The Top Remaining Free Agents
If the first days of NBA free-agency are like a kid in a candy store getting ready to spend his allowance on sweets, the following weeks are like a mom looking for deals and clipping coupons. Now that big names have either stayed with their old teams or joined new ones, this is the time when teams start kicking the tires on either finding depth for their roster or an under-the-radar player who can come in and help a team at a lesser cost. In looking at each of the players on this list, each of them still have the ability that will make an NBA team get on the phone and start hammering out a contract with their representation.
In no particular order, here are 15 free-agents who could help a franchise out in some way. All the players listed have some kind of trait that will improve an NBA roster whether it be as a scorer, defender, playmaker or otherwise. Restricted free-agents are included in our listing as well and will be denoted with that distinction.
Pau Gasol PF/C
PPG: 12.4 REBS 7.8 FG% 50.2 3PT% 53.8
Even in the twilight of his career, Gasol is still a solid front court player who will give you quality minutes and scoring at the power forward spot. You have to hedge his value just a bit, as even though he declined his player option with the Spurs, Gasol is still planning on working out a deal with the team. In the case that he doesn’t, the veteran forward won’t be out of work for long.
David Lee PF/C
PPG: 7.3 REBS 5.6 FG% 59.0 AST 1.6
If you’re looking for a good low-post scorer who will give you some rebounding help, Lee is your guy. If you’re looking for a big man that will help you guard the paint, well, there might be better options out there for you. Lee’s name is gaining traction now that the first wave of free-agency is over and it won’t be too much longer before he has a new basketball home.
Nerlens Noel PF/C (Restricted FA)
PPG: 8.7 REBS: 5.8 BLK: 1.1 FG%57.5
Already a solid defender, he figures to be waiting on the Mavericks while they decide what the market for him actually is. Keeping that in mind, the longer they take to decide and if, or when, Noel decides to accept his qualifying tender, will determine what his free-agent status will look like after this season.
Manu Ginobili SG
PPG: 7.5 REBS 2.3 AST: 2.7 STL: 1.2
Ginobili is in the same boat as Gasol in that he is really only coming back with the Spurs. It would be a shame if the Argentinian went out the way he did in the conference finals versus Golden State and, while he isn’t the same player he used to be, he is still capable of being a strong veteran presence while giving San Antonio quality minutes in spurts.
Marreese Speights PF/C
PPG: 8.7 REBS 4.5 FG% 44.5 3PTFG% 37.2
Big Mo is a fringe-starter for some teams but is a viable first man off the bench with his scoring and rebounding. While Speights may jack up a lot of shots when he is on the court, you can’t argue that he fills a need with his instant scoring off the bench. As long as a team isn’t looking for him to lock down an opposing big man, you have a real find in the former Clipper.
Mason Plumlee C (Restricted FA)
PPG: 10.4 REBS: 7.5 AST: 3.5 FG% 53.9
The Nuggets plan on bringing back Plumlee, but with players like Nikola Jokic and now Paul Millsap ahead of him, it will only be as a backup. In splitting time between Portland and Denver last season, Plumlee put up decent enough numbers that could have warranted him some free-agent attention. The Nuggets look set to make a qualifying offer with no other teams showing interest so, it looks like, for now, Plumlee will have to bide his time on the bench.
JaMychal Green PF/C (Restricted FA)
PPG: 8.9 REBS 7.1 FG%: 50.0 3PT% 37.9
Green really should be in line for a decent payday after this season but, with his restricted free-agent status, the ball is, figuratively, in the court of Memphis on what they would like to do with him. A reliable defender who can also step back and shoot the three occasionally, Green is commodity that most teams would be willing to pay good money for.
Derrick Rose PG
PPG: 18.0 REBS 3.8 AST: 4.4 STL: 0.7
Don’t get fooled by the name, Rose is on the market looking for a home for a reason. Any team that takes a chance on the ex-Knick is inheriting a lot of baggage, including multiple injuries and a messy separation in New York. In this phase of his career and on the right kind of deal, Rose has the potential of being a low-risk, high-reward signing.
Nikola Mirotic PF (Restricted FA)
PPG: 10.6 REBS: 5.5 FG% 41.3 3PTFG% 34.2
On a Bulls team that is in full rebuilding mode and with his own restricted, free-agent status, Mirotic figures to land back in the Windy City for next season. As a secondary player last season, the forward put up decent numbers with a chance to have a bigger role this season. The team has stated they want him back, so look for Mirotic to build on last season’s improvements.
Ian Clark PG/SG
PPG: 6.8 AST: 1.2 FG% 48.7 3PTFG% 37.4
Coming off a career-high in points, games played and minutes, the future looks bright for Clark. In finally getting decent playing time with the world champion Warriors, Clark was trusted to knock down shots when called upon and did a decent job backing up Steph Curry this past season. While he may not be a bona-fide starter in the league, you can never have too many good shooters on a squad and Clark fits that bill to a T.
Tony Allen SG
PPG: 9.1 REBS: 5.5 AST: 1.4 STL: 1.6
You know what you’re getting with Tony Allen: a no-frills, defensive-minded guard who can inject a mind-set of toughness with whatever team decides to give him a shot. He fits the same mold as a Luc Mbah a Moute in that you’re not signing him to fill up the basket, but rather, he continues to be one of the best-perimeter defenders in the league. Allen has been in a strange holding pattern since free-agency started, but it won’t be long before he gets a deal done somewhere.
Alex Len C (Restricted FA)
PPG: 8.0 REBS: 6.6 BLK: 1.3 FG% 49.7
Len hasn’t developed as much as the Suns would have liked and being a big man with some upside is all that it is keeping him in the discussion of being brought back by Phoenix. Additionally, the former fifth-overall pick in the 2013 figures to have to sit behind Tyson Chandler and recent free-agent signee, Alan Williams, for at least this season. If Len can show any kind of continued improvement, he may see his stock go up when he hits unrestricted free-agency next season.
JaVale McGee C
PPG: 6.1 REBS: 3.2 FG% 65.2 BLK: 0.9
The self-glossed “Must-See-McGee” got himself back into the spotlight with a great playoff run for Golden State. McGee is the perfect big man coming off the bench; he can come in and rebound, protect the rim and turn the garbage around the rim into points with his putbacks and dunks. Much like his time in Denver during their last playoff run, McGee figures to get another contract somewhere based on the strength of his postseason play.
Ty Lawson PG
PPG: 9.9 REBS: 2.6 AST: 4.8 STL: 1.1
After getting traded out of Denver and wearing out his welcome in Houston, Lawson looked to have gotten back on track a bit last season with the Sacramento Kings. Gone are the days where Lawson was a burgeoning, young point guard in the league but, for the right team, Lawson can still be a quality backup point guard in the NBA. Lawson does have some off-court issues, so there is a bit of buyer's beware when it comes to signing him.
Terrence Jones PF
PPG: 10.8 REBS: 5.7 FG% 47.2 BLK: 1.0
Jones is low-post scorer who can step out and hit the occasional three-ball but has bounced around the league since leaving Houston back in 2013. Still, he is just 25-years-old and, for any team looking to add some offensive punch to its roster, you probably won’t have to break the bank to get Jones on board. If Jones can stay out off the training table and stay on the court, he could be a real steal.
There are still team out there looking at adding some bodies before the start of the season who could find something on this list. It could be a veteran player in the waning years in their career who can still produce but may not be the workhorse they used to be early on, or it could be a younger prospect who needs to see more minutes on the court in order to make the jump from quality backup to starting five-type player. While the big-name free agents are gone, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of good basketball players out there who can help a team for this upcoming season.