NBA free agency opens at midnight EDT on Thursday, offering what is widely considered the greatest group that's ever been available. Some players are bargains, others will break the bank. Here's some of what teams will be looking at when they start their shopping:
Head of the class
LeBron James, Cavaliers: One of the most coveted free agents that sports has ever seen. The two-time NBA MVP would crush the spirits of fans throughout his native Ohio if he left Cleveland, and he's going to get plenty of intriguing opportunities to do so.
Dwyane Wade, Heat: Has bounced back in a big way from a couple of injury-shortened seasons, returning in dominant form at the 2008 Olympics and not slowing down since. He seems most likely among the big free agents to stay put - as long as Miami brings in some help, which it is in great position to do.
Chris Bosh, Raptors: He seems set to be a nice addition to a team next season. Even general manager Bryan Colangelo has admitted that his power forward likely will leave Toronto, so the Raptors will consider sign-and-trade options. Both James and Wade would like Bosh to join them - unless all three end up together.
Maybe the max?
These guys may view themselves as worth maximum value deals, but the market might say otherwise.
Amare Stoudemire, Suns: An explosive scorer who is still only 27 years old and whose averages of 26.4 points and 9.8 rebounds after Feb. 1 trumped Bosh's 23.8 and 9.6, according to STATS LLC. But with two knee surgeries among his injury history, he could be viewed as a risk.
Joe Johnson, Hawks: The Hawks could offer him a max deal, but their competition likely views the All-Star shooting guard as a No. 2 piece, especially after he managed just 12.8 points per game on 30 percent shooting in a dreadful second-round sweep by Orlando.
Carlos Boozer, Jazz: The two-time Olympian is ferocious around the basket and a double-double threat every night. But he might suffer in comparisons next to Bosh and Stoudemire, and the Jazz seem willing to let Paul Millsap replace him if the price is too high.
These guys lack the accomplishments of the studs atop the class, but they seem on their way.
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies: He's added a decent perimeter shot to go along his superior athleticism and fell just shy of averaging 20 points for the second time in three years. Memphis can match an offer, but the Grizzlies aren't known as big spenders, so perhaps Gay could be pried away.
David Lee, Knicks: New York finally had an All-Star again and now is prepared to lose him if it can sign two of the max players. One of the league's best rebounders is now a very good outside shooter for a big man. He certainly would benefit from a move back to his natural power forward spot after being forced to play as an undersized center with the Knicks.
John Salmons, Bucks: An underrated shooting guard whose scoring was a key in playoff pushes for Chicago in 2009 and Milwaukee last year. If the Hawks lose Johnson, there's speculation they'd look into Salmons.
Would they really leave?
These guys can become free agents, but it's hard to imagine them moving on.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: The former NBA MVP is using the early termination option in his contract, but owner Mark Cuban always has been willing to spend on a contender, so the big German likely will find his best deal is to stay.
Paul Pierce, Celtics: Pierce can terminate a contract that would pay him $21.5 million next season. But the Celtics certainly would re-sign the 2008 NBA finals MVP, who would risk going down among the Boston greats if he left.
Shaquille O'Neal, Cavaliers: Shaq couldn't help the King win a ring in Cleveland, and now he'll join LeBron James on the free agent market. He'd likely have to take a massive pay cut from last season's $21 million salary. Having shown a willingness to stay in shape the last couple of years, he might get the two-year deal he wants.
Brad Miller, Bulls: The kind of player who always will draw interest; he's not just a typical center and is comfortable playing away from the basket. A team looking for a veteran big man might consider him.
Looking at Lakers
The point guards of the NBA champions are on the market, and one seems eager to move on.
Derek Fisher, Lakers: The veteran guard has been a part of all five title teams since 2000 and always seems to come up with a big shot or two at some point in the postseason. The Lakers will want to keep Kobe Bryant's good friend in Los Angeles.
Jordan Farmar, Lakers: Fisher's backup said after the season he's ready to seek a bigger role after spending the last four years as a reserve in Los Angeles, adding he doesn't fit well in the triangle offense.