Carlos Boozer, left, leads a solid contingent at power forward.
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The list of free agent superstars who could be available in 2010 (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and LaMarcus Aldridge) is long and distinguished, but the list of those who will be "up for grabs" in 2009 could also have a big effect on next year's fantasy results. So to help you make decisions in your keeper leagues, lets continue our look at 2009 with the front court free agents.
The center position doesn't have a whole lot to offer this off-season. There is however, the underrated Mehmet Okur. He has a great outside shot, not just for a big man, but for anyone - 44.6% from three-point range. On the other hand, he's not a great defender and although averaging over seven rebound-per-game doesn't go to the boards like some other fantasy centers. He fits very nicely in Utah and I'd be surprised to see him leave.
The only other center of fantasy value is Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Cleveland. Like Okur, he's a good shooter, but a little soft at the other end and on the glass.
Carlos Boozer leads a solid contingent at power forward. Boozer was thought to be interested in heading south and east to Miami where he makes his home. He missed a good bit of the 2008-09 season with an injury and has an injury- plagued career, but when healthy is a force in the paint. He would produce similar statistics no matter where he lands.
Jermaine O'Neal could opt out of his $23 million contract - but only if he is crazy. He hasn't put up the numbers to get a bigger and better deal and should work something out with Miami. If Boozer does go home, O'Neal could be looking at a new city to play in.
Shawn Marion finished the year scoring 25 and 34 points in the final two games while averaging 13 rebounds. Maybe he has found a home north of the border. At 31-years-old he is clearly on the downside of his career, but is still athletic and a good defender who knows how to play a "team" game. You saw how much his numbers dropped without Steve Nash feeding him the ball, so beware of his fantasy value if he goes to still another new team.
Lamar Odom might be unhappy with coming off the bench which is his future in Los Angeles. On the other hand, I get the impression he loves the West Coast and Hollywood. If he does leave, there would be a long line waiting to employ his services. He can shoot, pass, rebound, initiate the offense and is a great team player. Odom's fantasy value could go up if he was on a team with less talent than the Lakers.
Is it possible that Ron Artest found a home in Houston? He seemed to get along with head coach Rick Adelman and told the Houston Chronicle that he would like to stay. He had a solid season and a pretty good playoff run. It's hard to see where another team would "make him an multi-year offer he can't refuse." On the other hand, he stayed out of trouble and played his usual fierce defense, so he could be a valuable free agent pickup for some team.
Hedo Turkoglu was the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2007-08, but his numbers fell slightly this season. He had to take over more of the team's playmaking role after Jameer Nelson was felled by a season-ending injury. He'd be a valuable pickup for another team and his statistics should transfer well no matter where he goes.
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