1. Nene(notes), Nuggets, C, 29, $11.3 million 2010-11 salary; U: The Nuggets can pay Nene more money than any other team. Nene’s wife also is from Colorado. Still, several teams will try to persuade him to leave Denver. Golden State, Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington, New Jersey and Indiana could make a run at him. The Miami Heat want an upgrade at center, but they likely would have to work a sign-and-trade deal to land Nene. Portland and Dallas (if it doesn’t re-sign Tyson Chandler) also could have interest.
2. Tyson Chandler(notes), Mavericks, C, 29, $12.6 million 2010-11 salary, U: Chandler’s stock rose dramatically after his defense helped lift the Mavericks to last season’s championship – which is why the Mavs hope to re-sign him. Dallas could lower its salary-cap hit by using its amnesty provision on Chandler’s backup, Brendan Haywood(notes). The same teams pursuing Nene likely will be interested in Chandler.
3. David West(notes), Hornets, PF, 31, $8.2 million 2010-11 salary, U: The Hornets can ill afford to lose West, especially if they want to keep guard Chris Paul happy. Will his knee injury scare prospective teams? Sacramento, New Jersey and Indiana could pursue him. Denver also could have interest if Nene leaves.
4. Marc Gasol(notes), Grizzlies, C, 26, $3.5 million 2010-11 salary, R: Gasol would be No. 1 on this list if he weren’t a restricted free agent. The Grizzlies likely will have to go into luxury tax territory to keep their starting center. And after reaching the second round of last season’s playoffs, they could be willing to pay that price.
5. DeAndre Jordan(notes), Clippers, C, 23, $854,000 2010-11 salary, R: The Clippers might give Nene, Tyson Chandler and Gasol a look before making an offer to Jordan, who has become a nice complement to Blake Griffin(notes). Jordan could get overpaid by a desperate team, possibly the Rockets