Teams --- mainly the New York Knicks --- continue to rearrange their payroll responsibilities in anticipation of the NBA's celebrated free-agent class of 2010. It's clear that LeBron James isn't the only apple of someone's eye. Fellow All-Stars and Olympic gold medalists Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh stand to reap substantial financial rewards that summer, too.
But there's even more talent in that ballyhooed 2010 class. Some other notable names to keep an eye on with free-agent-palooza fast approaching (and keep in mind that with the cash being cleared out, several teams will have the money to pay two superstar players):
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
Two years ago, Stoudemire would have headlined this group ahead of a player like Bosh. But as the injuries have mounted, his star has faded a bit in the eyes of some. Still, he was a first-team All-NBA pick last year and has an early termination option on his contract that would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent in a potential blockbuster summer.
Joe Johnson, Hawks
Five years after joining the Hawks in what was a controversy-inducing sign-and-trade deal, Johnson should be poised to make his second big free-agent splash two years from now as an unrestricted free agent. Already a two-time All-Star, Johnson has been the catalyst behind the Hawks' renaissance. And you can be sure that other teams have noticed.
Tracy McGrady, Houston
Depending on how his body holds up over the next two years, McGrady could be one of the true surprise additions to the class. A perennial All-Star and one of the league's most explosive scorers, he'll be closer to the end of his career by then but still a dangerous player to help lead a team. How much desire he has left by then will likely be the determining factor.
Steve Nash, Phoenix
The two-time MVP has already stated publicly that he plans to play through the 2011-12 season, meaning some team will be seriously interested in signing a veteran wizard such as Nash, who will be an unrestricted free agent by 2010, to not only help push them over the top but also to help mentor a young point guard prospect.
Mike Miller, Minnesota
Shooters never need worry about the job market in the NBA. And Miller is as steady as they come, meaning his phone should be ringing off the hook with interest from teams looking to add a veteran sharpshooter for a reasonable price. Just 28, Miller should still have plenty of tread left on his tires, too, unlike some of the older members in the class.
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio
Years of playing fearlessly, in the NBA and beyond, has no doubt taken a toll on Ginobili's body. So it's hard to fathom just how valuable an aging superstar such as Ginobili will be in two years. But if he has anything left in his tank, he'll draw plenty of attention from around the league as an unrestricted free agent.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee
Another member of the sharpshooters club as well as a casualty of the injury parade, Redd has an early termination option on his contract. If his body holds up, he might be tempted to test the waters. And despite his physical struggles lately, he's scored 21 or more points per game in five straight seasons.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
It's no secret that the one-time MVP plans to exercise the early termination option in his contract after the 2009-2010 season. Whether he's already formulated a plan with best buddy Nash is the more intriguing question. The two could be reunited somewhere in a couple of years and see whether they can finish what they started years ago with the Mavericks.
Ray Allen, Boston
The man who will someday take over Reggie Miller's record for career 3-pointers is 33 years old and already on the downside of a fabulous career. But with a resume that now includes a championship, Allen's stock should remain steady by 2010 if he avoids serious injury between now and then, when he'll be an unrestricted free agent.
Richard Jefferson, Milwaukee
Might Jefferson join Redd in getting out of town via the early termination option route? It depends largely on how things fare for the Bucks between now and the end of the 2009-2010 season. But on a team that's clearly being built around Andrew Bogut, Jefferson might have to seek his fortunes elsewhere. And he's still explosive enough to draw a crowd of suitors.