2012 NBA Free Agency Preview: Southwest Division


Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Danny Green (4) and forward (33) Boris Diaw during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

San Antonio Spurs (50-16)Draft Picks: 59thCap number with options: $49.3 million for nine playersOptions: Blair and Mills.Free Agents: Diaw and Duncan (unrestricted). Green and Mills (restricted).Projected draft picks (per Draft Express): Leon Radosevic (59th).

What kind of players do you think the Spurs should acquire free agency? Which players (Green, Diaw, Duncan, Mills) should the Spurs re-sign?

Obviously, Tim Duncan is going to be returning to San Antonio. There is no chance he will test free agency,     so don’t expect the Big Three to broken up by a Duncan departure. I would not expect to see Patty Mills back     in the Alamo City, especially if Nando De Colo is coming in to the organization next season. However, it     gets tricky with Danny Green and Boris Diaw. For starters, Danny Green was non-existent in the Oklahoma     City series. He could not find his stroke, and Popovich’s decision to start Manu Ginobili probably did not do     Green’s confidence any favors.

If San Antonio can find a more seasoned guard that has been in big games before, then pull the plug on     the Danny Green project and sign whoever that guy may be. However, give Green a chance to redeem     himself in 2013, but if he’s not producing see if you can package him in a deal somewhere. As for Boris     Diaw, I say keep him. However, the way Dejuan Blair saw a dip in his playing time, Diaw could suffer the     same fate if the Spurs can find a bigger and better center. As for the two, it’s hard to say who has a better     chance, but I don’t think it’s time just yet to let them go.

Do you think trading up into the first round is a solid strategy?

Unless the Spurs see another Kawhi Leonard on the horizon, then no don’t trade up. I know it never seems     like a great draft, so it is hard to tell who is going to be a star at the next level. However, I wouldn’t     recommend shipping off anyone for a rookie. Especially after the way the Spurs played in the Western     Conference Final. Maybe Oklahoma City’s collapse has made people forget, but if other franchises watch     the tape from the Spurs-Thunder series, a lot of our assets, minus the Big Three and Stephen Jackson, did     not make a great impression on the world. So unless you can move up farther up the board, don’t settle for     a somewhat higher pick just to take a chance on a guy. This organization has never let us down, but I don’t     see this is a solid strategy.

Analysis courtesy of Air Alamo staff writer Joe Bendiez


Memphis Grizzlies (41-25)Draft Picks: 25thCap number with options: $62.5 million for nine playersOptions: None.Free Agents: Arenas and Haddadi (unrestricted). Arthur, Hudson, Mayo and Speights (restricted).Projected draft picks: Evan Fournier (25th).

Should the Grizzlies trade Rudy Gay this offseason? If so, who do you think they should acquire?

Keeping their core intact without going over the luxury tax is going to be difficult for the Grizzlies because     three of of the big extensions that they handed out recently were all under the old CBA. That may not sound     like a big deal, but it is because in this new system with the more punitive luxury tax, every cent matters.

As bad as Rudy Gay’s deal looks now, the really bad one is Mike Conley Jr. He got paid a lot of money to be     a decent ballhandler and average and maybe below average jump shooter.

That said, trading Gay is definitely an option because he makes a max contract under the old CBA and he     would have the most trade value of anyone outside of Marc Gasol. Teams are still tantalized by his     potential, even though I believe that he’s already reached his ceiling.

I do believe that a team like Charlotte should consider trading their pick for Gay because he’s ready to     contribute right now and could thrive in a place where he’s the best player. We just don’t know right now.

How valuable is O.J. Mayo to Memphis?

In 2010, the Grizzlies got as high as 6th in the western conference playoff hunt, but eventually fell off     because they had the worst bench in the NBA. Their best three guys off of that bench consisted of     Hasheem Thabeet, Sam Young and Demarre Carroll.

When Mayo was moved to the bench in the 2010-2011 season, the Grizzlies took off as a team mainly     because he is a guy that can score in bunches and while he isn’t as efficient as a lot of guys, he can     handle the ball, he can shoot the ball and his defense has come a long way in his four seasons in the     league.

If the Grizzlies are going to move Gay for a cheaper small forward (and maybe not take back as much salary     in the process) then they could keep Mayo in town as long as it’s on a reasonable rate. The problem is that     I think Mayo is worth a lot more money than he’s worth and a team with cap space will likely overpay him.

    Analysis courtesy of Beale Street Bears editor Chuck Livingston


Feb 28, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams (8) argues a call with a referee during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas Mavericks (36-30)Draft Picks: 17th, 55thCap number with options: $54.6 million for nine playersOptions: Azubuike, Carter, Odom and Wright.Free Agents: Cardinal, Kidd, Mahimni, Terry, West and Jianlian (unrestricted).Projected draft picks: Terrence Jones (17th) and Tomas Satoransky (55th).

If Deron Williams opts to stay in Brooklyn, who else could the Mavericks acquire in free agency?

Deron Williams has limited his two potential destinations to Dallas and Brooklyn though Phoenix, Houston     and the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to make their own bids for Williams’ services. If I’m Deron Williams     (and, unfortunately, I am not) then I’d pick Dallas without hesitating. Brooklyn’s enticing market isn’t enough     to cover for their consistent inability to build a legitimate contender and abominable front office decisions.

    But, I digress. Apparently, Dallas believes there is a 70% chance that Williams re-signs with Brooklyn.     Given the percentages, it seems that they should at least entertain other free agents as a backup plan.

If they decline Lamar Odom’s option, Dallas will open up $8.2 million of cap space, giving themselves a     significant amount of money to pursue other acclaimed free agents. Roy Hibbert is an attractive piece     because he’ll alleviate the pressure on Dirk Nowitzki’s shoulders but he’s a restricted free agent and     Indiana is likely to match every offer. Perhaps they bring back Steve Nash into the fold. Dallas has been     notably silent in the rumor mill other than their pursuit of Williams and it’s not too late to think of a second     option just in case. You know, it can’t hurt.

Analysis courtesy of myself


Houston Rockets (34-32)Draft Picks: 14th, 16thCap number with options: $42.4 million for 10 playersOptions: Adrien, Budinger, Dalembert, Patterson and Smith.Free Agents: Boykins, Camby and Dragic (unrestricted). Lee (restricted).Projected draft picks: Meyers Leonard (14th) and Moe Harkless (16th).

Do you foresee any scenario where Houston trades Lowry and retains Dragic? Or, possibly, a scenario where they retain both?

I don’t think both guys will be back. The Rockets seem more interested in retaining Dragic. Dragic is at the     top of the free agent board for multiple teams and GM Daryl Morey knows that. Dragic has said he wants to     stay in Houston so i think a deal gets done. Lowry becomes the Rockets top trading piece and teams like     the Lakers and Raptors will be calling.

Do you think trading Samuel Dalembert’s $6.7 million expiring contract and the No. 16 overall pick is a solid move?

I believe it is. After the Rockets got Marcus Camby from Portland he immeadiately came in and took     Dalembert’s spot. Camby wants to retire in Houston and Morey will see to it that he does. Houston is trying     to get into the top 10 in the draft and there are a few teams like Golden State who could use his services     with Bogut’s injury plagued career. The Rockets are after Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol and could use     Lowry and a top 10 pick to get one of the prized big men. If they land a superstar big man Dalembert’s     services will no longer be needed. The Rockets don’t need more young players, they need stars.

What big men (via draft or free agency) do you believe will help the Rockets improve their main deficiency?

If the Rockets do keep one or both of their first-round picks i think they should be focused on landing Tyler     Zeller. I think he will become a very solid center in this league and will sure up their interior defense as     well as their post offense for years to come. If the Rockets target a big man through free agency they should     throw the house at restricted free agent Roy Hibbert just to see if the Pacers wont match their offer. If that     doesn’t work they should sign Chris Kaman and resign Marcus Camby to back him up. I know they’re both     older players but they still get the job done and would fix the Rockets problems down low on both sides of     the floor.

    Analysis courtesy of Space City Scoop editor Kyle Adams


Apr 2, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Anthony Davis waves to the crowd after cutting down a piece of the net after the finals of the 2012 NCAA men

New Orleans Hornets (21-45)Draft Picks: 1st, 10th, 46thCap number with options: $39.8 million for seven playersOptions: Ayon.Free Agents: Belinelli, Kaman and Landry (unrestricted). Gordon (restricted).Projected draft picks: Anthony Davis (1st), Austin Rivers (10th) and Mike Scott (46th).

Now that the Hornets have unloaded a bunch of cap space, where should they proceed?

The Sky is the limit for the Hornets right now.     They really have something speacial with     Anthony Davis and the ability to build around him right now. What they should do in free agency really all     revolves around who they select in the draft next week with the #10 and #46 picks. I want to see the Hornets     bring Eric Gordon back first, when healthy he is definitley worth a max contract. There aren’t too many other     free agents this year that make a whole lot of sense for the Hornets right now, I dont want to see them trying     to sign guys like Javale McGee just because they can. It would be interesting to see them make a run at     Deron Williams though, or maybe even Steve Nash, a guy that could run this team and lead them into the     playoffs.

How excited are you about New Orleans’ potential team?

I’m really excited to see what type of team the Hornets will develop into. With all these young players and     potentially great draft picks I see them as the team in the West competiting with the Oklahoma City     Thunder. I think they have the best chance to make the biggest improvement than any other team in the     NBA right now. I just cant wait to see who the Hornets select on draft night, besides Anthony Davis of     course.

    Analysis courtesy of Swarm & Sting editor Christian Blanks

Stay tuned for more division free agency previews in the coming weeks. What do you think the Spurs (or other teams) should attempt to do this offseason?