When it comes to free agents, it is a tricky matter as their decision is bound to dictate the direction of their career. The free agency class of 2017 was an important one as many big names were available on the market, some of whom opted to extend with their respective teams while others bolted for a new venture. A year has passed by and some of these decisions are already looking questionable, which is no surprise since the league is always changing.
And there is no doubt that many free agents already regret their decisions based on how their teams have performed, the alternative team options, as well as other moves on the roster. Since many of them happen to be signed to a long-term contract, they are likely to be stuck in the same situation unless a trade takes place. There are players who could have earned a much larger contract by signing for a team where they would have earned more play time.
The average NBA player lasts anywhere between 4 to 5 seasons in the league, meaning that the window of opportunity is narrow compared to other fields. And that is why it is crucial for free agents to make the correct decision as their future could very well be in play, as we will come to learn through many cases on this list. Here are 20 NBA free agent signings of 2017 that regret signing with their team and who they should have signed with:
21 Serge Ibaka - Toronto Raptors
Should've Signed With: Miami Heat
When the Toronto Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka, some expected the move to be a short-term rental as the forward wasn't guaranteed to re-sign in the offseason. A year has passed since Ibaka opted to remain with the Raptors, and it seems like both sides may already have some regrets.
Ibaka hasn't been an ideal fit for the Raptors and has failed to deliver with his performances - leading to plenty of criticism from the media and fans.
As for the Raptors, they feel that Ibaka isn't quite worth what he is currently being paid. The Miami Heat would have been a better fit for Ibaka, although they may not have been willing to offer him a similar contract.
20 Kyle Korver - Cleveland Cavaliers
Should Have Signed With: Milwaukee Bucks
Last summer, Kyle Korver signed a three-year deal for $22 million with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With two years left on his contract, Korver is likely already itching for a move away from the Cavaliers. He had signed with the team in hopes of winning a championship, but now that LeBron James has left the town - we can't imagine Korver being thrilled about the future of the Cavaliers. If he had know that James was going to bolt in the following offseason, then Korver may have been better off joining the Milwaukee Bucks, who were said to be interested in his services.
19 Jeff Teague - Minnesota Timberwolves
Should've Signed With: New York Knicks
Last summer, it was reported that Jeff Teague and the New York Knicks had mutual interest, why is why he was so heavily linked to the team. But as the summer unfolded, Teague would end up joining the Minnesota Timberwolves on a three-year, $57 million deal. It was surprising move to say the least, but considering his tenure with the Wolves - Teague may not have made the right choice. He is already seen as the weak link of the team and could be on the move during the season. The Knicks would have made more sense as far as fit goes.
18 Zach Randolph - Sacramento Kings
Should've Signed With: Oklahoma City Thunder
As it became evident that the Memphis Grizzlies had lost a few steps, Zach Randolph was rumored to be on his way out. Last offseason, he generated interest from a number of teams before signing for the Sacramento Kings.
While that allowed him to get minutes, it also meant that Randolph wouldn't be competing for a championship as the team has failed to make the playoffs since 2006.
The Oklahoma City Thunder may have been a great fit for Randolph - especially this season - and he would have provided them with a much-needed skill set in the Playoffs.
17 Dion Waiters - Miami Heat
Should've Signed With: New York Knicks
Dion Waiters is coming off an underwhelming season as he had been expected to build on the previous year, but his numbers were down across the board. Although he got injured mid-season to miss the remainder of the year, Waiters had been disappointing for the Heat in his first year back with the team.
Last offseason, Waiters was engaged in talks with a number of teams and reportedly joined the New York Knicks - which may have been a better fit for both sides. With three years remaining on his deal, Waiters will have to prove that he is worth his contract.
16 Derrick Rose - Cleveland Cavaliers
Should've Signed With: Los Angeles Clippers
When Derrick Rose agreed to join the Cavaliers, he was hoping to compete for a championship along with LeBron James and Kevin Love. Rose would only suit up 16 times for the team before he was shipped out of town in a three way trade. Rose's decision to sign with the Cavaliers ended up backfiring as he failed to even finish one year with the team, and ended up joining the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Last summer, the Los Angeles Clippers were showing interest in him and that may have been a better destination for Rose due to more playing time as well as lower expectations.
15 Kyle Lowry - Toronto Raptors
Should've Signed With: San Antonio Spurs
When Kyle Lowry re-signed with the Toronto Raptors, he was expecting to lead the team for three more seasons along with his best friend DeMar DeRozan. But this offseason has changed the future of the franchise with DeRozan being shipped out of town for Kawhi Leonard.
And based on early interviews with Lowry, it seems like he is unhappy with the Raptors' move, despite getting one of the top players in the league. During the season, Lowry revealed that he had interest in joining the San Antonio Spurs, and if he could read into the future - it's very likely that he would have joined the team in 2017.
14 Blake Griffin - Los Angeles Clippers
Should've Signed With: Denver Nuggets
Before the Denver Nuggets signed Paul Millsap last summer, they were eyeing Blake Griffin as a free agent and managed to book a meeting with him. Griffin would end up changing his mind by cancelling the scheduled meeting, and opted to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Considering that the team ended up trading him to the Detroit Pistons in his first year, Griffin must feel regretful about passing an opportunity to be apart of a very talented Denver team. With Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray on board, the trio could have combined to become a legitimate force in the NBA.
13 Nick Young - Golden State Warriors
Should've Signed With: Minnesota Timberwolves
With his decision to join the Golden State Warriors for the 2017-2018 season, Nick Young was able to win a championship despite playing no part of the team's success.
His last contract may have put him out of the NBA as Young remains a free agent as of now.
Considering that he only played in 10 games for the Warriors, it may not have been the wisest decision by Young. He could have had a bigger role on the Minnesota Timberwolves off the bench, and may have ended up earning another NBA contract through his play.
12 Michael Carter Williams - Charlotte Hornets
Should've Signed With: New Orleans Pelicans
Since winning Rookie of the Year in 2013-2014, Michael Carter-Williams has gotten worse with every passing year. After failing to live up to the initial hype, MCW found himself playing for three different teams in a span of three years, including his latest stint with the Charlotte Hornets. Not only did the team fail to make the playoffs, but MCW was only averaging 16 minutes per game - which is his lowest to date.
The New Orleans Pelicans were said to be interested in his services last offseason, and would have undoubtedly been a much better situation for him. Luckily for him, the Houston Rockets decided to give him another chance to show his worth in the NBA.
11 Gordon Hayward - Boston Celtics
Should've Signed With: Utah Jazz
It is too soon to say that Gordon Hayward regrets his decision to join the Boston Celtics since he was injured in the first quarter of the opening game of last season. With Hayward sitting out the remainder of the season, the Celtics still managed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. But now that Jayson Tatum is well on his way to become a legitimate NBA star, Hayward may see a decreased role with the Celtics.
Depending on how the first half of the season plays out, Hayward may not even finish the season with the Celtics. Not to mention, Kyrie Irving has not committed to the team beyond this season. As of now, it would have probably been for the best if he remained with the Utah Jazz.
10 Nerlens Noel - Dallas Mavericks
Should've Signed With: Los Angeles Lakers
After declining a four-year, $70 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks, Noel failed to get a better offer in the offseason. As the player thought he would be worth more in the open market, he decided to return to the Dallas Mavericks for $4.1 million for the season.
His second stint was a failure to say the least as Noel spent most of the time warming the bench after clashing with Rick Carlisle.
The Los Angeles Lakers were said to be interested in Noel last summer, and he would have surely earned more play time with the team.
9 Patrick Patterson - Oklahoma City Thunder
Should've Signed With: Houston Rockets
When Patrick Patterson left the Toronto Raptors last summer, it was already evident that his play was on the decline. He was hoping to return to form by joining the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Patterson ended up having his least productive season to date with only 15.5 minutes per game.
At the time, it was said that the Houston Rockets wanted Patterson to join the team's second unit but he declined the opportunity to join his former team since OKC had offered him a three-year deal. Based on his recent form, it is probably best for Patterson to turn his career around as soon as possible, or this may be his last NBA contract.
8 Danilo Gallinari - Los Angeles Clippers
Should've Signed With: Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari had it good in Denver as he was a starter on the team with a major role. He was also surrounded by a much better cast than the Los Angeles Clippers, as the Nuggets fell just one game short of making the Playoffs. Gallinari's first year with the Clippers was the story of his career as he struggled with nagging injuries - appearing in only 21 games for the season. By now, it is very likely that he is already feeling regretful regarding his decision to bolt the Nuggets - who seem on their way to take the next step
7 James Johnson - Miami Heat
Should've Signed With: Utah Jazz
When James Johnson signed a four-year deal for $60 million with the Miami Heat, he was hoping to finish his contract off in South Beach. But it is already looking unlikely as Johnson continues to appear in trade rumors with many potential suitors in the mix.
Despite having two solid back-to-back seasons with the Miami Heat, he may now be sent packing to a team that doesn't fit him.
Last summer, it was rumored that the Utah Jazz also had interest in signing Johnson, and he may been the perfect fit for their roster as he brings an all-around game to the table.
6 Tony Snell - Milwaukee Bucks
Should've Signed With: Charlotte Hornets
Coming off his best year in 2016-17, Tony Snell was expected to step up for the Milwaukee Bucks with a bigger role last season. But he failed to meet expectations and struggled to make any impact for the team, which is certainly disappointing for the team paying him $46 million for four years.
The Hornets were among the teams interested in adding Snell to their roster, but he received a generous offer from the Bucks as a restricted free agent and stuck around with the team. He will need to have a much stronger season after an underwhelming showing last year.
5 Shelvin Mack - Orlando Magic
Should've Signed With: Memphis Grizzlies
Shelvin Mack did end up with the Memphis Grizzlies as he signed with the team this offseason, but he could have joined them last summer although he ended up accepting an offer from the Orlando Magic.
He didn't get as much play time as he had hoped despite being decent off the bench, and the Magic ended up waiving him from the roster in June.
Not only could Mack have earned a much larger contract if he had joined the Grizzlies last season, but he would have also benefitted from taking on a bigger role with the team.
4 Ben McLemore - Memphis Grizzlies
Should've Signed With: Milwaukee Bucks
The Memphis Grizzlies were hoping that Ben McLemore could finally fulfill his potential once he joined them last year, but it was yet another underwhelming showing by the seventh pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Earlier this summer, McLemore was traded to the team that drafted him as the Sacramento Kings appear to remain hopeful that he could still turn his career around.
McLemore has lacked confidence on the court, failing to provide the scoring punch that is expected of him. With a crucial season coming up, McLemore will have to impress in order to earn another NBA contract next July.
3 Jamal Crawford - Minnesota Timberwolves
Should've Signed With: Philadelphia 76ers
Coming off his least productive season since his sophomore year, Jamal Crawford is now a free agent after declining his player option to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a second season. Crawford is still good enough to be in the NBA but has clearly lost a few steps since his prime years. And now many fans and players are wondering whether he will earn another contract - as Kemba Walker voiced his surprise at Crawford remaining a free agent. Philadelphia 76ers did attempt to recruit Crawford last season, and he may have played a bigger role for the team by generating offense off the bench.
2 George Hill - Sacramento Kings
Should've Signed With: Indiana Pacers
George Hill was recruited by several teams last offseason and ended up agreeing to a three-year, $57 million contract with the Sacramento Kings. But he wouldn't even get to complete a full season with the team as he was traded away before the February deadline, as Hill joined the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If Hill had known how the season would play out, he may have chosen to return to his former team in Indiana, where he shone a few seasons ago.
The young team could have certainly used his veteran presence to reach the next level of play in the Eastern Conference.