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Top 30 NBA free agents 3.0

Melo, LeBron top a stacked list of emerging stars and established veterans

Updated: February 27, 2014, 5:14 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

The NBA calendar keeps flying by, as the trade deadline passed with minimal activity and contending teams are looking for their rosters to jel in anticipation of deep playoff runs.

That said, enough has happened since the unveiling of Big Board 2.0 back in November to warrant significant changes throughout the board:

Danny Granger has also dropped off the list after a rusty return to action that has seen him struggle to score efficiently. With his buyout complete, Granger still has time to boost his value back up by contributing to a playoff team down the stretch, but it appears unlikely that he'll find enough playing time to impress would-be suitors this summer to pony up big cash.

• The most notable omission from Big Board 3.0 is probably Dwyane Wade. At this juncture, I do not believe Wade will opt out of the two years and almost $42 million he has guaranteed. The only logical explanation would be if he believed he could sign a three- or four-year deal that would net him a significantly larger amount, and given his battles with injuries, that does not appear likely.

The following is my third ranking of 2014's free agents. Remember, this is sorted by the AAV (average annual value) of the new contracts I believe each player deserves under the rules of the CBA. To make my contract value estimates, I used many of the same factors I used as a member of the Phoenix Suns' front office: age, injury history, value of recent comparable player contracts, irreplaceability of skill set, contribution to winning, history of production, fit with style and culture, marketability and current cap situation, among other things.

Remember, this is not a ranking of the best free agents -- it lines them up based on projected AAV; and the AAVs listed below represent my estimation of the approximate value of each player, not a prediction of what the player will receive on the market in 2014. (Values denoted in millions of dollars.) The contract valuations for many of these players are almost guaranteed to change, as their 2013-14 performances will affect their worth, but it is important to get a gauge of where the different prospects stand.

ETO=Early Termination Option, PO=Player Option, UFA=Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA=Restricted Free Agent


1. Carmelo Anthony | SF | ETO | 2013-14 Team: New York Knicks

Anthony

2013-14 Salary: $21.4 million | Suggested AAV: $23.5 million/year, three years

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