MIAMI, FL - MARCH 03: Jason Richardson #23 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a 3 pointer during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jason Richardson is the top free agent shooting guard in the NBA this season. He regressed a bit with the Orlando Magic this past season, but the veteran still has what it takes to play a vital role on a good team.
Jason Richardson is an unrestricted free agent this season, and while the Orlando Magic have sent signals that make it seem like they would like to re-sign the veteran shooting guard, anything is possible during the lockout-shortened offseason. Richardson is now on the wrong side of 30, but he's still able to put the ball in the basket.
Richardson might not be the best shooting guard in the NBA, but the Orlando Magic swingman is the best shooting guard that isn't restricted on the market today. That ranking, by the way, is courtesy of Tom Ziller from his post featuring the top NBA free agents.
Shocker: J-Rich's production dramatically dropped when he moved from a team with Steve Nash at point guard to one with Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas. Had Richardson remained in Phoenix all season, he might be a bit higher on this list despite his age. In addition to being an efficient above-average scorer, he's a good defender and a solid defender.
Getting him for the mid-level would be a coup for a team on the edge or in the middle of contention. The Dallas Mavericks could be a stellar fit; the Chicago Bulls would be much improved with J-Rich available at shooting guard and small forward.
The Bulls have indicated that they are interested in signing Richardson, too, but it's unclear exactly what they're willing to pay to upgrade their wing positions. If they're willing to overlook some of Richardson's deficiencies, he might be the answer to pushing the Bulls over the hump once and for all.