There are plenty of reasons for a team and a player to go their separate ways. Of course, the most obvious is a player losing the ability that once made them an asset to their respective franchise. Then there can be money situations. New contracts, old overpaid contracts, a player feeling they deserve a raise and more security. That is probably the most common battle between a franchise and its players. Then there is the act of rebuilding. Why hold on to a proven NBA star, when the rest of your team has moved on elsewhere? See the Chicago Bulls, for instance. Jimmy Butler was moved for young guards Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn. Dwyane Wade is a future Basketball Hall of Famer, but is he going to carry the Bulls to a NBA Championship alongside Robin Lopez, Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn? No, they are geared towards the future and the team will be looking to acquire more assets in the future.
At the end of the day, the NBA is a business. We have seen it year in and year out. Teams part ways with players that seemed to have played big roles for years. It is a tough decision but there are faces in the front office that have spent years figuring out how to keep their franchise in the best possible situation for the future it beholds.
30 Atlanta Hawks - Marco Belinelli
Let's start off with a little bit of controversy. Of course the Atlanta Hawks are not going to part ways with Marco Belinelli. They just received him in a trade for Dwight Howard. The confusing part here is that the team did not make an attempt to resign All-Star power forward Paul Millsap, who is now a member of the Denver Nuggets. What good is Marco Belinelli to a young rebuilding team? At this point it would make more sense to part ways, and let Belinelli play a part on a playoff-contending team. The Hawks seemed to have blown up a once promising core that consisted of four All-Stars. Now zero remain, and Belinelli will be stuck helping a team to the NBA Lottery.
29 Boston Celtics - Gerald Green
The addition of Gordon Hayward had NBA fans questioning if the team was going to move Jae Crowder. Well, instead they freed up some of the logjam at guard, and it looks like if they were to move on from any forward, it would probably be Gerald Green. Green was able to reinvent himself when he returned to the NBA after a hiatus that lasted from 2009-2012. Luckily he did because he caught once of the greatest alley-oops of all-time during his stay with the Nets upon his return. Green is a veteran presence on a good team, but may just figure to be an odd man out when it is all said and done. The Celtics will need to continue to add small pieces if they want to get back at LeBron and the Cavaliers.
28 Brooklyn Nets - Jeremy Lin
This franchise is stuck in such a bad spot, it was hard determining which way the franchise needs to go or which way to go on this article. The Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce blockbuster deal the Nets made to fast-forward a championship run has had the team stuck in purgatory for years. The trade didn't offer more than a second-round playoff series and Garnett and Pierce have both since retired. Meanwhile, the Nets have been sacrificing their top 5 draft picks to the Boston Celtics as compensation. There is no good way to go about this, but having Jeremy Lin on the roster really does nothing. Part ways with Linsanity and give D'Angelo Russell the reins to do whatever he wants. Why not?
27 Charlotte Hornets - Ramon Sessions
Ramon Sessions is a NBA journeyman, and a pretty good one at that. He put together solid years in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and with the then-Charlotte Bobcats. In all he has played for eight different teams, if you separate the Bobcats and Hornets. But it has been a while since he has proven to be productive. The Hornets should look elsewhere for the backup to Kemba Walker. Michael Jordan and company are apparently trying to win now with the acquisition of Dwight Howard. Therefore a better second unit should be in play. Sessions hasn't broke double digit scoring average since 2013-14, and it appears those days are behind him. Declining the team option would be best.
26 Chicago Bulls - Dwyane Wade
Here's the biggest and best name on our list. Dwyane Wade already exercised his player option for the upcoming season, but with the departure of Jimmy Butler and the Bulls adding young pieces, it appears the Bulls and Wade could be heading towards a buy-out, and rightfully so. Wade doesn't need to sit and watch a team aim for a high draft pick, and the team can clear room for newcomers Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn to get the playing time they need to transform into the backcourt the front office envisioned when they moved Jimmy Butler for the duo.
Expect a buy-out and a few contenders to come calling for Dwyane Wade's services.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers - Channing Frye
Channing Frye barely got off the bench during the Cavaliers 2016-2017 NBA Finals run. LeBron and management need to stop feeling kindhearted for all of LeBron's friends and start adding pieces that can actually help. A deep team will always have more options come to light when the time comes and although he can still stroke the 3-ball, Frye had little to offer come the NBA Finals and the road leading up to it. He is owed over $7 million for the upcoming campaign, but if he is not there, it will still allow Tyronn Lue to look down his bench and see better options. The team is so far over the luxury tax, they may be willing to take the hit.
24 Dallas Mavericks - Devin Harris
It feels like Devin Harris' career has been stuck in a very slow reverse every since he made the NBA All-Star Game as a member of the 2008-2009 New Jersey Nets. Since then, he has had stints with the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and ultimately has ended up back on the team that had traded for his draft rights in 2004, the Dallas Mavericks. Harris will break into over $70 million in career earnings after he gets the just over $4 million he is due for the 2017-2018 season. Although he isn't exactly chewing up minutes at just 16.7 mpg in 2016-2017, the Mavericks do have a young interesting back court that could use the experiment of more minutes. Seth Curry, Yogi Ferrell, and Dennis Smith Jr. offer the Mavericks a future in the backcourt.
23 Denver Nuggets - Mike Miller
A 17-year veteran looking to make $3.5 million in his 18th season, Mike Miller contributed 7.6 minutes and 1.4 points per game last season. Of course $3.5 million is a bargain for anyone that can supply any kind of meaningful basketball in the NBA, but it should be time to move on from the two-time NBA Champion. The Nuggets seemed poised to build around Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets have also been rumored to be ready to shake things up by shopping Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay. It has been a long time since Carmelo Anthony took the Nuggets to a Western Conference Final, and the Nuggets should be looking towards the future rather than hanging on to a shooting guard/small forward who turns 38 in the coming season.
22 Detroit Pistons - Michael Gbinije
It looks like Michael Gbinije just isn't cut out for the NBA game. Gbinije began his college career at Duke where he played sparingly. Instead of working towards bettering his playing time, Gbinije opted to transfer to Syracuse University. He again played less than stellar minutes up until his junior season. By his senior season he was averaging 17.5 points per game and it was enough to see him drafted in the 2nd round by the Detroit Pistons. During the 2016-2017 season, Gbinije saw action in 9 NBA games. He has played a total of 32 minutes, which may be too small of a sample size to give up on a player, but Gbinije has found his home mostly in the D-League. Only $500k of his $1.3 million salary for 2017-18 is guaranteed so don't be surprised if he is again trying to make a new home next season.
21 Golden State Warriors - Zaza Pachulia
It was pretty hard to find a player for this spot. Most of the role players just re-upped as did Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. When you have such a dominant NBA Championship team, is there really any dead weight? The reason I say Zaza is because there really is no need for him. He starts the games, and by the end of the first quarter, Kevin Durant or Draymond Green are usually filling the center role in their iconic small ball lineup. Zaza started 70 out of 70 games he appeared in, playing in just 18.1 minutes per night.
Still the Warriors did give Pachulia a one-year deal to stay. He will stick around for a reported $3.5 million.
20 Houston Rockets - Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson can shoot it. There is no denying that. It just is a question whether the Rockets want to use just over $19 million on Anderson during the 2017-18 season, just over $20 million in 2018-19, and over $21 million in 2019-2020. Now they are not going to just release Ryan Anderson, but a different departure is probably in store.
For that kind of money, a trade for Carmelo Anthony would probably prove better worth of the money. It has been discussed in recent weeks, and Melo himself has mentioned his willingness to play in Houston. Anderson's contract could make that happen.
19 Indiana Pacers - Lavoy Allen
Lavoy Allen entered the league as a 2nd-round draft pick to his hometown Philadelphia 76ers. The Temple product ended up proving his NBA worth in the team's 2012 playoff run. It was even reported that Allen thanked Kevin Garnett for his new contract upon their battle in the Eastern Conference semifinal. Since his 76ers days, Allen has moved on to the Indiana Pacers. Last season he appeared in 61 games, starting 5 and averaging just 2.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. That's the lowest of his career in both categories.
Allen has a $4.3 million option for 2017-18. As we have learned, Paul George is now in Oklahoma City, and the Pacers will be in rebuild mode. Is there really a need for Lavoy Allen at that point?
18 Los Angeles Clippers - Austin Rivers
It is just too easy to pick on Austin Rivers. A guy that looked like a NBA bust. Then his father came to the rescue and found him a spot in the rotation for the Los Angeles Clippers. A Los Angeles Clippers team who continued to underachieve, and perhaps it was because of the backup guard.
It has been mentioned that the team grew frustrated with Doc Rivers' preferential treatment of his son during practices and even in games. Something that other players would be brought down for was just overlooked by Doc. It is said that it even played into Chris Paul opting out and ultimately being traded to Houston. It is time for the Clippers to start over, and why not start with the bad egg?
17 Los Angeles Lakers - Corey Brewer
It seems like the Lakers may have a real plan in place finally. They sport a young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson, and have the expiring contract of Brook Lopez to use in next summer's free agency. So if the plan is to grow the youngsters and eventually add a star, it would not be out of the question to let Corey Brewer move on. Brewer is a proven winner, with two NCAA Championships and a stint on the 2011 Dallas Mavericks NBA Championship team. But there is no need for him on a Lakers team that will merely seek improvement and promise from their young core. Give him his $7.5 mill and move on.
16 Memphis Grizzlies - Andrew Harrison
Andrew is the better of the Harrison twins. Not sure that is saying too much at this point, but Andrew did manage to appear in 72 games during the 2016-2017 season. He even started 18 for an injured Mike Conley. Not sure either if it was the production they had hoped for even out of a backup. Andrew Harrison posted numbers of 5.9 ppg, 2.8 apg, 1.9 rpg and 20.5 mpg. He posted those numbers on 38 percent shooting, including 27 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. His 2017-2018 contract is only guaranteed for $100k, so why not move on and attempt to find better production elsewhere? It was a good experiment and maybe a comfortable one, but the Grizzlies have the Western Conference to worry about.
15 Miami Heat - Wayne Ellington
The Miami Heat came just short of the playoffs in 2016-2017, and that was considered very much an overachieving season. The success can be linked mostly to that of Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters playing the best basketball of his life. There were plenty more contributing factors and that even included Wayne Ellington. Ellington's role became that of a 3-and-D player. He hoisted 6.4 3-point attempts per game, up from 3.7, which was his previous career high. Unfortunately he shot just under 38 percent on the shots from 3-point land, which was good for about 62nd in the NBA. Ellington's contract is not guaranteed. The Heat have until July 12 to decide if he will get the $6.27 million he would be due if they do decide to obtain him.
14 Milwaukee Bucks - Spencer Hawes
If Spencer Hawes would just get dedicated on the rebounding side of his game, then he could be one of the more prototypical big men in today's NBA. He can shoot it at a decent rate and has the range to stretch the floor as needed. The problem is when it comes time, he doesn't commit to the other end of the court or even for second chance opportunities. In just over 14 minutes of action per game in 2016-17, Hawes attempted 5.1 shots per game, and grabbed 3.5 rebounds per game. He obviously is ready to pull the trigger but that may be the only mindset for the big man off the bench.
Hawes already opted in for his 207-2018 salary with the Milwaukee Bucks. With the Bucks last season, Hawes played just 9 minutes per game. He will make $6.02 million this season.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves - Cole Aldrich
Cole Aldrich came into the NBA after helping Kansas to a NCAA Championship in 2008. This helped him go 11th-overall to the New Orleans Hornets during the 2010 NBA Draft. He was immediately traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It feels like the big man's career has never really gotten off the floor. He has already been on six NBA teams, and has spent time in the NBA D-League. He sports career averages of 3.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, .4 bpg, and 1.6 fpg in 10.6 minutes of action a night. Last summer the T-Wolves decided to give Aldrich a three-year, $22 million deal despite his less than stellar career numbers. Unfortunately he is due to make $7.2 million for 2017-18 and it is all guaranteed. If the T-Wolves do cut ties, it will be at a cost.
12 New Orleans Pelicans - Omer Asik
Omer Asik has a brutal contract, and unfortunately there is no way the Pelicans just release the big man who will be owed at least around $25 million for three more seasons. The contract could be worth over another $10 million if they guarantee his money through 2019-2020. The Pelicans are sporting an All-Star duo in the front court, and if they want to keep this core together, somehow, someway Asik's contract needs to be moved.
Since signing the five-year, $58 million contract, Asik has trended down in almost every statistical category including points, rebounds, blocks, minutes, games played, and games started.
11 New York Knicks - Joakim Noah
Much like Omer Asik's contract, the Knicks will probably not just let Joakim Noah collect a free paycheck. Although it does seem that is exactly what he is doing whether on the court or cheerleading from the Knicks bench. Noah was once a special player. He sports a NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, two All-Star Games, three NBA All-Defensive Teams, one spot on the All-NBA First Team, and even two NCAA Championships.
Phil Jackson made some questionable moves during his time in New York's front office, but this one probably takes the cake. A four-year, $72 million contract for a Joakim Noah who is about half the player he used to be. Don't think they will be able to dump the contract this or even next year, but maybe they can send the expiring contract to someone eventually.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder - Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler was a decorated player coming out of Duke University. The McDonalds All-American earned two First Team All-ACC teams, was a 2nd Team All-American, and helped Duke to the 2010 NCAA Championship while earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors. The Detroit Pistons used a 2nd-round pick on Singler, and his rookie season resulted in 74 starts a NBA All Rookie Second Team. His second season even improved a bit, but a move to Oklahoma City by his fourth season has resulted in a drop in numbers across the board. Singler is due right around $5 million for each of the next two seasons, before the Thunder have a team option. The Thunder are in win-now mode, with the addition of Paul George which could be seemingly for just one year. The team should attempt to make room and get a championship caliber team together quick.
9 Orlando Magic - CJ Watson
Another case of a rebuilding team that needs to get the right pieces in place eventually. CJ Watson should not figure into that equation. Only a fifth of the $5 million 2017-2018 salary is guaranteed for Watson. The Magic used their 6th-overall pick on Jonathan Isaac, and now it is time to see if the backcourt of Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja are indeed the future. CJ Watson is a career journeyman who has played with the Warriors, Bulls, Pacers, and Magic. Releasing Watson from his contract will allow the team to see what they really have for their foreseeable future.
UPDATE: Magic have waived CJ Watson
8 Philadelphia 76ers - Nik Stauskas
The 76ers are ready to take a move forward. And although Nik Stauskas probably had the most productive season of his career, he will figure to be the odd man out of the backcourt. Rookies Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz will likely occupy the starting roles. That leaves veteran sniper JJ Redick, much-improved point guard TJ McConnell, 2nd-year prospect Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and veteran Jerryd Bayless lobbying for the remaining minutes.
Stauskas was the 8th-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. His ability to get his shot off and get his shot off off the dribble in specific were what made him such a hot prospect. His confidence waivered in Sacramento but it seems he could have put his career back on course. Unfortunately, it will probably not include Philadelphia.
7 Phoenix Suns - Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler is the ultimate veteran presence. A hustle-first fundamentally-sound big man who has accomplished almost everything there is in the NBA game. He has put together a career that has consisted of a NBA Championship, a NBA All-Star Game, an All-NBA Team, and a NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Chandler's is another tough contract to just "release" but the Suns should look into trading the big man that has over $26 million remaining on his contract. The Suns have young prospect big men in Dragan Bender and Alex Len. They have had time under Chandler to learn, but the time is theirs to prove themselves.
6 Portland Trail Blazers - Ed Davis
The Portland Trail Blazers were able to add Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins in the 2017 NBA Draft. The odd man out of the rotation due to the additions figures to be Ed Davis. The PF/C out of North Carolina will make $6.3 million in the upcoming season. The Blazers could hold on to him for security, but considering he added just 17.2 minutes, 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the team last season, there could be better options on the table. Can't forget that the Blazers brought in Juruf Nurkic midseason last year as well. Upon his arrival, Ed Davis saw his playing time continue to diminish.
It looks like the Blazers might actually have a big man rotation in the works. It shouldn't include Davis.
5 Sacramento Kings - Garrett Temple
The Sacramento Kings have added veteran reliable point guard George Hill, and Vince Carter to their backcourt during the offseason. This is a team that already has budding superstars De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield occupying the future and present of those starting roles. The team could go small, but learning from Hill and Carter bodes better than the future of the franchise learning and losing minutes to Temple as well. Unfortunately he will make $8 million in both 2017-18 and 2018-19, so finding a trade partner would warrant the best bet here.
At 31, Temple could still supply quality minutes as he did last year at 26.6 minutes per night.
4 San Antonio Spurs - Danny Green
Honestly just didn't want to pick one of their young guards, and I wasn't going to be the one that cut Tony Parker. So Danny Green at $10 million in 2017-2018 and a $10 million player option in 18-19 is probably the best bet to leave San Antonio. Real or not, there were rumors surrounding shipping Green out of town in effort to save some cap room. The team seems to be a superstar away from competing with the powerhouse Golden State Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge would probably be the prime candidate to leave town according to fans and analysts, but the $44 million for two years is less enticing than grabbing Green at $10 per.
3 Toronto Raptors - Delon Wright
Delon Wright was the Raptors' 20th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. At age 25 and two seasons into his career, Wright has spent more time with Raptors 905 of the now-NBA Gatorade League than he has with the NBA squad. In two seasons, Wright has appeared in 54 games including 1 start. He has put up career averages of 4.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while playing 12.5 minutes per night. While his numbers have increased each season, his spot on the team has not become any more secure.
There are only so many minutes to go around when you're playing behind a All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Bring into play the fact that the team needs to add better depth to compete with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Wright may be better off elsewhere.
2 Utah Jazz - Boris Diaw
Gordon Hayward has just set the Utah Jazz back at least a couple years. They still have some intriguing youngsters and All-Star players, but when the centerpiece of your franchise leaves, there will be other changes to follow. Dante Exum will be expected to make a leap. The team landed Ricky Rubio in the offseason, and they have All-NBA defender Rudy Gobert to anchor both ends of the floor. Alec Burks and Joe Johnson will be expected to handle the ball on the wings, and rookie Donovan Mitchell has been opening eyes.
The one player that just doesn't seem to belong or play a part at this point would be Boris Diaw. The 35-year-old supplied just over 17 minutes per game last year for a Utah Jazz team that finished 5th in the Western Conference. The team may want to focus elsewhere this season.
1 Washington Wizards - Jason Smith
The 7 footer entered the NBA 10 years ago, and is now a member of his fifth NBA franchise. Jason Smith carved out a role in Washington playing 14.4 minutes and supplying 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The big man will make over $5 million in the upcoming season and still has a $5.4 million player option for the 2018-2019 season. For a team that offers Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and even Ian Mahinmi, Smith is able to supply energy off the bench, but also figures to be the odd man out of the rotation at times.
The Wizards were able to take the Boston Celtics to the brink of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and figure to improve on that accomplishment this year. More depth and better options off the bench could be in play. The lack of bench presence was apparent during their playoff run.
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