Free Agency 2010: Evaluating Centers

We’ll hear a lot of names thrown around this summer as part of the big free agent class of 2010. It’s still unsure, though, if the Spurs will do much, considering the most they can offer is the mid-level exception, which some expect will go to Tiago Splitter.

Going into free agency, the Spurs’ biggest need is a shot-blocking center that they can start aside Tim Duncan, so I’ve decided to highlight some of the free agent bigs available and list them by tier.

The “Keep Dreaming” List

Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudamire, David Lee.

Unless there’s a sign and trade involving one of the big three or possibly rights to Splitter and a few other players, this is still very much a pipe dream.

rashoThe “Do We Really Want Him Back” List

Nazr Mohammed, Kurt Thomas, Francisco Elson, Rasho Nesterovic, Fabricio Oberto.

I thought Rasho was a bit underrated when he played for the Spurs and while Oberto was not the shot-blocking imposing center the Spurs needed, he did the small things that were missed this season. I might think about bringing Thomas back, but he is 37 and the Spurs could use some fresh legs in the post.

The “Modern Maturity” List

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Brad Miller.

While Ben Wallace is no longer the imposing force he once was, he still gets work done on the boards and swats his fair of shots when given playing time. I can’t see O’Neal taking that big a pay-cut.

The “Please Make It Happen” List

przybillaJoel Przybilla, Tyrus Thomas (restricted), Brendan Haywood, Kenyon Martin, Tyson Chandler.

Pryzbilla has been on my wish-list for a while now. He’s a shot-blocking beast and with all of the bigs Portland has signed, I’d be surprised to see him stay with the Blazers. I’ve always been of fan of Thomas and I think he showed in the playoffs that he is more than potential. Haywood had some very good games with Dallas, but he’ll likely stay there and I’m interested to see if Chandler is more than just a system player. Martin may not be a center, but he’s a very good defensive player and he’ll swat his share.

The Rest

Jason Collins, Shelden Williams, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Primoz Brezec, Darko Milicic, Oleksiy Pecherov, Josh Boone, Jarron Collins, Channing Frye, Kyrylo Fesenko.

Or we could just keep Ian Mahinmi. But I think he may have a better chance of not fouling out of a game than getting re-signed by the Spurs.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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