July 1st marked the beginning of the National Basketball Association's new league year, and with it, comes the opening of free agency.
The NBA draft is in the rear view mirror, and teams are now tasked with looking for another way to catch, or at the very least, close the gap between themselves and the reigning champion Golden State Warriors.
While blockbuster trades, like the Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, or the Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, deal is one way to improve your roster, no-trade clauses (I am looking at you Melo) salary cap issues, and the dreaded luxury tax, often get in the way of General Managers trying to acquire talent via trade.
Because of that, free agency is usually the route most teams choose to take, in an effort to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Like anything else in sports, sometimes both the player and team fit, and the deal works out. Other times, neither side gets what they were expecting, and it ends up blowing up in everybody's face. That's the risk that is free agency.
With free agent frenzy already started, and a lot of the big names are off the market, but there are still a lot of quality players to choose from. We here at TheSportster, give you our Top 15 Remaining NBA Free Agents, And Where They Might Sign.
15 Andrew Bogut - Minnesota Timberwolves
After securing his release from the Philadelphia 76ers, and signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in March, the 7-foot Aussie, had a nighmare of a debut with the Cavs, as Bogut, broke his left tibia less than one minute into his first game. The injury knocked him out for the rest of the season, and was the latest in a long line of ailments that has caused the big man to miss more than 300 games due to being injured.
When he actually isn't racking up DNPs due to injury, the first overall pick of the 2005 NBA draft, is a two-way threat. On defense, he is a rim protector, and a beast on the boards, as he has a career average of 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game. On the other side of the court, Bogut, puts up 10 points a contest, and is also a good passer.
It's safe to say that Bogut, would rank much higher on here, if he could just find a way to stay healthy. In fact, he probably wouldn't be on the list to begin with if he could stay off the trainer's table. A team like the Minnesota Timberwolves, who already have an All-Star in Karl-Anthony Towns holding down the 5-spot, would be a good place for the talented Center.
14 Ersan Ilyasova - Washington Wizards
He is 6-foot-10, can shoot the ball, and has played all 3 front-court positions. Last season was a bit of a whirl-wind for the Turkish-born sniper, as he began the season as a member of the Ohklahoma City Thunder, after having come over in a trade from the Orlando Magic last off-season. After playing 3 games for OKC, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in November. He really thrived offensively in the city of Brotherly Love, as the 30 year-old, averaged a career-high 15 points a game. Naturally, after playing 53 games for Philly, Ilyasova, was dealt once again, this time to the Atlanta Hawks.
In his 9-year NBA career, the vet has averaged at least 10 points a game, in all but one season (2010-11). The only problem, with Ilyasova, is that he has been the definition of a player who puts up good numbers on bad teams, a la Kevin Love.
Logic says, that being surrounded by a better team and teammates, would allow Ilyasova, a chance to shine on the big stage. The Washington Wizards, who are getting left behind by the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers this off-season, could use his services, especially after the face of the franchise John Wall, said the team needed more bench production after they were eliminated by the Celts in the second round of the playoffs.
13 JaVale McGee - Los Angeles Clippers
Never in a million years did I think that McGee would make the top of any free agent list, unless it were biggest head case, or waste of talent, but I have to give the 7-footer credit, as he revitalized his career playing for the Golden State Warriors last season. In 77 games with the Dubs, the 29-year old recorded 6 points and 3 rebounds a game, provided some interior defense, and brought a lot energy, as well as a sense of toughness to the team.
When he wasn't feuding on Twitter with NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O'Neal, McGee, even found time to average a career-best 65.2 field goal percentage, and a 25.2 player efficiency rating. He also managed to win his first championship as a key member of the Warriors' second unit.
With the Warriors re-signing fellow big man Zaza Pachillia, it appears McGee's time with the Dubs is likely over. A team like the Los Angeles Clippers, who need depth behind Center DeAndre Jordan, would be a good fit for McGee.
12 David Lee - Oklahoma City Thunder
David Lee, is the ultimate team player. Diving for loose balls, standing up for teammates, leadership, doing the dirty work on the glass, coming off the bench like he did for the Golden State Warriors during their 2015 championship, or even starting in a pinch, as he did on ten different occasions for the San Antonio Spurs this past season, the veteran is always reliable.
Besides all those intangibles, the former Florida Gator, brings some offensive touch as well. This year, the 2-time All-Star averaged 7.3 points, and 1.6 assists in almost 20 minutes a game (18.7) with the Spurs last season. He even improved his shooting percentage to 61.3 percent, which was the highest it’s been since he shot 62%, as a member of the New York Knicks, during the 2006-07 season.
If the 34-year-old doesn't re-sign with the Spurs, another good fit would be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost Power Forward Taj Gibson to the Minnesota Timberwolves in free agency, and don't appear like they will re-sign PF Nick Collison. The recent signing of free agent Patrick Patterson, shouldn't stop OKC from bringing in Lee, as both players can start, or come off the bench.
11 Marresse Speights - Los Angeles Clippers
It seems like the free agent big mam has made a tour throughout the NBA's power house teams, as in the last 5 years alone, Speights, has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers.
A key member of the Warriors 2015 championship team, the former Florida Gator, who stands at 6 ft 10 and 255 pounds, brings physicality and versatality on the defensive end, as he is able to defend against both Power Forwards and Centers.
Offensively, the nine-year vet, who averaged 8.7 points a game for the Clippers, brings a sweet shot, and versatility as well. In addition to setting a career-high .876 from the free throw line, he also hit a personal-best 37.2% of his three point attempts last season.
A versatile big man, who can stretch out a defense, play solid D himself, and has championship experience, should be an attractive option, for any team. Re-signing with the Clippers would be the best option for both sides. Not only is Speights familiar with the team, but the club no real insurance behind oft-injured supserstar Blake Griffin.
10 Gerald Henderson - SG/SF - Utah Jazz
Whether being in the starting five, or coming off the bench, Gerald Henderson, the 12th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, brings scoring wherever he goes. Throughout his 9-year career, he has averaged a shade under 12 points a game. This past season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey native, matched a career-high in three-point percentage, with a mark of .353%.
A logical fit for the 29-year-old, would be the Utah Jazz. While Henderson, would be in no way a replacement for the recently-departed Gordon Hayward, he would at least replace some of the scoring that the former face of the franchise took with him to the Boston Celtics.
Another reason for the fit, is that Henderson, just like Hayward, brings versatility to the lineup, in that he can give the Jazz, valuble minutes at both the Shooting Guard, and Small Forward position.
Given how heart-broken the city, and quite possibly the team might be over losing their superstar, bringing in a player who can at least do some of the things their former franchise player can do, might help ease the pain at least a little bit.
9 Luc Mbah a Moute - Toronto Raptors
The native of Cameroon, beat out Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson the starting Small Forward position on the Los Angeles Clippers last season. While that might not be saying a lot that Mbah a Moute beat out a recently retired 39 year-old future Hall-of-Famer, and a former first round bust for the job, the free agent Forward, who started a career-best 76 games for the Clips, did set a personal-high in 3-point percentage with .391, and averaged 6.1 points a game, which were his best numbers since the 2014-2015 regular season.
Mbah a Moute's defense, also gave a boost to the offense-centric Clippers as well, as he averaged a steal a game, and used his length to make it hard for shooters to get clean looks at the basket, as be contested an average of nearly 7 shots a contest.
A team like the Toronto Raptors, who lost key depth players in Patrick Patterson, and P.J Tucker to free agency, would be wise to bring in the long defensive specialist, as he can give a team valuble minutes at both the Small Forward and Power Forward position.
8 Ty Lawson - New Orleans Pelicans
Last season was a bounce-back one for Ty Lawson. After averaging a career-low in points the last two years for the Houston Rockers and Indiana Pacers, with 5.8 and 4.9 respectively, the diminutive Point Guard, had an offensive awakening with the Sacramento Kings, as he registered 9.9 points a game. Lawson, even raised his assist totals to 4.8 per contest. Both numbers, his highest totals, since his last year as a Denver Nugget, in the 2014-15 campaign.
With point guards like Jeff Teague and George Hill, already off the free agent market, a speedy PG, with the ability to score like Lawson, can bring value to a team. The fact that he brings versatility to the table, as he can either start, or come off the bench for whoever he plays for, makes him an even more attractive fit for multiple clubs.
A team like the New Orleans Pelicans, who have a really good, but injury-prone Point Guard in Jrue Holiday, would be wise to sign Lawson.
7 Ian Clark - Brooklyn Nets
Another Golden State Warrior makes the list. Not only does Clark have a championship ring on his resume, but he also set a career-highs this past season in points per game, assists, steals, 3-point shooting, and games played. It feels like the 26-year-old combo guard picked the perfect time to hit the free agent market.
With Dubs, already deep into the luxury tax, having recently re-signed mega-stars Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant this off-season, and the team signing free agent Nick Young,it looks like Clark’s time in “The City” appears to be done
Given the undrafted Clark's winning pedigree, versatility, age, untapped potential, and all-around improvement in his game, he should have no problem finding a home, now that all the big stars have signed. A young team like the Brooklyn Nets, would give the Belmont product, a chance to start, and grow alongside the newly acquired D'Angelo Russell, in what would be a fast, and potentially exciting backcourt.
6 Tony Allen - SG - Houston Rockets
While age (he will turn 36 during the season) and injury (he has ever played a full 82 game season) will be a factor, Tony Allen, who has made 6 All-Defensive teams in his career, is still a fierce competitior, who can makes any team he is on that much better.
A changing of the guard so to speak with the Memphis Grizzles, to a cheaper and younger nucleus, has spelled the end of Allen's days in state of Tennessee. Before he left however, the former first-round pick had a semi-career resurgence, as Allen played in 71 games (his most since the 2012-2013 season), and averaged a personal-best in points (9.1), rebounds (5.5), and minutes per game, with (27.0). On defense, he recorded 2 steals a night, and 3.3 deflections, the latter of which ranked him sixth amongst all guards.
Provided he stays healthy, and continues his productivity on both ends of the court next year, Allen, who played a key role on the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics, as a 3 and D specialist, would be perfect fit would be the Houston Rockets. Besides the point that they have a human turn-style on the defensive end jn James Harden, the team only has one real perimeter defender in Trevor Ariza. If the Rockets want to knock off San Antonio and Golden State, they need to become much better on that side of the court. Allen, would help them do just that.
5 Deron Williams - Denver Nuggets
Just a few short years ago, teams would have been tripping over themselves to sign Deron Williams, the moment free agency begun. Unfortunately for the recently turned 33-year-old, that isn't the case anymore.
Despite the many turns of the clock, the two things that Williams has done consistently through his 12-years in the league, and still continues to do now is score, and distribute the ball. Over the course of his career, the 3rd overall pick of the 2005 draft, has averaged nearly a double-double, with 16 points, and 8 assists.
After coming over to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks, Williams made an immediate impact with his new team. In 20 games as a Cav, the Iliiinois product, put up nearly 8 points a game. More importantly, he gave superstar Point Guard Kyrie Irving, a chance to take a break.
The Denver Nuggets, who don't seem fully set on going with young Point Guard Emmanuel Mudiay, as their floor general, could benefit from bringing in an experienced and productive vet like Williams, as they look to end their nearly 5-year playoff drought.
4 Rajon Rondo - New York Knicks
Rajon Rondo has seemed to wear out his welcome everywhere he's gone and you have to start wondering if he has a future in the NBA at this point. One spot that could take Rondo is a team that's not averse to chaos and the fit right now for Rondo would seem to be the New York Knicks. Since the Bulls bought out Rondo, the Knicks have expressed interest in Rondo and at this point Rondo doesn't have much of a choice but to go to whichever team is interested in him right now.
If Carmelo is indeed staying in New York, Rondo could come in and be the ultimate distributor while Melo can enjoy being fed the ball and do what he likes to do most; score.
3 Dewayne Deadmon - San Antonio Spurs
After bouncing around between the NBA and D-League throughout his career, Dewayne Deadmon, appeared to finally find a home with the San Antonio Spurs last season. Picking up some of the minutes that were vacated by the retirement of future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan, Deadmon, evolved into an athletic big man, who can finish around the rim, as his quickness and leaping ability, put him on the receiving end of numerous fast-break opportunities, and alley-oops.
The other end of the court is where he had his biggest impact. Besides averaging nearly 7 rebounds a game, Deadmon, also protected the rim, as he finished second on the team in blocks behind Power Forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and earned a top-10 placement in defensive efficiency, as he surrendered only 82.3 points per 100 possessions.
At 27 years old, the former USC Trojan, would be best served staying with the Spurs for at least another season. His playing time and numbers will surely increase, given that the team only has 37 year-old Pau Gasol playing in front of him.
2 Derrick Rose - San Antonio Spurs
After years of battling through various knee and back injuries that ushered his way out of Chicago, Derrick Rose finally showed some of the form and flash, that led him to becomeMost Valuable Player. Last season, as a member of the New York Knicks, Rose averaged 18 points a game, which was his highest since the MVP season, where he put up almost 22 a contest.The Knicks being the Knicks however, still couldn't find a way capitalize on Rose's solid play, as the franchise missed the playoffs, finishing with a 31-51 record.
Rose, has gone on record, saying that he is not looking for money on his next contract, and that he wants to compete for a championship. While there have been rumors of him signing with the Milwaukee Bucks, I think a better fit would be with the San Antonio Spurs. Prior to the Chris Paul deal to Houston, the Spurs had been linked to trade talks with the Los Angeles Clippers for CP3. While Rose isn't in the same class as Paul, he can still score, and his presence would allow starting Point Guard Tony Parker, to ease his way back into the lineup, after he ruptured his left quad this spring in the playoffs versus the Rockets.
1 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Atlanta Hawks
The best player on the list, and one of the few who has the potential to make a future All-Star team, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, became a free agent, after the Detroit Pistons, renounced the former restricted free agents rights, because they refused to meet his reportedly contract demands of $25 million plus per season.
The man known as KCP around the league, is a strong two-way player. On offense this past season, he increased his assists per game, as well as his free throw percentage. His 3-point has also improved, as it has gone up every season.
On defense, he has turned into a solid 1-on-1 defender, that routinely has to guard the opponents' best wing players. At only 24 years of age, he hasn't even really hit his prime yet, which says he has the chance to get a lot better, and soon.
I think the Atlanta Hawks are the best fit. Not only did Caldwell-Pope, attend the University of Georgia, but after losing Paul Millsap and Al Horford in free agency the last 2 years, the now-rebuilding franchise needs a new face. Who better than the Georgia-born Caldwell-Pope?
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