2010 Free agents: ‘Volatility Index’

LeBron James NY

It's almost the hour that LeBron's been dreaming of for years. New York: get ready to be disappointed! (Flickr/david_shankbone)

It’s almost here. No, not Justin Bieber’s 18th birthday – the official start of this summer’s NBA free agency season, of course.

While many of us are probably ready to just get it all over with already, if you’re a fantasy addict you’re already thinking about how decisions made in the next few days will affect their draft positions in the fall.

Here’s a quick look at this blog’s very first and very own “Volatility Index.” Taking into account factors like probability of landing with certain teams and potential teammates next season, this is a list of projections about how volatile each of these key fantasy players are on the eve of free agency, along with a quick and dirty prediction of where each player will actually land. We’ll use a scale of 0 (fantasy value totally stable) to 10 (fantasy value totally unpredictable).

LeBron James: 7.0

Let’s face it: King James is the biggest fish about to be unleashed into the magical waters of NBA free agency in a few hours. He was also arguably the best fantasy stud in the land in 2009-10. So to think that there’s a very good chance that James will depart a predictable situation in Cleveland for a situation that might be drastically different — most likely in a way that negatively impacts his fantasy value. If he heads to Chicago, he has a capable ballhandler in Derrick Rose, which will drastically cut down LBJ’s time with the ball and, potentially, his assists. If Chris Bosh heads there with him, Bosh and Joakim Noah will cut into James’ rebounds. If King James joins forces with Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami, his overall value will definitely shrink. The best shot James has of maintaining his elite fantasy worth lies with him heading to New York or staying in Cleveland. While there’s no way he falls out of the top 10 in next year’s drafts, there’s a very good chance he drops outside of the top two. PREDICTION: CHICAGO

Dwyane Wade: 4.5

There’s almost no way Wade leaves Miami, so the threat to his fantasy value isn’t that. The reason why there’s pretty good reason to believe Wade’s value might take a slight step back in 2010-11 is the chance that he’ll have at least one big-time teammate next season, and very possibly two. PREDICTION: MIAMI

Chris Bosh: 6.5

Chances are he plays alongside either LBJ or Wade next season, which is a huge upgrade from any of his former sidekicks in past seasons. That means fewer shots for Bosh, and if he ends up in Chicago playing in the same frontcourt as Joakim Noah, he’ll have a much tougher time notching double-doubles on a nightly basis. Add to this Bosh’s historically shaky health and it’s obvious that owners should probably plan on knocking him down in their draft lists. PREDICTION: CHICAGO

Joe Johnson: 1.5

Johnson hasn’t made the wisest free agency decisions in the past and has shown that money probably means a lot to him. However, after reports that Atlanta is ready to offer him a max six-year deal worth $119, staying with the Hawks is more of a possibility than ever. But it’s also tough seeing Johnson turning down the glitz and glamour of New York, a city that would give him the attention that he seems to think he’s always deserved. Johnson’s as steady as they come, so whether he stays in Atlanta with his old squad or tries to succeed in New York with a newly formed team, he’s probably going to produce numbers fairly similar to last season’s. PREDICTION: NEW YORK

Dirk Nowitzki: 0.5

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