Okay first thing that I want to point out, I don't mean lets talk about Melo potentially being a free agent, because I don't think there's a doubt he's signing the extension this year (whether it's with Denver or somewhere else). So I just wanted to point out some FAs that could come to Denver. Obviously our cap situation is impossible to predict considering all the factors like Melo staying or not, whether or not Billups gets his option picked up (IMO it should be if it won't be under the cap, but if we could get under the cap like 10 mil, then it shouldn't be picked up), Nene's player option and any trades that would be for long term contracts (any trade for us is gna be expirer for long deal). Okay so this is written with all contracts under what they'd be under the current CBA system, so they'd prob have to be converted to whatever the new CBA is gonna go by (like the new cap size, yes or no MLE, hard cap?, guaranteed deals...etc.)
Okay so if we're around 10 mil, under the cap (not likely), we could look at the following players:
Kendrick Perkins: future is shady due to his recent knee problem and the Celtics already owing a lot to an old core. IMO Boston should extend him, but it's prob not likely now. I could see him staying in Boston, just after he hits the market and doesn't get the big deals he expects. I think he's as good as Haywood, and Haywood got PAID and bigs always do. So I'd guess 5 years $50 mil.
Marc Gasol: Greatly under-rated center who Nuggets fans have drooled about since his NBA debut. Idk it's hard to predict if he'll stay in Memphis but I'd guess not considering all that money Gay was just given and OJ Mayo is also up for an extension in 2011 too, no one can predict how generous Heisley will feel. One day he pays MAX money to a player who is maybe an All Star, the next day he argues over $300k with a really good rookie which probably ruined his teams relationship permanently with Henry and all rookies (they didn't want to work out before, now imagine it. He's a legit 7 footer and is very skilled, that's the best combo to succeed in the NBA. He's a lot better than Perkins and he's restricted, so this guy is gonna get paid. The only way Denver would be able to get him is through a sign and trade.
David West: I don't think he'd be the best fit in Denver, but he is a really good PF. Just worth a mention, but considering the money he deserves and the fact that he isn't that good of a fit, I'd look elsewhere. He's just to similar to Melo on offense, not big enough to be effective with Nene and is more of an offensive player.
Al Horford: Pretty much everything I said about Gasol. He's a great young big (although he is more of a PF). But like Gasol, his normally stingy owner just gave MAX money to an undeserving player, so he could be a casualty of that mistake. He's also restricted. He's pretty similar to Nene, but I think they'd be a good pair of bigs to have.
Greg Oden: This is probably the hardest one to predict. He has the potential to be better than Dwight Howard, but he has an absolute horrid injury history. I think a team will take a chance on him b/c of his amazing up side, but any team would be gambling. My guess is he re-signs in Portland for a decent contract, they've invested too much in him to let him go (unless some team overpays him).
Tyson Chandler: (this was tricky, he was gonna go under potential MLE players b/c like Oden he is very injury prone) I think Tyson could end up having a huge bounce back year and earn himself a big contract (under the new CBA at least). That said, for anything over the MLE, he's a high risk, high reward type player. He's actually the perfect player to add to Miami, so if he'd take a pay cut, Miami would def use their MLE on him.
Carl Landry: Similar to West, I don't see him being that great of a fit on the Nuggets (he's small, mostly an offensive player and a bad rebounder) but he is a good fit for either Sacramento or Indiana (who loves him and has cap space).f
MLE Money **Type Players (IMO)- btw I guarantee at least one of these guys goes to the HEAT:
**IF (big if) there is a MLE in the new CBA
Andrei Kirilinko: Could play a Lamar Odom type role for a playoff team. Probably stays in Utah though, but I think he'd be great in Orlando and I think New Jersey would like him.
Kenyon Martin: Assuming his injuries don't force him to retire, he could probably get a 3 year MLE deal on an open market.
Samuel Dalembert: This guy could end up on the Nuggets. I don't like him too much, mainly because he might have the lowest bball IQ in the NBA, but he does have size and is a great guy. We could do worse than Sammy.
Joel Pryzbilla: Felt bad for this guy, he was filling in admireably for Oden when he got the same injury (and then it happened again in the shower). I know Denver wanted him earlier last year but I don't think we ever had the pieces to get him (and Portland wouldn't want to strengthen a division rival). He's actually the ideal big for this team though, he's tall and doesn't need the ball on offense. He does the dirty work and rebounds the ball. Imagine a Birdman with more muscle and like 2 more inches.
Spencer Hawes: He's restricted and isn't that good, so even though he might be worth the MLE, any reasonable deal would prob be matched by Philly.
Nenad Kristic: I don't like him, but he'd be a decent fourth big. He fills in pretty well for OKC (he's their only center) and throws a good punch apparently (and chair.... too soon?).
Troy Murphy: I think he'd be nice fit here because of his abiility to shoot the floor, but idk what his market value will be.
Zach Randolph: Randoplh seems like he's doomed to get another big contract from another bad team. He really proved his doubters wrong last season. He could prob get another big deal with Memphis or another bad team, but maybe a playoff team will offer him a decent deal. Besides if Wark gets hired by any team, they'll be guaranteed to be interested.
Nazr Mouhammad: Good back up center.
Glen Davis: Energy player off the bench.
JR Smith- We know enough about JR.
So after going through this list, I got the feeling that I really want to trade Kenyon's (and possibly JR's) expiring contracts for longer but better players (Biedrins, Ellis?). I think outside of the big men who are probably out of our price range (Gasol, Horford, Perkins, Oden, Noah) this FA class is horrible (prob because players are afraid of the new CBA, so they tried to re-sign already).... so either wait for the 2012 FA class of Dwill and Paul or just use cap space/ expiring deals in other ways.