The best free agents are usually off the market in the first two weeks of July, while the decent players are scooped up by the end of the month. That does leave a number of former NBA players without a job, most of whom happen to be veterans or struggling young players. As we all know, teams are usually guaranteed to make changes to the roster by the trade deadline in hopes of assembling the best possible roster for the remainder of the year, including the postseason.
Today, there are still a number of players who are available on the market although they have yet to find a suitor. Given that these players haven't signed deals in China or Europe, it means that they intend to return to the NBA as soon as possible. But there is usually a reason as to why a player is still unsigned by December from nagging injuries to inefficiency and even trouble away from the court. These players are still good enough to get another look by a team sometime this season, but it remains to be seen whether they make it on an NBA court again.
As we get closer to the NBA Playoffs, managers will surely begin to explore different options out there to bring additional assets, so it's usually players with a specific skill set that get signed during the season. And that would include three-point shooting, rebounding, or defending. Here are 10 NBA players who are still free agents and teams who might sign them.
20 Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers is still without an NBA contract as of now. The guard appears to prefer remaining in the league as he hasn't explored his options elsewhere, claiming that he is ready for any opportunity that comes his way. Chalmers has even used Twitter to promote himself to NBA teams, claiming that he is now healthy and ready to contribute to the team that is willing to give him a chance to show his worth. He had a decent season with the Memphis Grizzlies, so Chalmers may end up earning another roster spot by the end of the 2018-19 season.
19 Might Sign Him: Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are currently in desperate need for a point guard. While the team is in tank mode for the season, they do want to develop their prospects as much as possible. Losing may improve their chances of getting a top lottery pick, but not if it comes at the expense of damaging their young players' potential. At the moment, they are only searching for a short-term solution since they may not want to commit for the long run, so it would make sense for the Suns to give Mario Chalmers a chance to showcase his talents once again and help fellow vet Jamal Crawford in guiding Phoenix's promising rookie guards, Elie Okobo and De'Anthony Melton.
18 Nick Young
Nick Young really wanted a championship ring, which influenced his decision to join the Golden State Warriors for the 2017-18 season. But it may have backfired, as far as his career is concerned, since no other team has picked him up as he remains a free agent today. There are concerns regarding Young's off-the-court antics that may come off as a distraction in an NBA locker room, as well as his inefficient style of play. And while he did get the opportunity to work out for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the summer, the team ended up passing on him after all.
17 Might Sign Him: Los Angeles Lakers
A return to the Los Angeles Lakers may not be so bad for both sides. Nick Young would provide the team with a scoring punch off the bench, as well as an additional threat from the three-point range. And the Lakers could always waive him if they deem him to be a bad fit on the team. With LeBron James running the show, he may be able to bring out the best out of Young so it would be an intriguing signing, to say the least. From 2013 to 2017, Young had some high-scoring seasons with the Lakers, although he has never been renowned for his efficiency as a player.
16 Corey Brewer
During the offseason, Corey Brewer gained some interest from his former teams, the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, although both ended up taking a different direction. Still a free agent as of December, Brewer finished last season as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder and put up decent numbers across the board. Based on his improved three-point shooting and reputable defensive ability, Brewer will most likely find a home by the end of the season. He is still a useful player to this day and would make a decent addition to most NBA franchises, although he would likely prefer landing on a playoff team.
15 Might Sign Him: Dallas Mavericks
Corey Brewer will likely be considered by a number of teams from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he is much more likely to land with the Dallas Mavericks. He played one season for the team in the past in which they ended up winning the championship, and now that the Mavs are fighting for a playoff spot - they could use extra help on the wing. While Brewer won't be enough to guarantee them a postseason berth, he does bring experience and defensive energy that would certainly be welcomed. Brewer may get a look by the Mavs after the All-Star break in hopes of solidifying a playoff spot.
14 Ty Lawson
Since his departure from the Denver Nuggets, Ty Lawson has never been the same player. He has failed to last on a team for more than one season with unimpressive stints with the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and more recently, the Washington Wizards. Despite being a solid three-point shooter, Lawson has been unable to land a deal in the offseason. He has been open to playing away from the NBA in the past, although he did note a preference for finishing his journey with some comeback seasons. And while no team has given him a true chance in the past two years, Lawson has to be more impactful when given an opportunity.
13 Might Sign Him: New Orleans Pelicans
One of the New Orleans Pelicans' main weaknesses this year has been their point guard play. Jrue Holiday prefers playing at SG where he has had better showings, leaving the PG position in a questionable state, to say the least. The Pelicans were well aware of potential woes at the position going back to the summer when they explored numerous options, and they even brought in Ty Lawson for a workout. Given his experience and solid three-point shooting, Lawson would be worth a look for the Pelicans, as Elfrid Payton's injuries have made him unreliable so far. And if it doesn't work out, they can simply cut their losses.
12 Joe Johnson
Since Joe Johnson was drafted in 2001, he had started every season on an NBA team until 2018-19 came around. Following an underwhelming stint with the Houston Rockets, Johnson has failed to attract much interest on the open market. In his defense, he may have simply had a down run with the Rockets since he had been solid as a member of the Utah Jazz, contributing with his scoring ability off the bench. As one of the most experienced players around with an impressive offensive arsenal, Johnson may likely earn a spot on a team before the 2019 Playoffs begin.
11 Might Sign Him: Oklahoma City Thunder
If Joe Johnson returns to the same level of play that he showed as a member of the Utah Jazz, then he would make a great addition to several teams. But one team, in particular, that could use a savvy veteran off the bench would be the Oklahoma City Thunder as Johnson could provide much-needed assistance with scoring when Russell Westbrook and Paul George happen to be resting. At 37-years-old, he won't be quite as effective or reliable as he once was, but at least Johnson would be willing to accept any role that OKC may give him.
10 Brandan Wright
Brandan Wright would still be on an NBA roster today if he had been healthy last year. Unfortunately for him, he has been battling nagging injuries throughout his entire NBA career, and the most he has ever played was 64 games in the 2012-13 season with Dallas. Wright is a useful big to have off the bench and still has a place in the league, but it's just a matter of him staying healthy to be as impactful as possible. Since his release from the Houston Rockets, Wright hasn't inked any deal yet as he continues to rehabilitate towards full health.
9 Might Sign Him: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets really liked what they saw from Brandan Wright in his brief stint with the team, and Mike D'Antoni expressed his wish to keep him around. But as it became evident that he would miss the remainder of the year just as he had joined the Rockets, it was no surprise that the team cut him. Wright is now using his time off to be fully healthy and in game shape in case any team comes knocking within the next few months. Given the Rockets' bench struggles and lack of depth, Wright would make a positive addition to the unit.
8 Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis has been out of the league since the summer of 2017 when he was waived by the Indiana Pacers. After taking the 2017-18 season off, Ellis returned to making headlines in the summer when he teased a comeback to the NBA. Ellis held workouts with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, although both teams passed up on him after all. Known for his scoring ability, Ellis' game didn't age too well due to his lack of three-point shooting as well as an inefficient style of play. Add in the fact that he is a liability on the defensive end and it's no surprise that he is still available right now.
7 Might Sign Him: Charlotte Hornets
Despite his many limitations as well as clear decline during his time with the Indiana Pacers, Monta Ellis may still be worth a shot for some teams. For instance, the Charlotte Hornets could use more scorers on the roster especially since the bench unit has been inconsistent in that regard. Even if Ellis fails to be a positive contributor to the team, then the Hornets can simply waive him. In a limited role, Ellis could still be successful in the NBA due to the offensive ability that made him one of the best scorers in the league for a number of years.
6 Patrick McCaw
Patrick McCaw has played two seasons for the Golden State Warriors in which he won two championship rings. And while he wasn't a contributor to their success, the team did see potential in him which is why they kept him on the roster instead of opting to give him spot to a veteran player. McCaw has also had a stint for the Santa Cruz Warriors, where he has been able to show his talent on full display. If he becomes available on the market as an unrestricted free agent, then it is likely that he will be scooped by another team.
5 Might Sign Him: Golden State Warriors
Recent rumors have suggested that Patrick McCaw has held discussions with many teams including the Golden State Warriors, although he has yet to make a decision. Given that the Warriors still have his rights as a player, he is currently a restricted free agent so they would be able to match any offer if they wish. McCaw has already declined the Warriors' offer to return for this season, believing that it was too low for his services. It is probably not the wisest move to play hardball with the reigning champions, although it's likely that the two sides will come to an agreement before the end of the season.
4 Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo was once known for his defensive effort as well as scoring ability, although both of his strengths have been declining for the past few years. Based on what Afflalo showed with the Orlando Magic last season, he might not have much left in the tank as he struggled to really make an impact. But he still holds a career average of 38% from three-point, which makes him a potential target for many teams in the upcoming months. Afflalo also brings a veteran presence and is worth a shot for teams who are in need of reinforcing their bench.
3 Might Sign Him: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams that come to mind who may be interested in Arron Afflalo. During the summer, they lost many of their three-point shooters, so they will surely be aiming to add some around the trade deadline. And if they can't land their targets via a trade, then Afflalo would be a realistic option for the team. If the 76ers wish to take down the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics in the Playoffs, the team has to seriously look into improving their three-point shooting, especially since Ben Simmons has no outside shot. Afflalo could be the answer to their woes if he retains his career percentage from behind the arc.
2 Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is finding himself in new territory following two failed stints in a row, including an embarrassing run with the Houston Rockets. While he is currently an unofficial free agent as the team is exploring a potential trade - although they will release him if they fail to find a partner - he certainly won't be back in Houston. Melo might not have had a great start to the season and it's fair to say that the Rockets used him as a scapegoat for their issues early into the season. Some rumors have suggested that he may never play another NBA game although that is unlikely given his wish to resume his journey.
1 Might Sign Him: Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are currently in a position where they need all the help that they can get. They are stuck in the worst possible position as they are set to miss out on the Playoffs, while also being the 10th seed in the East, which means they won't be landing a top lottery pick either. Before inking a deal with the Rockets, Carmelo had held discussions with the Heat regarding a possible agreement, although he chose the former in hopes of winning a championship. With the way the Heat's season has played out thus far, it won't be surprising to see them pick up Carmelo.