In the next edition of Blazer's Edge Podcast, dropping tomorrow afternoon, Dan Marang and I discuss a bevy of free agents. (We had a wagon load but only made it to "bevy".) As we recorded the show, we engaged in a two-part process. We sorted free agents into defined tiers and then discussed their potential to add to the Trail Blazers roster.
After the show got done, we figured it was silly for us to have all the fun. So we're opening up this process to you, Blazer's Edge Readers. For this show and the future follow-up, we're going to ask you to help us sort players into place and weigh in whether you'd want them or not. Some of these names are well-trodden by now. Others are not realistic targets. Feel free to summarize on those. (We did.) We included them because we wanted to start from the top of the field and make the exercise fairly comprehensive. Other names are newer and more interesting, especially when trying to define which tier they belong to. Have at it, and be sure to visit around 1:00 tomorrow when the podcast goes live to see how Dan and I handled these things (and many other matters).
The Tiers of NBA Free Agency, As Defined Arbitrarily By Us
Tier I: Can't-Miss Superstar
These are the players nobody asks questions about. Every team would sign them without question. They're going to transform whichever team they join.
Tier II: Stars
These guys aren't as automatic as the cream of the crop free agents but they'll still help a lot. They'll also cost a lot.
Tier III: Solid Acquisition
These aren't marquee players but they're still a good get. They're either good starters or major bench players. The rising cap will make them semi-expensive but in the right situation they'll be worth the money.
Tier IV: The Modest Get
You're not ashamed to sign these players but you don't expect them to have a huge impact. They're the smart, "value" signings or the last bits of the free agent buffet when you've already stuffed yourself with the main course.
Tier V: Projects
These guys aren't performing and may never make significant contributions, but you're taking a flyer on them either because they're unknown or they're a reclamation project.
Players to Sort Into Tiers
This list is neither exhaustive nor surprising. We have a couple dozen more suggestions coming the next time we run this topic, most of whom haven't been seriously considered. We're taking the known quantities first. How would you sort these players into the five tiers and how do you think they'd fare in Portland?
LeBron James*, Kevin Durant*, Al Horford, Dwight Howard, Larry Sanders, Ryan Anderson, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, Pau Gasol, Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Matt Barnes, Nicolas Batum, and Chandler Parsons
*pretty much considered beyond Portland's grasp
Weigh in with your thoughts then tune in tomorrow to compare your assessment to ours!