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Evaluating the best of the 2010 NBA free agents

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade incites the fans during

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade incites the fans during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. (April 25, 2010) Credit: MCT

A look at the top players in the NBA's free-agency class of 2010:

LeBron James

6-8, 260 pounds, Forward, Age: 25, NBA MVP (2009, 2010)

Swish: The most complete basketball player, from a physical standpoint, the game has ever seen.

Brick: Has yet to show the killer instinct that moved Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to multiple championships.

Current team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Teams interested: Everyone

Newsday's pick: Cavaliers -- Despite the rumors, still find it hard to believe he'd really leave his hometown team.

Dwyane Wade

6-4, 220 pounds, Guard, Age: 28, All-NBA First Team (2009, 2010)

Swish: One of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA who can carry a team with his offense.

Brick: A bit of a diva who is injury-prone, mainly because of the pounding his body has taken.

Current team: Miami Heat

Teams interested: Knicks, Bulls, Nets and Heat

Newsday's pick: Heat - Almost no chance he leaves South Beach.

Chris Bosh

6-10, 230 pounds, Forward, Age: 26, Five-time NBA All-Star (2006-2010)

Swish: Terrific scorer in the post with a solid mid-range game and great agility and touch around the basket.

Brick: Concerns about a balky knee and the fact that he never won a playoff series with the Raptors.

Current team: Toronto Raptors

Teams interested: Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat, Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers and Raptors

Newsday's pick: Heat - Takes the lifestyle route and joins Wade in Miami instead of the challenge of New York.

Dirk Nowitzki

7-foot, 245 pounds, Forward/Center, Age: 32, NBA MVP (2007)

Swish: Defines the term "stretch-4" with a deadly long-range touch and unstoppable post-moves.

Brick: At 32, best years are behind him and in 10 years has endured too many playoff failures.

Current team: Dallas Mavericks.

Teams interested: Mavericks.

Newsday's pick: Mavericks - The reason why no one is showing real interest is because no one expects he will leave. Opt-out allows Mavericks more flexibility.

Joe Johnson

6-7, 240 pounds, Guard, Age: 29, All-NBA Third Team (2010)

Swish: One of the NBA's best perimeter scorers and a very underrated defensive player with great size.

Brick: Underwhelming playoff performances question his intensity and ability to lead a team.

Current team: Atlanta Hawks

Teams interested: Knicks, Bulls, Heat and Hawks

Newsday's pick: Hawks - If they offer him a full max contract, at 29 years old, how can he turn that down? (Backup plan: Knicks).

Paul Pierce

6-7, 235 pounds, Forward, Age: 32, Eight-time NBA All-Star

Swish: Terrific scorer who can create his own shot and very tough to guard because of his size and strength.

Brick: Age starting to creep up with him and not the easiest guy to coach. Had success when other stars joined him.

Current team: Boston Celtics

Teams interested: Remains to be seen.

Newsday's pick: Celtics - Opt-out gives him opportunity to get extension now rather than in weaker market next summer.

Amar'e Stoudemire

6-10, 250 pounds, Forward, Age: 27, All-NBA Second Team (2010)

Swish: Dynamically athletic big man who runs the floor like a small forward and finishes strong.

Brick: Defensive deficiencies and injury history (eye, knee) question his value as a max player.

Current team: Phoenix Suns

Teams interested: Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat, Cavaliers and Suns

Newsday's pick: Bulls - Would be an excellent pick-and-roll partner with Derrick Rose and fit well with Joakim Noah.

Rudy Gay

6-8, 230 pounds, Forward, Age: 23, Eighth overall pick in 2006 NBA Draft

Swish: Great length and athleticism and terrific in up-tempo game. Also an under-rated perimeter defender.

Brick: Inconsistent player and tends to be a ball-stopper. Also a restricted free agent, so Grizzlies can match any offer.

Current team: Memphis Grizzlies

Teams interested: Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Clippers and Grizzlies.

Newsday's pick: Knicks - Just a hunch, but he becomes extremely important if Knicks can't land any of the top free agents.

Carlos Boozer

6-9, 260 pounds, Forward, Age: 28, Member of Redeem Team at Beijing Olympics in 2008

Swish: Physical low-post scorer with excellent touch around the rim and strong rebounder.

Brick: Lack of length takes away any defensive presence in the paint.

Current team: Utah Jazz

Teams interested: Heat, Nets, Bulls, Knicks and Jazz

Newsday's pick: Nets - He fills a need at power forward next to center Brook Lopez.

David Lee

6-9, 250 pounds, Forward, Age: 27, All-Star selection in 2010

Swish: Double-double machine who can finish with either hand and a very smart rebounder and passer.

Brick: Lack of size and physicality is an issue on the defensive end, the only criticized part of his game.

Current team: Knicks

Teams interested: Knicks, Nets and Bulls

Newsday's pick: Knicks - Unless he is used in a sign-and-trade for a higher-end forward, Lee is a keeper.

Tip of the cap

NBA teams with the most money to spend in free agency:

KNICKS: $34,147,478

NETS: $29,989,807 * — includes cap holds for two first-round picks

MIAMI HEAT: $27,596,027* * — includes free agent Dwyane Wade’s $16,568,908 cap hold

CHICAGO BULLS: $29,172,226

NOTE: Based on projected $56.1 million salary cap; maximum contract offer starts at $16.5 million.

New York Sports