The Atlanta Hawks should be one of those NBA teams whose present doesn’t really matter. There are a depressing number of such teams when you really start to think about it, and the Hawks fit the definition perfectly — a nice collection of players, almost all of whom are on expiring contracts, playing for a franchise with 1.5 of its two Hawk eyes on future cap space. This team could win 48 games, snag the no. 4 seed and win a playoff round. But would it really matter?
With the 2012 season winding down, the list of NBA free agents is here, and, well, it sure isn’t 2010 anymore. With enough Diet Coke and backroom talks to fill a lifetime, the biggest prize of this year’s free agent crop elected to stay at Disney World for another year. What’s left is a class that, while lacking superstars, is full of impact pieces for the right team. We sifted through the list so you don’t have to, and below are five types of free agents we think teams will be looking for this summer.
The Foundation (Deron Williams/Eric Gordon)
In a class that’s thick around the middle and light at the top, Deron Williams and Eric Gordon figure to be two of the major gets this summer. When Dwight Howard lost his mind earlier this spring, it left Williams as the top guy in the class. A superstar point guard who can both score and be an excellent facilitator, Williams will completely reshape any team that lands him. Dallas spent much of this past offseason working its way into some cap room to bring the local guy home, and the understanding is that Mark Cuban is ready to back the truck up. The problem is there’s a Russian guy in Brooklyn with a lot more money. My guess is that Mikhail Prokhorov isn’t too interested in showcasing his new $1 billion arena with Johan Petro and @blackboipachino, and the Nets will be throwing plenty of cash D-Will’s way. If Dallas does manage to coax Williams to Texas, it’ll be a great way to properly use the last few years of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. Williams isn’t the best player on a championship team, but paired with another star, he’s a major part of one.