It’s been a wild free agency period and we still lack clarity on where Dwight Howard will be playing. All indications as of Monday afternoon are that he will be traded to the Nets (in a potential 14-player deal), but no deal has been made yet. Here’s a quick look at the big names in the free agent market, and where they landed or might be headed. Most of these deals cannot become official until Wednesday, but chances are that most, if not all, will smoothly become 'done deals'.
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Dwight Howard C – Nets?
The latest reports are that a four-team deal that would send Howard to the Nets is getting closer and closer to being finalized. The list of players that could potentially be moved in this deal is extensive, and includes Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks, among others. It’s probably not worth going into all the details until it actually goes down, as it is sure to be one of the more complex trades in NBA history if and when it happens. It’s also important to note that Howard is coming off back surgery, and exactly when he’ll be ready to play at 100 percent is still an unknown.
Deron Williams PG – Nets
Williams re-signed with the Nets and will be there for the foreseeable future. A potential core of Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard has Nets fans very excited, but we’ll have to wait and see what other puzzle pieces will be left in Brooklyn once the dust settles on the Howard deal. As usual, Williams should be a dominant fantasy point guard.
Steve Nash PG – Lakers
Nash shocked most of the world by going to the Lakers where he’ll provide Kobe Bryant with the first great point guard he’s ever played with. It looks like Grant Hill could follow Nash to L.A., where a potential starting five of Nash, Kobe, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum has Laker fans thinking championship again. Nash is old as dirt (38), but still has plenty left in the tank, and he’s already talked to coach Mike Brown about calling plays and running the offense. I don’t know how he and Kobe will work together at sharing the ball, but something tells me the Lakers are going to be just fine. As usual, Nash should be a very good fantasy point guard again this season, but beware of those turnovers.
Joe Johnson SG – Nets
Johnson and his massive contract were traded to the Nets and he should be an excellent fit in Brooklyn. If Dwight joins the Nets, Johnson will no longer be the focal point of his team’s offense, which should be a good thing. Johnson won’t score as much as he did for the Hawks or have as much fantasy value as he once had, but he should still be a solid shooting guard option available after the early rounds.
Eric Gordon SG – Hornets
Eric Gordon said his heart is no longer in New Orleans, but the Hornets will match the Suns' offer for him, despite his appearance in just nine games last season due to knee issues. Gordon is also unhappy that the Hornets drafted Austin Rivers, but will have to get over it pretty quickly. The bigger question is how long will it take Hornets fans to forgive him? As for Gordon’s fantasy value, it will be high, but only if he can stay healthy. And thus far in his short career, he hasn’t been able to prove he can do that.
Roy Hibbert C – Pacers
The Pacers will match the Blazers’ max-offer for Hibbert, which I think is a good move. Hibbert is young and talented, and counting on Chris Kaman or JaVale McGee (if they would have let Hibbert go), could have been a much bigger mistake than paying Hibbert. The Blazers will now likely give both Kaman and McGee a hard look.
Nicolas Batum SF – Blazers
Batum actually met with the Blazers and personally asked them not to match the offer he received from the Timberwolves. Much like Gordon, Batum says his heart’s not in Portland and he’ll have to mend fences and put up with boo birds once the season starts. But he’s got all the fantasy tools necessary to be a stud, if the Blazers will finally turn him loose.
Elton Brand PF/C – Free Agent
The Sixers used the amnesty clause on Brand and it sounds like the Mavericks are going to try to snag him off waivers. And if they do, it’s very possible he could play heavy minutes at center in Dallas, making him worth a mid-round fantasy pick this Fall.
Goran Dragic PG – Suns
Dragic wanted to go someplace where he could be a starter and he will do just that for the Suns. Rookie Kendall Marshall will now have to take a big backseat to Dragic, who will be a highly coveted fantasy point guard this year. Hopefully he can live up to the hype after averaging 18 points, eight assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 28 starts for the Rockets. I look forward to owning Dragic in a few leagues this year.
Mo Williams PG – Jazz
Williams agreed to opt-in with the Clippers clearing the way for him to be traded to the Jazz. With Devin Harris now in Atlanta, the roadway has been cleared for Williams to return to a starting point guard role. I’m guessing he’ll be a value pick in the middle rounds of most drafts, although a decline in his skills may be coming now that he’s 30.
Lamar Odom F – Clippers
Odom is returning to Los Angeles, which has to be considered a good thing after watching him meltdown after being traded to Dallas last year. It’s hard to say what his role will be with his new team, but you have to think things will go better than they did in Dallas. He’s likely headed for a stint off the bench, and he will not be a guy I’m targeting on draft day, unless he’s available very late.
Jason Kidd & Jeremy Lin PG – Knicks
Kidd shocked the Mavericks and chose the Knicks at the last minute, leaving the Mavericks without a point guard. He’ll mentor Jeremy Lin, who will have his offer from the Rockets matched by the Knicks, but my guess is Lin will still get the starting job. We’ll have to see how training camp goes, but the fact remains that the timeshare coming is going to be bad news for both point guards. And for the record, Kidd, who will turn 40 in March, is 15 years older than Lin.