By Tommy Beer
Senior NBA Writer & Fantasy Sports Editor
Center is always the most difficult position to address. Thus, any young and talented pivots, such as Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan, will be especially hot commodities. But both of those bigs are restricted free agents and it’s difficult to imagine the Grizzlies and Clippers, respectively, not matching any relatively reasonable offers they receive. Nene is arguably the best FA on the entire market, and will get paid accordingly (most likely by Denver, who has money to play with). Tyson Chandler is an unrestricted free agent, but is headed for a big payday after a major bounceback season in Dallas last year. Samuel Dalembert will likely get in the neighborhood of $5+ million per season, pricing out a majority of interested parties.
Those guys are the cream of the FA center crop. After that “top-tier” of talent, there is a significant drop-off. However, because legitimate centers are so rare in today’s NBA, the players listed below may end up playing significant minutes for an NBA team near you.
Bobcats FA Centers
Kwame Brown (Charlotte Bobcats/ $1.3 million/ Unrestricted):
Brown will forever be tagged as a major “bust” because he never lived up to expectations heaped upon him after getting selected as the #1 overall pick by Michael Jordan and the Wizards back in 2001. Still, Brown proved last season that he still belongs in the league – averaging nearly 8 points and 7 boards for the Bobcats in arguably his best all-around season since 2003. He’ll never be a superstar, as his small hands and lack of an offensive repertoire have rendered him below-average offensively; but Kwame is strong enough and quick enough to hold his own on defense. He could be starting for any number of NBA teams at the start of next season (whenever that is).
Joel Przybilla (Charlotte Bobcats/ $7.4 million/ Unrestricted):
He’s not a scorer (he’s never averaged more than 6.4 ppg in his career, and that was six years ago), but he can rebound and defend, when healthy. However, his health is a continuous question mark. In addition, he turns 32 this month and his production has regressed in recent years. It will be interesting to see how motivated he is to continue playing. Might be a decent fit in New York; the Knicks have plenty of offensive weapons, but desperately need a big body to board and protect the rim. As recently as the 2009-2010 season, Przybilla averaged 8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
I wouldn't be surprised if Przybilla ended up being Stephen Jackson's teammate in Milwaukee by mid-season.