Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets (PO)
Carmelo Anthony reportedly has a 3-year, $65 million extension on the table from the Nuggets, but might be willing to pass on that offer with the intention of becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. Rumors are already linking him to the Big Apple where he would join Amare Stoudemire with Chris Paul joining the party in 2012. Of course, that would tampering this early in the game so that can't be in the works, right?
Yao Ming, Rockets (UFA)
Yao has battled lower-body injuries for the past couple of years and his 2011 offseason will depend on how healthy he is during the upcoming season. It was recently reported that the big man would consider retiring if he did not return to 100 percent. If Yao is healthy, I would expect the Rockets to try and lock him up to an extension so he doesn't hit the open market next summer.
Tony Parker, Spurs (UFA)
The Spurs have done an admirable job of keeping their talented veterans in recent years and I would expect them to try and sign Parker to an extension during the season. Parker will turn 29 next May so he still has plenty of good basketball in his future but could decide to leave San Antonio if he feels their championship window is closing.
Joakim Noah, Bulls (RFA)
Noah is one of the bright young building blocks for the Bulls and they'll certainly match any contract he would receive next summer. That is if Chicago doesn't already get an extension settled before that occurrence can even take place. No. 4 might seem high on this list, but remember Noah is only 25 and one of the best rebounders in the league.
Al Horford, Hawks (RFA)
In giving Joe Johnson a max contract this summer, the Hawks suddenly are in a sticky financial situation. Horford will likely draw a ton of interest and if a team signing him to an offer sheet front loads the deal, Atlanta may have no choice but to let him walk unless management is willing to dig deeper into their wallets.
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets (TO)
Billups still has game and it would be hard to imagine Denver choosing not to pay him the $14.2 million he would owed for the 2011-2012 season. However, if Carmelo Anthony leaves and Nene also opts out of his deal, they would possibly be losing three starters since Kenyon Martin becomes a free agent. Maybe the Nuggets would let Billups go and begin a re-building process or try to trade Chauncey. Isn't it fun to think about these possible moves already?
Vince Carter, Magic (TO)
Vince Carter is due $18 million in 2011-12 and the Magic have a lot of money invested in their roster for the next several years. While Carter does not deserve that big of a payday, Orlando will likely pick up his option since they would still be well over the cap and unable to find a suitable replacement. They could also try to use Carter's then-expiring contract as trade bait during the season.
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies (UFA)
From the "Nobody Saw That Coming" department, Randolph flourished in Memphis last season and maybe more importantly, was a model citizen. Then this offseason happened where he was tied to some drug allegations in Indiana. His future next summer will depend on his behavior off the court since he obviously is still very skilled.
Aaron Brooks, Rockets (RFA)
The NBA's most improved player this season will cash in next summer. Expect him to still be in a Houston Rockets jersey as GM Daryl Morey has shown a loyalty to his players as demonstrated by him matching the Cavs' offer sheet for Kyle Lowry. Unless of course Brooks is used as a trade chip to possibly land Chris Paul...
David West, Hornets (PO)
This will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on. If Chris Paul ends up being traded and New Orleans switches to re-building mode, West could easily opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent. Even if the Hornets keep Paul, West may be wise to opt out since he could undoubtedly find a better deal than the $7.5 million he would be due.
Caron Butler, Mavs (UFA)
Butler's name has also been linked to a possible Chris Paul trade, but assuming he plays out his contract in Dallas, he would likely be re-signed by Mark Cuban who wants to surround Dirk with as much talent as possible. Butler could be tempted to leave Dallas though if there is an opportunity to have a bigger role with another team.
Jeff Green, Thunder (RFA)
Oklahoma City already reached an extension with Kevin Durant, and I would have to imagine that signing Green to a new deal is the next priority. It will be interesting to see what his market value is though because I don't think Green is a $10 million a year player being the No. 3 option on the Thunder, but they might have to pay him that if they want to keep him.
Tyson Chandler, Mavs (UFA)
Chandler could easily be on the top 10 of this list, but until he proves he can stay healthy, the 7-footer lands at this spot. Playing in Dallas this season with Jason Kidd could provide a resurgence for his career and thus earn him a serious paycheck next summer since size is always in demand in the league.
Jamal Crawford, Hawks (UFA)
Referring back to Horford's write-up, Crawford's status in Atlanta could come down to their financial situation. He fit perfectly with the Hawks this season earning NBA's Sixth Man of the Year honors, but Crawford could be seeking a starting role next summer which he won't see in Atlanta as long as Joe Johnson is around.
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies (UFA)
He is only 25 years old and an almost double-double center in the league. That wreaks of a massive raise next summer from the $3.5 million he is due for the 2010-11 season. Again, since size is always in demand in the NBA, numerous teams will be banging on his door unless he reaches an extension in Memphis.
Troy Murphy, Pacers (UFA)
I think he is one of the more underrated players in the league because he plays in Indiana. Murphy can get you a double-double a night and stretch out defenses with his three-point shot. A return to the Pacers seems unlikely unless they show some serious improvement this season.
Jason Richardson, Suns (UFA)
If Phoenix takes a major step back this season without Amare Stoudemire, Jason Richardson could easily bolt next summer in hopes of joining a contender. Richardson will turn 30 in a few months though and could just look for the biggest payday possible regardless of the team.
Tayshaun Prince, Pistons (UFA)
If Detroit doesn't make the post-season next year, it might be time for Prince to continue his career elsewhere. I would imagine he would be a sought-after player by contenders due to his ability to mesh well and play his role. Don't rule out the Pistons dealing Prince during this season either.
Greg Oden, Blazers (RFA)
For someone who has only played in 82 NBA games during his three seasons in the league, I cannot see any team throwing a long-term deal at him. Unless of course Oden proves to be healthy and lives up to his expectations, then anything is possible.
Andre Miller, Blazers (TO)
When Miller was signed last summer, it was more a temporary solution at the point for Portland. His team option is worth about $7.8 million next season and I would not surprised to see the Blazers shop his services if they feel they can find an upgrade.
Other Notable 2011 Free Agents: Kendrick Perkins (UFA), Shane Battier (UFA), Carl Landry (UFA), Michael Redd (UFA), Marcus Thornton (UFA), Andrei Kirilenko (UFA), Kenyon Martin (UFA), Glen Davis (UFA), Grant Hill (UFA), Peja Stojakovic (UFA), Samuel Dalembert (UFA), Corey Brewer (RFA), Rodney Stuckey (RFA), Mike Conley (RFA), Wilson Chandler (RFA), Jared Dudley (RFA), Nene (PO), Leandro Barbosa (PO)
Hey Walter! Lighten up on the new Niners front office. There's no Trent Baalke anymore. No Chip Kelly or Jim Tomsula around. No Jed York or Paraag Marathe interference so far either. No one knows what the Niners will do because they arent leaking like a rusty bucket anymore. Don't think they will blow the #2 pick by taking Trubisky.