Who Should Stay And Who Should Go


— The start of free agency always has plenty of decisions. The most basic are which players should look for greener pastures and who should be smart enough to realize what they’ve already got.

Here’s a quick look at a handful of players that need to find a new address and five more who should stay at home:


Dwight Howard
, C, Lakers

Let’s face it. There hasn’t been an NBA marriage this shaky that didn’t involve a Kardashian. Howard went to a team where Kobe Bryant was already firmly entrenched as the alpha dog and then found himself on a leash that included geezers Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. Toss in a coach like Mike D’Antoni who has never favored playing a low post game and it was a recipe for disaster. Another several years of playing in the harsh glare of the Lakers spotlight might be too much for Howard to bear. The overly sensitive must flee to someplace that will give him a big hug before he turns into a pillar of salt.

Josh Smith, F, Hawks

If you were building a 21st century basketball player in a lab — speed, strength, leaping ability, size — chances are you would come up with someone resembling J-Smoove. After nine NBA seasons, he’s got career numbers that rank him among the greats. After nine years in his hometown of Atlanta, he’s about worn out his welcome with all of those wild, late, long shots. In the right situation, with the right coach, he might take a team to the next level or send it over the edge. A man has got to know when it’s time to change the scenery.

Tony Allen, G, Grizzlies

He’s the guy who introduced the grind into the Grindhouse and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. He can cut to the basket and score, but that’s about all he can do offensively and that hole in his game was badly exposed by the Spurs in the Western Conference finals. The new analytics-driven Grizzlies have Tayshaun Prince to fill the defensive role and they’re not likely to fork over the kind of money Allen wants for a one-dimensional figure. It’s time to take those defensive claws to another contender or wannabe and show the Grizzlies what they’ll be missing.

Tyreke Evans, G, Kings

Was it just three years ago when Evans was a 20-5-5 guy and winning Rookie of the Year honors with the Kings? His fall from grace was like an anvil being tossed off the edge of a cliff. Now that new management was able to reel in shooter Ben McLemore in the draft, it would seem that there’s little room left for Evans. Will the Kings even think about matching four-year, $44 million offer from the Pelicans? This is a separation that’s been that’s been coming for a while.

Monta Ellis, G, Bucks

It just wasn’t a good idea to put together two small guards that need the ball in their hands together in Milwaukee. It’s definitely isn’t a good idea to re-sign both of them as free agents. Brandon Jennings is hardly the model of efficiency, but Ellis makes him look like a Swiss knife in comparison. He needs to find a new home where he can be a designated scorer and not asked to do anything else, because he won’t.


David West, F, Pacers

He may yearn for one more big pay in another location, but at the end of the day West and the Pacers know that they’re made for each other. He’s a very efficient scorer, a hard-nosed defender and played a big role in Indiana taking the Heat to a seventh game in the Eastern Conference finals. He also has great leadership skills and has always managed to fly below the radar while delivering in a big way almost every time out.

Andre Iguodala, F, Nuggets

He exercised his right to opt out early from his contract and maybe it was only about maximizing his earnings. Or maybe he needed time to digest what the change from George Karl to Brian Shaw as coach could do to the Nuggets’ style of play and how he fits into the attack. At the end of the day, the Nuggets still have plenty of players who can get up and down the floor in transition and it Shaw wants to place even more emphasis on defense, he’s most capable of delivering and thriving.

Chris Andersen, F, Heat

This is a perfect fit in so many ways. The Heat gave Andersen a place where he could continue this career and make a significant contribution. Andersen gives the Heat the kind of rugged, tough guy, free spirit personality that is a nice balance inside a locker room filled with three mega-stars. When you’ve got LeBron, Wade, Bosh and all of the hullaballoo that constantly swirls around them, almost no one even notices the Birdman. Almost. It’s a long grind from October to June and it helps to have an iconoclast like Andersen on the court and in their midst to keep the Heat fresh.

Nikola Pekovic, C, Timberwolves

New Wolves president of basketball operation Flip Saunders is likely to let free agent Andrei Kirilenko walk out the door in order to find someone cheaper and with better shooting range. But the big man Pekovic is a must-keep asset not just for his size, strength, rebounding and scoring efficiently, but also to show Kevin Love that the team is serious about building a team that — barring injury — can jump into the rugged Western Conference playoff race and thrive. Pekovic’s numbers in points, rebounds and blocks have gone up in each of his first three seasons and at 27 he can grow more into a dominant inside force.

Tiago Splitter, F, Spurs

The difference in Splitter from his first to second playoff seasons was a quantum leap. Of course, it also helped that he had a full training camp and was healthy. He’s a quietly efficient scorer who can be trusted to hold down the middle while the Spurs continue to monitor and limit the minutes played by Tim Duncan. He is a perfect complementary part for now and his role can increase in another couple of years. There are lots of teams that would like to have the 28-year-old, but he’s at home with the franchise that patiently waited for him to arrive and there is no reason to think the Spurs would want him to walk out the door.



    AMNESTY Kobe,
    sign Josh Smith & Iguodala in order for Howard to stay…

  2. Could some one explain me how come that the Lakers can make a max offer to D12 once they are committed already with Kobe and Gasol at the level of 50 million ? How does the salary cap works in this specific case? My knowledge ot the subject fails to help me to understand how it works in this case! Can some one clarify it? Tyvm!

    • Basketball Newbie says:

      Its because Lakers is the present team and they are willing to pay the luxury tax. Try to play NBA 2k13 so you can understand.

  3. wink says:

    you have to kept pekovic he’s the best center for the money out there with him beside love and now it looks like Williams and shazaam sharing the two and three with Rubio will finally make the wolves a better team if they can stay healthy with budinger and Cunningham barea bench starting to look good love and pek showed some of what they can do in 2011-2012 love is now healthy the rest of them are also just need a two who can shoot the three’s reqularly almost at second tier good luck finally

  4. Rambo says:

    I’m getting pretty sick of the NBA fan base saying how they want the players to switch teams and make more superstar teams. Yes, Dwight should leave LA because its not his team and he needs to be the man. But why would you want to see players like Chris Paul leave? I’m glad he stayed in LA because he has a good team to work with. But nowadays players dont want to take the time to develope chemistry. Instead, they just leave and join forces with other stars. Anyone who thinks the Nets have a chance at winning next year are crazy because you cant buy a team. Look at what the lakers did about a decade ago; they got Karl Malone and Gary Payton to team up with Shaq and Kobe. DIDNT WORK SO WELL

    • broderick says:

      You do know that in the 70s, 80s and early 90s all the championship teams were full of big names. The only difference is there weren’t as many teams and the same teams kept winning lol. The Lakers, Pistons, Celtics and Rockets were stacked. Even loser teams were stacked. Pheonix, New York, Charlotte and a few more could’ve easily won

  5. Just a fan of basketball says:

    The Lakers should give up on signing Howard obviously he doesn’t want to be there you can see that plain as day. Instead they should amnesty MWP to free up space, go after Iggy he would be a good fit offensively and defensively so Kobe doesn’t have to do all the work and play all those minutes every night bring in a some new guys at C there are plenty EFFICENT big man just waiting to play. As far as the Hawks go if you are not bringing Smith back go after Howard and Evans or Howard and Ellis, this would give ATL a dominating presence in the paint and they would have a consistent scorer to run the floor. If I’m Tony Allen I’d head to either the 76ers, Hawks, Pelicans, or in general someone who needs a scorer. In my opinion this offseason has started out interesting and crazy to say the least and it’s only going to get crazier from this point. The focus for teams should be to make your squad more efficient on both sides of the ball instead of trying to create big 3s full of superstar athletes.

    • broderick says:

      Why would Tony Allen go somewhere to be a scorer??? He can’t score. The hawks have a C/PF so Howard and either of those guys you named won’t it because Evans is a slasher that is only an average shooter, with average handles and average court vision so he is best a SF and Ellis is a rock pounder who turns the ball over and doesn’t make good decisions. Iggy would fit in L.A. but the Lakers need a new direction all together. Starting eith loosing either Dwight or the coach

  6. manei says:

    i guess its clear now that Ray Allen left the celtic in a percect time and nobody thinks he should leave miami for more money elsewhere

  7. Amit says:

    Ellis come to Dallas!!

  8. Skolimowski says:

    The Bulls are sleeping, anyone can see they need a shooting guard, why are they not going after one of these guys, Evans, Allen, maybe even Austin Rivers, who’ll have less minutes in New Orleans, anyone!

    • yoloolol says:

      are you kidding? austin rivers where terrible in his rookie year, he is a shooting guard, and shot like 55% from the freethrowline, 37% fg, 32% 3pt,

  9. seanMoney19 says:

    tyreke would only work in new orleans if they trade gordon to the suns for gortot. even if chi could work it out to sign ellis that would be a bad move they would be to small he would better suited in san antanio i really dont see anywhere else he would fit cuz he neds to dominate the ball and his particular skill set helps parker teams wouldnt be able to double parker

    • broderick says:

      Ellis doesn’t fit in SA 1) he causes offcourt issues, 2) he isn’t a strond defender so you can’t paly him and Neal together, 3) he would need to run pick and roll, 4) he wants a big check the Spurs are gonna really have big check money for a player unless its Iggy, Josh, Al or David

  10. seanMoney19 says:

    in a sign and trade or in a deal that would match up the rockets should get jsmooth in place of asaik next to d12 that would be beutiful jsmooth would be the 3rd option and defensively they would be nasty they could aford to let beverly play point with hardens ball handling skills.

  11. Michael says:

    Tyreke can play the 3 spot, he’s got the size for it. That would make New Orleans a decent team.

    • Nam says:

      Tyreke does not want to the 3. He said he would prefer to play the 1. As a Kings fan, I think it might be best for the Kings to let him walk. They have way too many guards.

      • broderick says:

        He doesn’t shoot well enough to play guard. If he can’t drive he is an below average player, he’s only average now

  12. pistonsfan says:

    Man i wish Dumars signs either J-Smoove or Iggy for the Pistons… or both, that would be a killer team.

  13. J says:

    great article!!!
    allen should stay with a D focuced team in the grizz
    i agree with all except for t allen

  14. mattchew says:

    tiago needs to get the heck out of san antonio

  15. Martin says:

    I agree with everything except that tony allen should stay in memphis because he brings solid defense,the city of Memphis loves him, and he’s probably gonna be working on his jump-shot all summer and the grizzlies shouldn’t just let him walk out the door.

  16. JasperMia says:

    YYY: Why would you think that Evans would play behind Gordon. Gordon shot 40% last year and only 32% from beyond. Evans shot 48% and slightly better than Gordon from beyond. Evans is not going to go to a place that makes him a sub.

    • broderick says:

      Gordon was also the goat late in the shot clock. He shoots better than Tyreke but doesn’t drive nearly as well so it depends on if you want a slasher or a shooter at 2. In my opinion Evans is a small 3 that is an average rebounder. He has never really been a 3pt shooter look at his stats at Memphis

  17. Gillsy says:

    What about the Pelicans going after Evans early, good move but if they are looking to dump Gordon why didn’t they do it before the draft and trade with the Suns. I don’t think Iggy is going to stay with the Nuggets he would be good in the Cavs line up.

    • meow says:

      iggy would be good in any lineup, that’s why teams want him. just look at the contrasting styles between the 6ers and nuggets and he did well in both

  18. Bigbooty says:

    Atlanta Fans are idiots Josh Smith is great and under Coach Bud he will be even better

    • Jack says:

      Smith needs to be able to be the third option in a big three somewhere and that team will win it all.

  19. Murphulon says:

    Spot on, well written article. Chris Andersen was quietly one of the best free agents signed this season, and there’s no way Dwight Howard is staying with the ancient Lakers lineup when he has the opportunity to be a huge factor on Houston’s young roster (plus, not having to pay income tax is pretty sweet). It would be awesome to see Monta Ellis land on a team that can actually make some noise, too.

  20. Yahoooooo says:

    Josh smith to the Lakers, amnesty Pau Gasol or MWP!!

    • TrueNBAFan says:

      Even if they dont sign anybody they should Amnesty Ron Artest… giving him the boot would be instant improvement.

    • Kei says:

      Amnesty Kobe

      • BigBoy says:

        amnestying kobe is just stupid so stop it now. but seriously amnestying pau or mwp would be smart

      • meow says:

        amnesting kobe is smarter than gasol, kobe cant even play half the season, and he takes a 30 mil cap hit, amnesty and resign next season when he is healthy. they would be in much better shape. they could get some serious free agent talent, doing so may even convince Dwight so stay, then they would be wayyyyyy better than this season, they don’t have the balls to do it though.

    • Jack says:

      Keep Gasol. Really. You will be amazed at how good that guy still is when he is playing for another team?

      • broderick says:

        Gasol carried Memphis while he was there and despite what people think he is still effective from 16ft in and down on the block but Kobe wouldn’t take the ego blow of being amnestied. HE WOULD RETIRE

  21. Kimmy says:

    Good article. Josh Smith is defintately leaving the Hawks. I do believe we haven’t seen his best. With another type of coaching style, maybe…We will see. The plot thickens..

  22. Cg1021 says:

    Tyreke should go to the pelicans because they would have a good back court with holiday and Evans, i would enjoy watching the pelicans!

    • YYY says:

      You mean Holiday and Gordon? They are signing Tyreke for a 6th man.

      • BigBoy says:

        they gave up nerlens noel for PG Holiday when noel/davis could have formed one of the most dominant big man duos the game has ever seen with their size defensive prowess athleticism, total packages. but getting a star PG for davis was probably a better thing and with evans coming to new orleans, theyre probably going to use gordon as trade bait for a good starting big next to davis(possible sign-and-trade with one of the good big man free agents) and possibly a good 2/3 to start with tyreke

      • lordkrimson says:

        You dont give 44 mil to a 6th man.

      • Jack says:

        @Bigboy; that was just a great call by the Pelicans. Noel is at best just a Marcus Camby type of player with injuries waiting to happen. Davis needs an enforcer next to him, not the slim and tender Noel.

    • Eli. Odell J. says:

      lol – pelicans
      gonna take me awhile to get over that one

      • Jack says:

        Yeah, let’s just hope the Hornets take up their old logo and uniforms in Charlotte. I don’t mind seeing the Bobcats disappear in exchange for the Pelicans. Both are names that are suited better for a WNBA team, but the Pelican logo is better than the Bobcats’ right now imo.

      • broderick says:

        Evans is most effective 14 ft and in so but he can shoot a little so he is a good swingman with Davis on the block and Gordan and Anderson on the wings and if Jrue can take his man off the dribble kick outs and backdoors will be a good calling card for the Pelicans. All that said I still don’t think Evans is a good fit because he’s gonna want to be the man

  23. B Radd says:

    Monta and Andrie Kirelenko to the Bulls. Rose just might have to keep up with Monta and Kirelenko could just be the glue guy.

    • YYY says:

      Monta is a PG killer. He has to have the ball every possesion so he wouldn’t do well with the Bulls and they don’t have the money to sign either one.

  24. Pillar of Salt ... which he ALREADY is ! says:

    You don’t need me. Any half-witted, self proclaimed, ‘expert’ can give you roughly thirty million reasons why Dwight Howard should stay put. None of them matter though.

    The only reason why he should stay … must come from his heart.

    I am only here to tell you that if it hasn’t come yet … it probably won’t.

    If he still stays … he would stay for all the wrong reasons. That’s all.