2010 NBA Free Agency: What are they worth? (#6-#10)

In the first installment of this series, I covered the biggest names in this summer’s free agency bonanza, and it wasn’t too tough to try to peg down each player’s value. Now I’ll move onto #6 to #10 in my free agency rankings, and things get a little tougher.

Keep in mind that the “value” below each player’s blurb represents my prediction of what they’ll eventually sign for, not what I think they’re actually worth. But there’s a saying — something’s only worth what someone will pay for it — so there’s that.

Anyway, let’s jump right in:

6. Joe Johnson, SG
Age: 29
PER: 19.33
Comparables: Brandon Roy ($13.5 M), Andre Iguodala ($12.3 M), Kevin Martin ($10.6 M)

Johnson didn’t help himself much with a pretty miserable series against the Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I’m sure he’s looking for a max deal, and whatever team gives him one may regret it in a year or two. He’s already 29, and while he’d definitely be a good #2 for the next 2-3 years, he’s not a “max” player. He’s definitely going to benefit from all the cap space that’s available. Remember, my estimated value is what someone is willing to pay him, not necessarily what he’s worth.
Value: $17.0-$17.5 M per year (over five years)

7. Carlos Boozer, PF
Age: 28
PER: 21.42
Comparables: Amare Stoudemire ($17.7 M), Zach Randolph ($17.3 M), Josh Smith ($11.6 M), David West ($9.0 M), LaMarcus Aldridge ($10.7 M)

I have Boozer ranked ahead of Lee because he’s a slightly better player…when he’s healthy. He missed 45 games during the 2008-07 season and another 80 games from 2004-2006, so clearly he’s an injury risk. He is no doubt looking for a max or near-max deal, but with his durability issues and his reputation for being a less than stellar defender, he may find the going a bit tough in free agency. Still, there is sooooo much cap space out there that it’s hard to see him signing a deal for much less than the max.
Value: $14.0-$15.0 M per year (over five years)

8. David Lee, PF
Age: 27
PER: 22.28
Comparables: Amare Stoudemire ($17.7 M), Zach Randolph ($17.3 M), Josh Smith ($11.6 M), David West ($9.0 M), LaMarcus Aldridge ($10.7 M)

Is there a white boy discount in the NBA? We’re about to find out. Over the past couple of seasons, Lee has been every bit as productive as Carlos Boozer, he’s a year younger, and has been more durable. Boozer has a better post game, which is valuable, but Lee can score pretty well himself. Lee is known as a glorified energy guy, and generally speaking, energy guys don’t get monster contracts. It will be interesting to see if a second-tier team with cap space (like the Nets or maybe the Thunder) make Lee a take-it-or-leave-it offer on July 1. The Knicks are hoping to keep Lee in their pocket for use as a chip in a sign-and-trade (for Chris Bosh?) or as a backup plan if they miss out on the big names.
Value: $11.5-$12.5 M per year (over five years)

9. Paul Pierce, SF (ETO)
Age: 32
PER: 18.24
Comparables: Gerald Wallace ($9.5 M), Danny Granger ($11.2 M), Luol Deng ($11.3 M)

Pierce has been a little spotty in the postseason, unlike his run two seasons ago when he was playing like the best player in the league. He’s getting older and he’s lost a touch of his already mediocre athleticism. He’s crafty though, so he should be able to score well into his 30s. He’s more of a sidekick now than a carry-the-team type of player. There’s a pretty good chance that he doesn’t opt out of his contract, which runs another year at $21.5 million.
Value: $14.0-$15.0 million per year (over three years)

10. Rudy Gay, SF (RFA)
Age: 23
PER: 16.30
Comparables: Gerald Wallace ($9.5 M), Luol Deng ($11.3 M), Stephen Jackson ($8.4 M), Tayshaun Prince ($11.1 M), Caron Butler ($10.6 M)

It’s going to be interesting to see where Gay lands. He’s a good scorer on a mediocre team, but in any other offseason, I don’t think he’d sniff a max deal. This year may be different. With so much money being thrown around, some desperate team will fall in love with Gay’s potential and pony up in a big way. I don’t think he’ll get the max, but I bet his deal dwarfs Deng’s. (Try saying that five times fast!) In the end, some team will sign him to an offer sheet and the Grizzlies will probably match. Michael Heisley has said over and over he’s going to match any offer that Gay gets.
Value: $12.5-$13.5 million per year (over five years)

Photos from fOTOGLIF

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