A lockout has a major impact upon an NBA season: old teams are fresher and more competitive, teams with chemistry issues tend to finish lower than expected, and therefore the needs of a team can be slightly shifted. As the a Knicks proved in 1999, a team peaking at the right time in a lockout year can surprise many.
However this offseason we're not even sure if there'll be a shortened season like there was in '99. There's every chance it may be skipped all together - making the 2012 offseason one of the richest FA classes in ages - and this could be a ploy by team owners in current negotiations because it floods the market with players, lowering the value of talent.
If the season were to say, go for 40 games (a best case scenario as of right now), here's some discussion on the current free agent crop (unrestricted and restricted)...1. Jamal Crawford
: His stock has to take a hit as JC is a guy that inevitably requires time to fit into his role with his new teams. You can ignore the scoring explosions on arrival to NYK and GSW – NYK and GSW are notable exceptions due to playing style and pace, and not the rule. For teams like CHI and MIA who would have been considering JC, he now has less appeal.2. Jeff Green
: See above. Jeff Green is like the Euro atm – in danger of decertification and worthlessness. Green's temperament itself is not conducive to quickly fitting into a system and offering value; he's too unselfish (a good long term trait) and has confidence issues. I expect him to re-sign in Boston.3. Dante Cunningham
is the perfect guy to benefit from a lockout. He's a contributor, he's efficient, he's selfless - and because he's a hard hat type player he can slot in straight away. Instant defense and underrated offense. His stock will be on the rise and my tip is Charlotte doesn't give him an offer sheet worth considering.4. Kurt Thomas
is a veteran – and veterans adapt better/quicker! Especially the likes of Thomas.
Damn good mid range game? Check.
Solid defender? Check.
Great role model on/off the court? Check.
Thomas will see another season on a contender at the very least. Look for Miami to move here!!!5. Nene Hilario
will take a massive jump. Defense will get good starts to this "half season" and will almost certainly get a playoff berth. Nene can bring that and then some. Pair him up with another even half decent big and all of a sudden you can make a title "run" without having to run the full length.
Think New York here and how this would allow for sliding Amare to the 4. Their 3/4/5 would be the best in the league hands down.6. Tayshaun Prince
is a guy that could take a young team a bit further and realize some potential. We all know the Clippers have always been interested and even tried to make a move last season, but now they will be actively trying to get Prince. A Jordan/Griffin/Prince/Gordon/Williams starting 5 has a nice balance to it and could result in a jump in the elite 8 of the West whilst teams like Portland get caught sleeping.7. Chuck Hayes
: see Kurt Thomas but subtract a bit of age. Once again teams like NYK, SAS, and MIA could overpay this guy on a deal hoping that he gets them over other teams in the shortened season. Chuck Hayes is a stock-winner in a shortened season – guaranteed returns.8. DeAndre Jordan
: Jordan's value takes a hit here because he is still developing. On an 82 game season he is definitely worth the offer of a starting salary but on a shortened season... this is where a team like Indiana or Houston could pounce – both in need of solid C's and probably out of contention this season. If you couple the Clippers thinking they're a shot they may not match the offer and look for a downgrade/trade.9. Leon Powe
: Has everyone forgotten Cleveland? Powe has been injury ravaged. Powe has gotten healthy again. This guy could be a steal and be your 2nd guy off the bench or even a starter. He's still relevant.10. Kris Humphries
: You could get this guy cheap is you get the Nets second guessing. Plus on the right team he comes in and gives toughness at the 4 spot – something many teams require right now. I say he gets overpaid.11. Carl Landry
: I think CL will be a steal for someone and I think that will be a contender. He plays bigger than his height and is efficient. I say underpaid but only because of my next player...