Owning an unrestricted free agent (UFA) in the NBA is a sticky situation. Most of these players have proved their worth, and are circling a large contract in the coming offseason. As a contending team it could be tough to retain the services of these players while remaining under the tax moving forward. There is also the risk of locking a player down long term only to see their best days are behind them.
This year in the NBA there are a large number of teams trying to contend so while it’s not ideal, adding a contract-year veteran could be the difference-maker in the playoffs.
Restricted free agents are a different animal entirely. Although guys like Lance Stephenson, Greg Monroe, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Gordon Hayward and Isaiah Thomas will draw interest, their respective teams can match any offer to keep them rooted home. Most of these guys will stay home past the deadline. However I expect a fair number of trades this year so many of the UFAs on this list could be shipped to new homes.
Keep in mind every year there are buyers and sellers. Dean Lewis from “Accepted” does a good job of explaining it; start it at 32 seconds, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Essentially the buyers are looking to grab that one piece capable of elevating the team further in the postseason. The sellers are trying to do one of two things. The first of the two is to clear cap space. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could all potentially opt out of their current deals. While many franchises learned not to throw all their eggs in the free agency basket the last time the 2003 Draft class hit the market, players of that quality–fool’s gold or not–will always draw interest. The second reason would be to help the team lose more games. In a stacked draft class, look for fringe playoff teams to make a move, increasing their chances at one of the coveted young prospects.
So who are the top ten players to be moved in one of the aforementioned deals?
*** *** ***
10.Carmelo Anthony – $21,490,000
It’s all but certain that Anthony tests free agency this offseason. All the words in the world couldn’t convince me otherwise. Anthony doesn’t know what he wants yet, not unlike Knicks fans. Anthony could stay in New York and continue the burden/honour of being the man in the Mecca of basketball or he could go share the spotlight in L.A. or Chicago. The hearts and minds of the Knicks fans have been twisted due to Anthony’s 62-point explosion but most still know signing Anthony to a long-term max contract handcuffs the franchise a bit. The dilemma is real on both sides, which leads us to this ranking.