Part 2 of the Free Agent Southwest Division Market includes the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets and the San Antonio Spurs. The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets breakdowns can be found in part 1. Lets get into it.
Memphis GrizzliesSeason Recap: Memphis took the 4 seed into the playoffs with a record of 41-25 and was bundled out by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. They have a strong aggressive team that bullies their opponents into taking tough shots. It is a good young team that can move higher in the west over the next few years. Salary Cap Situation: The Grizzlies have signed their core group of players up with long term deals giving them little room to move in free agency. OJ Mayo, Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur are all free agents with qualifying offers. They still have the option to amnesty a player if they don't want to pay someone. Although Memphis will be looking to secure their own and then close up shop until free agency has passed. Free Agents: Gilbert Arenas: 2011-2012 Salary $19.5 Million, unrestricted free agent. Nobody knows what to make of Gilbert's next contract as it will take a lot of negotiating to come up with a figure. Is Arenas ready to see at least $10 million come of his yearly pay at least? That will decide if he is in Memphis or not. OJ Mayo, Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur all have qualifying offers. Really only OJ Mayo will receive attention from other teams willing to pay him more than $7.3 Million. Potential Targets: Goran Dragic (Houston Rockets): He would make a good back up to Mike Conley and wouldn't blow the bank either with around a $2-3 million a year contract. Outlook: Nobody is going to be picking up the phones in Memphis, their core is virtually untouchable unless the Lakers can give them something irresistible for Marc Gasol. Look for them to resign a few players, attend the draft and be done until October. Photo Credit: www.commercialappeal.com
New Orleans HornetsSeason Recap: The Chris Paul trade clearly decimated the Hornets as they hung around the bottom of the league the entire season. Eric Gordon is there one outstanding player that can fill it up be even he was sidelined most of the season. It's time for an overhaul and they know it. Salary Cap Situation: With only 6 players signed for next year the Hornets will be exploring every option as to how they want to build their next roster. Signing Eric Gordon will be their highest priority in free agency. The Hornets don't want to lose another potential star. They still have the amnesty clause which they would be stupid not to use on Rashard Lewis. He earns $23.7 Million next year and easily takes up more than half of the New Orleans players salaries. Leaving lots of room in the cap. Free Agents: Chris Kaman: 2011-2012 Salary $14 Million, unrestricted free agent. It's unknown whether the Hornets want him back or not because he will be looking at a similar salary next year. Kaman will generate interest from other teams looking for a reliable big man in the rotation. Carl Landry: 2011-2012 Salary $9 Million, unrestricted free agent. It's the same with Carl Landry he played a good season for New Orleans but whether they target a better Power Forward with all the money they have is up to them. Eric Gordon: 2011-2012 Salary #3.8 Million, restricted free agent. New Orleans will be matching just about every offer for Gordon so he isn't going anywhere. Potential Targets: Gerald Wallace (Brooklyn Nets): If Rashard Lewis is terminated there is definitely an opportunity for Gerald Wallace to slip into New Orleans. He would make the roster better and if he finds himself with Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis it could be the start of something special. Kenyon Martin (Los Angeles Clippers): An experienced big man such as Kenyon Martin would be able to provide leadership towards a young team and play a comfortable role along with all the young talent. He would have plenty of help in the paint and would get plenty of minutes too. Outlook: There is a realistic chance we could see this team in the playoffs next year. The Hornets have the ability to rebuild fast with their 2 high draft picks and cap space. This is a team on the rise. Photo Credit: www.thebiglead.com
San Antonio SpursSeason Recap: An impressive #1 seed and run was made by the 'old', 'worn out' San Antonio Spurs. They were the only team in the league that had a 10+ win streak; and they had 3 of them. One a 20 win streak, 10 games from the regular season and 10 throughout the playoffs which was in the top 5 of the longest streaks in history. Then 4 straight losses saw them painfully exit out of the playoffs into more old and worn out critics. Salary Cap Situation: Manu Ginobili is signed for 1 more season and Tony Parker 3 seasons. Tim Duncan is up though so a smaller contract will provide some space for the Spurs. That will mainly be used to resign Danny Green and Gary Neal. There may be a mid level exception left over to find another big man they desperately need. Plus the Spurs have the amnesty if they want to use it. Free Agents: Tim Duncan: 2011-2012 Salary $21.3 Million, restricted free agent. Duncan will be in a Spurs uniform next season. It's just about working a deal that is acceptable length and money wise. Danny Green: 2011-2012 Salary $880 Thousand, restricted free agent. The Spurs will match any reasonable offer for him so only a team that will pay a ridiculous amount for Green will get him. Gary Neal: 2011-2012 Salary $780 Thousand, unrestricted free agent. Same with Gary Neal, will match any realistic offer thrown at him. Boris Diaw: 2011-2012 Salary $407k, unrestricted free agent. That is only the money the Spurs paid for him the Bobcats took most of the paycheck. Looking for another pricey deal will lead him out of San Antonio. Potential Targets: George Hill (Indiana Pacers): Would reunite with the Spurs after being dealt to the Pacers last year for Kawhi Leonard. With Patty Mills almost out the door Hill is a proven back up the Spurs could need. Chris Kaman (Houston Rockets): The Spurs need rebounding, a mid range shooter and defense to help Tim Duncan and perhaps take over for him in the next year or 2. Kaman can do this although what might stop this deal is the amount of money Chris will ask for. Outlook: The Spurs have at least another year or 2 of solid consistent basketball until they lose their future Hall Of Famer Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to retirement. Then it will be rebuilding mode and they will have a head start from what happens in the next 2 seasons. But its been 5 years since a championship, I think it's about time they are written off as contenders. Photo Credit: www.mysanantonio.com
Make sure you keep an eye out for a breakdown of the rest of the divisions in the lead up to July 11 before all the action happens. Photo Credit: (top) www.zimbio.com