Depending on how this year's free agent market develops, a handful of this year's playoff teams could be seeking a new point guard in July. The Clippers, Hawks, and Bucks are among the clubs who will see their own impact starters become free agents, while the Warriors will have a key backup hitting the open market. A pair of teams who just missed the postseason, the Mavericks and Jazz, also figure to be in the hunt for a long-term solution at the position.
With that in mind, and with the help of our list of free agents, let's take a look at this year's point guard market.
Unrestricted free agents
Chris Paul is the obvious headliner of this year's point guard class, if not the entire free agent class. However, unlike a year ago, when both Brooklyn and Dallas seemed like viable options for Deron Williams, it's hard to imagine Paul leaving Los Angeles. Various reports throughout the year have indicated Paul is leaning strongly toward re-upping with the Clippers, so while he may listen to other pitches, it'd be a huge shock if CP3 ends up anywhere else.
Besides Paul, there aren't any star-caliber players becoming unrestricted free agents this offseason, but there are a number of intriguing veterans that could be key pieces for contending teams. Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack lead the second tier of unrestricted point guards, along with Mo Williams, Devin Harris, and Nate Robinson, who has been an important contributor in Chicago with Derrick Rose out. This group offers a little of everything, whether it's Calderon's ability to facilitate, Robinson's knack for scoring in bunches, or Jack's flexibility to guard both backcourt positions.
Outside of the top five, there probably aren't any unrestricted point guards capable of running a team, but there are still a handful of guys with upside that should be able to handle backup duties. D.J. Augustin, Will Bynum, and Shaun Livingston are among the players that fall into this group.
Restricted free agents
Paul is a lock to receive the biggest payday of any point guard this summer, but Brandon Jennings is a good bet to be second. Jennings has recently softened his stance on wanting to leave the Bucks, probably because he and his agent recognize there's a very good chance the team will match any offer sheet he signs. Players who hit the open market typically land bigger deals than comparable players who sign extensions, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Jennings' new deal exceed those signed by fellow fourth-year point guards Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry, and Jrue Holiday last fall.
With Jennings atop this year's restricted point guards, Jeff Teague has flown under the radar a little. But Teague set career-highs virtually across the board in his contract year, and figures to be in line for a nice raise. Whether that comes from the Hawks or another club could depend on what other free agents the Hawks pursue, but Atlanta certainly has the room and flexibility to bring him back.
Eric Maynor's and Darren Collison's stocks weren't exactly boosted by their 2012/13 numbers, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Trail Blazers and Mavericks, respectively, declined to offer qualifying offers, making Maynor and Collison unrestricted. Nonetheless, they probably represent the next-best options in the group of potentially restricted point guards.
Team and player options
It's hard to get too excited about potential free agents with team options or non-guaranteed deals, since the best of the bunch will invariably be brought back by their current teams. Kyle Lowry, for instance, is on a contract that's mostly non-guaranteed, but after trading a lottery pick for him, the Raptors aren't about to let him walk to save $5.21MM.
Still, there should be at least a couple intriguing point guards with options who ultimately hit the market. Jerryd Bayless might be one, if he elects to turn down his $3.14MM option with the Grizzlies in favor of a longer-term deal. Patrick Mills and Aaron Brooks will also be worth keeping an eye on, since both guys could become free agents and have shown flashes of upside in the past.