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2012 Unrestricted Free Agents

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

There are 12 players in the Observer's NBA top-100 who become unrestricted free agents this summer. Seemingly, these would be prime targets for the Charlotte Bobcats, who can assemble as much as $21 million in room under next season's salary cap. But eight of those players have already played 11 or more NBA seasons -- late in their careers to sign up for a rebuilding job.

Two of the others -- Nets point guard Deron Williams and Hornets center Chris Kaman -- have expressed interest in playing for contenders if they change teams. That leaves two power forwards -- the Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova and the Nets' Kris Humphries.

PlayerCurrent teamYear drafted (overall pick)Comments
Jason KiddMavericks1994 (2)Still has mileage left, but likely chasing another ring.
Kevin GarnettCeltics1995 (5)Might retire; certainly isn't interested in a rebuilding project.
Ray AllenCeltics1996 (5)One of the game's best shooters, but high-mileage and hurt a lot.
Steve NashSuns1996 (15)Good chance he leaves Phoenix, but not to play in Charlotte.
Tim DuncanSpurs1997 (1)Might retire; seems inconceivable he'd leave San Antonio.
Antawn JamisonCavaliers1998 (4)Would consider the hometown Bobcats, but at what price?
Jason TerryMavericks1999 (10)A dangerous perimeter scorer, but on the backside of his career.
Gerald WallaceNets2001 (25)Been there, done that in Charlotte; likely re-signs with the Nets.
Chris KamanHornets2003 (6)He has sent out signals he wants to find a contender.
Kris HumphriesNets2004 (14)A late-bloomer who would improve the Bobcats' rebounding.
Deron WilliamsNets2005 (3)Top unrestricted; says he's only interested in a contender
Ersan IlyasovaBucks2005 (36)A rebounder and 3-point threat; he'd be a good fit for Bobcats.

Possible free agents 2013-14

It will be challenging for the Charlotte Bobcats to recruit prominent free agents off other rosters for a variety of reasons: The NBA's collective bargaining agreement grants advantages to the retaining team, in terms of contract length and year-to-year raises. Also Charlotte's relatively small market size and the Bobcats' lack of previous success (one playoff appearance and that a sweep) make for a tough sale. Still, here are some names from upcoming free-agent classes, both unrestricted and restricted categories. These lists are subject to change, as teams could extend some of these players' contracts before they reach free-agency.

PlayerCurrent teamStatusComments
David WestPacersUnrestricted in 2013##Frontcourt scorer; undersized for power forward but productive.
Chris PaulClippersUnrestricted in 2013##A fantasy; it's a reach to think he'd ever be a Bobcat.
Dwight HowardMagicUnrestricted 2013Best big man in the game, but a flaky, fickle personality.
Andrew BynumLakersUnrestricted 2013One of the league's better centers, he's had injury concerns.
Lou Williams76ersUnrestricted in 2013Thrived last season playing for Doug Collins in Philadelphia.
Stephen CurryWarriorsRestricted in 2013It would be great to bring him home, but the Warriors will protect their rights.
Blake GriffinClippersRestricted in 2013And why would the Clippers ever let him leave?
James HardenThunderRestricted in 2013How much does he benefit from playing with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook?
Serge IbakaThunderRestricted in 2013Maybe the best defensive player in the NBA.
Nikola PekovicThunderRestricted in 2013Timberwolves big man coming off a breakout season.
Pau GasolLakersUnrestricted in 2014Hard to imagine him signing up for rebuilding in Charlotte.
Andrew BogutWarriorsUnrestricted in 2014Accomplished center who's been through injury woes.
Andre Iguodala76ersUnrestricted in 2014A fine defender and team player.
Monta EllisBucksUnrestricted in 2014Posts big numbers, but does he impact winning?
Marcin GortatSunsUnrestricted in 2014A late-blooming European big man; productive rebounder.
DeMarcus CousinsKingsRestricted in 2014A talented center, but a high-maintenance guy.
Greg MonroePistonsRestricted in 2014One of the better young big men in the NBA.
Avery BradleyCelticsRestricted in 2014An excellent perimeter defender for the Celtics.

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