Lets get this thing rolling with some food for thought (via LA Times):
, Milwaukee -- Sen. Herb Kohl, who's selling, can drop below the luxury-tax threshold by letting him go, saving Payton's salary, $12.6 million, plus $5 million in luxury tax and making the Bucks eligible to share in the players' escrow money. This would add more than $20 million to next season's bottom line and make it easier to lure a buyer to the tundra. For his part, Payton has said of Milwaukee, "It's only two months." The Spurs are thinking about Payton too. Otherwise, it's Denver, where he says he won't go, a sign-and-trade, a pay cut or Winter Wonderland.
, Golden State -- There have been few darkhorses like him. A shooting guard drafted in the second round in 2001, he's now one of the league's best young point guards and the Warriors' franchise player. But they can only offer him $4.5 million without dumping someone and have already struck out trying to move Erick Dampier's $7.9-million salary and Danny Fortson's $5.9-million deal. Denver would max Arenas out, but his father says our Valley Guy out of Grant High in Van Nuys doesn't do cold weather. Right on, dude.
, Indiana -- He looked set to stay, but that was before the bottom dropped out of the Pacer season. If he's on the market, the Spurs will be interested.
, Clippers -- After a lost season, his price dropped like a rock but, as they keep saying in the stock market, we may have just put a bottom in. The Spurs were hot for him, switched to Kidd but now must rethink Olowokandi. They're determined not to give an unproven player $100 million just because they have it to spend but may yet come up with a number he and they can agree on.
, Indiana -- Also expected to stay but could be a fall-back position for the Spurs. He's not a star but he was an All-Star -- if only in the East. As he proved in Indy, he can make the right team bigger and better.
, Utah -- He goes into a tizzy every summer, but unless he outdoes himself and takes $4.5 million in Dallas, he'll be back at the same old pop stand with his little buddy, John Stockton.
, Minnesota -- A less-accomplished but still developing 7-footer, he's expected to stay.
, Denver -- He has had one major problem the last seven seasons, he was overpriced at $105 million. That will be corrected.
, Portland -- He's such an obvious fit for Phil Jackson, the Laker coach even acknowledges it, flirting with the tampering rules. Under normal circumstances, Paul Allen would pay anything to keep him from the Lakers but now faces an astounding $100-million projected loss, with an $87-million payroll coming back, meaning another projected loss of $80 million to $90 million. Of course, before the Lakers, who are creaky enough, take on the 38-year-old Pippen, they'd better make sure that this time they consider ...
, Sacramento -- He flew under the radar last season, which included a marijuana arrest while he negotiated with the few interested teams. He was ignored by the Lakers, who gave their veteran's exception to Devean George; the Mavericks, who pursued Rashard Lewis, and the Spurs, who saved their cap space for this summer. In the meantime, Clark has been a $4.5-million bargain for the Kings. Clark is 28, a 6-11, shot-blocking dervish with surprising offensive skills, so the thought of his playing alongside, and backing up, O'Neal is intriguing.
, Miami -- He's planning a comeback but was so erratic in his last one, a Heat team that looked like an East power didn't make the playoffs.
, Washington -- While bashing Kwame Brown, Michael Jordan also said a few things that reflected on Stackhouse, so he'd better not tempt Jordan by opting out.
, New Orleans -- A 6-10 power forward who defends and averages 10 points and 10 rebounds is well worth $4.5 million.
, Portland -- Higher-maintenance than Brown and not as skilled, but he's stronger and can play center so he'll get offers.
, Indiana -- An Indy folk hero, he wants to finish up there and the Pacers want to keep him.
, Philadelphia -- Going on 36 with his legs gone, he has actually, if belatedly, developed a good enough attitude to play. The 76ers will try to keep him, but it'll be interesting to see if they offer him anything like his current $9.4 million. And if they don't, what the old mercenary does.
, Clippers -- The Lakers need shooters with the court sense to play in a reading offense. He'd be so happy to stay in town, let alone with a real team, he might take the $1-million veteran's minimum.
-- His agent, David Falk, yearns to take him on the market next summer, but Brand wants to stay. (I know, I can't believe it, either.) The Clippers won't go for any sign-and-trade demands and if anyone makes him an offer, they'll match.
-- Sterling retains a soft spot for Odom, who made such a splash as a rookie, and will match on him too.
-- Maybe only hard-core fans and NBA people noticed in this lost season, but this super-athlete is happening. You'd assume they'd match on him, but let's not forget who we're dealing with.
-- I'd guess they won't match on him, since the organization was disappointed in him -- and vice versa -- and they have a bargain at the position in the promising Marko Jaric.