NBA Free Agency 2013 Best Fits: Dwight Howard Leads The Way

07/03/2013 10:07 am ET | Updated Jul 03, 2013
  • Jordan Schultz The Huffington Post Sports Columnist, The Schultz Report
AP

NBA free agency is a firestorm of rumors and ultimately, a whirlwind of both practical and not-so-practical decisions. While players cannot officially sign with teams until July 10, let's take a look at the top 10 free agents -- not including Chris Paul, who has verbally agreed to a deal with the LA Clippers -- and which team represents the best fit.

Dwight Howard, Best Fit: Dallas -- The Mavs present the ability to build around Dwight exclusively, and while the team is not a championship contender next season, the opportunity to win in two years is very real. Mavs owner Mark Cuban has proven that he will do just about anything to win -- Dallas had the highest payroll in the league when it won the title in 2011 -- and Howard is still just 27. A four-year deal is sensible.

Josh Smith, Best Fit: Houston -- This hinges on what happens with Dwight Howard, but Smith is an incredible shot-blocker and transition talent, and a profound two-way player. He brings big-time versatility because of his athletic ability and defensive presence, something that Houston really needs.

Andre Iguodala, Best Fit: Cleveland -- The problem with "Iggy" is that he cannot be the top dog. He may not even be comfortable playing second fiddle, but when he's consistently a third option, this guy can be awesome. That's exactly why I say the Cavs, who are starting to build something special. Iguodala can thrive off of Kyrie Irving and potentially Anthony Bennett, along with Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.

nba free agency 2013

Tyreke Evans' contract could become a major salary albatross to his new suitor. (AP)

Tyreke Evans, Best Fit: None -- Is he a point guard? Is he a small forward? Is he a sixth man? At his best, Evans is an attacking monster who can get to the rim as well as anyone. Nobody seems to know and while the Sacramento situation was all too toxic, Evans is a major gamble. Giving him $40 million plus (New Orleans?) is preposterous.

Brandon Jennings, Best Fit: Lakers -- This is a wild card, and that assumes D12 does not return. Jennings however, is one of the better young guards in the league who is a natural attacker. He struggles shooting the ball and with turnovers, but he is an immense talent. The Lakers need some juice and is Milwaukee really going to match the young star's salary demands?

Andrew Bynum, Best Fit: Atlanta -- The Hawks have been stuck in neutral and if Bynum can get healthy, the combination of him and Al Horford gives them one of the most lethal front courts in the NBA. Atlanta has a ton of cap space and even a shorter-term deal makes sense for this roster.

Nikola Pekovic, Best Fit: Atlanta -- Pekovic is a terrific post player and one of the most underrated players in this free agent class, Pekovic can be signed for real value. If Hawks do not sign Bynum, he is a terrific consolation prize.

Al Jefferson, Best Fit: Houston -- Again, this depends on what happens with D12, but Jefferson is a bona fide scorer and quality pick-and-roll big who would fit in quite nicely with James Harden. The major downside is his defense, or lack thereof.

Monta Ellis, Best Fit: Chicago -- Although he opted out of his deal after shooting under 42 percent last season, Ellis is still an elite scorer. The Bulls would have to move some money around, but Ellis gives them much needed firepower and a guy who can play with and without Derrick Rose.

Jeff Teague, Best Fit: Milwaukee -- This hinges on Jennings, who Teague outranks. Teague -- who is also a restricted free agent -- is a more efficient lead guard who can score in bunches, and whose youth and quickness would mesh well with what the Bucks are trying to build.

Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report. Also, be sure and catch my NBC Sports Radio show, Kup and Schultz, which airs Sunday mornings from 9-12 ET, right here.

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