Top 100 NBA Free Agents: Kevin Durant headlines a wild summer
The very best of the NBA's free agency class in a year expected to be crazier than most
The wildest summer in NBA free agency since 2010 begins Friday (July 1) at 12:01 a.m. ET. With an unprecedented amount of cap space created by NBA TV rights revenue, several teams will have room for at least one max free agent. That, combined with several teams carving out space to pursue the top name, Kevin Durant, is creating a new frontier, and no one really knows what to expect.
So which free agents will be available, and how can they help your team?
This list accounts for skill, athleticism, role, versatility, age, experience, attitude and projected value. For instance, you can get Marvin Williams for a much better price than some players ranked behind him (Harrison Barnes, for instance), so Williams' value is slightly greater here than it otherwise might be.
But the big name is Durant. He's not only a top-three player in the league, but he's available, or might be. The win over the Spurs in the conference semifinals may have sealed his return to OKC, at least on a two-year deal with an opt-out for next summer. The biggest threats to the Thunder are perceived to be the Heat, Celtics, Spurs and Warriors. The Heat have a precarious cap situation and can offer less than the Thunder, the Spurs just fell to the Thunder, and the Warriors were nearly toppled by OKC in a contentious Western Conference finals.
While Durant's odds of leaving are longer, he remains on the market.
While guys like Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside and Nicolas Batum should not be overlooked, this class is short on stars. That means some of this summer's deals could be hilarious with the amount of money being thrown around in a class with plenty of depth. You can get rotation players galore who can fill various specialized roles.
Here are the top 100 players in free agency this summer:
Analysis: Franchise-changing player. Unstoppable offensive force and a top-three player in the league. High-level defender when healthy and engaged. Underrated and willing passer. Impossible to find a size matchup for him defensively. Has great character and integrity, a strong leader and ready to deliver when called upon but won't hijack the offense because of his pride. Everything you want in the best player on your team. The alpha, beta and omega of this free agency class.
Good fit with: Any team on Earth
Analysis: He's LeBron James. The only reason he's behind KD is a. mileage and age and b. availability. He's already said he's going to return to Cleveland, likely on another one-and-one year deal to secure his ability to re-sign for a max when the cap again rises in 2017. He is not available, but is every bit equal to Durant.
Good fit with: Any team on Earth
Analysis: A dominant pick-and-roll finisher who can dominate inside with blocks, rebounds and finishes. Not a great passer, not a good post-up player yet. If you believe you can mold him into that, his value increases. Incredibly valuable for the Pistons' pick-and-roll action, which is why they're a virtual lock to re-sign him. Questionable mental focus and a liability at the free-throw line. If you're going to win a title with Drummond as your best player, you better have an incredible team around him. The Pistons are almost certain to re-sign him to a max deal via restricted free agency.
Good fit with: Detroit
Analysis: First, the bad. Horford just turned 30. He has dealt with shoulder problems and other maladies that figure to increase as he gets older. He can't anchor a team as its best player, at least not a title-contender. Horford doesn't have unstoppable moves, though his efficiency is always pretty great. Not a dominant rebounder, passer, defender or scorer, which is why his value often is misconstrued by casual fans. Now the good: He's a versatile, smart defender who can switch on guards, body bigger centers, contain stretch 4s and contest without fouling. Fundamentally brilliant player who always makes the right pass, takes the right shot and works for the right move. Good finisher and shooter who has extended his range to the 3-point line in recent years. He fits into nearly any scheme. Horford should be the most sought-after, fully available free agent after Durant.
Good fit with: Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Orlando
Analysis: I've come around on Whiteside, gradually. He really did show some maturity as the year went on, and he really did become more than a shot blocker offensively. He's the best center on the market under 30, and his combination of obscene athleticism and phenomenal touch around the rim should not be overlooked. A source close to the situation told CBS Sports this week that Whiteside is looking for a strong team situation where he can win. That may get trumped if the money question comes into play, but there are certainly going to be a lot of options for him. Yes, there are risks, but you have to say Whiteside is worth those risks at this point.
Good fit with: Miami, L.A. Lakers, Orlando, Houston, Portland
Analysis: "Game manager" most often is construed as a negative, but Conley embodies its very best definition. A smart, athletic player who makes sure everyone's involved. A quality shooter from the arc who can catch and shoot with a quick release. Good finisher at the rim and has to be included in any conversation about the league's best defensive point guards. Not an alpha dog and won't take over games. Not a dominant one-on-one scorer. Foot injuries have mounted and have impacted him the past four years. A player worth the max, but unlikely to leave Memphis, though there's been a great deal of noise in the past two months about that possibility. They are certain he's re-signing, but never say never.
Good fit with: Memphis, New York, San Antonio, Utah
Analysis: The second-best player on a 50-win team. Terrific overall 2-guard who can get to the rim, draw contact and make tough shots. Can put up 40 on any night, but rarely when teams decide to take him out. Underrated as a playmaker. Has slid defensively in recent seasons and needs to re-establish himself as a top-end guy on that end. His 3-point shooting is his biggest liability. If you can't shoot 3s as a 2-guard, your value is limited. In the playoffs, his dependency on free-throw rate caused him to struggle as he's lofted terrible shots over double-teams. Can't be the best or second-best player on a championship team, but is definitely a guy who helps. Toronto is likely to max him, and he's going to pursue the max no matter what. He's probably the greatest inefficiency on the market. He's really good, but in a way that complicates value. DeRozan is reportedly will not meet with other teams and will focus on re-signing with Toronto.
Good fit with: Toronto, L.A. Lakers, Orlando, New Orleans
Analysis: Has higher offensive upside than most realize. Still coming off his rookie deal. Special player who can finish inside, hit from anywhere and has potential as a perimeter defender. Could wind up a top-five shooting guard. Undeniable injury concerns should give any team pause. Unlikely to go anywhere as a restricted free agent with the Wizards a lock to match any offer, unless a strong sign-and-trade deal is constructed.
Good fits with: Washington, New York, L.A. Lakers, San Antonio
Analysis: Dynamic and versatile offensive player who can score, pass, run pick-and-roll and shoot off dribble hand-offs. Plus defender with perimeter versatility. Makes everyone better. Smart player who has been a staple on his national team (France) for years. Had injury troubles the past three seasons. At 27, just entering his prime. Career 36 percent 3-point shooter. Batum may garner the max from the Hornets, but also could take a discount to play for a contender. Batum likely will be more worth his contract value than DeRozan.
Good fit with: Charlotte, Golden State, Toronto
Analysis: Wade showed he can still be a No. 1 option. Posted a career-low in True Shooting percentages and his lowest points and assists figures since his rookie season, but still delivered in leading the Heat to the second round. At 34, you're not getting the best of Wade and his drop-off should be considered imminent. He's also looking for as much money as he can make after taking pay cuts to help the Heat make space to add players. However, if he were to take a lesser deal to join a championship contender, his value shoots through the roof. His likelihood in pursuing a multiyear, high-money deal is why he's so low.
Good fit with: Miami, Cleveland, Oklahoma City
Analysis: OK, he's a clown sometimes. And he's emotional. And injuries have claimed much of his strength and athleticism. And he's awful in any post-up situation. But Howard remains a force. He's a smart defender who can mask his team's deficiencies, just not if all your players are defensive weaknesses, like the Rockets. If he can get healthy, he can still be lethal in pick-and-roll situations. Hard worker who keeps himself in incredible shape. Has taken responsibility for shortcomings and still wants to compete. Has to be in the right situation. Has plans to try and play until he's 40 but is slowing down at 30. Much of his value depends on his price. If he's willing to take a cut, he could be preferable to Whiteside. If he's pursuing a max deal, he winds up somewhere in the 30s.
Good fit with: Orlando, Brooklyn, Dallas, Charlotte
Analysis: The greatest power forward of all time. Despite significant slippage, Duncan still makes a team better by his presence and can be had for the cheap. He's here on this list out of respect. He is likely to retire, but if he doesn't, will use his option for the last season of his NBA career. If things went completely insane and he were available, he would start on roughly 25 teams, and likely would be cheap at his age.
Good fit with: San Antonio
Analysis: He's still Dirk Nowitzki, and he's not going anywhere, but he is technically a free agent. Still a top-level scorer on good nights and still able to lead a playoff team as he did this past season. You could slot him on nearly any top team and he'd still cook. The greatest European player in league history.
Good fit with: Dallas
Analysis: Had you asked me about Waiters' ranking a year ago, and informed me that I would be placing him 14th, you'd have gotten something between a guffaw and a heart attack. For years Waiters has played like he believes he is something he is not -- a star-level player who needed the ball at all times. This led to infuriating decisions and missed layups. But somehow over the season's final three months, right as he's set to hit free agency, he turned a corner. During OKC's playoff run, he knocked down the 3-ball, stayed aggressive in attacking the rim, deferred to stars and played his role. If you don't trust him, there's a worry of him regressing to his worst habits if given big money. But at 24 with no injury concerns, and given the growth and skill set he's shown plus the likelihood of him coming under the budget of someone like Harrison Barnes (No. 24), Waiters becomes one of the best value deals on the market.
Good fit with: OKC, Charlotte, Brooklyn, Sacramento
Analysis: Lights-out shooter who finally learned to stay within his role offensively. Has gone from decent-but-inconsistent defender to a major deterrent. Not going to lock up Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook, but attacks the dribble, contains and closes out hard. His effort issues have vanished on good teams. Able to completely turn a game with his offensive outbursts. Has not had a playoff off-court incident since 2013. Will recklessly pursue heat checks. Beloved by teammates. Smith signed with Klutch Sports this year and is likely to re-sign with the Cavaliers as such, likely on a big-money deal. Is probably not wearing a shirt right now.
Good fit with: Cleveland, Memphis, New Orleans
Analysis: Two major knee injuries should be considered first. He will be 28 next season, so you're not signing a spring chicken. And yet he shot a career-high from the field and 3-point range, and his per 100 possession numbers were right in line or better than his career figures. Athletic and versatile, able to run an offense on his own as well as operate as tip of the spear. Will act as a free-agent recruiter. Great cutter, great spot-up shooter, able to pump-fake and drive and manages to be aggressive without hijacking the offense. Solid defensively. There are no clear weaknesses. If you're ready to win now and in need of a small forward, he's likely the market's best value.
Good fit with: Dallas, Orlando, Golden State, New York
Analysis: All-Star caliber player with a very narrow list for availability. Gasol is only going to want to join a championship team (heavy rumor in NBA circles is San Antonio). He's still a tremendous low-post and mid-range scorer, and his height and length make him a bother defensively, even as his value on that end has never been lower because of today's playing style. At 35, a drop-off is imminent and managing minutes will be a priority. A player on the cusp of "too old to make a difference" and "veteran who can bring the help a team needs." Revered teammate and beloved by media, but clashes with coaches who do not play him in his comfort zones.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Golden State, Oklahoma City
Analysis: Maybe the market's best value. He is 27 and a 44 percent shooter who shoots 34 percent from beyond the arc. Can guard multiple positions and is crafty, athletic and fast. Bazemore isn't going to create on his own shot, but you can slot him into any team with a star and he'll make the defense pay for a double team. Adds something new to his game each season. His toolkit may be smaller than some other wings on this list, but that also means he stays within his role.
Good fit with: Atlanta, Memphis, Houston, Dallas, Washington, Denver
Analysis: His value has taken a pretty big hit the past two years because of his defense. He went from one of the league's most-coveted players to a huge question mark. Has a history of injury problems. Terrible lateral movement and lacks post-defense strength, so he must be paired with dominant shot blocker. Will likely come with a high price tag. Why? He's a terrific shooter. A flat-out, lights-out shooter not only as a spot-up guy, but in the post, off the cut, off the dribble ... everywhere. Anderson instantly boosts your perimeter offense in huge ways. Was a dominant rebounder in other stops but struggled in that regard in New Orleans. He could recover, which would help a lot. Smart player. No red flags outside of defense and injury. Won't dog it and a good defensive scheme could mitigate his problems.
Good fit with: Memphis, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Portland
Analysis: Made himself some serious money the final two months of the season. His franchise-record performances with Toronto in its playoff run showed the promise that has teased us since since he was drafted. Absurdly long with freakish athleticism. Started to adopt better defensive instincts. Plays with passion and fire. Willing to give a hard foul when it is called for. Biyombo averaged 18.7 rebounds per 100 possessions, sixth-best last season for players playing more than 20 minutes per game. He still has poor hands and is a bad finisher. But since he'll be only 24 next season, and with what he's shown over the past two years, he figures to be in line for a huge payday but has said he is interested in taking a discount to stay with Toronto.
Good fit with: Toronto, Los Angeles, Portland, Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, Portland
Analysis: As a restricted free agent, the Lakers are unlikely to let him go, but if they get enamored with a big fish, a team might be able to apply pressure with a big money deal. The league's "Arenas Provision" limits them to the mid-level exception in the first year, so the money's just not that big. Clarkson is a versatile scorer and combo guard. He can run the offense or create his own shot at only 24 years old. The only problem is figuring out how much he contributed to the Lakers' struggles or how they might have impacted him.
Good fit with: Los Angeles, Denver, Milwaukee, Memphis
Analysis: He's the model value stretch 4. He turns 30 this summer, but posted career numbers in 3-point shooting (40 percent) and rebounding (6.4 per game). He's become a smart, physical defender. A player who seemed so out of place in Atlanta ironically is now the kind of player that fits nearly anywhere in today's league. He's likely to ink a deal more value-oriented than some of the bigger names behind him, and he comes with none of the drawbacks. He's a pro who just shows up, does his job and goes home.
Good fit with: Memphis, Denver, New Orleans, Charlotte, San Antonio
Analysis: The Villain! He became a Sixth Man of the Year candidate last season and has developed a real home in Boston, which might re-sign him at a discount. Turner can play three positions, is a pesky defender who knows how to create and slip to the rim. His overall inefficiency is mitigated by how he can fill out a stat sheet, and his versatility is crucial in today's game. You can do worse than Turner, but the idea of a team that isn't the Celtics giving him big money seems far-fetched. It's the only place where he has been successful.
Good fits with: New York, Orlando, Memphis, Denver, Cleveland, Boston
Analysis: Strong and athletic with a soft touch. Opportunistic on lobs and makes the most of his minutes. Plays with energy and passion and worked hard to go from bench fringe player to major rotation performer. Can provide excellent rim protection and rebounding. Will make mental mistakes defensively but with his size can overcome them. His rough performance in the Finals was a tough end to a good season, and he's likely to improve with time. Good enough to start at center for a good defensive team, like, say, the 73-win Warriors in a pinch.
Good fit with: L.A. Lakers, Houston, New York, Phoenix, New Orleans
Analysis: Turns 31 in October, but his contract value vs. on-court impact differential is resoundingly positive. A plus-defender who can disrupt handles and passing lanes, Lee is capable of guarding point guards, shooting guards and the occasional spot-up small forward. He's 6-foot-5 with great length to contest shots. Offensively, Lee is versatile as all get out, and efficient to boot. He has shot 37 percent or better from 3-point range for the past six years. He's a wonderful and smart cutter. A good teammate who plays heads-up at all times, always willing to fit into whatever role he is prescribed and doesn't complain about coming off the bench. Lee is going to be tremendous value for whoever picks him up ... for the first two years. If Lee is searching for a four-year deal, there's good chance by the end of his contract, at age 35, he will be a drain. But his health, toughness, attitude and skill set, make him well worth the investment near the projected league average of roughly $14 million to $15 million. Going as high as $18M per over a three-year deal is not a ludicrous number.
Good fit with: Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit
Analysis: Barnes is "The Big Free Agent Dilemma." Arguably even more divisive than Whiteside. You can point to a half-dozen or more things Barnes does capably and almost none he does exceptionally well. He can score in the post, (47.5 percent, 70th percentile in points per possession via Synergy Sports), shoot the 3-ball (38 percent last season), cut to the rim and function as a cog in an offense. But given what he's going to demand (the maximum of the maxi-most), do you want to pay top dollar for good-but-not-great? Or do you believe his handle can improve? That being on a team that doesn't redefine offensive basketball he could carry a bigger load? That his versatility is a virtue? Barnes is a good investment for a small market team needing an upgrade. He is a bad investment for a team looking to build around him. The team for which he holds the most value is the Warriors. However, they may need him least because of the strength on the rest of this roster. There are only so many max deal spots on a team, even with the exploding cap. And if the Warriors are going to shell out that money, they're giving it to Durant (if he's willing). All this makes Barnes one of the most intriguing storylines of free agency.
Good fit with: L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Houston, New York, Orlando
Analysis: People are going to throw up a little at this ranking. I get that. Go ahead, get it out of your system, I'll wait. We good? OK. Matthew Dellavedova's per-36 numbers: 11 points and 6.4 assists while shooting a terrific 41 percent from 3-point range. He's only 25, so you're getting him in his prime over the course of this next contract. Dellavedova suffers most from the slings and arrows of the modern media machine. The problem is his value is significantly greater for the Cavs than for, say, the Mavericks. He's just not as likely to succeed without the kind of firepower which surrounds him in Cleveland. And that's OK! Delly fits as a key player on this team. But with the money they've given Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert and with Smith up for a deal plus the fact James himself is going to want at least a one-year max, there might not be any room. Dellavedova deserves a good deal, and his value is likely to exceed the dollar amount.
Good fit with: Cleveland, Dallas, Chicago, Memphis
Analysis:"Never Google" had himself a year. Exploding out of the gate as the starting shooting guard for Scott Skiles, Fournier made good on all his potential in a contract year. He averaged 17 points and three assists per 36 minutes while shooting 46-40-84 at age 23. For reference, Fournier's numbers pretty much destroy Barnes in every regard. He's a flat-out better option at the same age as Barnes on the wing. That's not to say Fournier is better than Barnes, who is a superior defender and played on stacked team while Fournier has license to ill in Orlando. Fournier has evolved as a ball-handler and playmaker, and there's every reason to think he can take steps forward. He might be best suited for a sixth-man role, but he's also one of those players in restricted free agency where you're paying for what he will be, not what he is now. Another good comparison mark is DeRozan. Here's how Fournier performed compared to DeRozan at age 23, in his fourth season. He's one of the big value marks in free agency ... which is part of why Orlando has been so open and insistent about re-signing him. The Magic can match any offer.
Good fit with: Orlando, Memphis, Denver, New Orleans, Philadelphia
Analysis: His career is as complicated as it is debatable. After Linsanity he was fine in Houston, he as bad in L.A. with the Lakers. He wound up in Charlotte last season and was straight-up great. Lin has excellent vision and playmaking ability, can finish at the rim and hit 3s at a decent-but-not-great rate (34 percent). He's excellent as a change-of-pace backup point guard who can not only make plays but has learned how to run an offense. He developed patience in the half-court and has excellent instincts. You can trust him with the ball. Defensively, he has physical limitations but he also will dig down and disrupt handles and passing lanes. He plays well in a team concept and by all accounts is coachable. Lin is terrific value and the second-best backup point guard available. If you wind up with Lin starting, your offense is going to survive.
Good fit with: Charlotte, New York, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia
Analysis: An athletic shooter. His upside is considerable and he's exactly the kind of wing you want. Has height to shoot over closing defenders and got a taste of playoff experience the past two years. He isn't going to sell many tickets, but he's the kind of player you should get in on the ground floor if you can wrestle him away from Portland. If the Blazers find an upgrade for him on the wing, he might be had. If they don't, expect them to match any reasonable offer.
Good fit with: Portland, Denver, New York, Memphis, Sacramento
Analysis: Hendo is getting up there in years but remains a competent veteran on the wing. A great defender with underrated athleticism, he can finish on cutbacks or inbound lobs. His shot has always been and likely will be too inconsistent to trust (I'm not sure I've ever seen him get hot), but his experience, savvy, work ethic and length make him a starter-level wing or a terrific seventh man. A smaller Luol Deng is a good comp.
Good fit with: Cleveland, Portland, Orlando, Atlanta, Minnesota
Analysis: Stepped up in a big way as the starter after the Pacers let Roy Hibbert go. He not only produced 13 points per game on 59 percent shooting, but also showed the kind of defensive improvement teams have been hoping for since he was a youngster with the then-Austin Toros of the D-League. Mahinmi may not be a center for a small-ball Warriors-style death machine, but he's more than going to get the job done for you while setting good screens and getting up and down the floor. The improvement in his motor was notable.
Good fit with: Indiana, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix, San Antonio, Miami, Chicago
Analysis: High-level defender who can contest on stretch fours and hang in the post vs. bigger bodies. His defensive plus/minus matches the eye test as every big man combo has improved with him included for the past three years in Denver. Has stretched to 3-point range in spurts, but is best, and can be near-lethal for stretches, from mid-range. Not a post-scorer but works well in pick-and-pop situations. Not a dominant screener due to his frame, but the technique is there. Not interested in stats or individual accolades and doesn't have an issue being brought off the bench. Injuries robbed him of his athleticism and he's had trouble staying on the floor. When he is, he makes the unit better, especially on the defensive end. Every contender needs to consider Arthur.
Good fit with: Denver, L.A. Clippers, Detroit, Houston, Memphis, Portland
Analysis: Once a high-level defender and a crack perimeter shooter, he has lost both in recent years. His defensive effort fell of a cliff once he started prioritizing scoring in Orlando, and he hasn't been the same hyper-efficient player in recent years. Long arms and a sturdy frame make him an ideal post-up guard, and he comes off screens with quickness and precision. Will have weeklong stretches where he looks like a top-10 starter at shooting guard, then vanish like Batman into the shadows for weeks. Afflalo may wind up finding a shorter market than he wants with better options at shooting guard all over. Still, if you value proven commodity over upside, Afflalo might be the best bang for your buck.
Good fit with: Sacramento, Milwaukee, New York
Analysis: A big human being. He has everyone interested in what's going to happen with his free agency. You can neither teach nor build in a lab with mad science that kind of size, and though Spurs fans and the internet came to treat him as a novelty or some sort of mascot, he can actually play. He's got good touch around the rim and can make passes when called upon. He's already 27, though, and there's no telling how he would perform if tasked with longer minutes. Boban is a restricted free agent, so the Spurs can match, but given their long-term plans they likely won't if the offer is big enough. Have I mentioned he's large?
Good fit with: San Antonio, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Portland
Analysis: Mo Buckets is set to make a killing, capitalizing off the Warriors' run. Of all their available free agents, he's the most likely to depart, given the team's need for him relative to his value. Speights has a lot of holes in his game and isn't a player you're going to build around. But you can trust him to get you points and rebounds. Plug him into a bench unit and let him cook from mid-range.
Good fit with: New York, Brooklyn, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit
Analysis: Tireless worker. Good screener. Athletic and can finish inside. He has flirted with perimeter scoring aptitude at times, but for the most part, a junkyard dog with good understanding of defensive mechanics. Can get outrun by faster stretch 4s or bodied by larger ones, but considering the way the league has gone with small ball, his value has increased. He lands higher than more talented players because of his work ethic and likelihood of getting him on a value deal.
Good fit with: Utah, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver
Analysis: "The Legend" is another candidate for best value for a restricted free agent. Portland's almost definitely going to match any offer, but he gives you a knockdown shooter who can rebound and set good screens. High motor and agility. Can get caught out of position on defense, but much of that is experience and knowledge base. He's neither a rim protector nor dominant rebounder, but compensates with scoring ability.
Good fit with: Portland, L.A. Lakers, New York Knicks, Houston, New Orleans, Dallas
Analysis: Dude was an MVP candidate two years ago. That's how fast stuff happens. Now 31 and coming off major injury, it seems his best years are behind him after Tom Thibodeau drove him into the ground. But here's something to keep in mind: Deng looked very much the same two years ago but is playing great in Miami. With Noah's work ethic there's every reason to think he can bounce back. Caution is necessary, but a big-money, short-term deal from a team aiming for the playoffs makes sense. A relentless, physical player with great passing instincts who attacks the offensive glass like a Bengal Tiger. Plays with an emotion and passion that inspires teammates, sets great screens and keeps teammates tethered. The kind of guy you want on your team, regardless of role.
Good fit with: Minnesota, Orlando, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles Lakers
Analysis: Quite a few red flags for a guy who has been a really great pro throughout his career. He turns 32 next January, played in less than 50 games, saw numbers drop to only 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per game and his lowest PER since 2006. He started only 18 games as the Hornets moved to a smaller, more athletic lineup. Jefferson's never been a good defender, and age and injury have left him a significant liability in any pick and roll coverage. He also can't cover stretch 4s, so you can't move him to that spot. But he is still strong and big, takes up space and is a pro's pro. He has tremendous touch around the basket and a solid jumper. There's not a lot he can't do within 15 feet offensively, and he's improved by leaps and bounds as a passer after being a black hole for a long time. Jefferson can be a productive and effective big who can start in a pinch. A big-money, large-contract deal would be ill-advised, but in the current market, even a four-year, $48 million deal might be good value.
Good fit with: Charlotte, Minnesota, Detroit, Houston, Utah, Portland
Analysis: Despite coming off his rookie deal into restricted free agency, he will be 26 next season. If he were unrestricted, he'd be way higher on this list. But Houston's likely to match any offer, just to retain him as an asset even after trying unsuccessfully to trade him to Detroit. Motiejunas averaged 20 minutes in the playoffs, so he is able to play. But a big man with back issues at 26 who failed a physical is a tough guy to invest big money in. However, Motiejunas is a 7-footer with good range, great footwork, excellent passing skills and he sets good screens. If Houston decides to let him into the wild, and his physical checks out, teams need to be aggressive in their pursuit.
Good fit with: Houston, Denver, Memphis, Detroit, Dallas, Boston
Analysis: Another Euro who hasn't been in the NBA long, but is actually older, he will turn 31 before next season starts. He's a lights-out shooter at 39 percent, played 79 games last year and was a rare bright spot on the Suns. He's a minus-defender who may not have that much left in the tank, but in a league that values shooting, he'd be a quality addition for teams in need of stretching the floor. If you strike out on Ryan Anderson, Teletovic is a cheaper alternative.
Good fit with: Phoenix, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Orlando
Analysis: After it seemed like his best years were behind him, Deng snapped back the past two years, shooting better than 34 percent from 3-point range. When Chris Bosh went down, the Heat switched Deng to a stretch 4, and he and the team thrived. Deng's always been a great defender. Improved 3-point shooting only increases his value. The Heat will face a tough decision. They have Justise Winslow, who gives them a future long-term option on the wing, but might want to keep Deng. If he's available, he's a player that nearly every team would benefit from having. Deng has likely worked himself north of $15 million per year with how he finished the season, and could be looking for one last long-term deal.
Good fit with: Miami, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, Brooklyn, Houston
Analysis: He's 34 years old, but you wouldn't know it from his impact last season. He's still a tough and physical defender with great instincts and fundamentals. He has improved as a shooter over his career, though he regressed back to 32 percent last season. Barnes is liked and respected by teammates despite his off-court drama. Can handle well enough to drive if the defender over-corrects on a closeout and can function as a small ball 4 in a pinch. As long as you're willing to live with the questionable off-court behavior, Barnes might be worth a one- or two-year deal. However, the prospect of a serious drop-off is present.
Good fit with: Memphis, Orlando, Minnesota, Chicago, Miami, Portland
Analysis: Once the league's most promising 2-guard under 25, injuries largely derailed his career. Now 27, Gordon hasn't played more than 64 games since his rookie season. You can't have faith he's going to make it through a full season. That said, he's still a great shooter -- 38 percent for his career from beyond the arc -- and can operate as a combo guard. He's worth a gamble on a short-term, big-money deal, because he's capable of turning in huge scoring performances if he ever gets his body right. New Orleans was just never a fit for him.
Good fit with: Memphis, Philadelphia, Indiana, New York, Phoenix, Atlanta
Analysis: He was nearly out of the league before finding himself as useful for the Bulls, and wound up averaging 21 minutes. Most notably, he shot 45 percent from 3-point range. That's right, 45 percent, if only on 1.8 shots per game. His per-36 line of 13-4-3 isn't awe-inspiring, but he's a capable defender who can hit shots, create a little with his dribble and fill in minutes off the wing. He's not restricted and can be had for cheap. Moore is a sneaky good value, if you think last season was a stronger indication of what he can do than the rest of his career.
Good fit with: Memphis, Denver, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee, Orlando, Miami
Analysis: His talent level is higher than a lot of guys on this list but is mitigated by two factors. One, his Achilles injury -- difficult for any player, particularly a guard -- is tough to bounce back from. Two, he's likely to wind up as high-priced because of his age (27 next year) and name value. Jennings has come a long way the past few seasons, learning how to run a team. His defense isn't bad, and he has nights of pure burst, especially if he can get back to where he was two years ago, or close to it. However, he's never shot better than 41 percent, never averaged more than eight assists and his 3-point shooting has always been decent-to-good at best. That said, Jennings could be a steal. Buy low on him after the injury, watch as he matures and recovers from injury and get, at worst, a very capable scoring backup.
Good fit with: Philadelphia, New York, Brooklyn, Houston, L.A. Clippers, Portland
Analysis: The most veteran vet that ever vetted. Terrific stretch 4 who struggles with perimeter containment and rim protection but can provide good help defense and is a locker room leader. Great outside shooter and help defender. As a sixth or seventh man, can help you win a championship. Guy you want on your side in a big game.
Good fit with: Golden State, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Miami, Memphis
Analysis: ISO Joe just keeps chugging along. He averaged his fewest points per game in 13 years (man, he's been around a long time) but still managed to shoot 44 percent overall, 38 percent from 3-point range at age 34. He's as durable as they get, a good locker room guy, a total pro and can play three positions. He's still tough in the post, still a sneaky good playmaker and a guy who has absolutely zero fear of the late-game shot. Johnson likely is only available for super-contenders. He nearly signed with Cleveland, which could use him, but if the Warriors are looking to re-stock their bench, Johnson would be a prime candidate for a ring-chasing rotation guy. If Johnson is looking for one more big deal, it gets hairy. A sizable two-year deal for a mid-level playoff team might be OK.
Good fit with: Miami, Cleveland, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Golden State
Analysis: Sigh. So much squandered potential, he turns 29 next season. This should be his prime, but couldn't stay out of trouble. He arrived in Houston from Denver as the piece that was supposed to put them over the top but was out of the rotation within a month. He landed in Indiana, where he was an end-of-the-bench guy. There's still a player in there who can shoot, pass, get to the rim, weave in and out of transition, make plays and dazzle crowds. But Lawson hasn't committed himself in work ethic or mental approach. Even so, Lawson is downright insane value. If you think you can reach him, or if he really shows that he is past his issues, he's very much worth signing on a flyer.
Good fit with: Oklahoma City, L.A. Lakers, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Portland
Analysis: Where did the Heat find this kid? He is tough as nails and will scrap you to pieces defensively while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range and showing off a wide range of skills. He's able to attack the rim and knock down shots from the outside, improving dramatically over two seasons. Unfortunately for other teams, he's subject to the Arenas Provision, which means he can only sign a two-year deal starting at $5.6 million, which the Heat can match. Or he can sign a qualifying offer and hit the market as a real restricted free agent next summer. Don't expect him to be available, but should the Heat find themselves in a bind trying to sign a big name, and Johnson doesn't have a better option, he would be a terrific get, given his age and skill set.
Good fit with: Miami, Memphis, Indiana, New York
Analysis: Bayless shot 44 percent from 3-point range last year, is still just 28. While his antics can be tiresome, he's a competitor. Bayless could be a sneaky good deal this summer. His defense is a problem, but in the right system, in the right role, with the right personnel around him, you can get what you need out of him.
Good fit with: Memphis, Golden State, Charlotte, Brooklyn
Analysis: He's lower on this list than his talent indicates because he's going to be valued as a restricted free agent. The Blazers are likely to retain him as a RFA, and he's going to cost. Athletic with room for improvement as a 3-point shooter, a strong slasher, he averaged 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes and shot 47 percent. Harkless will be worth the money, but he's limited in investment return.
Good fit with: Portland, L.A. Lakers, Houston, Phoenix
Analysis: Veteran shot-maker. Poor defensively, but he's going to come in and light up 5-6 teams a year and single-handedly swing a game for you. One of the most fun players to have, but a liability in crucial situations defensively due to age.
Good fit with: New York, Cleveland, Memphis, Chicago
Analysis: He's not versatile, he's not a playmaker. But he's a 34 percent 3-point shooter on a bad shooting team, which means he could be considerably better under different circumstances. Getting the Knicks to let go of him is a tough prospect, but he's an underrated rebounder with some defensive aptitude. A good backup wing.
Good fit with: New York, Memphis, Denver, Chicago, San Antonio
Analysis: STEAL ALERT. He plays forward for a team with a lot of them, shot 47 percent overall, and 36 percent from 3-point range and is the very model of a stretch 4, yet played only 15 minutes per game last season. He's restricted, but Orlando could likely be persuaded to part with him. He's 26, just hitting his prime, and when he played more than 15 minutes last season, Orlando went 15-15. Nicholson is a great target that comes with risks. It could be a total disaster if he simply doesn't belong on the floor or if there are practice concerns, but for where the league is at, Nicholson is an opportunity. Target him with a big, short-term offer to squeeze the Magic's cap space early and take the risk.
Good fit with: Denver, Houston, Brooklyn, Memphis, Orlando, Utah.
Analysis: He was crazy, almost unfairly good for the Warriors last year all the way through the Finals. Even at age 34 (next year) he is still faster than most living creatures and shot 46 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point range. Part of his effectiveness was the vampire-like dark magic the Warriors use to make every player effective, but any contender should consider him for a fourth guard spot. The Thunder should pursue him aggressively.
Good fit with: Golden State, San Antonio, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Toronto
Analysis: He is 32, but still made it through 65 games last season, which is pretty good for him. He's probably not a starter for a good team, but he can operate in a pinch. His percentages dipped last year and it's too late to hope for a return to what he was in his prime before the injuries, but he's worth a median contract for backup guards. Utah would actually be a terrific fit for him.
Good fit with: Utah, Atlanta, New York, Golden State, L.A. Clippers
Analysis: He's 28, a good defender, shot 40 percent from 3-point range, will have a solid night every now and again. He's a poor-man's Henderson. Doesn't fight through screens and can get out of position quickly in pick-and-roll coverage but closes out hard and plays with excellent motor. Very much worth a deal, could wind up really helping a team.
Good fit with: Memphis, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Houston
60. Mario Chalmers | PG
Age: 30 | Status: Unrestricted free agent
Analysis: Brutally underrated for years. Tough defender. Not the fastest laterally but his rotations were sound enough for him to start on one of the best defensive teams of the decade in Miami. Career 36 percent 3-point shooter. Coming off the injury is tough, but Chalmers will make your team better. Perfectly acceptable starter if in a pinch, great candidate for buy-low, sell-high.
Good fit with: Memphis, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York
Analysis: Underrated in every category, but still has serious holes. Rivers remains woefully inconsistent but still has good stretches. He's a tough defender, can run the offense a bit, but also shot below 44 percent overall, and 34 percent 3-point from range, and averaged only 2.4 assists per 36 minutes. Rivers had an amazing playoffs two years ago; he belongs in the league. But it's still a good thing his father is the president of basketball operations for his team.
Good fit with: His dad, Memphis, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit
Analysis: Career is all over the map. Already 27, but had some very good games with Phoenix's disaster squad last year. A 6-10, career 38 percent 3-point shooter, he should be way higher on this list, but for some reason, probably defense, teams have never been willing to give him consistent floor time. Good candidate to break out and be one of the steals of the summer
Analysis: His mistakes got more glaring, but he continued to be productive last season for the 67-win Spurs. He's this low on the list because he's 38 and never leaving San Antonio, if he comes back at all. He's this high because he's still Manu Ginobili.
Good fit with: San Antonio
Analysis: He showed more defensively last season than any point in his career and was able to help the Celtics' swarming defense. He's a rebounding machine. But the back problems continue to be a concern, the Hawks showed how you can expose him in pick and roll, and he shot 28 percent from 3-point range. Sullinger is essentially a less-efficient, more versatile Brandon Bass. He's fine for a third big spot, and could wind up, if he gets in a good situation, being a capable and lovable, if limited, starter.
Good fit with: Brooklyn, Detroit, Dallas, Sacramento
Analysis: Mozgov went from key to the Cavaliers' chance at upsetting the Warriors to out of the rotation completely within a year. Has no place on any team looking to run small-ball. However, he's a guy who, if you can get through to him, can still be effective and productive. His size gives you natural advantages, but he's not just a body. Needs to be in the right environment, which Cleveland was not this season. San Antonio should give long consideration to adding him as a Boban Marjanovic replacement if Boban departs.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Indiana, New York, New Orleans, Portland
Analysis: Your standard fill-in back-up wing. He's 29 next season, a career 34 percent 3-point shooter, but not a great rebounder, passer or playmaker. Can spot-up and defend to an acceptable degree. Will never be special, but also won't leave you regretting the signing or livid with his presence. He's just kind of there in the best way possible.
Good fit with: Memphis, New Orleans, Houston
Analysis: Came in and helped the Thunder get past the Spurs. Streaky shooter, as likely to knock down four in a row as miss four in a row. Capable ball-handler who can run an offense as combo guard. Total vet, doesn't get disrupted by situation.
Good fit with: Oklahoma City, Toronto, L.A. Clippers
Analysis: I mean, he helped win the Cavaliers the title. Nearly retired but said he plans to return to the Cavs to try for the repeat. Made big play after big play for the Cavs. He's in the right spot. You can't get him, but he's proven his value to land this high, even at his age.
Good fit with: Cleveland
Analysis: Firebug point guard who can come in and get hot at a moment's notice. Perfectly acceptable scoring backup point guard who will struggle defensively because of his size but can also help you win games. There are much worse options at backup point guard, but cost needs to be relative, below eight figures per year in this market, on a short-term deal for him.
Good fit with: Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Houston
Analysis: Sneaky good last year for Indiana, Hill is just 25, a sound defender, and can finish enough layups to warrant consideration. A great buy-low candidate.
Good fit with: Utah, Dallas, New Orleans, Portland
Analysis: A 30-year old journeyman guard who shot 34 percent from 3-point range and there were signs of defensive slippage last year. But in a weak point guard crop, Temple is a work horse who comes cheap and functional. There's no hype, he just comes in and does his job.
Good fit with: Washington, Dallas, Detroit
Analysis: Appeared in only 41 games last season, logging a career low in points, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Lazy, inattentive defender who never developed as a playmaker. Likely to undergo a bounce-back next season; he's not as bad as his year was in Milwaukee. Still, a two-year flyer on him is probably the way to go, even if you have to spend a little more than the average salary he's worth.
Good fit with: Atlanta, Houston, L.A. Clippers, New York
Analysis: You're going to get some points, you're going to get some rebounds. You're not going to get any defense or great passing. Lee still carries himself as the player the Warriors got him to be. He can help, though, and teams like Dallas, Houston and Denver should take a good long look at him, because production helps. He's also spoken of well by teammates.
Good fit with: Dallas, Houston, Denver, Memphis, New York
Analysis: I know, I know. Rondo's actual basketball ability puts him about 40 spots higher. But remember, this list is about value. Rondo is looking for a big-money deal. You're paying big money for a 30-year-old malcontent who hasn't been a part of a top offensive unit in years and clashed with every coach he's had. Rondo is one of the most talented players of the last 15 years in the NBA and you could argue him as a top-five point guard as recently as four years ago. But Rondo comes with baggage and headaches, along with a defense that has fallen off a cliff. If you think you can bring back the player he once was, then he's worth the risk, but for value, it's hard to argue him being any higher than this.
Good fit with: Houston, Sacramento, Memphis, Chicago
Analysis: Back from the dead! Felton shocked everyone by being very good for the Mavericks last year, averaging 12.5 points and 4.6 assists per 36 minutes. His shooting tailed off along with the rest of the Mavericks as the year went on, but he still showed he can be a quality backup point guard in the league.
Good fit with: L.A. Lakers, Detroit, Dallas, Milwaukee
Analysis: Brutal season for one of the best pro's at power forward over the past 10 years. West never fit great with San Antonio, and his defensive struggles vs. the Thunder were part of the bench disaster that flipped that series. Could have a bounce-back, but the grains of sand in his basketball hourglass are running out.
Analysis: He turns 34 next season and wasn't able to stay on the floor at all last season because of injury. He's still a quality defender and a terrific shooter. If he's healthy, he could make for a good value signing. Needs to be minimal investment with injury and age concerns, though.
Good fit with: L.A. Clippers, Cleveland, Oklahoma City
Analysis: Fell off a cliff defensively but still big, strong, and agile. Can help you win as a third or fourth big.
Good fit with: Portland, L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers, New York
Analysis: Veteran shooter who for some reason wasn't utilized as he should have been in Houston last year. The Rockets were better on the floor with him. Not a playmaker. A net zero on defense; he's willing to fight through screens and gives effort but he's physically limited. He's 29 but a career 36 percent shooter. Useful as a fourth guard on a good team or a third guard on a rebuilding squad.
Good fit with: Memphis, Chicago, Philadelphia
Analysis: Aldrich had a surprisingly great year for the Clippers. He might wind up a little more expensive than he's worth based off that, but his combination of size, touch, and experience makes him worth a roster spot. He's 28 next year, though, he's not getting any better.
Good fit with: L.A. Clippers, Dallas, Indiana, Chicago
Analysis: Had a terrible season in New York, but showed he could contribute in Washington. Probably worth a reclamation offer, considering he gambled on himself and the Knicks' awfulness helped sour him. There are issues, especially on defense, but Seraphin is still 26, and can help in the right situation.
Analysis: Zeller's potential has tailed off considerably. He's a 26-year-old restricted free agent with an abysmal rim protection points saved per 36 minutes metric from Nylon Calculus. He's fine for a rotation big, not much more.
Good fit with: Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Houston, Portland
Analysis: Bass disappeared into the vacuumous maw of the Lakers last year and vanished. He's 31, but his per-36 numbers for rebounds and relative efficiency haven't wavered. He's fine as a fourth rotation big, who can come in and have a few big games every season. He's not great defensively, but the teams that have struggled defensively he's been a part of had bigger issues than him. Veteran rotation big.
Good fit with: Houston, L.A. Lakers, Clippers, Miami, Detroit
Analysis: Vanished from the rotation in Milwaukee, averaging a career-low 15 minutes per game, but his per-36 minutes numbers rose to 13 and 10. Shot 60 percent from the field with a career-high 17.4 PER. His rim protection isn't good, and at 27 he's not going to get much better, but Plumlee's probably worth a flyer if the Bucks don't plan to re-sign him as a restricted free agent.
Good fit with: Milwaukee, Chicago, Miami, Houston
Analysis: Junkyard dog who shot 39 percent from deep last year. Plays with energy and intensity, but limited mobility in pick and roll.
Good fit with: L.A. Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers
Analysis: Showed insane athleticism, and good scoring efficiency. Had some strong playoff games. Still a question mark as to fit and role, especially without a 3-point shot, and probably tough to pry from Dallas as a restricted free agent.
Good fit with: Dallas, Memphis, San Antonio
Analysis: Gunner point guard, good for hoisting up 3's if you need it off the bench. Still just 25, but can't do much more than shoot. If that's all you need, there are worse options.
Good fit with: New Orleans, Orlando, Charlotte, Philadelphia
Analysis: Second-unit Gunner. Not his brother, but able to get up shots. Averaged 15.6 points and 3.5 assists per 36 minutes on absurd 45 percent shooting from deep last season. Only 44 games of meaningful sample, plus the fact that Sacramento has telegraphed they plan to re-sign him, means he's lower than basketball value on this list. If you can snag him, he's worth a run as a sixth man scorer.
Good fit with: Sacramento, Portland, Golden State, New York, Memphis
Analysis: All the talent in the world, but too many concerns about his mental headspace and attitude dominate the discussion. As prone to do something boneheaded as amazing... or the other way around. Worth a one-year flyer for mid-level money but it better be non-full-guaranteed. He's unlikely to find his way back to the player he was in Indiana, but he could still be an X-factor player who helps. Maybe.
Good fit with: Denver, New York, Detroit, Dallas
Analysis: Capable center with an attitude. Can help anchor a defense but took a step back last year.
Good fit with: L.A. Lakers, New York, Chicago, Miami
Analysis: Athletic, a lot of upside, but should be retained by Brooklyn, unlikely to get many offers as a restricted free agent.
Good fit with: Brooklyn, San Antonio, Memphis, Phoenix
Analysis: Pure shooter. Can put up some major scoring nights. Unable to see consistent floor time due to defensive concerns that may be overstated. If the Hornets telegraph that they're willing to part with him, would be worth a flyer.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Memphis, Charlotte, New York, Detroit
Analysis: Capable backup point guard. Has defensive instincts and ability of a labradoodle. Smart, smart passer who brings energy. Definitely worth an investment for backup duty or third PG, change-of-pace.
Good fit with: Chicago, Charlotte, Houston, New Orleans
Analysis: Nimble and skilled veteran. He's too long in the tooth for starter's minutes on a playoff team (as Toronto discovered late), but he can play for good stretches and is a starter on the All-Annoying-As-Hell team. Runs hard if not fast, and a glue guy.
Good fit with: Houston, Portland, L.A. Clippers
Analysis: Pure stretch four. Only a 3-point shooter, but adept at it (36 percent last year). Thirty-one years old now, but played 72 games last year for a playoff team in Detroit. Good rotation forward.
Good fit with: Charlotte, New York, Portland, L.A. Lakers, Miami
Analysis: Ish! Super-fun, high-assist, 3-point gunning guard who keeps getting picked up as an emergency starter for bad teams. A serious problem defensively and sloppy as all get-out with the ball. But put him in an up-tempo situation and watch him fly. Houston should target him.
Good fit with: New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas, Washington
Analysis: Tough veteran defender with little in the bag offensively. Best used as a situational defensive lineup completist. Can get to the rim a little bit but every shot is an adventure. Guy worked his way up from the D-League to rotation guy, but only so much you're getting.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Dallas, Toronto
Analysis: Experienced forward who can play top-end defense still. Good for a spot on a good team to fill in minutes.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Cleveland, Detroit
Analysis: Gave Miami good minutes last year. Has evolved from the explosive, dynamic scorer he was in his prime to a workman big. A lot like later-career Elton Brand at this point. Big, strong, slow, can have a couple of games where he delivers solid scoring quarters.
Good fit with: Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia
Analysis: Been on his bandwagon since he was at Georgetown. Guy came back from heart surgery. Has had big games for teams in big spots before. But there's just no confidence at this point of him exceeding dollar value of his contract. We've just seen the Jeff Green experience too many times.
Good fit with: San Antonio, Chicago, Cleveland, Orlando
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