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USA Today's David Dupree on winners and losers in Free agency
Ready, set, sign: Free agent frenzy begins now
The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement has finally gone into effect, and free agent signings begin at noon Tuesday. Most of the top free agents have already reached deals and will be able to sign contracts with their new teams. (Related items: Teams on the rise | Teams on the slide | Top uncommitted free agents)
Michael Redd opted to re-sign with Milwaukee, which expects him to be a top scorer.
By Mark Duncan, AP
The salary cap will be a record $49.5 million, up $5.63 million from last season. Teams above the salary cap also will be given a midlevel exception of $5 million.
USA TODAY's David DuPree looks at the teams that have made the biggest splash and those which may have taken a step backward and sizes up the remaining available free agents and their potential impact:
Teams on the rise
New look: Have agreed to terms with power forward Donyell Marshall, shooting guard Larry Hughes and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Renewed hope:LeBron James got the help he was looking for. Hughes is a proven scorer and an all-defense first-teamer and will relieve James of some ballhandling duties. Marshall is a solid rebounder, three-point shooter and team player. Ilgauskas is a low-post presence who commands double teams.
The big picture: This is a potential 50-game winner, and no team has a better young general manager-coach situation than the Cavaliers with Danny Ferry and Mike Brown.
New look: Bucks not only re-signed sharpshooter Michael Redd, but they also agreed to terms with Bobby Simmons, have rookie center Andrew Bogut and get point guard T.J. Ford back from injury.
Renewed hope: Redd should be among the NBA's top scorers this season with the help the Bucks have given him.
The big picture: This could be one of the most improved teams with its size, scoring ability and versatility.
New look: Agreed to terms with power forward Stromile Swift.
Renewed hope: They get a shot blocker and a guy to cover the backs of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
The big picture: Now they can match up with any team.
New look: Agreed to terms with Sarunas Jasikevicius.
Renewed hope: They'll miss Reggie Miller's clutch shooting, but Jasikevicius is an impact player who can play both guard positions and is a big-time shooter.
The big picture:Ron Artest returns, and Jermaine O'Neal is healthy, making the Pacers legitimate title contenders.
New Jersey Nets
New look: Agreed to terms with power forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim and point guard Jeff McInnis.
Renewed hope: With McInnis backing up Jason Kidd and Abdur-Rahim providing some inside respect, the Nets will run, run, run with Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson on the wings.
The big picture: They could be the Phoenix Suns of the East. They will make opponents play at their pace.
Teams on the slide
Who's gone: Starting center Jerome James (Knicks) and sixth man Antonio Daniels (Wizards).
What's left: Starting power forward Reggie Evans, reliable scorer Vladimir Radmanovic and promising shooting guard Ronald Murray are uncommitted free agents and could also be moving on to new teams.
What's next:Ray Allen re-upped, but it is going to be very difficult for the Sonics to repeat last season's success.
Who's gone:Kwame Brown (Lakers), Larry Hughes (Cavaliers), Juan Dixon (Trail Blazers).
What's left: Additions of Chucky Atkins and Caron Butler, acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers for Brown, along with Antonio Daniels, are solid, but they need a big body to keep pace in the conference.
What's up: Losing players as popular as Hughes and Dixon sets team back - in eyes of fans and on the court. And giving up on Brown is a gamble.
Top free agents still uncommitted
Joe Johnson, shooting guard Accurate three-point shooter and solid defender.
Tyson Chandler, center-power forward Defensive force and solid rebounder.
Eddy Curry, center Best proven post scorer still out there.
Damon Stoudamire, point guard Knows how to lead a team.
Antoine Walker, power forward Triple threat — scores, rebounds and passes.
Vladimir Radmanovic, power forward 6-11 and can shoot threes.
Stephen Hunter, center Runs the floor and blocks shots.
Reggie Evans, power forward Big time rebounder and physical presence.
Ronald Murray, shooting guard Prolific scorer who can get his own shot.
Marko Jaric, point guard 6-7 and can defend and score.
Re: USA Today's David Dupree on winners and losers in Free agency
What about Reggie Evans? He seemed to play well against the Bobcats.
21 rebounds. He is short but that doesn't matter just as long as he has an
eye for the ball. Probably have to do a sign and trade to make it work.
They didn't forget. This is a free agency article.
Then why even mention Bogut going to Milwaukee?
Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
And life itself, rushing over me
Life itself, the wind in black elms,
Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you