Stock Watch: Who's the next Jerome James?
Updated: May 8, 2006, 3:19 PM ETBy Chris Sheridan | ESPN.com
Nobody wants to be the next Jerome James, but there are 29 million reasons why that might not necessarily be such a bad thing.
The portly 7-footer parlayed a strong first-round playoff series last season for Seattle into a $29 million free agent contract with the New York Knicks, reaping a windfall reward for the one and only productive stint of his career.
Getty ImagesOne good playoff series last season got Jerome James paid.
The stakes are higher in the playoffs, especially for the players trying to impress the buyers who will be out shopping for free agents two months from now.
Entering the playoffs, it looked like a ho-hum free agent market, especially at shooting guard, but Bonzi Wells and Jared Jeffries are establishing some enhanced value.
Wells was the offensive star for the Kings on Sunday with 25 points and 17 rebounds as Sacramento evened its series with San Antonio at 2-2. That same day in Washington, Jeffries was the defensive difference-maker for the Wizards. He drew LeBron James' fourth charging foul with 2½ minutes left, then fouled out Larry Hughes 30 seconds later on another charge as the Wizards tied the Cavaliers 2-2.
"Jared has done a tremendous job of helping himself," said his agent, Andy Miller. "The impact he makes on both ends of the floor, he does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score, the types of things teams are looking for."
Here's a look at how a few other upcoming free agents (listed alphabetically) are doing in the playoffs, and whether their stock is up or down (all free agents are unrestricted unless otherwise noted):