The NBA free agent period started at midnight tonight. Plenty of teams will be trying to find the pieces to put them over and make a run at the championship. Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Kobe Bryant decided to stay with their teams and did not opt out of their contracts. The economy was the deciding factor with Boozer and Okur, but Bryant decided to stay because his team could end up in the NBA Finals again next season.
Here are some of the free agents that hit the market tonight at midnight.
Charlie Villanueva – He was a stud at UConn, but didn’t seem to fit in during his stays in Toronto and Milwaukee. Villanueva loves his Twitter and it could have been a reason why Scott Skiles and the Bucks decided to not offer him a contract. He will be a prized free agent for a team that need a scorer and can deal with his lack of defense. Potential Team – Cleveland Cavaliers
Rasheed Wallace – Wallace is a headcase, but he has proven that he can play, if his team is a contender. He could end up signing a one-year deal, but with his advancing age, he will be looking for security with at least a two-year deal. Potential Team – Chicago Bulls
Trevor Ariza – No one outside of UCLA alumni knew who Trevor Ariza was before the NBA Playoffs. He was acquired by the Lakers in a trade with Orlando for Brian Cook and a case of Bud Ice. Ariza can make key steals and is a much-needed motor that doesn’t stop. Potential Team – Los Angeles Lakers
Marcin Gortat – “The Polish Hammer” was another player that benefited from quality play in this year’s playoffs. Gortat replaced a suspended Dwight Howard in the Philadelphia/Magic series. He did much better than expected and many teams looking for a big man will be calling him at 12:01 AM. Potential Team – Houston Rockets
Glen Davis – A key reserve on the 2007-08 NBA Championship team, Davis continued strong play last season. When Kevin Garnett went down with an injury, Davis filled in and helped lead the team into the playoffs. He is still under-sized with a questionable jumper. Potential Team – Boston Celtics
Jason Kidd – Kidd is clearly on his last legs and will be a surefire Hall of Famer when he retires. He could help a team trying to leap from the Lottery into the playoffs. He can still run an offense effectively, but don’t expect the Jason Kidd of years past. Potential Team – New York Knicks
Grant Hill – Hill was a superstar at Duke and had an amazing first couple years in the NBA. Injuries have cost Hill a lot of playing time, but last season with Phoenix, he was an iron man. Hill can still be a factor and can help a young team with his veteran leadership. Potential Team – Portland Trail Blazers
Chris Anderson – Anderson didn’t let his colored past get in the way of his game last season. He helped the Nuggets get to the Western Conference Finals. He can do a lot of things on the floor and has qualities that every team in the NBA need. Potential Team – Denver Nuggets
Nate Robinson – He is an under-sized guard with crazy leaping ability. He is a proven scorer and can light up defenses with his quickness. A team who signs Robinson should have an established point guard, since he is not a natural point guard. He is a restricted free agent, so a team may not want to overpay for Robinson. Potential Team – New York Knicks
David Lee – Lee has the potential to be a great player in the NBA. He is a great rebounder and can score points in the paint. He plays hard and doesn’t have any other gear other than overdrive. He is also a restricted free agent, but many teams covet his skills. Potential Team – Indiana Pacers (What!? He’s a white boy who can rake. Bird loves those guys!)
Paul Millsap – The Jazz has a surplus of power forward talent on their team. He is a restricted free agent, but with Boozer and Okur staying and Andrei Kirilenko still with the Jazz, Millsap could be the odd man out. He had a break-out season last year and can be a starter on any team that signs him. Potential Team – Oklahoma City Thunder
Hedo Turkoglu – Turkoglu was the reason that the Magic made the NBA Finals. His play against Cleveland pushed the Magic into the next level. He has had struggles fitting in during his tenure with the Kings and Spurs and really seems to like playing in Orlando. Potential Team – Orlando Magic
Linas Kleiza – Kleiza was a piece of the Allen Iverson trade that sent “AI” to Denver from Philadelphia. Kleiza was considered a “throw-in” at the time, but he has improved his play and could be a contributor on nearly any team in the NBA. He could be had fairly cheap and could benefit from playing in an up-tempo offense. Potential Team – Detroit Pistons
Raymond Felton – The Bobcats have stuck by Felton, even after they pick D.J. Augustin in the draft. Felton has had a better-than-expected career in Charlotte and is a proven scorer. He was improving at point guard and could be a starter on a young team, but probably not a contender. Michael Jordan loves Felton, so it would take a large offer for Felton to blot. Potential Team – Chartlotte Bobcats
Josh Childress – Childress wasn’t pleased with the offers that he received from teams last season and didn’t want to go back to Atlanta. He spent last season in Europe and could sign with an NBA team this year. He is still a young player and he could be a star in this league. Potential Team – Boston Celtics
Ramon Sessions – Sessions went from D-League All-Star to potential future NBA star in a matter of months. When Michael Redd went down last season, the Bucks were in need of points and Sessions delivered. He is young, 23 years old, and could be had with a mid-level exemption. Potential Team – Memphis Grizzlies
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