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Buyers Market for Nikola Pekovic?

Pek punishes a rim - USA TODAY Sports

So, I waited to create this after the lottery and VJL had made all of his projection posts to get the best idea overall idea of the FA "Bigs" market going into the off-season. I might be a minority but when thinking about Nikola Pekovic I think we might be in the fortunate position to have a "Bigs" buyers market if you will, similar to the PG market a few years back.

I have listed the current 2012/2013 roster for every team along with their respective upcoming market status. I have also listed the cap space available to all of the teams, but it should be noted that the first value assumes all non-guaranteed (NG) contracts are eliminated and the second value is all options (ETO and TO) are declined. If only one value is listed then there are no contracts with options for the specific team. I have also listed the possible

KEY:

FA – Free Agent

ETO – Early Termination Option

NG – Non-Guaranteed

TO – Team Option

PA – Player Amnesty (According to Rumors)

Atlantic

Knicks:

Centers/PFs: Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin (FA), Amar’e Stoudemire

Cap Space: -$18.68 Million or -$15.66 Million (Without Options)

Nets:

Centers/PFs: Andre Blatche (FA), Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez, Miraz Teletovic

Cap Space: -$26.63 Million or -$25.53 Million (Without Options)

Celtics:

Centers/PFs: Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett (PA?), Jeff Green, Fab Melo, Shavlik Randolph (NG), Jared Sullinger, D.J. White(NG), Chris Wilcox (FA)

Cap Space: -$14.37 Million or $0.97 Million (Without Options)

76ers:

Centers/PFs: Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown (ETO), Andrew Bynum (FA), Spencer Hawes, Arnett Moultrie

Cap Space: $13.62 Million or $16.57 Million (Without Options)

Raptors:

Centers/PFs: Andrea Bargnani, Aaron Gray (ETO), Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas

Cap Space: -$7.74 Million or -$6.17 Million (Without Options)

Central

Pacers:

Centers/PFs: Tyler Hansbrough (FA), Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi, Jeff Pendergraph (FA), Miles Plumlee, David West (FA)

Cap Space: $9.96 Million

Bulls:

Centers/PFs: Carlos Boozer (PA?), Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed (FA), Joakim Noah, Malcolm Thomas (NG), Nikola Mirotic (Cap Hold)

Cap Space: -$15.32 Million

Bucks:

Centers/PFs: Gustavo Ayon, Samuel Dalembert (FA), Drew Gooden, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Joel Przybilla (FA), Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh

Cap Space: $17.95 Million or $28.95 Million (Without Options)

Pistons:

Centers/PFs: Andre Drummond, Jonas Jerebko, Viacheslav Kravtsov (NG), Jason Maxiell (FA), Greg Monroe, Charlie Villanueva (ETO)

Cap Space: $29.03 Million

Cavaliers:

Centers/PFs: Kevin Jones (NG), Marreese Speights (ETO), Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Tyler Zeller

Cap Space: $22.34 Million or $26.86 Million (Without Options)

Southeast

Heat:

Centers/PFs: Chris Andersen (FA), Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard (FA), Rashard Lewis (ETO), Jarvis Varnado (NG)

Cap Space: -$25.68 Million or -$15.55 Million (Without Options)

Hawks:

Centers/PFs: Al Horford, Ivan Johnson (FA), Zaza Pachulia (FA), Johan Petro (FA), Mike Scott (NG), Anthony Tolliver (FA), Josh Smith (FA)

Cap Space: $38.79 Million

Wizards:

Centers/PFs: Trevor Booker, Jason Collins (FA), Nene Hilario, Cartier Martin (FA), Emeka Okafor (ETO), Kevin Seraphin

Cap Space: -$0.63 Million or $21.58 Million (Without Options)

Bobcats:

Centers/PFs: Bismack Biyombo, DeSagana Diop (FA), Brendan Haywood, Josh McRoberts (FA), Byron Mullens (FA), Tyrus Thomas

Cap Space: $16.62 Million or $29.82 Million (Without Options)

Magic:

Centers/PFs: Glen Davis, Al Harrington (NG), Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn (NG), Nikola Vucevic

Cap Space: $5.64 Million or $12.89 Million (Without Options)

Pacific

Clippers:

Centers/PFs: Blake Griffen, Ryan Hollins (FA), DeAndre Jordan, Lamar Odom (FA), Ronny Turiaf (FA)

Cap Space: $13.76 Million

Warriors:

Centers/PFs: Andris Biedrins (ETO), Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Dwayne Jones (NG), Carl Landry (ETO), David Lee

Cap Space: -$13.00 Million or $15.05 Million

Lakers:

Centers/PFs: Pau Gasol (PA?), Jordan Hill, Dwight Howard (FA), Robert Sacre (FA), Antawn Jamison (FA)

Cap Space: -$17.63 Million or -$8.35 Million (Without Option)

Kings:

Centers/PFs: Cole Aldrich (FA), DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes, James Johnson (FA), Patrick Patterson, Jason Thompson

Cap Space: $16.38 Million

Suns:

Centers/PFs: Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, Hamed Haddadi (NG), Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Jermaine O’Neal (FA), Luis Scola

Cap Space: $13.74 Million

Southwest

Spurs:

Centers/PFs: Aaron Baynes, DeJuan Blair (FA), Matt Bonner (NG), Boris Diaw (ETO), Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter (FA)

Cap Space: $20.39 Million or $26.22 Million (Without Options)

Grizzlies:

Centers/PFs: Darrell Arthur, Ed Davis, Austin Daye (FA), Marc Gasol, Jon Leuer (FA), Zach Randolph, Willie Reed (NG)

Cap Space: -$1.00 Million or $2.13 Million (Without Options)

Rockets:

Centers/PFs: Omer Asik, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Tim Ohlbrecht (NG), Thomas Robinson, Greg Smith (NG), Royce White

Cap Space: $14.96 Million or $21.26 Million (Without Options)

Mavericks:

Centers/PFs: Elton Brand (FA), Bernard James (NG), Chris Kaman (FA), Dirk Nowitzki, Brandan Wright (FA)

Cap Space: $17.70 Million or $30.97 Million (Without Options)

Pelicans:

Centers/PFs: Lou Amundson (FA), Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez (NG), Jason Smith (NG)

Cap Space: $23.90 Million

Northwest

Thunder:

Centers/PFs: Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Daniel Orton (NG), Kendrick Perkins (PA), Hasheem Thabeet (NG)

Cap Space: -$7.92 Million

Nuggets:

Centers/PFs: Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov (FA), Anthony Randolph

Cap Space: -$8.79 Million or $7.54 Million (Without Options)

Jazz:

Centers/PFs: Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson (FA), Enes Kanter, Paul Milsap (FA), Marvin Williams (ETO)

Cap Space: $31.97 Million or $39.47 Million (Without Options)

Trail Blazers:

Centers/PFs: LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Freeland, J.J. Hickson (FA), Jared Jeffries (NG), Meyers Leonard

Cap Space: $14.83 Million

Timberwolves:

Centers/PFs: Dante Cunningham (TO), Chris Johnson (NG), Andrea Kirilenko (ETO), Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic (FA), Derrick Williams, Greg Stiemsma (NG)

Cap Space: $7.89 Million or $20.29 Million (Without Options)

Centers/PFs with Guaranteed Contracts in the upcoming draft

Nerlens Noel – 1

Anthony Bennett – 3

Alex Len – 6

Rudy Gobert – 10

Cody Zeller – 11

Kelly Olynyk – 12

Steven Adams – 16

Mason Plumlee – 17

Gorgui Dieng – 20

Tony Mitchell – 21

Jeff Withey – 23

Lucas Nogueira – 28

Mike Muscala – VJL guy who is not in the first round

Andre Roberson – VJL guy who is not in the first round

2012/2013 Rosters: ESPN.com

FA status and salaries: Storytellerscontract.com

Current Cap projection for 13/14 season - $60 million: Hoopsworld.com assumption (I’ll look for better source and estimate)

Draft Projections: Draftexpress.com (5/22/2013)

The Players:

The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that there is going to be, by my count 23 (not including Pek) significant (my opinion) center/pfs entering the FA market. This includes big men such as; Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum, David West, Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, Tiago Splitter, Timofey Mozgov, B.J. Mullens, and J.J. Hickson. Then adding that to the 12-14 new big men entering the league through this draft. You are talking about up to 37 big men of varying value becoming available to this group of FA spenders. (I’m going to ignore the possibility of the potential Amnesty candidates I’ve identified above). Then if you take into account that there is (according to DX) the possibility that another 14 PF/Cs will be available in the 2014 draft. While not all of these players will obviously contribute in a significant way it outlines a significant point I am trying to make. I don’t think there will be a team that will make a very concerted effort to chase after our favorite big man. There is also the fact that there are other significant FAs this summer that would take attention away from Pek, such as Andre Iguodala and Chris Paul.

The Teams:

Now according to Stroytellers, there is the possibility of having 17 teams with more than $10 million in cap space available next season to spend. Below I lay them out.

Philadelphia 76ers:

I am not sure where they want to go to be honest with you, and along with the Bucks I could see them being a possible contender to pay for Pek. However, there is the Bynum question, they gave up a lot to get him, are they willing to let him walk? They also have Moultrie and Hawes, and no discernable plan for the future. Pek is not going to right this ship and unless they want to throw logic out the window, I don’t really see them giving Pek a serious thought. Think they may go draft, Bynum, or stick with Hawes for now.

Milwaukee Bucks:

The other team I think could honestly go either way but still like our chances (50/50 right?). Similar to the Sixers, I can’t see a plan here. They do however have Henson, Sanders, and Ilyasova. Their problem isn’t really in the front court, its having Monte and Jennings run that show. I think they focus on the guard positions for now. Doubt they have any intention of throwing big money at Pek, as again he isn’t saving this francise.

Detroit Pistons:

They just draft Drummond and have Monroe, they are going to focus on guards for now. I don’t really think more analysis is needed; it would blow my mind if they may a serious inquiry into Pek. Also they are young probably build through the draft instead of a big FA signing.

Cleveland Cavaliers:

Honestly I thought they may have pursued Pek, had they taken Porter, however now that it’s almost a certifiable guarantee (it is, right?) they take Noel, I don’t think we have a ton to worry about. Again they are young; I would doubt they target an expensive FA since they’ll probably focus on their rookies.

Atlanta Hawks:

This team is on the verge of a tear down, not sure what direction it’s going. Do they target multiple FAs to stay alive or tear it down to the studs? I’m thinking the latter but if they do go the former I doubt it will be to aim for a guy like Pek. The more I think about them, the more I worry they’ll be a sleeper.

Washington Wizards:

Nene and Okafor have done a great job with these youngsters, they are also expensive. I think they keep the core and build through the draft. It has done pretty well for them so far. Also their cap space is vastly dependent on options which most likely won’t be exercised.

Charlotte Bobcats:

Not sure what they decide with Mullens, they have Biyombo, and they are in a hefty rebuild. Probably build through draft, can’t see them spending a ton on a FA like Pek and letting Hendo and Mullens walk when they are in no position to make a push towards playoffs.

Orlando Magic:

Not a ton of cap space, huge rebuild, and they aready have Vucevic. Just all in all don’t see much competition for Pek’s services coming from them.

Los Angeles Clippers:

See Chris Paul. If they strike out don’t see them targeting a center.

Golden State Warriors:

They have a weird cap situation. In order to really have any they need Biedrins and Jefferson to opt out of massive deals and Rush and Landry to opt out of their lesser deals. I can see the latter possibly as their services may be more desirable but that would still leave GS over the cap limit. Even if they get the cap space they have Bogut and Lee. Would they want to spend that money on Pek, doubt it.

Sacramento Kings:

I think this is another youth rebuild. They need a face-lift and Pek isn’t it. They already have a DeMarcus Cousins so I doubt center is going to be a major concern.

Phoenix Suns:

I feel this team might be 2 minutes away from blowing everything up. Not only do they not have a ton of cap space, I doubt they use it on a vet like Pek when this team has little chance of doing anything big in the near future. Also Gortat plays his position.

As a side note: Does anyone have the feeling they keep Gortat and Dudley? If they get Dipo/Porter/Zeller then have another good draft next year. You are possibly looking at a team of Dragic/Dipo/Dudley/Parker/Gortat. That’s a solid line up (hypothetically) with a good mix of vets and youth. Its hard to find serviceable above average players, they have two on cheap deals. They aren’t going to give them away.

San Antonio Spurs:

I feel like they never really target high profile FAs, and would probably focus on resigning Splitter and Manu. I do think Pops would like Pek though, just not a situation I see them getting into.

Houston Rockets:

Before the rumors that Dwight is thinking about them, I thought they would not be looking for a center. That coupled with the fact that McHale drafted Pek opens a slight possibility they may pursue him. However I feel Dwight is on a different plain than Pek, teams view him as a franchise player. I don’t get that feeling from Pek, so if Dwight is open to it you can throw Asik to the bench, I doubt you would say the same when you’re talking about Pek. They have other holes I see them focusing on instead of Dwight opts to go elsewhere.

Dallas Mavericks:

This team is an enigma; they are likely to have about $22 Million available with Mayo opting out and Marion staying. They also have almost no one on their roster, and rumor has it they’re shopping their pick. If Dwight doesn’t sign, what’s their contingency plan? Even if they get Dwight this team is empty I can imagine who they will sign to flesh out a competitive squad. I honestly don’t know what to think of them, just gut feeling they pass as a team of Pek and Dirk is pretty crappy when there’s no one to get them the ball.

New Orleans Pelicans:

Again I think they are too young to put that much into a guy like Pek. Plus the combo of Anderson and Davis is a pretty solid frontcourt that I think they focus on getting some solid guards instead.

Utah Jazz:

They’ve got the dough but they’ve also got Kanter and Favors and two big name FAs. Again I see them going draft and focus on guards, they need a pg and a sg much worse than a center.

Portland Trail Blazers:

As fun as it is to harp about the "feud" between the two teams, I don’t think any GM or owner is dumb enough to hold a grudge that may cost them millions. But I have been wrong before. However, they have a core (Batum, Lillard, Aldridge) to focus on I don’t think they’ll toss the rest of their cap away on Pek when they drafted Leonard. I also see them resigning Hickson. He was pretty good for them this last year.

Minnesota Timberwolves:

WE NEED PEK!!!! We will hopefully make every effort to sign this big lug.

As an aside, I know I harp about this a ton but I hope this shows how pertinent getting rid of our terrible trio is. We have less than $8 Million all told to work with in regards to our cap, and all of that goes away once we resign Pek and/or Bud. That amount without option is even an option as that mean we lose AK and Ham and in case you weren’t aware they played all right for us last year. I could tolerate losing Ham but definitely not AK. By getting rid of those loads we get an additional $14.02 Million available to our cap. Leaving us a total of ~$22 Million So even if we have to over pay for Pek at 12 Million a season that leaves us enough to possibly get Korver (WS/48 .172 and .137 last two seasons) and Dalembert (WS/48 .137 last two season) on our team. Those improvements are similar to the AK-Wes = Durant equation in improvements. We could then use some sort of exception for Bud (who I’m fairly impartial to, to be honest). I’d honestly prefer trying to replace his production early in the second round using one of our terrible triumvirate. But that’s a whole other topic in and of itself.

For those who don’t like to read:

I think this offseason provides a perfect storm for us in resigning Pek. There are few teams that seem to fit the bill in possibly looking for a center like Pek, coupled with his injury history, his non-flashy play, his less than star appeal, and the fact that approximately 1 Billion big men are entering the market we may be only competing against ourselves.

Here’s the fun part, this is only my opinion and is designed to spur debate. So have at it guys, let me know where I was off base, what I forgot, your insight, or anything else this crazy squad of ours decides to discuss. It should be fun.

PS: This was actually kind of fun to do, so let me know if you would like a SG/SF one and I may piece it together for our SG search and to see what kind of landscape we would be looking at if AK decides to be a jerk and opt out.

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