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How Top Free Agents Fit In With The Thunder

Here's the list of ESPN analyst Chad Ford's top 16 free agents, and I how I see them fitting into the Tunder's plans (Gortat was number 16, so I threw him in):

1. Ben Gordon (Expected Salary: $10-12 mil per year)

The Thunder organization has been linked as a Ben Gordon suitor for a long time--going all the way back to their days in Seattle. While Gordon's ability to score from the perimeter seems appealing for a team that struggled to score from behind the arc last season, signing Gordon would make very little sense after investing the 3rd overall pick on Harden (especially since Harden has the potential to be a lethal NBA marksman as well). Throw in the 10-12 mil we'd have to pay him a year, and this move doesn't seem all that likely for the Thunder. Almost No Chance.

2. Hedo Turkoglu (Expected Salary: $8-10 mil per year)

I've been a big fan of Hedo's game dating all the way back to the end of his stint in Sacramento. His stock has obviously risen dramatically since then after a couple of all-star caliber seasons in Orlando, but he is clearly not in the Thunder's plans. OKC already has two budding stars on the wing in Durant and Green, and Hedo would just create a logjam for both of their minutes. No Chance.

3. David Lee (Expected Salary: $8-10 mil per year)

I live in New York, and although it has definitely been a strain on my eyes, I've been to my fair share of Knicks games over the past few years. This kid can play. He's got a big frame for a 6'9 forward, at 240 pounds, and he couples that size with energy and toughness on the glass that the Thunder are in desperate need of. I don't know if Presti will dish out 8-10 million dollars for him (as Ford predicts he will be looking for), but I do think Presti will at least make a run at him. Decent Chance.

4. Paul Millsap (Expected Salary: $8-10 mil per year)

I've liked Millsap a lot for a long, LONG time. I watched him lead the NCAA in rebounding for two straight seasons at Louisiana Tech, and while I didn't think he'd be as successful as he has been in the NBA, I've always had a lot of respect for the way he plays the game. The guy is a pitbull, who tracks down rebounds with tenacity rivaled by very few in the NBA. He plays a lot like former Sonic stalwarts Reggie Evans and Danny Fortson (the latter of which remains one of the most underrated NBA players in the last 10 years). Millsap also has a modest and improving back to the basket game that I think Presti admires, and I think he'll be more willing to dish out the necessary cash for the 24 year old Millsap (who already has 2 seasons of playoff experience) than the 26 year old Lee (who's never played in a meaningful game past the all-star break). Good Chance.

5. Anderson Varejao (Expected Salary: $8-9 mil per year)

He's another young big that I've always liked, and was excited to hear rumor of Presti having interest in. Like Millsap, he's got plenty of deep playoff experience, and he flat out knows how to defend in the post. His toughness and tenacity down low could provide a good influence for Nenad Kristic, who could learn a lot from the way Varejao plays the game. I don't know if he's worth 8-9 mil per year, but he's definitely worth close to that, as he would have an effect on all of the Thunder's bigs. Decent Chance.

6. Trevor Ariza (Expected Salary: $6-9 mil per year)

Another talented wing, who made himself a lot of money during the Finals (Hedo was the first), Ariza just flat out doesn't fit in the Thunder's current plans. His game is eerily similar to Jeff Green's (Green is a stronger post player on both sides of the ball), and I don't see Presti even giving him a look for that kind of money. No Chance.

7. Lamar Odom (Expected Salary: $6-9 mil per year)

One of my favorite players to watch in the league, Odom would solve the Thunder's rebounding problems, but he doesn't have a spot on our roster. I think he could pass off as a situational center (he's 6'11 after all), but I don't think he'd be willing to play there. I also don't think Presti wants to dish out this kind of money to play an already inconsistent player out of position. Almost No Chance.

8. Shawn Marion (Expected Salary: $6-7 mil per year)

Constantly one of the games most overrated players in Phoenix, it seems the rest of the league has figured out that he was more or less a product of D'Antoni's system. He disappointed in Miami and Toronto, and probably won't get as many contract offers as he would like. His defense would be a nice influence for Durant, but there's no way Presti even considers paying 6 mil for a defensive tutor. That's what we hire coaches for. No Chance.

9. Andre Miller (Expected Salary: $5.5-7 mil per year)

With Earl Watson and Chucky Atkins likely to be gone, another point guard should be somewhere on Presti's offseason agenda. I think he has faith that (when healthy) Livingston could be one of the best backup point guards in the league, but a capable veteran is gonna have to come in as Livingston's insurance policy. I'm pretty damn sure that isn't the role Miller is looking for. I'm also pretty damn sure we aren't paying 5 mil for a third string PG. I don't see the Thunder going after any big name point guards in this free agent class, and I don't see any big name point guards looking at OKC as a potential destination. No Chance.

10. Jason Kidd (Expected Salary: $5.5-7 mil per year)

See: Miller, Andre. No Chance.

11. Marvin Williams (Expected Salary: $7-8 mil per year)

Williams could be a significant role player on a championship caliber team in the future, but he certainly won't live up to the hype as the 2nd overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft (famously above Chris Paul). He also certainly isn't worth 7-8 mil per year, considering he's have no chance to crack our starting lineup. No thanks. No Chance.

12. Charlie Villanueva (Expected Salary: $5.5-7 mil per year)

Charlie can score with the best of the power forwards in the NBA, but he's a bit of a headcase, and he's had some injury problems during his stint in the league. The Thunder could use his scoring punch in the paint, but there really isn't any logistic room for him on this roster. Almost No Chance.

13. Raymond Felton (Expected Salary: $5-6 mil per year)

See: Kidd, Jason. No Chance.

14. Mike Bibby

See: Felton, Raymond. No Chance.

15. Rasheed Wallace (Expected Salary: $4-6 mil per year)

I personally think that under the right circumstances, 'Sheed would be a great fit in OKC. He would solve our post defense issues, as he has always been one of the NBA's top defensive big men. He would solve our scoring void at the Center position, as he is adept at scoring in a variety of ways. He could help tutor Mullens in the art of shooting as a big man (Mullens has stated a desire to be a Nowitzki-like perimeter big man, which Rasheed has perfected). That all being said, I don't know how much Wallace would want to come to a young team at this point of his career, especially after having one of his worst team seasons of all time last season. I also think Presti is hesitant about signing that big of a name at that age. he wants the core of this team to grow together, and establish continuity for a LONG time to come. I personally think 'Sheed gets us into the playoffs next year, but I don't know if that necessarily makes it a good move. Slim Chance.

16. Marcin Gortat (Expected Salary: $4-6 mil per year)

Gortat got lots of exposure during Orlando's Finals run this season, and he does a lot of the same things that Varejao does. He plays tough defense, and rebounds hard. He'd be a great role player for us, and at this price tag, he would be a better value at Center than Varejao would be. That all being said, it appears the Rockets have their heart set on him in the wake of Yao's foot injury, and would pump his price tag up accordingly. The closer Gortat's salary comes to Varejao's, the lower his value becomes, since Varejao is basically a more refined, experienced version of him. I would be thrilled to have him, but only at the right price. Decent Chance.

 

OTHER FREE AGENTS WE MAY MAKE A RUN AT:

1. C Zaza Pachulia

2. PF Chris Anderson

3. PF Brandon Bass

4. PG Luther Head

5. C Jason/Jarron Collins

 

P.S: Sorry for the Matthew Berry imitation on the 4 point guards listed. Citing them like that really does make it easier. I'm not as big of a nerd as Berry, so please don't get the wrong idea.

This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of Welcome to Loud City or SB Nation. However, it was made by one of the members of the Welcome to Loud City community, so there is a large chance the above post is extremely ballin'!

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