5 Bargain Free Agents Still On The Market
1. Wayne Ellington
Photo Courtesy of Palm Beach Post
In a league that prioritizes shooting, it is a bit perplexing that no one has scooped up Ellington yet. Ellington took awhile to find his footing in the NBA, but is coming off a career year with the Miami Heat. Perhaps Ellington wants too much in a cold market, and that is why he is still on the market, but he is a player that can help a lot of teams. The Miami Heat for one would love to have him back, as he is their only true shooter, but they are close to being capped out, and Ellington is probably looking for more.
Last season Ellington averaged a career-high 11.2 points per game while shooting 39% from three and posting a career-best 58% true shooting percentage. He is a player who is capable of getting extremely hot and can explode on any given night. There are downsides, he is 30 years old, is not much of a defender and on offense is a one trick pony. Still, in this market, you can likely sign him to a one or two year deal worth about $10 million. Contenders looking for shooting should snatch up Ellington before someone else does.
Teams that may be interested: Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets
2. Brook Lopez(UPDATE: SIGNED WITH BUCKS)
Photo Courtesy of YardBarker
After the Lakers signed LeBron James and broke the Internet, their offseason has been a little perplexing. LeBron likes to play with shooters; the Lakers have signed players who don’t like to do that, or at least aren’t good at, shout out to Lance Stephenson! As for Lopez, I thought he would have been a good fit with LeBron, due to his ability to shoot from deep. He shot 34% last year from deep, not great, but respectable for a center. Also, on the other end he is an adequate rim protector. The Lakers don’t appear interested in bringing him back, perhaps to open up more time for young centers Ivica Zubac and rookie Mo Wagner.
Lopez is not the player he once was, but he can still play. A skilled big with the ability to shoot, finish around the rim, post up, and protect the rim. At this point in his career, he is a solid backup, who can start in a pinch. There are lots of teams still looking for frontcourt depth, and Lopez would be a great signing. A lot of it may be up to Lopez, as he may want to join a contender after years of being on losing teams. Lopez can likely be signed to a one or two year deal in the $8-12 million range.
Teams that may be interested: New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets
3. Shabazz Napier
Photo Courtesy of Basketball Insiders
It blows my mind that no team has signed Napier yet. He is coming off a career year, can defend, shoot and play on or off the ball. Teams must remember him being glued to the bench in the playoffs against New Orleans. I blame that on Terry Stotts. Napier can play and could help a number of teams. It is still curious why Portland doesn’t have more interest in re-signing him. They did sign Seth Curry, which I like and who knows maybe they trade one or both of their star guards and head for a rebuild.
My Charlotte Hornets should have signed Napier, but instead signed 54-year-old Tony Parker. Whoever does get Napier is getting a player. He is coming off a career year, and is still young; the best is yet to come. Last year Napier averaged 8.7 points per game while shooting 37% from deep. On defense, he was no slouch posting a defensive RPM of 0.12
Plus his ability to play off the ball is impressive. He was a big part of those three-guard lineups, with Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum that wrecked the league. Going forward, his best role is probably a backup point guard, who can run the offense for a teams second unit; or play off the ball in small ball lineups. Napier can likely be signed to a 2-3 year deal for about $6-8 million per year. That is a steal and whoever gets him will be a happy camper. Also, I am surprised LeBron didn’t campaign the Lakers to sign his draft crush immediately.
Teams that may be interested in him: Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks
4. Treveon Graham
Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Observer
I was a big fan of Graham last season as a Hornets fan. He took enormous strides in his second season and became a reliable bench contributor for Charlotte. It’s a shame Charlotte couldn’t hold onto him, but he was a casualty of their awful cap situation. Graham’s primary asset is his three-point shooting, last season he shot 41% from deep. He also is a versatile player; capable of playing both wing spots and even some small ball four. Graham has the tools to be a good defensive player, even though the numbers aren’t great.
He always plays with great effort and a high motor; he needs more experience. That’s the plus side of signing Graham; the best is yet to come. He is only 24, and there is a lot to work with. On offense Graham is more than just a shooter, he is a good passer and has developed a nice floater for when defenders close out on him. His best role going forward though is a 3 and D player who can guard multiple positions. Isn’t that what every team in the NBA is looking for? Graham will come cheap too, last year he only made $1.7 million, so he is probably looking for a two to three year deal for $4-5 million per year.
Teams that may be interested: Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings
Photo Courtesy of NBA.com
Hating on Alex Len is easy. He was the number five overall pick, and lots of people consider him a bust. Len will never be a player worth drafting with the fifth overall pick, but there is a solid player in there. He is coming off a solid year with Phoenix in which he averaged 8.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in only 20 minutes a game while shooting a career-best 56% from the field. The analytics also liked Len as he had a career-high true shooting percentage at 61%, PER at 19.37 and a defensive RPM of 0.16. Len is still only 25 years old, so there is still some upside. Perhaps a team, system or coach can get more out of him than Phoenix did.
Not to absolve Len of all blame for underperforming, but Phoenix is not exactly the most functional environment in the NBA. He needs a fresh start, and whoever signs him may be pleasantly surprised. As a backup big, you could do a lot worse. I think he could even start for some teams. Len will likely cost about $5-7 million per year, and I would not be surprised if he took a one-year deal, to get a better deal in 2019.
Teams that may be interested: Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs