Yao Ming (ETO), Rockets. Age: 29.
Coming off a foot injury that cost Yao all of this past season, there is no chance he will opt out of the final year of his deal in which he is scheduled to make almost $17.7 million because no team will risk paying him that much until he proves he is healthy. If he is 100 percent, expect the Rockets to try and sign him to a contract extension so he doesn't hit the market as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Predicted Contract: plays out contract
Possible Destinations: HOU
David Lee (UFA), Knicks. Age: 27.
Lee almost seems to be an afterthought this offseason with all the hype surrounding the LeBron's, Wade's, and Bosh's of free agency. Teams shouldn't be sleeping on Lee though. He averaged 20-plus points and almost 12 boards a game on a crappy Knicks team this past season and is one of the top rebounders in the league. He probably won't see a max contract unless one of the major players strikes out on bigger names and panics. Still, he is a bright young talent who works hard down low and will be well compensated this summer.
Predicted Contract: 5 years, $65 million
Possible Destinations: NY, MIA, CHI, TOR, PHX
Brendan Haywood (UFA), Mavericks. Age: 30.
Haywood broke his single-season rebounds per game mark by almost two boards this past season. Maybe he realized he was in a contract year and could cash in if he acted like a real big man, but his size and newfound ability to crash the glass is always attractive for NBA teams. If he doesn't re-sign with Dallas, look for him to try and cash in with one of the teams well under the cap. If neither of those happens, look for a contender to land him with their mid-level exception.
Predicted Contract: 4 years, $30 million
Possible Destinations: DAL, MIA, NY, CLE, DET
Tyson Chandler (ETO), Bobcats. Age: 27.
Let me put it this way; Chandler was once again injured throughout the season and pulled out of the starting line-up in favor of Nazr Mohammed and the player formerly known as Theo Ratliff�s expiring contract. If he turns down the $12.75 million he would be due next season to become a free agent, he is dumber than Heidi Montag�s breast implants. Yet, rumors keep suggesting Chandler will indeed opt out in hopes of landing one more big contract which he thinks he can still get. I don�t get why anyone would give him a long-term, big money deal.
Predicted Contract: Plays out contract
Possible Destinations: CHAR
Jermaine O'Neal (UFA), Heat. Age: 31.
I am going to assume O'Neal thinks he is still really good and should earn a big paycheck rather than take a complementary role on a contender. I can see him selling out and signing with whatever team offers him the most money regardless of whether they are a contender or re-building. O'Neal could be in for a rude awakening though as his last three years has massively dropped his worth around the league.
Predicted Contract: 3 years, $17 million
Possible Destinations: WAS, NY, PHX, CLE, ATL, DAL
Joel Przybilla (ETO), Blazers. Age: 30. Przybilla declined early termination option
Coming off a season-ending injury, Przybilla would be foolish to tear up the final year of his deal with Portland that will pay him more than $7.4 million. He is not worth that much on the open market.
Predicted Contract: Plays out contract
Possible Destinations: POR
Channing Frye (PO), Suns. Age: 27.
Before arriving in the Phoenix, Frye's career was heading in the wrong direction and he was on the verge of possibly being out of the league. But Frye resurrected his career this past season, using his pick-and-pop ability to be a solid contributor with the Suns. He is due to make a little more than $2 million next season and will almost certainly opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. Frye is not a true big man in that he lacks a great physicality down low, but his ability to step out and knock down open shots will make him attractive to teams looking for an affordable guy with size.
Predicted Contract: 4 years, $22 million
Possible Destinations: PHX, MIA, NY, TOR, NJ, PHI, SA
Shaquille O'Neal (UFA), Cavaliers. Age: 38.
The Diesel is a fossil. He is 38 years old and 400 pounds, and showed a bizarre hesitancy this past season in Cleveland, seemingly forgetting how to just overpower opponents around the rim. But because he is Shaq and his name still carries plenty of weight around the league, (pun intended) he will find a home this offseason. He is not going to play for anyone but a contender and will likely only get a one-year deal at around a quarter of his 2009-10 salary of $21 million.
Predicted Contract: 1 year, $5 million
Possible Destinations: DAL, MIA, CLE, NY
Brad Miller (UFA), Bulls. Age: 34.
Though nearing the end of his NBA career, Miller can still be a valuable and useful player. He has always had a good mid-range game and has the size to throw his body around inside. I would expect Miller to several looks from contenders looking to add a veteran big man, and the former Boilermaker will likely accept his destiny as a role player in hopes of winning a ring.
Predicted Contract: 2 years, $8 million
Possible Destinations: HOU, BOS, SA, CHI, PHX, CLE, NO, LAL
Ben Wallace (UFA), Pistons. Age: 35.
Big Ben will contemplate his future this offseason with the possibility that he will hang up his afro band. If he does decide to play another year, whatever team signs him knows what they will get; a physical junkyard dog type of player who will ferociously attack the glass and provide little to no offense. Plenty of teams would love to have a player like Wallace both because of his abilities on the floor and what he can teach younger guys off it. Finishing his career in Detroit would probably be ideal, but I could see Wallace parting ways with the Pistons for one last chance at bringing home another title.
Predicted Contract: 1 year, $3 million
Possible Destinations: DET, SA, LAL, DAL, MIA, NY
Other Free Agent Centers: Erick Dampier (UFA), Nenad Kristic (PO), Kurt Thomas (UFA), Darko Milicic (UFA), Joel Anthony (PO), Anthony Tolliver (UFA), Kyrylo Fesenko (RFA), Kwame Brown (UFA), Fabricio Oberto (UFA), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (UFA), Theo Ratliff (UFA), Josh Boone (QO), Johan Petro (UFA), Tony Battie (UFA), Joe Smith (UFA), Jason Collins (UFA), Jarron Collins (UFA), Louis Amundson (UFA), Dwayne Jones (UFA),Joey Dorsey (UFA), Rasho Nesterovic (UFA), Jamaal Magloire (UFA), Hilton Armstrong (UFA), D.J. Mbenga (UFA), Primoz Brezec (UFA), Mark Blount (UFA), Etan Thomas (UFA), Adonal Foyle (UFA), Ian Mahinmi (UFA), Patrick O'Bryant (UFA)
Interesting comparison. If the excuses are true then I'd say this could definitely be the next Jay Cutler. Like a lot of athletes with talent and a drive to win, they can forget that they play on a team with egos/emotions and that it only takes one comment to throw shadow on dedication to one's task at hand. Comments about team or based in criticism can undermine the most heart-felt warrior and actually distract you with doing the two things they all strive for: improving and winning.