2012 NBA Free Agents: Predictions on Where Hottest Stars Will Land

Justin Janssen@@JJanssen11Correspondent IIIMay 23, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns stands attended for the National Anthem before the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Spurs defeated the Suns 110-106.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Where will the biggest stars in the NBA sign this offseason? Find out where I think Suns point guard Steve Nash, Nets point guard Deron Williams, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, and Spurs forward Tim Duncan will sign in the article below. 

Steve Nash

Current Team: Phoenix Suns

2011-2012 stats: 20.29 PER, 12.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 10.7 apg, 0.6 spg

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

Steve Nash has stated repeatedly that he wants to play for a championship contender in the twilight of his career. The Suns barely missed the playoffs last season, and there is nothing they could do to convince Nash that the team can contend for an NBA title in the near future. 

Nash is close friends with Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and played on the team for six seasons earlier in his career. 

The Mavericks, with Nash, would be championship contenders. They will also make a play at Nets point guard Deron Williams, but Nash will come at a much cheaper price. Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd is also a free agent; signing Nash would be a significant upgrade. 

Kevin Garnett

BOSTON, MA - MAY 14:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics walks on the court during player introductions before Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER:
Elsa/Getty Images

Current Team: Boston Celtics

2011-2012 stats: 20.47 PER, 15.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.9 spg, 1 bpg

Prediction: Celtics

After Kevin Garnett's reincarnation during the playoff run, I would be surprised if the Celtics did not re-sign him. 

Garnett is averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds in this postseason. Garnett, 36, looks like he did five years ago. Garnett took to heart Atlanta Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. calling him the "dirtiest" player in the NBA

Garnett responded to those comments with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks in an elimination game, showing he still is one of the most passionate players in the league.

The Celtics won't make the mistake of letting Garnett walk. 

Deron Williams

Current Team: New Jersey Nets 

2011-2012 stats: 20.34 PER, 21 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 8.7 apg, 1.2 spg

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers 

Right now Deron Williams is the hottest name on the free agent market. Williams is 27 years old and is in the prime of his career. 

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 10:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets brings the ball up court in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center on April 10, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

As currently constructed, the Lakers cannot afford signing Williams, but I think either Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum will be traded. Gasol is the more likely of the two, considering Bynum has tremendous upside, and Gasol looked lost at times on the court. 

Gasol makes $19 million in 2012-2013 and Bynum earns $16.1 million (team option for 2012-13). Trading one of the two players would free up significant cap space to be able to sign a player of Williams' magnitude. 

The Lakers need a significant roster overhaul if they want to contend with the Thunder and Spurs in the Western Conference. Signing Williams would be a game-changer. 

Tim Duncan

Current Team: San Antonio Spurs

2011-2012 stats: 22.60 PER, 15.4 ppg, 9 rpg, 2.3 apg, .7 spg, 1.5 bpg

Prediction: Spurs

I would be stunned if Tim Duncan did not re-sign with the San Antonio Spurs. Since he was drafted in 1997, he has been the staple of the Spurs franchise. 

All 15 years of Duncan's career have been with the Spurs. Duncan is a 13-time All-Star with three Finals MVPs. His accomplishments are largely overlooked because he's a "boring" player, but Duncan is clearly one of the greatest players of all time. 

Duncan is 36 years old now, but he is still highly productive. Look for him to finish his career with the Spurs.