NBA Free Agency Frenzy Begins at Midnight

There are big names in free agency this year, and the moves that are made could shift the power of balance in the West. Will LaMarcus Aldridge join an established team like San Antonio or will he be enticed by the bright lights of Los Angeles? Aldridge is just one of many big name free agents who will decide their future in the coming days, and the Celtics hope to be in on the fun.

Just a year ago at this time we were all wondering where Lebron James was going to be playing and what the future would hold for Kevin Love. Funny thing is, Lebron is a free agent again, but he is known to be going back to the Cavs. Love opted out too, but it was more of a move to sign long-term than it was to gauge the market. If Love does meet with teams, expect the Celtics to plead with him to come east, but it isn't happening. If Boston is going to land a big name free agent, it is going to be a player like Greg Monroe, not Kevin Love.

One advantage the Celtics have over many teams is the ability to sign two max deals. If they get legitimate buy in from a big name, they might possibly lure in two players that can take Boston to the next level. The Celtics also have huge trade exemptions that they could use on players that other teams are trying to dump because if prohibitive salaries, so it doesn't have to end with just two big free agents. Boston has the ability to add four legitimate players, but they need someone to buy in before any of this can come to fruition. Let's take a look who the top 15 free agents overall and the players Boston will have interest in.

1. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, 6'11, 240, 29 Years Old

The Celtics have interest in every top free agent, but the chances of landing one is remote. Aldridge is at the top of their list, but according to most reports, Aldridge won't even meet with the Celtics. Prediction- Lakers

2. DeAndre Jordan, C, 6'11, 265, 26 Years Old

The best rim protector in the NBA is available, and there will be no shortage of suitors for his talents. Jordan is also one of the best rebounders in the league. He has a good thing in L.A., but one gets the feeling he is going to bolt. Prediction- Mavericks

3. Marc Gasol, C, 7'1, 265, 30 Years Old

Gasol has made it clear that he'd prefer to stay in Memphis, and there were reports today that he'll remain with Grizzlies. Gasol would help a lot of teams, but his loyalty is nice to see considering the amount of mercenaries there are in sports nowadays. Prediction- Grizzlies

4. Kevin Love, PF, 6'10, 243, 26 Years Old

Love was spotted in Las Vegas meeting with Lebron James on Thursday, and most reports have stated that he is definitely headed back to Cleveland on a 5 year, $100 million deal. Prediction- Cavaliers

5. Jimmy Butler, SF, 6'7, 220, 25 Years Old

Butler had a meeting scheduled with Boston, and they seemed fully prepared to offer him a max deal, but he has postponed all his meetings to sit down with the Bulls. Some think he'll sign with Chicago tonight, but one never knows. Prediction- Bulls.

6. Kawhi Leonard, 6'7, 230, 24 Years Old

There is no way the Spurs are letting their franchise player go. Leonard is restricted so San Antonio can and will match any offer. Prediction- Spurs

7. Draymond Green, PF, 6'7, 230, 25 Years Old

Green is yet another player that will most likely stay where he is. The Warriors have a great young core and the last thing they want to do is breakup this championship group. Prediction- Warriors

8. Paul Millsap, PF, 6'8, 254, 30 Years Old

Millsap helped lead the Hawks to the 2nd best record in the NBA last year and he fits in perfectly with their system, but the Hawks are going to have to pay to keep him. Millsap seems like a player Boston would like so keep an eye on them as under-the-radar pursuers of the talented power forward. Prediction- Hawks

9. Greg Monroe, C, 6'11, 250, 25 Years Old

Monroe is a target that has been rumored in Boston for two seasons, yet nothing has ever come to fruition. The Celtics are pursuing the big man and they have a meeting setup for him this week. One thing Boston can guarantee the young talent is the ball; the Celtics don't have a consistent low-post threat they desperately need and Monroe would provide that for them. Prediction- Celtics

10. Brook Lopez, C, 7'0, 275, 27 Years Old

Lopez is a good player and he does bring talent to anyone he plays for, but he has been significantly hurt two of the last four years, and for a seven-footer, he isn't a very good rebounder or shot-blocker. Lopez will get attention, just not from Boston. Prediction- Knicks

11. Tobias Harris, SF/PF, 6'9, 235, 22 Years Old

The Celtics are one of the top suitors for the young forward who showed great scoring ability last year and the ability to step up and be a stretch power forward. Harris is young, so he's still going to grow as a player. Brad Stevens would love to grab Harris away from the Magic, and Danny Ainge may oblige. Prediction- Celtics

12. DeMarre Carroll, SF, 6'8, 212, 28 Years Old

Carroll has played well in his two years in Atlanta, especially when you consider that the Hawks were his fifth team in six seasons. Carroll is going to want to get paid because he knows that the good times can always come to an end, but is anyone going to be willing to give him 4 years, $48 million? I don't see it happening. Prediction- Hawks.

13. Monta Ellis, SG, 6'3, 185, 29 Years Old

Looking for instant offense? Well, here is your guy. Ellis has averaged 19.3 points over the course of his career. The bad side? Loves to shoot, can tend to alienate teammates. Prediction- Rockets

14. Goran Dragic, PG, 6'3, 190, 29 Years Old

Dragic forced his way out of Phoenix in his contract year and finished last year in Miami. Miami absolutely wants to keep the talented guard, but Dragic will listen to other teams. Prediction- Heat

15. Brandon Knight, PG, 6'3, 189, 23 Years Old

Knight was part of the midseason trade that sent Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee and Knight to Phoenix. Knight flourished there just like he did in Milwaukee, and will be sought after by teams in need of guard help. Prediction- Suns

Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce, SF, 6'7, 235, 37 Years Old

Wesley Matthews, SG, 6'5, 220, 28 Years Old

Reggie Jackson, PG, 6'3, 208, 25 Years Old

Tyson Chandler, C, 7'1, 240, 32 Years Old

Dwayne Wade, SG, 6'4, 220, 33 Years Old

Danny Green, SF, 6'6, 210, 28 Years Old

Tristan Thompson, PF, 6'10, 238, 24 Years Old**Restricted Free Agent

Khris Middleton, G-F, 6'7, 225, 23 Years Old**Restricted Free Agent

Tim Duncan, F-C, 6'11, 250, 39 Years Old

Most of these players will return to the teams they were with, but some will be on the move and there are guaranteed to be a few big names that switch teams. The Celtics are going to be active, but just because you have cap space doesn't mean you have to waste in all in one offseason. The Celtics need to be aggressive but smart at the same time, and they should focus on YOUNG free agents. Put the coffee on, because the work starts at midnight.

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