Clippers.com will be tracking the movements of the top NBA free agents throughout the off- season. Here are profiles of the top ten free agents in descending order. Check back often for news and updates. | Top 50 Free Agents List »

TOP 10 FREE AGENTS OF 2010

by: Dennis Lin, Clippers.com



NO. 10

by: Danny Savitzky, Clippers.com


Age:
27
Position:
PF/C
Height:
6'9"
Weight:
250
PPG
20.2
FG
54.5%
RPG
11.7
APG
3.6
SPG
1.0

Player Breakdown

Confined to playing for the mediocre New York Knicks, Mike D'Antoni tasked the 6-foot-9 David Lee with playing center on a nightly basis even though he gives up two or three inches to most of his counterparts. Nevertheless, he played outstanding basketball on the offensive end. Lee took a significant step forward in 2009-2010, going from a clean-up artist around the rim to attacking the basket with regularity and hitting a mid-range jump shot out to 17 feet. As a result he has added nearly ten points to his per-game scoring average in the last two seasons. One has to wonder, though, if his numbers run high — playing in New York, he was really the only threat on a bad team, and he logged a 22.2 usage rate, fifth among centers who played more than 20 minutes a game. Will he be able to replicate his production with better talent elsewhere?

As a rebounder, Lee is one of the best in the league. Despite his natural disadvantage, Lee is always moving, throwing his weight around and developing position for a board the fundamental way. Bigger opponents occasionally will snatch one from right over his head, though. That said, the Knicks created 96.1 possessions per game, good for eighth in the NBA, and more possessions means more rebounds. While Lee's numbers might dip slightly on a slower team, he should still reach double digits.

Clippers Fit

David Lee will likely leave New York this July one year after he intended to, but that could end up being a blessing in disguise. His production increased so much last season that he's likely to get a lot more money than he would have in a deal last summer. For the Clippers, though, it's a tough fit. Lee is and should be a starter in the NBA, and the Clippers already have Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin to man the two starting spots in the post. Signing Lee would relegate one of those three players to an off-the-bench role, and that wouldn't be fair.

If he did come to Los Angeles, playing Lee alongside Kaman would give the Clippers one of the best rebounding duos league-wide, and Lee would restore some of the dominance on the boards lost when Marcus Camby was dealt to the Trail Blazers in February. | Back to Top



NO. 9


Age:
32
Position:
SF
Height:
6'7"
Weight:
235
PPG
18.3
FG
47.2%
3PT
41.4%
RPG
4.4
APG
3.1

Player Breakdown

At 32, Pierce no longer has the quickness to blow by defenders. Yet, even if he’s lost a step, he makes up for it with his craftiness, strength and a feathery mid-range jumper. He still remains one of the best in the game at getting to the free-throw line, where he shot 85 percent this season, taking advantage of his strong frame on drives to the basket. When operating at the top of the key, which he often does in one-on-one situations, he likes to dribble right and pull up from the elbow or gain some extra space before launching a step-back jumper. Either way, he’s deadly accurate.

Defensively, even a player of Pierce’s status might be slightly underrated. The 6-foot-7 forward isn’t afraid of contact, anticipates well and generally plays sound, fundamental defense. Over the past few years, his skill and know-how on this side of the ball have increased to the point that he often served as Boston’s primary perimeter stopper.

Clippers Fit

Already recognized as one of the greatest Celtics of all time, Pierce wouldn’t surprise anyone if he opts to stay in Boston. That said, his scoring ability and championship experience would be welcome on any team. A trio of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon and Pierce would frustrate even the most disciplined perimeter defense, as well as make the Clippers one of the most feared 3-point shooting squads in the league. Pierce’s presence would also free up space down low and make teams think twice about collapsing on Chris Kaman or Blake Griffin.

Pierce’s addition would give the Clippers the two-way player they’ve been missing at the small forward spot. Coming off the bench for the 12-year veteran would take pressure off rookie Al-Farouq Aminu and give him time to learn from one of the NBA’s elite. Additionally, Pierce is an above-average defender and willing passer. A concern would be finding enough shots for all of the Clippers’ offensive weapons, but Pierce, who’s played with dynamic talents like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, has shown he has no problem sacrificing touches for the benefit of the team. | Back to Top



NO. 8


Age:
23
Position:
SF
Height:
6'8"
Weight:
220
PPG
19.6
FG
46.6%
RPG
5.9
SPG
1.5

Player Breakdown

Athleticism. That’s what stands out when you watch Gay. Despite standing 6-foot-8, ideal size for a small forward, Gay runs the floor like a guard. This makes him a tough cover for opposing wings, who often find themselves struggling to keep up in transition or on the wrong end of a soaring dunk. He isn’t just a one-dimensional leaper, though, also boasting a decent jump shot and 3-point range. Speaking of the 3-pointer, Gay grew a little too enamored with the shot earlier in his young career – he averaged nearly five attempts a game in 2007-08 but connected on just 34.6 percent – but has since made a concerted effort to cut down on his attempts from behind the arc. The former lottery pick still needs to work on his ball handling and decision making, but he’s already developed into a proven offensive threat.

Like many young, athletic players, Gay has demonstrated a tendency to coast on defense. For someone with his combination of size, quickness and talent, he could potentially be an elite stopper capable of guarding multiple positions. It’s encouraging, then, that Gay started to give a more consistent defensive effort this past season and, at 23, he has time on his side to grow in this area.

Clippers Fit

Gay possesses as much upside as any player in the league. The question is whether he can capitalize on all that potential. He did show signs of maturation this past season, displaying a more all-around game and helping Memphis win 16 more games than it did the previous year. One challenge with incorporating a player like Gay would be finding enough touches to go around on a team with a number of scoring options.

If Gay continues to round out his offensive game and work on his defense, he could be a terror playing next to the likes of Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin while giving rookie Al-Farouq Aminu extra time to upgrade his offensive skills. Of course, Griffin has yet to suit up for an NBA game. Still, few would disagree that, should Gay step on the court with him – and with Baron Davis or, eventually, Eric Bledsoe running the point – the Clippers in the open court would be a sight to behold. Keep in mind Gay is a restricted free agent, so Memphis has the option to match any offer he receives. | Back to Top



NO. 7


Age:
28
Position:
PF
Height:
6'8"
Weight:
260
PPG
19.5
FG
56.2%
RPG
11.2
APG
3.2

Player Breakdown

Boozer is one of the strongest players in the game, and he uses that strength to his advantage as a proficient scorer around the basket. The 6-8, 260-pound power forward can finish with either hand and, like Utah predecessor Karl Malone, is one of the best in the league at running the pick-and-roll. When he’s not punishing the defense with his bruising style in the low post, Boozer will occasionally pull up for an 18-footer, a shot he will knock down if given space.

It’s a good thing Boozer does such fine work on offense because he can struggle as a defender. You don’t see him getting outmuscled in the post, but a lack of length allows opponents to shoot over him. Because he doesn’t move as well laterally, he also struggles to keep up with quicker power forwards. To his credit, he makes up for some of these shortcomings by crashing the boards relentlessly on both ends of the floor.

Clippers Fit

Boozer would certainly be a nice pickup for many teams, but the Clippers do have a power forward. They already have a young, athletic post presence in Blake Griffin, and while Griffin missed his first season with an injury, Boozer hasn’t exactly been the most durable player, either. He’s already missed 146 games in eight seasons, mostly due to leg injuries, and that makes him a risky investment. Will there be room for all of them? | Back to Top



NO. 6


Age:
27
Position:
PF
Height:
6'10"
Weight:
260
PPG
23.1
FG
55.7%
RPG
8.9

Player Breakdown

Blessed with a cat-like quickness uncharacteristic of a man his size, Stoudemire can at times singlehandedly take over games. In fact, his offensive repertoire is pretty similar to what many envision Blake Griffin’s eventually becoming. Stoudemire has perhaps the strongest pair of hands in the NBA and, combined with his quick hops and athleticism, this makes him a monster finisher, especially in the pick-and-roll. Since entering the league, he’s also developed a pretty reliable shooting stroke, both from the free-throw line and from mid-range.

Considering his offensive talents – and after proving he’s back to full strength following knee and eye surgeries – it seems like Stoudemire should be higher on this list. He would be if his defense was better. Besides grabbing relatively few rebounds for such an athletic big man, Stoudemire often finds himself out of position and thus yields easy baskets to opposing players. He does have the strength and agility to be a plus defender, however.

Clippers Fit

Similar situation with Carlos Boozer. Blake Griffin is the franchise’s power forward – now and for the future – and Stoudemire, though established as one of the league’s most explosive scorers, will need to utilize his athleticism on the defensive end more effectively. Will the Clippers pay that max contract? | Back to Top



NO. 5


Age:
29
Position:
SG
Height:
6'7"
Weight:
240
PPG
21.3
FG
45.8%
3PT
36.9%
RPG
4.6
APG
4.9

Player Breakdown

Johnson is coming off a so-so playoff performance, but he still remains one of the most coveted free agents of the summer – and for good reason. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound shooting guard can slide over to small forward in a pinch, and even then, he usually commands a mismatch with his size and strength. Given his court vision and ballhandling – he averaged just 1.9 turnovers a game this past season – he can also play the point when called upon. Johnson’s versatility is even more impressive when you consider he’s a very accurate shooter with 3-point range. On the downside, he’s not the fastest so he doesn’t get to the hoop as often as his more athletic peers, thus limiting his opportunities at the free-throw line.

On defense, Johnson is pretty useful in a variety of matchups. His size allows him to cover bigger wings, who find it very difficult to post up against him, and he can hold his own against smaller guards. As mentioned earlier, Johnson isn’t ultra-athletic and can be taken off the dribble by quicker players, but he understands his limitations and, for such a prolific scorer, he plays very solid D.

Clippers Fit

A highly productive player who can shoot, defend and create for his teammates? Sounds like someone the Clippers certainly wouldn’t mind having on their roster. To go with his inside-out game, Johnson has been one of the most durable players around, having missed just nine games over the last three seasons. And at 29, he likely still has a few All-Star-level years left.

Should he decide to come to Los Angeles, Johnson would team up with Baron Davis and Eric Gordon to form an extremely potent perimeter trio. Johnson’s addition would give the Clippers a sharp shooter at the wing, as well as another ballhandler to spell Davis. The All-Star guard is also a very effective pick-and-roll player who can create a variety of looks both for himself and his teammates. It would be especially intriguing to see how he could pair up with Blake Griffin, another player with plenty of size and skills. Johnson isn’t going to wow you with dunks or flashy plays, but make no mistake: He’s a very, very good player and worthy of a big contract. | Back to Top



NO. 4


Age:
32
Position:
PF
Height:
7'0"
Weight:
245
PPG
25.0
FG
48.1%
3PT
42.1%
RPG
7.7

Player Breakdown

For someone who recently turned 32, Nowitzki hasn’t shown many signs of decline. In fact, you could make the argument that he’s just as dangerous offensively as he’s ever been. Take a look at these stats: 25 points a game, 48 percent from the field, a career-high 42 percent from 3 (he did average just 1.5 attempts a game, his fewest since his rookie season) and a personal-best 91 percent from the free-throw line. Yes, the 7-footer still knows how to fill it up, and he does it primarily via an unblockable mid-range jumper. Against Nowitzki, defenses have to pick their poison: They can either watch him shoot over them and pray he misses, or they can double-team him, which usually ends up in an open look for one of his teammates.

It’s important to add, though, that some aspects of Nowitzki’s game have diminished. Whereas he used to be a pretty reliable double-double threat, the big German’s rebounding average has fallen steadily, mostly because more and more of his shots are coming farther away from the basket. Considering he remains a deadly outside shooter, the fact that he’s taking fewer 3s than ever is slightly puzzling. Still, his size and shooting stroke, two very valuable commodities, make him very attractive as a potential free agent.

Clippers Fit

It's hard to see how Nowitzki would leave Dallas in the first place; he’s played his entire career with the Mavericks, and going elsewhere probably means a pay cut. But if he does pursue a change of scenery, it’s difficult to see how joining the Clippers, who already have Chris Kaman and two promising young players in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt would accomodate everyone. | Back to Top



NO. 3


Age:
26
Position:
PF
Height:
6'10"
Weight:
230
PPG
24.0
FG
51.8%
RPG
10.8

Player Breakdown

Bosh hasn’t received the same kind of exposure given to other NBA superstars, largely because he’s spent his entire career in Toronto, but the guy has done plenty to deserve high esteem among the 2010 free agent class. The 6-foot-10 lefty is an artist on the block, employing his superior skills and smarts to score when and where he wants. He’s a versatile scorer, too, as he has one of the best mid-range shots of any big man and can even knock down the occasional 3-pointer. Indeed, Bosh has earned favorable comparisons to Kevin Garnett for his polished inside-out game. That’s some serious praise when you consider Garnett is a guaranteed Hall-of-Famer.

While there are few post players who can measure up to him offensively, Bosh isn’t as imposing on the other side of the ball. He does have impressive quickness and athleticism for a big man, but what he doesn’t have is bulk. As such, he has a difficult time denying position against stronger, burlier power forwards. Bosh isn’t a bad defender, though – he crashes the boards and uses his length to contest shots – and he could be very effective if paired with a big, physical center.

Clippers Fit

With Blake Griffin already in place, the Clippers really have no need to bring in another power forward, especially one with Bosh’s price tag. The versatility he could potentially bring to Los Angeles is intriguing, though: Putting him next to Chris Kaman could make for a deadly frontcourt combo, and Bosh can really stretch defenses with his shooting range. Still, the Clippers are more than ready to let Griffin show why they made him a No. 1 pick. | Back to Top



NO. 2


Age:
28
Position:
SG
Height:
6'4"
Weight:
220
PPG
26.6
FG
47.6%
RPG
4.8
APG
6.5
SPG
1.8

Player Breakdown

If you wanted to create the ideal combo guard, chances are you're not going to do much better than Dwyane Wade. Built like a strong safety but blessed with superior quickness and the fastest first step in the game, Wade is a nightmare to guard and impossible to keep out of the paint. Capable of playing both guard positions, he can dominate games as a scorer, but he's also a very willing passer, as evidenced by his high assist numbers. The main knock on Wade's offense is an inconsistent jump shot, but he sticks to his strengths by relentlessly going to the basket to either draw a foul or get a high-percentage look.

As fun as it is to watch Wade slashing to the hoop for an acrobatic layup, he's just as exciting on defense. He uses his anticipation and athleticism to rack up a ton of steals, which often results in a transition dunk at the other end of the floor. He's also the best shot-blocker of any guard in the league; despite standing just 6-foot-4, he has the wingspan of a much taller player, and you'll often see him come over from the weak side for a towering swat. Wade does tend to gamble for steals a bit much, but he remains an exceptional perimeter stopper, both on and off the ball.

Clippers Fit

Like most other teams, the Clippers are a definite long shot to land Wade, who has said he prefers to stay in Miami. It shouldn't matter much because Eric Gordon is a potential All-Star and Wade's high-flying style makes him a big injury risk. When healthy he's been arguably the most productive player in the NBA, but over a seven-year career, he's already missed more than 100 games.

That said, there's no denying what Wade would bring to an already talented roster. While he isn’t a “me-first” type of player, his scoring ability makes him an excellent No. 1 option who can carry a team all on his own at times. On the Clippers, a Wade-Baron Davis duo would trump virtually every other NBA backcourt, and Wade's presence would put opponents on their heels at all times. | Back to Top



NO. 1


Age:
25
Position:
SF
Height:
6'8"
Weight:
250
PPG
29.7
FG
50.3%
RPG
7.3
APG
8.6
SPG
1.6

Player Breakdown

There isn't much that hasn't already been said about James, but sometimes a player is so special he deserves the extra description. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward is a physical freak, capable of doing anything whenever and wherever he wants on the court. He handles the ball like a point guard, runs the floor impossibly fast for his size, finishes at the rim better than anyone else and has a much-improved jump shot that is still getting better. On top of it all, his passing ability, which really sets him apart, reminds many fans of Magic Johnson, possibly the greatest distributor ever. James is not without his flaws – a couple of them being a frustrating tendency to settle for long jumpers and a just-average post-up game unbefitting his size and talent – but he's as complete a player as there is in the game.

As a defender, James has come a long way. Utilizing his athleticism, he has developed better footwork and fundamentals, resulting in his selection to the NBA All-Defensive First Team the past two seasons. But even after adopting a more disciplined approach, James still makes all kinds of spectacular plays, including his signature: the chase-down block. Combine his improvement on this end with his offense, and the high school prodigy-turned-superstar is truly an unstoppable force, the likes of which we might never see again.

Clippers Fit

The Clippers' primary need this offseason is a small forward who can provide the scoring punch they've been lacking at the wing. James, who just happens to be a small forward, accomplishes that and much, much more. With his unrivaled combination of skill and size, he can do it all, both offensively and defensively, and make his teammates better while he's at it. Playing for the Clippers, he would force defenses to collapse on him, thus providing wide open looks for a knock-down shooter like Eric Gordon. Or imagine James running what could potentially be a devastating pick-and-roll with Blake Griffin; the possibilities are endless. Additionally, James has never played with a point guard as dynamic as Baron Davis. On the Clippers' side of things, taking the court with the reigning league MVP would give them the motivation to be at their best.

Whether James actually comes to Los Angeles depends on how convincing he finds the Clippers' selling points (to name a few: a young and talented supporting cast, the opportunity to play in the country's second-biggest market, the chance to bring a championship to a team that's never won it before). The Clips certainly have a legitimate case, but a number of other cities with their own appealing qualities are also doing their best to woo him. In any case, the franchise James ends up choosing will receive a huge boost and instantly become a title contender. This isn't the most-watched free agency decision of the summer for no reason. | Back to Top