The Biggest NBA Free Agents Up For Grabs This Summer

Deron Williams

Photo: YouTube.com

The 2012 NBA Draft didn’t include the frenzy of trades many expected, but the NBA landscape should be drastically shaken up this summer as free agency opens on Sunday.The draft is how teams improve slowly over time, but signing a big name free agent can make a huge immediate impact on a franchise’s fortunes. Just look at the 2012 NBA champion Miami Heat.

There are a wealth of big names available on the market, led by point guard Deron Williams.

Deron Williams, unrestricted free agent

Williams became an unrestricted free agent after giving up his player option to return to the Brooklyn Nets for an extra season.

The Nets and Dallas Mavericks are considered the front-runners to sign Williams.

2011-12 stats:

  • 21.0 points per game
  • 8.7 assists per game
  • 1.2 steals per game

Ray Allen, unrestricted free agent

Ray Allen is the most coveted off-guard this summer, and championship-ready teams will be in the best position to land Allen.

LeBron James, for one, hopes Allen comes to Miami.

2011-12 stats:

  • 14.2 points per game
  • 3.1 rebounds per game
  • 45.3% 3-point percentage

Kevin Garnett, unrestricted free agent

Kevin Garnett is expected to make a decision regarding his future in the next few days, and the Big Ticket is contemplating retirement.

If he does decide to continue playing, he'll be an unrestricted free agent, but it's difficult to imagine him leaving Boston.

2011-12 stats:

  • 15.8 points per game
  • 8.2 rebounds per game
  • 50.3% field goal percentage

Steve Nash, unrestricted free agent

The Toronto Raptors are expected to make a push to sign the Canadian point guard, but Nash has said he's open to playing for any team in the league, except the Los Angeles Lakers.

2011-12 stats:

  • 12.5 points per game
  • 10.7 assists per game
  • 89.4% free throw percentage

Aaron Brooks, restricted free agent

Aaron Brooks played last season in China after the lockout tempted him to go overseas, but Brooks' high-octane game will be back in the NBA next season.

The Suns have extended a qualifying offer to Brooks, making him a restricted free agent.

2009-10* stats:

  • 19.6 points per game
  • 5.3 assists per game
  • 2.7 rebounds per game

*Brooks' last full NBA season

Kris Humphries, unrestricted free agent

Humphries is more well known for his off-court activity than what he does on the floor, but Humphries was one of the Nets' best players last season.

2011-12 stats:

  • 13.8 points per game
  • 11.0 rebounds per game
  • 1.2 blocks per game

Chauncey Billups, unrestricted free agent

Billups will be taking a major pay cut after earning over 14 million last season, but Chris Paul has said he wants the Clippers to bring Billups back.

2011-12 stats:

  • 14.9 points per game
  • 4.0 assists per game

Gerald Wallace, unrestricted free agent

Wallace has bounced around the league the past few years, but he's a proven wing player and can help almost any team in the league.

2011-12 stats:

  • 13.8 points per game
  • 6.7 rebounds per game
  • 2.8 assists per game

Antawn Jamison, unrestricted free agent

Jamison has scored 14.8 points per game or more in every one of his NBA seasons after his 1998-99 rookie year.

He plans to part ways with the Cavaliers, and teams should be lining up to sign a high-class guy like Jamison.

2011-12 stats:

  • 17.2 points per game
  • 6.3 rebounds per game
  • 2.0 assists per game

Chris Kaman, unrestricted free agent

After just 47 games in New Orleans, Kaman is expected to test the waters in free agency, and he may have a high-profile suitor in the Miami Heat.

2011-12 stats:

  • 13.1 points per game
  • 7.7 rebounds per game
  • 1.6 blocks per game

Roy Hibbert, restricted free agent

After his breakout performance in the playoffs this season, re-signing Hibbert should be Indiana's first order of business.

2011-12 stats:

  • 12.8 points per game
  • 8.8 rebounds per game
  • 2.0 blocks per game

O.J. Mayo, unrestricted free agent

O.J. Mayo is a solid shooting guard, but the Grizzlies decided not to extend him an offer to lock him up as a restricted free agent. The Mavericks and Knicks are both reportedly interested in stealing Mayo away from Memphis.

2011-12 stats:

  • 12.6 points per game
  • 2.6 assists per game
  • 3.2 assists per game

Eric Gordon, restricted free agent

The Hornets are expected to re-sign Eric Gordon as part of a young core with Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers that should excite fans in New Orleans.

2011-12 stats:

  • 20.6 points per game
  • 3.4 assists per game
  • 2.8 rebounds per game

Jamal Crawford, unrestricted free agent

Crawford opted out of his contract in Portland, but still has plenty to offer as an experienced guard off the bench.

2011-12 stats:

  • 14.0 points per game
  • 3.2 assists per game
  • 2.0 rebounds per game

Jason Kidd, unrestricted free agent

Kidd was last seen playing golf with Deron Williams.

2011-12 stats:

  • 6.2 points per game
  • 5.5 assists per game
  • 1.7 steals per game

Grant Hill, unrestricted free agent

Grant Hill is 39 years old, but he continues to put up good numbers and should be available for a relatively small price if any teams want a veteran presence.

2011-12 stats:

  • 10.2 points per game
  • 3.5 rebounds per game
  • 2.2 assists per game

Carl Landry, unrestricted free agent

Landry's production has dipped a bit since leaving Sacramento, but he was still a valuable post presence for New Orleans last season.

2011-12 stats:

  • 12.5 points per game
  • 5.2 rebounds per game

Elton Brand

The Philadelphia 76ers may exercise the amnesty clause to get Elton Brand's horrific contract (5-years, $80 million) off the books, and that would make Brand a free agent.

He isn't the player that carried the Clippers years ago, but for the right price he could be a valuable rotation player.

2011-12 stats:

  • 11.0 points per game
  • 7.2 rebounds per game

Brook Lopez, restricted free agent

Brooklyn has extended a qualifying offer to Lopez to make him a restricted free agent by Sunday, and Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reports that league executives predict Brooklyn will match any offers for the young centre.

2011-12 stats:

  • 19.2 points per game
  • 3.6 rebounds per game

Spencer Hawes, unrestricted free agent

Spencer Hawes had been slowly evolving into a decent big man for Philadelphia until back and Achilles injuries sidelined him for most of the season, but he's still just 24 years old and is a true seven-footer.

He made a triumphant return in the playoffs, and scored 22 points in a game 4 win over the Chicago Bulls.

2011-12 stats:

  • 9.6 points per game
  • 7.3 rebounds per game

Now see how a great player fell to a great team at the NBA Draft.

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