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Monday, July 2, 2012

Where the Top NBA Free Agents Will Sign

     Some pieces have already fallen this offseason, including Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace, however, the fun and drama has yet to begin. Major chips are still available and with Dwight Howard demanding a trade, things just got much more interesting.

Honorable Mention: Dwight Howard 

Where he will land: Magic (for now)

Howard claimed he was blackmailed by the Magic to sign an opt in clause
     The NBA's newest drama queen will stay in Orlando at least for the off season. Howard met with the Magic's new GM Rob Hennigan and demanded a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have their own set of issues to deal with and bringing in Howard would make resigning point guard Deron Williams that much more difficult. Howard stays in Orlando, but likely gets traded before this year's trade deadline. 

1. Ray Allen

Where he will land: Boston Celtics

Ray can add veteran leadership and of course three point shooting
   "Ray Ray" has been the hot free agent this off season. The Celtics, Heat, Grizzles, and Clippers have reportedly actively pursued the shooting guard. The Boston Herald quoted Boston's Team President Danny Ainge saying "our number one priority" is resigning Allen. The Celtics feel they have one more year to contend for a championship with the big three that has now become the core four with the growth of point guard Rajon Rondo. In the end, Boston is willing to pay the most money and offers the comfort of playing for Doc Rivers and the rest of the close-knit Celtic family.

2. Steve Nash

Where he will land: Toronto Raptors

Nash can make any team instantly better with his passing skills

    The thirty eight year old point guard was offered a three year $36 million dollar deal by the Toronto Raptors according to multiple sources. The Raptors are a team ready to make the playoffs. Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas will join the team next year and with the addition of Nash, the Raptors form a solid nucleus that can earn a playoff birth. While playing in New York with the Knicks or Nets is intriguing, Nash has an opportunity to finish out his career in his native Canada that would put a fitting end to his career.

3. Eric Gordon

Where he will land: New Orleans Hornets

Gordon will make the Hornets playoff contenders if he sticks around

     Chris Broussard has reported the Brooklyn Nets are interested in Gordon as a possible replacement for free agent guard Deron Williams if he chooses to sign elsewhere. Gordon is hearing offers from multiple teams including the Pacers and Rockets, but most likely he returns to New Orleans. With the draft the Hornets had, New Orleans has turned around their franchise and Gordon will not want to miss out on something that could become special.

4. Deron Williams

Where he will land: Dallas Mavericks

The Nets can't afford to lose Williams

     Williams has narrowed down his choices to the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets. With all the Howard controversy surrounding the Nets, giving them the look of a drama filled franchise, Williams will sign with the Mavericks to contend for a championship. If the star of this free agent class signs with Dallas, the Nets will be in a bigger state of chaos looking for a viable replacement.

5. Roy Hibbert

Where he will land: Portland Trailblazers

The young center has superstar potential
 After a meeting with Trailblazer's Team President Larry Miller and General Manager Neil Olshey in Washington D.C., Portland offered Hibbert a maximum contract. Indiana has failed to match Portand's offer as the Trail Blazers look to compete now and add Hibbert to complement young star LaMarcus Aldridge. The Trail Blazers passed on UConn big man Andre Drummond in Thursday's draft and have therefore pushed hard to acquire Hibbert. Losing Hibbert means a major set back for the up and coming Indiana Pacers.

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