Although the ‘09 NBA free agent class isn’t as stacked as in years past — not to mention the League is being more thrifty than ever due to the slumping economy — teams still have holes they want to plug, and players have moves they want to make. On the eve of the negotiation period (players can’t officially sign until July 8), we’re taking the next few days to break down each team’s free agent situation…
G – O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner, Mike Wilks
F – Rudy Gay, Quentin Richardson, Hakim Warrick, Sam Young, Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll, Darius Miles, Quinton Ross
C – Marc Gasol, Hasheem Thabeet, Hamed Haddadi, Chris Mihm
Warrick (R), Ross, Mihm, Wilks
The team with the lowest payroll in the League — and therefore the most cap space — can be a major player if they want to be. And that’s the big question. Do they really want to spend the money to be good?
The Grizzlies have holes all over the roster. They could use an upgrade at PG over Mike Conley, who still can’t shoot and doesn’t look close to delivering on the promise he showed in college. A veteran PG who makes good decisions would be a great fit. Or if the plan is to eventually move O.J. Mayo to point, a solid two-guard would be a good move. Despite using two first-round picks on PF’s the last two years, Memphis still has a need there, particularly somebody who can be a scorer. Plus there isn’t one pure shooter on the roster (no, Q-Rich doesn’t count), and the defense needs help all over the place.
Memphis can afford to pay for quality talent, but are held back by the fact that players never seem to want to play for them, and the organization is more interested in saving money than using it.
(Side note: Is nobody else excited to see D-Miles and Q-Rich back together? The antennas/head-tap bar has to be lowered, though; instead of just highlight plays — which neither one of them makes anymore — break it out for layups and made free throws.)
PG – Ray Felton (R), Mike Bibby, Ramon Sessions (R), Andre Miller, Nate Robinson (R), Jarrett Jack (R).
SG – Ben Gordon, Josh Childress (R), Linas Kleiza (R), Anthony Parker, Marquis Daniels, Wally Szczerbiak, Rashad McCants (R)
PF – Carlos Boozer (PO), Lamar Odom, Paul Millsap (R), David Lee (R), Big Baby Davis (R), Charlie Villanueva, Rasheed Wallace, Anderson Varejao, Brandon Bass