As is often the case, the first day of NBA Free Agency was an utter frenzy on Monday. Names like Chris Paul, Norm Powell, Jarrett Allen and Duncan Robinson stayed home, with Kyle Lowry, Evan Fournier and others finding work elsewhere. It was a highly entertaining evening but, even amid a flurry of movement, there are plenty of names still on the board for intriguing teams with flexibility.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of the best remaining free agents as day two approaches. Things can move quickly, though, so don’t be surprised if a few of these players don’t last long.
The rest of this list will proceed in alphabetical order, but we have to start with Kawhi Leonard. All signs point to Leonard returning the Clippers, barring a major shock, and he won’t be available for much of the 2021-22 season. Still, he’s the only superstar on the list, and it speaks to his overall appeal that teams would move heaven and earth to acquire him… even with a long-term injury.
Collins is a restricted free agent and, for the most part, reporting seems to indicate a likely return to Atlanta. That could happen with either an agreement or a matched offer sheet, but Collins is a tremendous offensive big man with the ability to roll to the rim and also space the floor as a shooter. Moreover, he impressed evaluators with his improved defense during Atlanta’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and Collins is in for a large payday. The big question is at what exact price?
Rumors have swirled around DeRozan in recent weeks, but there isn’t an incredibly obvious landing spot. On one hand, he is a talented shot creator that can take (and make) the attempts that teams need at the end of the shot clock. He’s also a strong passer and has quality size and veteran savvy. In contrast, he’s a limited defender and his lack of three-point shooting makes him a tough fit in some places. His market will be fascinating.
If healthy, Dinwiddie is a quality starter with the ability to average 20 points per game on solid efficiency. At this stage, he is presumed to be ready to play after missing an extended period of time this season, but Dinwiddie’s asking price seems to be quite high, by his own admission. He is also perhaps hurt by early movement on the guard market and he could be squeezed as a result.
UPDATE: Dinwiddie is reportedly nearing a deal with the Wizards in what would have to be a sign-and-trade.
Die-hards love Danny Green for his transition defense, intelligent approach and overall usefulness. He’s not quite the same guy that was an uber-elite role player a few years ago, but any contender should be calling him and seeing what it would take to find an agreement.
Hart is a lot less sexy than some of the names on this list. He’s also a very strong role player at the age of 26, and Hart would fit in just about anywhere. He’s a restricted free agent after receiving a qualifying offer from the Pelicans, but New Orleans is in flux and he could be gettable. A team might find a steal in the coming days.
Because he fell into the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft before flashing considerable upside, Horton-Tucker hits restricted free agency at the ripe age of 20. That is fairly absurd, in all reality, but Horton-Tucker is still more potential than he is a proven commodity. There could be rebuilding teams interested in his services, but the Lakers almost assuredly want to keep him in Los Angeles if they can.
We are only weeks away from the 2021 NBA Playoffs, when Reggie Jackson averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 40.8 percent from three on high volume for the Clippers. It is probably fair to say that isn’t totally reflective of a new normal for Jackson, but he deserves credit for overhauling his jumper and Jackson was incredibly value for Los Angeles in the postseason. He made himself some money, and we’ll see which team is paying it.
Markkanen may not deserve to be on this list when accounting for only his on-court contributions last season. However, he’s still a big name as a former lottery pick, and one school of thought is that he could be a “second draft” candidate after floundering in Chicago. Regardless, it is easy to see a team giving him a substantial contract and hoping to tap his potential as a versatile big.
Mills will be 33 years old later in August, and he is sometimes a forgotten man. Then, he always seems to remind people of his intrigue when playing for his home country of Australia in international competition. In addition, Mills is a proven shooter and a beloved veteran that would fit snugly on a title-contending team and rumor has it just about everyone with a taxpayer mid-level is interested in bringing him on board.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
The 2020-21 season was weird for both Oubre and the Warriors. He isn’t a great fit in their free-flowing system but, previous to his stop with Golden State, Oubre proved he could score, defend enough to get by, and provide high-end flashes on both ends. Perhaps he could return to the Warriors, but another team might buy his tools and age (25) on the wing.
Remember when Schroder turned down $84 million from the Lakers? It seems like a long time ago, but it really wasn’t. At any rate, his market is tough to gauge, and a return to Los Angeles, at least for big money, doesn’t seem to be in the cards with Russell Westbrook in town. His next steps will be fascinating.