There shouldn't be a ton of teams aggressively pursuing a power forward upgrade this summer, but a number of Eastern Conference playoff contenders, such as the Celtics, Nets, Magic, and Cavaliers, figure to explore the market. A handful of other teams will get involved as well, but with power forward expected to be perhaps the deepest position in this year's draft, it'll be interesting to see how the bidding goes on the top free agents in this year's class. Here's an early look at players who will be available this offseason:
Unrestricted Free Agents
This year's unrestricted free agents are a particularly intriguing group. A pair of future Hall-of-Famers, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, lead the way, though I think both players are good bets to re-sign with their current clubs. The Celtics may be entering a rebuilding period, but Garnett has said he'd like to retire in Boston, and the team will have the money to bring him back. Even if both of those guys re-sign, there will be a few more interesting names out there. Antawn Jamison and Kenyon Martin are veterans who still seem to have something left in the tank, while Kris Humphries, Ersan Ilyasova, and Carl Landry are among the younger players who could score multiyear deals. Ilyasova, in particular, may be earning himself a big summer payday, averaging 16.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and a .582 FG% in 31.0 MPG since the All-Star break.
Restricted Free Agents
He's not a typical power forward, but Ryan Anderson is positioning himself well for this summer, averaging 16.1 PPG and a .413 3PT% as Dwight Howard's sidekick in Orlando. Anderson is a near-lock to sign the biggest contract of the restricted free agents, and might be the only legit starter of the group. But Jason Thompson and Marreese Speights have had solid seasons, and J.J. Hickson has come on recently in a new environment with Portland. Teams who are already set with a veteran starter at power forward may find a good buying opportunity, as there may be a few affordable part-time players with real upside here.
Players With Options
The list of team and player options for power forwards is fairly slim. Elton Brand has an early termination option that I can't imagine him exercising, so he'll almost certainly play one more year with the Sixers. Three other power forwards with player options could decide to test free agency though. Brandon Bass has been very productive for the Celtics, and will turn just 27 later this month, so he should field offers larger than his $4.5MM option. Ronny Turiaf's player option is worth just $1.2MM, so if he helps the Heat make a deep playoff run, he'll find a better deal on the open market. Jason Maxiell hasn't given any indication whether he'll pick up his $5MM option, but I wouldn't be surprised if he returned to Detroit for one more year.