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Top 25 Free Agents Remaining

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


The NBA’s free agency period, which began at midnight on July 1st, is now a week old. With teams officially able to sign players on Friday, many of the top-tier free agents have already inked their new deals. However, there are also quite a few quality players available on the open market. Listed below are the 25 best free agents still up for grabs.


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1. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets (restricted):
Capela is by far and away the most impactful player still unsigned. He’ll likely receive a max-offer from another team, and the Rockets are fully expected to match it, especially now that they have no chance at adding LeBron James this offseason. Houston was 42-3 when Capela, James Harden, and Chris Paul played together during the regular season and 23-14 when they didn’t.


2. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (restricted):
According to a report in the Boston Globe, Smart is “hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication during free agency and that he is ‘over it’ and prepared to ultimately sign a one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season if it comes to it. But league sources said the Celtics’ perceived lack of interest in contacting Smart was not indicative of any change in their view of the talented young guard. The Celtics and Smart’s camp remained apart on contract discussions, so the Celtics were essentially waiting for Smart to have talks with other teams and potentially sign an offer sheet that they would then almost certainly match.”

 

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3. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (restricted):
The Bulls and Kings are two of the teams that have been most prominently liked to Parker. Yet, with Bulls matching the Kings $78 million offer to restricted free agent Zach LaVine, which likely means Chicago’s interest in Parker will decrease, while the Kings may step up their pursuit of the former No. 2 overall pick.

(UPDATEJabari Parker has agreed to a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls.)


4. Isaiah Thomas - Los Angeles Lakers:
Thomas was surely hoping a team would be willing to look past his injury history and gamble that he’ll soon be able to match his previous production. However, Thomas has yet to find an organization willing to roll the dice. With the Lakers inking Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9 million deal, that all but assures Thomas won’t return to L.A. The Magic reportedly had shown some interest, but are waiting to see if they can find a better use of their cap space.

(UPDATEIsaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets at the veteran minimum.)


5. Brook Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers:
The market for centers this offseason has been frigid, and Lopez hasn’t had a bite. It’s somewhat surprising considering BroLo averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.8 3-pointers per game for the Nets in 2016-17.

(UPDATE: Lopez has agreed to a one-year deal with the  Milwaukee Bucks for the biannual exception of $3.4 million.)


6. Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers (restricted):
Until the last few games of the NBA Finals, Hood struggled for the Cavs during the regular season and the playoffs. However, he’s just 25 years old and has averaged 14.0 points per contest over the past three seasons.


7. Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat:
Ellington's game is mainly one-dimensional, but his primary skill is extremely valuable in today’s NBA. Last season, he was one of just five players in the league to average more than seven 3-point attempts per game, while also shooting above 39 percent from downtown. The other four were Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson and Paul George. Ellington has said his preference would be to re-sign with the Heat this summer.

(UPDATE: Wayne Ellington and Miami have reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth $6.2 million)


8. Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers (restricted):
Harrell averaged 11.0 points in just 17.0 minutes per game in 2017-18. Per Basketball-Reference, he’s just the second player in league history to average more than 10 points in fewer than 18 minutes over the course of a full season. With DeAndre Jordan leaving L.A. for Dallas, the Clippers may be motivated to bring Harrell back.


9. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (team option):
The Mavs declined Dirk’s team option to create the cap space necessary to sign DeAndre Jordan, but Nowitzki re-signing with the Mavs is a foregone conclusion. The only question is the exact dollar amount.


10. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat:
At various time during the 2017-18 campaign, Wade hinted that it would be his final season. In June, he hadn't decided if he planned to return in 2018-19, but said if he does he wants it to be with Miami. Wade still has gas left in the tank, as exhibited by his impressive performances off the bench in the Heat’s first-round matchup with the Sixers this past postseason.


11. Luc Mbah a Moute, Houston Rockets:
Mbah a Moute appeared in 61 games (including 15 starts) for Houston last season and averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He has said publicly that his preference is to return to the Rockets. Houston will likely be willing to offer the vet’s minimum to bring him back later this summer.

(UPDATE: Luc Mbah a Moute has agreed to a one-year, $4.3 million deal with the LA Clippers.)


12. Michael Beasley, New York Knicks:
The Knicks decided to sign Mario Hezonja instead of bringing The Beas back to New York. He should be able to find interest elsewhere, as he’s coming off a productive season for the Knicks in which he averaged 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in just 22.3 minutes, while shooting over 50 percent from the floor and 39.5 percent from downtown.


13. Alex Len, Phoenix Suns:
Len has been a solid defender and rebounder over his first five seasons in the league, but his offensive game is extremely limited. Centers without the ability to step out and stroke 3-pointers, or stretch the defense vertically with their athleticism and leaping ability, have seen their value diminish significantly in today’s NBA. Len has made a total of just six 3-pointers in five years has a cumulative effective field goal percentage of only 48.7 percent.


14. Greg Monroe, Boston Celtics:
Monroe is another player that has seen his earning power crushed by the league’s shift to a space-and-pace style. He can still score on the low block, but lumbering, back-to-the-basket bigs are frequently exploited defensively, which is why Monroe averaged a career-low in minutes in 2017-18.


15. Shabazz Napier, Portland Trail Blazers:
Napier should be able to land a job as a backup in 2018-19. He’s coming off the best season of his career in Portland. He averaged career-highs in points (8.7), rebounds (2.3), steals (1.1), 3-pointers (1.1) and minutes (20.7). However, the Blazers did not extend a qualifying offer, and ‘Bazz is unrestricted.

(UPDATE: Shabazz Napier has agreed to a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets.)


16. Jamal Crawford, Minnesota Timberwolves:
Crawford is now 38 but is still surprisingly effective on the offensive end. Last season, he averaged 10.3 points per game in 20.7 minutes off the bench. He declined to pick up his player option worth $4.5 million with the Timberwolves for the 2018-19 season. The Warriors, Sixers and Wizards are reportedly three clubs that have expressed interest in the consummate professional.


17. Dante Cunningham, Brooklyn Nets:
Cunningham’s appeal is as a 3-and-D wing. Over his final 20 games in Brooklyn last season, he averaged 7.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 treys. Most importantly, he shot 39.0 percent from downtown. The defensive intensity is a given; if Cunningham can consistently knock down corner 3-pointers, he’ll provide value to a winning team.

(UPDATEDante Cunningham has agreed to one-year, $2.5M deal with San Antonio.)


18. James Ennis III, Detroit Pistons:
The 28-year old Ennis split time last season between Memphis and Detroit. All told, he averaged 7.1 points and 3.1 boards, while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor. Per ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Sixers, Rockets and Nets, have expressed interest in Ennis. And the Pistons, who have his early Bird rights, have made re-signing Ennis a “priority.”

(UPDATEJames Ennis has agreed to a two-year deal with the Houston Rockets)

 

19. David Nwaba:
Nwaba’s number’s don’t jump off the page, as he is still a bit raw offensively. However, he’s a gritty defender who finds ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor. While not as accomplished as Marcus Smart, he’s cut from a similar cloth (and he’ll be far less expensive). The Bulls extended him a qualifying offer to make him restricted, but reportedly hit a stalemate in negotiations and are open to moving him via a sign-and-trade deal, as he’s received interested from several other teams.

 

20. Jahlil Okafor, Brooklyn Nets:
It’s stunning to think just how far Okafor’s value has fallen in such a short period. As a rookie, he averaged 17.5 points (on 50.8% shooting), 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game, becoming just the sixth player in league history to average at least 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, while shooting above 50% from the floor, before turning 21. Per Basketball-Reference, the other five members of that exclusive club are Magic Johnson, Adrian Dantley, Chris Weber, Shaquille O’Neal, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Three short years later and Okafor will likely have to settle for a one-year deal at the league minimum in order to stay in the NBA.


21. Patrick McCaw, Golden State (restricted):
McCaw, the 38th overall pick in the 2016 draft, showed flashes of enticing upside as a rookie. He started 20 games for the champion Warriors and averaged 4.0 points while posting a True Shooting percentage of .540. However, he slumped as a rookie and was far less efficient. His TS% dipped to 47.7 percent.


22. Alan Williams, Phoenix Suns:
Williams underwent knee surgery lasts summer which limited him to just five games this past season. However, he was highly productive in limited playing time in 2016-17. In fact, per Basketball-Reference, he became only the fourth player this century to average at least 17 points and 14 rebounds per-36 minutes over a full season. In the 24 games played after the All-Star break, Williams averaged 11.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per contests. He has a chance to be a substantial value signing for a team looking to add a big with upside.


23. Yogi Ferrell, Dallas Mavericks (Restricted):
Multiple reports indicate that the Mavs expect Ferrell to play for his $2.9 million qualifying offer next season. He appeared in all 82 games for Dallas in 2017-18 and averaged 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, while shooting 42.6% from the floor.


24. Lucas Nogueira, Toronto Raptors:
It looked like Bebe was coming into his own in 2016-17, when he averaged nearly 20 minutes a game for the Raptors and chipped in over four points and four boards a night. However, he took a step back last season, as his playing time dipped to just 8.5 minutes per contest. Nonetheless, Bebe has always been a solid rim protector, and he averaged a career-best 3.7 blocks per-36 minutes in 2017-18. He doesn’t turn 26 until later this month.


25. David West, Golden State Warriors:
West will be 38 on Opening Night next season, but the burly big man can still play. In fact, last season he shot a career-high 57.1 percent from the floor. Yet, West’s greatest value may lie in his role as locker room leader. An up-and-coming team looking to establish a winning culture would be wise to ink West to a one-year deal.

 

Best of the Rest:
* Trevor Booker, Indiana Pacers
* Nick Young, Golden State Warriors
* Devin Harris, Denver Nuggets
* Ty Lawson, Washington Wizards
* Jarrett Jack, New York Knicks
* Shane Larkin, Boston Celtics
* Joe Johnson, Houston Rockets
* Brandan Wright, Houston Rockets
* Vince Carter, Sacramento Kings
* Marcus Georges-Hunt, Minnesota Timberwolves




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