Whenever I cook, albeit rarely, I cannot help myself but tinker with spices and seasoning. A little more pepper here, a touch more chili there. In the NBA, the equivalent seems to be with those last free agents still available to who might provide the taste the general manager has been looking for since the end of last season. With this in mind, here are some of the top NBA free agents still available on the market, conveniently sorted for you by position.
Point Guard – Deron Williams
Far from playing at the level of the Stockton-Malone part two with Carlos Boozer in Utah, Deron Williams’ value to an NBA team is still enough to earn him a contract. Veteran leadership may be Williams’ primary asset these days but his knowledge and experience would make him a great backup to a young guard, too.
Williams’ stint with the Cavaliers suggests he’s chasing a ring but he may be persuaded to transition to a rebuilding team and take on more of a mentoring role with his retirement in mind at the age of 33. A potential suitor may be the Denver Nuggets. Denver had a very productive offseason acquiring Paul Millsap and retaining their young core. The three-time All-Star offers additional value, particularly to the guards as they take the next step in their career.
Other notables: Trey Burke
Shooting Guard – Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis’ production dropped off this last season, only averaging 8.5 points per game, the lowest since his rookie season. However, Ellis is a natural scorer and can still put up points in bunches. He is yet another veteran who would work great on a young team of guards, provided he is willing to give up the chase for a ring.
Coming off the bench in short stretches seems to be where Ellis would be most effective, providing offense for a second unit. Should the 32-year-old be willing to take a pay cut from the $10,000,000 salary he was earning with the Indiana Pacers, a potential suitor could be the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta are expected to struggle this season having lost players such as Millsap, yet Ellis could provide offense off the bench or even start alongside the lightning-quick Dennis Schroder.
Other notables: Gerald Henderson, Rodney Stuckey, Marcus Thornton
Small Forward – Nikola Mirotic
At 6’10”, Nikola Mirotic could play either the small or power forward. Currently, a restricted agent with the Chicago Bulls, who look like they will re-sign him, Mirotic has shown little improvement in his three years in the league. His main threat is from three-point range, though his stats show he starting to fall in love with the three-ball more than he should, shooting only 34% this past season.
Mirotic is best used in today’s game as a stretch four with his size and three-point shooting ability. As far as potential suitors are concerned, the Detroit Pistons could be a good fit. The Pistons are built around a central big man surrounded by shooters and the 26-year-old, as a stretch four, would slot right in.
Other notables: Gerald Green, JaMychal Green
Power Forward – Derrick Williams
Considering Derrick Williams was the second overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft, his career so far would be considered somewhat of a flop. Going into his eighth season, Williams’ role is predominantly restricted to providing scoring off the bench. On the back of a season where he shot over 50% from the floor with Cleveland, one would hope Williams would have a number of suitors for a small contract with the expectation of helping with the second unit. In terms of potential destinations, the Los Angeles Clippers might be an option. Straddling between the three and the four, Williams could either back up Blake Griffin or provide size at the three.
Other notables: David Lee
Center – Alex Len
Alex Len is currently considering the qualifying offer the Phoenix Suns sent him. Whilst he considers his future, let’s do the same. Say he doesn’t re-sign, where could he go? He’s a young seven-footer who shoots free throws at a surprisingly high clip of 70%. However, his efficiency sits below his competition.
Len is still raw, showing off versatility and impressive physical attributes, but the questions about his development are still unanswered. The San Antonio Spurs are shallow in the frontcourt and could be a potential suitor for the big Ukranian. But if I were Len, I would stick with the Suns and see what could be achieved with Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and rookie Josh Jackson.
Other notables: Jordan Hill, Festus Ezeli
Where should these players go? Which free agent should your team sign before the season starts? Comment below!
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