2011 NBA Free Agents: The Top 16 Centers

Today NBA teams can start talking to free agents although they cannot officially sign anyone until December 9.

In the meantime, that means rumors. Lots of rumors.

To keep up with the frenzy, SB Nation's Tom Ziller has posted a list of the top 79 free agents ending with Sebastian Telfair (and a rather disturbing statistic about the former high school star). To stay updated on the latest free agent news, you can visit SBN's Peachtree Hoops, which has a neat free agency scoreboard.

Of course, as Warriors fans we're most concerned with our beloved franchise's (never-ending) pursuit of a center. For now, we'll set aside matters of cap space and just dream about the list of centers pulled out from Ziller's list as well as their rankings.

Top Tier

1. MARC GASOL
Center, 26 years old, 7'1
Restricted free agent (Memphis can match any signed offer sheet)
2011 stats: 11.7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks in 32 minutes per game; 16.8 PER

2. TYSON CHANDLER
Center, 29 years old, 7'1
Unrestricted free agent
2011 stats: 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks in 28 minutes per game; 18.4 PER

3. NENE
Center, 29 years old, 6'11
Unrestricted free agent
2011 stats: 14.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks in 30 minutes per game; 20.4 PER

As Ziller notes, with Tyson Chandler and Marc Gasol perhaps harder to obtain, the biggest frenzy will probably be around Nene. That's not lost on most of us around here and there are six teams (including the Warriors) that have reportedly positioned themselves as the front-runners in the Nene chase.

The idea of the Warriors getting a player who is 1) a center who b) is an efficient scorer AND c) able to play defense (yes, one player can do all those things) almost feels like a fantasy. But the W's are in the mix and that has to be considered the top prize.

Tier 2

14. DEANDRE JORDAN
Center, 23 years old, 6'11
Restricted free agent; L.A. can match any signed offer sheet
2011 stats: 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 26 minutes per game; 14.8 PER

16. SAMUEL DALEMBERT
Center, 30 years old, 6'11
Unrestricted free agent
2011 stats: 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 24 minutes per game; 14.1 PER

Jordan fits the bill as a center who can defend. Although his offensive game consists of mostly put-backs and dunks, the Warriors might be able to complement that better than most teams: as the roster currently stands, scoring in general is not a problem even if we'd all like to have a better post scoring threat.

But again I agree with Ziller on this: the question is how much a team should pay him. A young player that seems to have upside at what is arguably the most important defensive position in the NBA is going to draw attention, particularly as interested teams try to make offers that L.A. can't match.

Tier 3

27. Spencer Hawes (restricted)

31. Jeff Foster (unrestricted)

32. Kurt Thomas (unrestricted)

34. Alexis Ajinca (unrestricted)

47. Jamaal Magloire (unrestricted)

48. Joel Przybilla (unrestricted)

50. Kwame Brown (unrestricted)

53. Aaron Gray (unrestricted)

55. Jason Collins (unrestricted)

56. Tony Battie (unrestricted)

75. Erick Dampier (unrestricted)

For the full list of free agents, visit SB Nation's 2011 NBA Free Agent list. To keep updated on the free agent scoreboard, head to SBN's Peachtree Hoops. For full NBA free agency coverage, follow SBN's StoryStream.

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