May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) listens to fans heckle in the final minutes of their 115-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Where Will the Top Free Agents Land?


Realistically speaking, most of the free agents in the 2013 class are somehow angered with their team, and not looking to return. Chris Paul is the exception and his situation in LAC is very unique, if you ask me. Other than that, Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and some other players are looking for new homes. Which teams are going to be the first to bag them?

It’s interesting, almost exciting, to watch NBA free agency take place. Some of the players, like Howard, love to create drama and prolong the situation. Others, like hopefully everyone else, will get a clean deal without too much delaying, not revealing their intentions to any critics or reporters.

Chris Paul:

Clippers: Without a doubt, the best point guard in the league would have to be Paul, and he’s a free agent! Surprisingly, he hasn’t shown any desire to returning to LAC, but is very likely to if you ask me. Sure, he may have been upset that the team is blaming him for the fire of Vinny Del Negro, but George Karl, the Nuggets’ head coach may be stepping into the picture very soon. The Coach of the Year is a perfect fit for the Clippers, and if he comes in, Paul, without a doubt will stay.

Mavericks: Still, there’s a lot of speculation that Paul could head to Dallas to team up with former MVP and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. A combination like that would surely attract more and more help, possibly making the Mavericks contenders again. Isn’t that desirable? Yes, it is, but in Dallas, Paul would have to share superstar-status with Dirk Nowitzki. This is why there’s a higher chance of him signing with the Clippers.

Dwight Howard:

Lakers: What that being said, Howard is without a doubt the best center in free agency. He’s got an incredible amount of talent, but failed to “try” in the 2013 Playoffs for the Lakers. This is a guy that lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals will almost no help. Sure, he lost 4-1, but at least he made it there. Because Howard wasn’t motivated, he wasn’t able to lead his team anywhere. Fortunately for him, he’s now got the option of chosing where he wants to play. Of course, the Dwightmares are starting up again, but the Lakers are a likely option.

Hawks: I would be lying if I said the Hawks aren’t making an attempt at literally every free agent on the market this season. They’re going to need a lot of help from big men now that Smith is possibly leaving town. The Hawks are one of the final choices for Howard, but where does that lead Al Horford? What are the perks of joining a team with no other superstar?

Rockets: The Rockets are the most likely team for Howard to sign with. For starters, James Harden is now a star, and Jeremy Lin had a decent season in his third year. They look like the future backcourt for the Rockets. Omer Asik? He may be a good center that just inhales the rebounds, but it’s much better to have a Defensive Player of the Year-type player, as well as a guy who can average 17 points per game and 12 rebounds per game in a bad season.

Josh Smith:

Apr 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) reacts after he scored late in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks: If Smith is leaving the Hawks, that means trouble. An All-Star snub for the past three years, Smith has shown us that he is very capable of producing and making his own plays. He’s a true All-Star, and everyone knows this. For the past couple of years, however, the Hawks have had him on the trading block, looking to deal him desperately. There’s a reason it never worked out. Smith belongs in Atlanta, and I cannot escape the feeling that he’s going to sign there again.

Rockets: Better watch out, folks! The Rockets are going to be one of the best teams in the 2013-2014 season if they’re able to acquire Smith and Howard. Chances are that if one of these two signs with Houston, the other is bound to follow. With a lineup like that (Howard, Harden, Lin, Smith, Chandler Parsons), the Rockets are one of the best looking teams on paper. How can they not be contenders?

Al Jefferson:

Wizards: Considering that Jefferson is the second best big man in the class, he needs to go where he’s needed. Towards the end of the season, the Wizards were really looking like a playoff team. That’s right, I said it. They may qualify next year, and although nobody knows the names of half their players, they all click as a group. A John Wall-Al Jefferson combination would certainly be advantageous in the postseason, let alone the regular season. There are many perks for Jefferson to be headed to Washington.

Apr 28, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (right) drives for the basket against Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (eft) in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Monta Ellis:

Jazz: Many may not consider Ellis a great player, but they need to remember what he did with Golden State, when he was averaging 25.5 PPG one season. Incredible, yes, but will he ever do that again? No. With Ellis, he’s a perfect shooting guard that just happens to be undersized. That’s his biggest advantage. If it wasn’t for his incredible scoring ability, he may be washed up and already overseas. The Jazz, who are pretty shallow in the guard department, could really use the help of Ellis. Mo Williams is a free agent this season, so he may be on his way out, and most people cannot name the Jazz’s starting shooting guard.

Kings: DeMarcus Cousins and Ellis? Nothing could go wrong, right? Considering that these guys are both outspoken and hot-headed, I can see them getting into many altercations about who passes the ball more. It may not be a good decision to pair these two together, but if they learn to play with each other, they could be of the league’s deadliest, The Kings’ recent hiring of Mike Malone, the Warriors’ ex-assistant coach, has influenced Ellis’ free agency decision. The Kings could be a very good fit for him.

 

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