal with an option for him to earn a bigger contract would offer both team and player fair value.

PLAYER CARD

12 Brandon Jennings | PG | RFA
2012-13 team: Milwaukee'12-13 AAV: $3.2'13-14 AAV: $8.0
AGE: 23PPG: 17.6APG: 6.8RPG: 3.1

Despite playing better basketball since the Bucks acquired J.J. Redick, Jennings still hasn't shown anything remotely close to deserving a maximum allowable contract, which is reportedly what he's been seeking. Moreover, his relationship with the team seems to be fraying, as he's recently complained about benchings. I like Jennings' potential, but he hasn't shown that he's worthy of a deal comparable to that of Jrue Holiday ($10.3 million a year), Steph Curry ($11 million a year), and Ty Lawson ($12 million a year), so I put him on the next rung of point guards (Goran Dragic, Jeremy Lin) with the option to prove his value.

PLAYER CARD

13 Jeff Teague | PG | RFA
2012-13 team: Atlanta Hawks'12-13 AAV: $2.4'13-14 AAV: $7.5
AGE: 24PPG: 14.7APG: 7.1RPG: 2.2

Teague is having his finest season as a pro, shooting a career-high 38 percent from 3-point range and averaging nearly 15 points per game while posting an assist percentage more than 30. With a large number of lucrative point guard deals recently signed, Teague will have a good range of comparables to point to, particularly as his numbers compare favorably with many of those players who have higher-end deals (Curry, Holiday and Lawson).

At the same time, we know Teague is not in that elite class of point guards, and is not the most important player on his team -- but rather a complementary piece and a nice building block for a team starting with a blank slate -- which would push him closer in value to Dragic, Lin and Jameer Nelson, all players who earned AAVs around $7.5 million. I would sign him to a four-year, $7.5 million (per season) deal, with a player option on his fourth year, allowing him to exit his contract to try to get a pay raise should he outperform expectations.

PLAYER CARD

14 Andrei Kirilenko | SF | RFA
2012-13 team: Minnesota'12-13 AAV: $9.8'13-14 AAV: $7.5
AGE: 32PPG: 12.4APG: 2.7.RPG: 5.6

When healthy, Kirilenko is one of the most unique talents in the league: He's an elite, versatile defender who can fill the box score on any given night, although not necessarily as a scorer (such as players like Batum, Josh Smith and Iguodala). His best days are behind him, and he has an option for more than $10 million in 2013-14, but taking a pay cut gives him an opportunity to guarantee himself more money in the long term. A partial guarantee would give the team flexibility should Father Time catch up to Kirilenko.

PLAYER CARD

15 J.J. Hickson | PF | UFA
2012-13 team: Portland'12-13 AAV: $4.0'13-14 AAV: $7.25
AGE: 24PPG: 13.1RPG: 10.7.BPG: 0.7

Since coming to Portland, Hickson has had the opportunity to showcase his athleticism and finishing ability while expanding his game. Despite never shooting more than 34 percent from long 2-point range prior to this season, Hickson is shooting an incredible 53 percent from that distance this season. Plus, he combines incredible athleticism in pick-and-roll situations with the ability to pick-and-pop. Additionally, Hickson is rebounding at career-high rates on both ends of the court (ORB%: 13; DRB%: 29), and is one of just 10 players this season to average a double-double (Tyson Chandler, Tim Duncan, Horford, Howard, David Lee, Kevin Love, Joakim Noah, Zach Randolph, Anderson Varejao).

Despite the fact that all of those players make upward of $10 million per season, I don't feel Hickson is worth that level of pay; for one, he doesn't have the track record those other nine players have as far as consistent production, and he might be the worst team-scheme defender among the group. I'd offer Hickson a four-year, $30 million deal, and would hesitate to commit more dollars without reducing the guarantee on later years.

PLAYER CARD

16Tiago Splitter | C | RFA
2012-13 team: San Antonio'12-13 AAV: $3.9'13-14 AAV: $7.0
AGE: 28PPG: 10.5RPG: 6.1BPG: 0.8

Splitter has shown steady improvement every year in the league, developing into a bona fide starter at the center position. He plays within himself (71 percent of his FGAs come at the rim versus only 2 percent from beyond 10 feet), is a solid rebounder and best of all has greatly improved his free throw shooting. He's not in the same class as Roy Hibbert or Brook Lopez, but a good comparable would be Robin Lopez ($5.1 million a year), who has had injury concerns in the past. A three-year, $21 million deal would be appropriate in this case.

PLAYER CARD

17J.J. Redick | SG | UFA
2012-13 team: Milwaukee'12-13 AAV: $6.2'13-14 AAV: $6.5
AGE: 28PPG: 14.3APG: 3.9RPG: 2.2

In February, I wrote about what separated Redick from the other elite shooters in the league, and how that makes him more valuable. He's helped ease the load off Jennings and Monta Ellis, although the Bucks are still winning at the same rate as they did before the trade. Regardless, it's a pretty safe bet that Redick will continue to provide his current value as a solid complementary piece, which means he's actually making around what he's worth (a rarity in the NBA). Four years and $26 million accurately captures his value.

PLAYER CARD

18Timofey Mozgov | C | RFA
2012-13 team: Denver'12-13 AAV: $3.1'13-14 AAV: $6.3
AGE: 26PPG: 2.6RPG: 2.4BPG: 0.4

Mozgov's been the odd man out in Denver's nine-deep rotation, through no fault of his own. He's a big body, active rebounder (particularly on the offensive glass) and a legitimate threat from about 15 feet, making him an ideal option in a shallow pick-and-roll. He doesn't have the best hands in the world and can mess up easy plays at the rim, but someone will give him a chance to show his abilities. Mozgov is another guy who compares well with Robin Lopez, so $19 million over three years with $1 million guaranteed in the final year is appropriate.

PLAYER CARD

19Tony Allen | SG/SF | UFA
2012-13 team: Memphis'12-13 AAV: $3.0'13-14 AAV: $6.0
AGE: 31PPG: 9.0RPG: 4.6SPG: 1.5

Allen has been a vastly undervalued player over the last few years as the poster child for impacting games in ways that aren't measurable by the traditional box score. Although he offers little on the offensive end, Allen's defense is nothing short of elite. I'd pay Allen up to $24 million over four years (admittedly, much of that is acknowledgment for his playing underpaid the last few years), but I would only partially guarantee the last two years for $1 million and $500,000, respectively, to protect against a drop in athleticism that would reduce his defensive ability.

PLAYER CARD

20Monta Ellis | PG/SG | ETO
2012-13 team: Milwaukee'12-13 AAV: $11.0'13-14 AAV: $6.0
AGE: 27PPG: 19.4APG: 5.9RPG: 3.9

Ellis has the option to tear up the last year of his deal ($11 million) to test free agency. If his agent is smart, he won't pursue that course of action without first lining up a deal. But should he test free agency blindly, he'd get a sobering offer from Team Amin. While Ellis compares himself to Dwayne Wade, my opinion is that while he's an extremely talented scorer and (at times) distributor, he'd excel in a J.R. Smith or Jamal Crawford bench role for a winning team (if he could accept that role), rather than serving as a team's main option. My offer of $18 million over three years would pay him more than either of those two players, and a player option would allow him to try again for a payday if he proves he can help a team win.

PLAYER CARD

21Kevin Martin | SG | UFA
2012-13 team: Oklahoma City '12-13 AAV: $12.4'13-14 AAV: $5.5
AGE: 30PPG: 14.2RPG: 2.3SPG: 1.0

Martin's experienced most every role in the league: unheralded, low-first-round pick; up-and-coming young bench player; franchise player; and now bench scorer for a contender. It's interesting to see him flourish in that role after clearly being frustrated with the expectations of his previous contract. A three-year, $16.5 million deal would compensate him for what he brings off the bench for a contending team, while the player option allows him to pursue a bigger contract should he choose to go back to being a big fish in a small pond.

PLAYER CARD

22Manu Ginobili | SG | UFA
2012-13 team: San Antonio'12-13 AAV: $14.1'13-14 AAV: $5.5
AGE: 35PPG: 11.9APG: 4.6RPG: 3.4

With coach Gregg Popovich monitoring his minutes, Ginobili has managed to remain productive, although his numbers have taken a dip across the board this season. Still, he remains a viable scoring threat off the bench, a player who can hit a big shot and an incredible playmaker (averaging 7.0 assists per 36 minutes). I don't think there's any chance Ginobili ends up anywhere but San Antonio until the day he retires, so a nice golden parachute of $11 million over two years -- with a player option on the second year -- will help the Spurs retain Tiago Splitter while also leaving the opportunity to add another higher-than-mid-level talent in free agency.

PLAYER CARD

23Darren Collison | PG | RFA
2012-13 team: Dallas Mavericks'12-13 AAV: $2.3'13-14 AAV: $5.0
AGE: 25PPG: 12.2APG: 5.2RPG: 2.7

Collison has gone from starting to losing his starting job to Derek Fisher to regaining it -- only to lose it again to Mike James, marking probably the first time in NBA history a player has lost his starting role twice in the same season to 37-year-old midseason signees. Having said that, he's been productive in his minutes, putting up his best numbers since his rookie season and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range (including almost 48 percent from the corners). His size can be a defensive liability, and he still gets out of control at times offensively. However, as a stopgap solution at point guard, you can do much worse.

PLAYER CARD

24Corey Brewer | SG | UFA
2012-13 team: Denver Nuggets'12-13 AAV: $3.2'13-14 AAV: $5.0
AGE: 27PPG: 11.7RPG: 2.9SPG: 1.4

Brewer has emerged as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and his length gives him the versatility to guard multiple positions. He's an underrated passer and playmaker in my opinion, and while his overall 3-point shooting underwhelms (less than 30 percent), he's shooting more than 40 percent from the left corner. If he can continue that proficiency -- and extend it to the right corner (surprisingly, he's shooting only 30 percent there) -- Brewer can bring great value to a team looking to shore up its perimeter defense without sacrificing an offensive option. A three-year, $15 million deal with a $1 million guarantee on the final year would keep flexibility from a team standpoint and give the player a sizable amount of guaranteed monies.

PLAYER CARD

25Jarrett Jack | PG | UFA
2012-13 team: Golden State '12-13 AAV: $5.0'13-14 AAV: $4.5
AGE: 29PPG: 13.2APG: 5.5RPG: 3.0

The only reserve player (judged as more than 50 percent of appearances were off the bench) in the NBA to average 10-plus points and five-plus assists per game, Jack has been a pivotal part of the Golden State revival this season, bringing offensive punch and toughness off the bench. Andre Miller ($4.8 million a year) is the only other backup point guard to average at least five assists per game, but his final year is only partially guaranteed. A fully guaranteed offer of $13.5 million over three years will pay Jack less than Miller, but guarantee him more dollars. The Warriors are up against the tax threshold, so some tough decisions will need to be made if they want to keep Jack.

PLAYER CARD

26J.R. Smith | SG | Player option
2012-13 team: New York Knicks'12-13 AAV: $2.8'13-14 AAV: $4.0
AGE: 27PPG: 17.7RPG: 5.1APG: 2.7

Similar to Ellis, Smith is a talented, explosive scorer who excels as an off-the-bench scoring option. He's had his fair share of big games this season, but still shoots in the low-40 percent range from the field and has no concept of shot selection. As long as he continues in his current role, Smith can be a productive member of a winning program.

PLAYER CARD

27Dorell Wright | SF | UFA
2012-13 team: Philadelphia'12-13 AAV: $4.1'13-14 AAV: $4.0
AGE: 27PPG: 8.6RPG: 3.8APG: 1.8

Wright came into the league as one of the last prep-to-pro players, with great length and athleticism but little perimeter game. He developed into a versatile wing defender in Miami. Over the years, he's improved to become a good 3-point shooter, but has lost some of his defensive reputation. He's shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc this season, including about 45 percent from the corners. If he can show some consistency on the defensive end, he can be a nice addition to a playoff team.

PLAYER CARD

28Kyle Korver | SG/SF | UFA
2012-13 team: Atlanta Hawks'12-13 AAV: $5.0'13-14 AAV: $4.0
AGE: 32PPG: 10.9RPG: 4.0APG: 2.1

Korver is the epitome of an elite specialist; he hasn't shot below 41 percent from 3-point range since 2009, and has shot less than 38 percent from distance only once in his 10-year career. This season, he's converting at a 46 percent clip from beyond the arc on almost 400 attempts. He doesn't create off the dribble, and he doesn't defend, but his size helps on the glass (about five rebounds per 36 minutes). In the words of former Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, you can never have too many shooters, and shooters of Korver's quality are a rare find. A four-year, $16 million deal with partial guarantees on the last two years would give Korver a considerable chunk up front while allowing the team flexibility to move in a different direction down the road.

PLAYER CARD

29Gary Neal | PG/SG | RFA
'12-13 team: San Antonio '12-13 AAV: $854,000'13-14 AAV: $2.5
AGE: 28PPG: 8.9RPG: 2.0APG: 1.8

One of the most underrated role players in the NBA, Neal has been a consistent perimeter threat and also serves in spot duty as backup point guard with decent ballhandling skills and good decision-making. When Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made the decision to sit his starters versus Miami earlier this season, Neal stepped up with 20 points and seven assists as the Spurs fell just short of pulling off the upset. After shooting higher than 41 percent from 3-point range in his first two seasons, he's had a down year this campaign (36 percent). Still, Neal would be an excellent fit as a backup guard for a contender with a need for shooting and playmaking off the bench.

PLAYER CARD

30Eric Maynor | PG | RFA
2012-13 team: Portland '12-13 AAV: $2.3'13-14 AAV: $2.5
AGE: 25PPG: 4.3RPG: 2.6APG: 0.7

A knee injury early last season took Maynor from a member of the Oklahoma City core to expendable trade asset, but landing in Portland will be a good thing for him. He is exactly what the Blazers needed at backup point guard: A steady hand who will efficiently run the offense, knock down open shots and -- most importantly for Portland -- allow Damian Lillard to play off the ball down the stretch to take advantage of his scoring ability. Maynor's qualifying offer is worth $3.3 million, but by taking a discounted, two-year, $5 million deal, he guarantees himself an extra $2.5 million should he not perform to expectations in 2013-14, while still retaining the ability to re-enter free agency in 2014 with his player option.

eric palmer
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Hmm...

After this season, I'd have a hard time ranking Dwight ahead of Chris Paul...

ItsVictorOladipo
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This looks like a terrific FA

This looks like a terrific FA class for centers (provided all three of the top guys stay relatively healthy)

Dwight Howard
Andrew Bynum
Al Jefferson
Nik Pekovic

Not too bad at all.

omphalos
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Boy do I hope Tyreke is

Boy do I hope Tyreke is allowed to leave Sacramento, terrible situation for him and no end in sight to the mediocrity.

I'd love to see him sign with the Bobcats, Detroit, Atlanta or Phoenix.

The Cats because although he wouldn't be winning, he'd be given more latitude to score, he could be mentored by MJ and Kemba knows how to play on or off the ball, plus alongside MKG they would have a great pair of perimeter defenders. Charlotte desperately needs another shot-creator, I love Henderson, but he doesn't have an aggressive enough mentality despite his polished skill-set and athleticism.

Detroit because Tyreke has the size to guard 2s, and passing ability of a PG (even if he isn't a natural point), so he'd make the ideal back-court partner for Brandon Knight, whose shooting ability would complement Reke's drive and kick game - essentially Tyreke is a better version of Rodney Stuckey type player.

Atlanta because they have cap space, a pick and pop C in Horford, a scoring point in Teague and a need for another shot creator/playmaker. I think Tyreke could really excel in the ATL even if they let Smith walk.

Finally, Phoenix because he'd FINALLY be healthy for an extended run, Dragic would be a good back-court partner as a scoring point who can shoot, their uptempo style would suit his transition game and they desperately need a SG.

The kid still has star potential, he just needs to stay healthy, get away from the Kings and get some team to take a chance on him. Not too much to ask, right?

Also, I agree that CP3 should be first on this list of FAs after Dwight's season.

eric palmer
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Another one..

Another one that surprised me on here was Monta Ellis at 20, two spots behind Mozgov. I know he's a volume scorer, very undersized for a SG, and so on...but at times he can be a dynamic scorer and plays with a real edge on the court that I love.

Cynthia
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Thunder

I'm hoping my Thunder go for Pekovic, I'd love to see him alongside Ibaka in the paint, I think they'd mesh well. Probably only way that could happen is if they amnestied Perkins though and I'm just afraid they'll never do that. Of course they could also let KMart walk but frankly I'd rather keep him.

Another good option at Center would be to go for Tiago Splitter, he won't be overly expensive and he can play some quality minutes.

Tyrober
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Can't believe JR Smith is

Can't believe JR Smith is 26th on the list. Last year he was known for bad shots and a poor attitude, but he has really turned himself around this year. 26th is insanely low for the future 6th man of the year.

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