- Neil Paine
Now that most of the 2012 free-agency dust has settled, we can finally sit down and try to predict what kind of impact the new signees will have next season.
The most valuable of this summer's free agents, in terms of 2011-12 production, probably were Andrew Bynum (with whom the Los Angeles Lakers had a team option, so he never truly hit the open market), Ryan Anderson, Roy Hibbert, Deron Williams and a handful of old guys -- Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Steve Nash.
Bynum will be just 25 in 2013, and is one of the most valuable commodities in the league -- a young, improving 7-footer who is productive at both ends of the floor. But as was previously mentioned, he wasn't really a free agent -- L.A. quickly exercised its option, a no-brainer of a move if ever there was one (if not simply to possess one of the biggest assets in the Dwight Howard trade market).
Meanwhile, it's tough to say what Garnett, Duncan and Nash have left in their respective tanks. All three were still productive this past season, but Nash will be 38 next season, and both future Hall of Fame power forwards will be 36. Each player has seen his minutes and role reduced in recent seasons, so despite the star power, it would be unrealistic to expect any of them to deliver a major impact in 2013.
That leaves a number of younger candidates, each of whom come with their own question marks, as the free agents most likely to make a big impact next season.
Neil Paine identifies the free-agent signings from the 2012 class that should have the biggest impacts on their teams next season.