The long awaited free agency bonanza of 2010 is not far away. Some will go, some will stay. Here you will find my predictions on where the top 20 impact free agents-to-be (in my opinion) will end up, along with a short witty blurb about stuff and things. It's important to note that currently, the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards are all set to have ample cap room. Not all of those teams will wish to immediately purge themselves back into cap hell once they have finally dug their way out, but it is these teams that have the flexibility.
Feel free to agree, disagree and/or post your own predictions in the comments section.
LeBron James - CLEVELAND Cavaliers - He’ll make everyone sweat it out but he’ll stay. My guess is that he signs another short deal to keep pressure on the front office.
Dwayne Wade - MIAMI HEAT - He’ll stay if they get another stud, which they will. See below.
Chris Bosh - CHICAGO BULLS - I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a sign-and-trade. If the Bulls will part with Noah, which they should if it means landing Bosh, it’s a done deal.
Amare Stoudemire - NEW YORK KNICKS - He wants the big market and a reunion with the guy who doesn’t require him to play defense, Mike D’Antoni.
Joe Johnson - NEW YORK KNICKS - There’s a big pay day in New York. That’s what he’s looking for.
Carlos Boozer - MIAMI HEAT - Utah will settle for starting Paul Milsap. Boozer has already said he would love to play in Miami.
David Lee - OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER - A perfect fit. OKC needs a post presence in the worst way. Lee has the lunch pale approach that won’t clash with Durant’s dominance of the ball.
Yao Ming - HOUSTON Rockets - With his debilitating injury streak no one will pay him as much as he is making in Houston.
Paul Pierce - BOSTON Celtics - If he didn’t leave back when they were a bottom feeder he certainly isn’t leaving now.
Rudy Gay - MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - The Wolves will beat out other teams for Gay because they have plenty of trade options and they will be willing to drastically overpay. Cosmically speaking, it would also unite Kevin Love and Rudy Gay. Think of the headline possibilities.
Ray Allen - CHICAGO BULLS - Boston will want him back but Chicago will sharply outbid them. The Bulls will be nasty with a Rose - Allen - Deng - Bosh - Noah (?) lineup.
Richard Jefferson - SAN ANTONIO Spurs Above average role player at this point but he fits well with San Antonio. Why would anyone leave San Antonio?
Josh Howard - NEW JERSEY NETS - Nets have enough for a max contract but the Knicks have enough for two. The team not playing in Newark will win out in the East Coast battle, leaving the Nets with a couple of second tier guys.
Tyson Chandler - SACRAMENTO KINGS - The Kings' bigs are kinda pathetic. Chandler will at least give them some great defense.
Peja Stojakovic - LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - The Clips have plenty of cap room and Stojakovic will be far from their top priority but I can’t see any of the the top wing players, which is what they want, going there.
Shaquille O’Neal - LOS ANGELES Lakers - He’ll sign a two year deal and close out his career as a fan favorite from where he enjoyed his glory years. Of course, backing up Andrew Bynum might be a bit of a strange role for him.
* I recognize that I didn't award a single player to the Wizards despite their ability to pay a max contract. They're unfortunately such a mess right now that I just can't see a top free agent not opting for a different team.