From Anthony Davis to Langston Galloway, The Crossover ranked the best available free agents.
Who are the top free agents to monitor as the condensed NBA offseason approaches? While it’s not a particularly star-filled class, with the biggest names most likely to stay put and those with lucrative options likely taking advantage amid an unstable financial climate, there’s still an interesting mix of playoff-tested veterans and intriguing younger players available on the market. Most of the teams with cap room are not likely to make the playoffs next year, and some teams are angling to preserve flexibility in 2021, which should have a fascinating impact on the market and what types of deals get handed out.
With free agency on the immediate horizon, here’s your guide to the best available players and their respective situations.
1. Anthony Davis: Los Angeles Lakers
After helping lead the Lakers to a championship in the bubble, it’s all but assured Davis will wear purple and gold again next season. Expect him to decline his player option to renegotiate a long-term, max-salary contract with the Lakers, with the only real question being for how many years. The educated guess here is that he might ask for a three-year deal with a player option for 2022—the first summer in which he’ll qualify as a 10-year veteran (and be able to sign a new deal for 35% of the salary cap), and a year in which LeBron James can also become a free agent. It would be a complete shock for Davis to play anywhere but Los Angeles next season, but technically speaking, he’s the clear top player on the market.
2. Brandon Ingram: New Orleans Pelicans
Still just 23 years old, Ingram becomes a restricted free agent after a breakout season that earned him the Most Improved Player award and his first All-Star appearance. As one might expect, Ingram is in line for a max or near-max contract from the Pelicans, who view him as an essential part of their future and can match any competing offer this fall. So it’s highly unlikely he’ll hit the open market, as one of the NBA’s true three-level scorers and most promising young players. One of the few teams with cap space might tender an offer sheet, but expect Ingram to remain in New Orleans long-term.
3. Fred VanVleet: Toronto Raptors
VanVleet was one of the NBA’s biggest bargains during his first four seasons with the Raptors and is positioned to sign his first big contract as the top point guard on the market at age 26. With Kyle Lowry in his mid-30s and nearing the end of his deal, Toronto would surely prefer to keep VanVleet, but the Raptors are also thought to be preserving financial flexibility to court the star-studded 2021 free-agent class. If another team makes VanVleet a major offer, it could force Toronto’s hand. The limited number of suitors with significant cap space (Knicks, anyone?) should make this situation less complex than it might seem.
4. Danilo Gallinari: Oklahoma City Thunder
Gallinari would be an attractive addition for just about any playoff team, with his size and deadly jumper making him one of the NBA’s most consistent stretch forwards. He’s said publicly he’s more interested in playing for a contender than signing a massive contract. Noting the limited number of teams with cap space, it’s logical to view him as more of a sign-and-trade target, with the Thunder planning long-term and likely happy to facilitate a deal, rather than lose him for nothing. He could also opt to stay put if OKC makes a strong offer, with the possibility of a trade down the line. The 32-year-old’s skill level, experience and versatile game make him a viable starter for any playoff team.
5. Gordon Hayward: Boston Celtics
Coming off a strong bounce-back season with Boston, Hayward’s injury history at age 30 is a detractor, but he’s on track for one more major contract. He remains one of the more consistent, versatile offensive wings in the league, if not a particularly flashy one. With a $34 million player option on the table and a better free-agent market a year from now, it’s near-impossible to see him opting out, particularly after the Celtics made the Eastern Conference finals. There are rumors Hayward could move on this offseason, but it’s going to be hard to walk away from next year’s hefty salary.
6. DeMar DeRozan: San Antonio Spurs
DeRozan has remained highly effective as he enters his 30s, but the four-time All-Star is a tricky theoretical fit for many teams given his high usage rate, proclivity for mid-range jumpers and the minimal threat he presents from three-point range. Between a cushy $27 million option and the promise of a more open free-agent market a year from now, it makes the most sense for him to opt in and remain with the Spurs for at least one more season. He appears much better off staying put at that salary number and with a franchise that’s figured out how to incorporate him effectively.
7. Andre Drummond: Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s almost impossible to see Drummond declining his massive $28 million player option for next season, as he won’t get that type of money anywhere else, and he’ll be able to delay free agency until next year, when more teams have room to make offers. After acquiring him from Detroit at minimal cost last season, Cleveland could see Drummond as a player worth keeping long-term, with a strong history of productivity at age 27 (albeit minimal team success to show for it). He’ll likely spend at least one more year with the Cavs.
8. Mike Conley Jr.: Utah Jazz
Conley has an early termination option in his deal that he seems highly unlikely to exercise, given it’s worth more than $34 million and he’s 33 years old, coming off a disappointing first season in Utah. He won’t get that type of base salary ever again, and unless the Jazz would want to renegotiate a friendly longer-term deal that pays him more money but spread out over additional years, it’s hard to think of a scenario where Conley would even consider becoming a free agent this year. Utah will hope last season was more of a blip than the start of his decline.
9. Davis Bertans: Washington Wizards
After arriving in Washington via trade from San Antonio, Bertans fully broke out last season, becoming one of the league’s most dangerous and prolific shooters at 6′ 10″ and a player the Wizards might like to keep around should they go all in on a playoff push. It will likely cost them, given the rarity of players with Bertans’s size and specific skill set. But his market value is established at this point, and if a team with cap space wants to enter the bidding, this could be an interesting free agency. The Wizards can always trade him later, but paying up to keep him as a key floor spacer for their guards seems paramount.
10. Montrezl Harrell: Los Angeles Clippers
Winning Sixth Man of the Year should move the bottom line in Harrell’s favor this summer, and when he’s at his best he’s an absolute pain for opposing frontlines to deal with. At age 26, he’s in line for his first big contract. Whether it’s tenable for the Clippers to keep him around is a different question. Harrell will help somebody next season, but as a defensive liability in the paint, the question will always be whether he can close playoff games that matter, or whether he’s best suited for the high-voltage bench role in which he’s already had success. He may well end up as the top big on the market regardless, but it should be a useful litmus test as to how much teams are willing to pay for a center who doesn’t really shoot threes or protect the basket.
11. Jerami Grant: Denver Nuggets
Although Grant is best viewed as a high-level complementary piece and not a foundational player, he’s evolved into one of the most valuable role guys in the NBA thanks to his defensive versatility, much-improved shooting, and ability to fit into different types of lineups. There should be mutual long-term interest between Grant and the Nuggets, as he proved a quality match alongside Denver’s star players in his first year with the team. Grant should be in demand for just about any team with cap space, given all he brings to the table, but he’ll almost assuredly be more useful on a playoff team than a rebuilding one. Still only 26 years old, he should be in for a raise, as the type of player everyone needs.
12. Evan Fournier: Orlando Magic
Fournier’s consistency has been somewhat underappreciated in Orlando, but he’s a proven scorer with shooting chops and coming off a career year, putting him in line for another substantial contract. His player option is worth $17 million next season, and if he wants to test the market and join a team via cap space, he’s still young enough to approach that figure and land a longer-term contract, particularly given the universal need for reliable wing players. But, for better or worse, he’s a critical part of the Magic’s offense, and Orlando should have interest in signing him to an extension. The question is probably whether he’d rather sign his last big contract now or wait until next year, when more teams come into play as viable options.
13. Bodgan Bogdanovic: Sacramento Kings
Bogdanovic logged the fourth-most minutes on the Kings last season and put together a few highly impressive performances in the Orlando bubble. He’s become a dynamic jump shooter with size and a solid secondary skill set and is due for a full-time starting role, with the Kings holding the ability to match all free-agent offers. There’s some skill overlap between Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, and it’s possible only one of them will remain on the roster next season. At age 28, Bogdanovic has established himself as a consistent contributor worth paying up for.
14. Joe Harris: Brooklyn Nets
In addition to being one of the league’s top shooters and a savvy off-ball player, Harris is regarded as a low-maintenance player with a solid understanding of his role. The Nets would surely like to have him back: He was occasionally miscast last season, but remains a strong complementary piece who should fit the roster as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving make their returns from injury. Of course, Brooklyn can pay only so many players, and big offers from cap-space teams could end up limiting the Nets’ ability to spend. But Harris is an easy fit on just about any team and will be valued accordingly.
15. Christian Wood: Detroit Pistons
Wood should be an interesting free-agent wild card, with a strong history of per-minute production but just 14 NBA starts under his belt. At age 24, he’s played for five teams in the last four seasons but should be in for a longer-team deal as he enters his prime. He’s certainly worthy of a larger role wherever he lands, at least in a trial capacity, and should be a viable target for teams with cap space. If his numbers translate meaningfully into a larger role, he could easily outperform this ranking.
16. Otto Porter Jr.: Chicago Bulls
After missing much of the last two seasons due to injuries and with a $28 million player option on the table, it’s highly likely Porter will opt in and work to rehabilitate his value going into next summer. He remains a solid complementary starter and long-distance threat, and if he can stay healthy, he should be a factor for Chicago. If his efficiency inches closer to that of his days with the Wizards and he regains some of his defensive versatility, Porter should be just fine—and he’s still only 27.
17. Malik Beasley: Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota invested in Beasley at the trade deadline as part of the four-team Robert Covington trade and appeared in position to extend him long-term before a couple of complicating factors: Beasley’s offseason arrest, and the fact that the Wolves won the draft lottery and are likely to select another guard at No. 1. Still only 23 years old, Beasley is an athletic scorer with some upside left (he averaged north of 20 points in his 14 games with Minnesota post-trade) and the type of player who might tempt competitive offers from nonplayoff teams hoping to land a piece. Minnesota can match all offers, and it still seems like he stays put, but it’s a situation rebuilding teams with cap room may keep in mind.
18. Goran Dragić: Miami Heat
Dragić was in strong form before injuring himself in the Finals and will be one of a handful of playoff-proven veterans contributors on the market. At age 34, he appears to have more in the tank. That’s presuming Miami doesn’t move swiftly to keep him, and with the Heat preserving long-term cap space and Dragic interested in staying put, a big one-year offer could do the trick. If he’s willing to sign for the midlevel, he’ll have no shortage of interest elsewhere.
19. Serge Ibaka: Toronto Raptors
Ibaka has a remained a consistent, mostly durable producer entering the back end of his career, and while he’s not the imposing shot-blocker he once was, he’s one of the NBA’s more reliable stretch bigs. Toronto could lose a lot of depth up front and might benefit from keeping him around. He still averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per-36 last season, and this might be his last big contract. If Ibaka is willing to take a pay cut and sign for the full midlevel, he’ll be plenty attractive to contending teams. The Raptors could also offer a hefty one-year deal and maintain flexibility for next summer.
20. Marcus Morris: Los Angeles Clippers
A reliable source of toughness and production, Morris could remain with the Clippers and will be less expensive to retain than Harrell. While his style of play is still somewhat sticky and ball-dominant for a role player and his three-point shooting regressed after being traded to L.A., Morris remains a valuable glue guy who can comfortably soak up minutes in big games. After signing a one-year deal last summer, he could be in for a longer-term payday.
21. Tim Hardaway Jr.: Dallas Mavericks
Although the shot-happy Hardaway can be a frustrating watch on his bad nights, he settled into a useful role as an extra scorer with the Mavericks. Dallas would surely like to find a better offensive third wheel, but his ability to make shots, keep defenses honest and occasionally swing games with big scoring nights is still worth something. His player option is worth just short of $19 million, and it’s hard to see him finding that type of money elsewhere.
22. Jordan Clarkson: Utah Jazz
Clarkson proved to a strong addition for the Jazz, who plucked him from the Cavaliers via trade early in the season and put him in a sixth-man role. If Utah is willing to spend to keep him, the fit is pretty strong. As a big scorer who can play on and off the ball, Clarkson can fit into different lineups and generate offense as needed, and he has made strides in terms of efficiency. He has his warts defensively, but at this point, he’s proved solid.
23. Jae Crowder: Miami Heat
The 30-year-old Crowder should be an attractive option for contending teams and a feasible target using the midlevel exception, following a useful stint with the Heat on their run to the Finals. He was a different player after a midseason trade from Memphis and made 44% of threes in 20 regular-season games after being recast as a key role player for Miami. Crowder’s willingness to embrace difficult matchups defensively and solid complementary game on offense make him a valuable role player. Reliable wings who add value on both ends of the floor will always have a market.
24. Hassan Whiteside: Portland Trail Blazers
Whiteside has averaged a double-double for six straight seasons and just led the league in blocks, yet has also made a habit of leaving people wanting more, with a perception that some of that production is empty calories. He’s strictly a rim runner and finisher, and at 31 years old, it’ll be intriguing to see what he can command on the open market given the wealth of depth at his position league-wide. A healthy Jusuf Nurkic rendered him minimally useful for Portland in the bubble.
25. Derrick Favors: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans were a significantly better team with Favors on the floor this season, as supported by the numbers and the eye test. He offers little in the jump-shooting department, which has made him offensively limited in the modern NBA, but he’s consistent, savvy, and nearly always in the right spot on defense. New Orleans needs more shooting in the frontcourt, but it could make sense to bring him back depending on cost.
26. Marc Gasol: Toronto Raptors
Reports have linked Gasol to a potential return to Spain, but he’s likely to have significant interest from contending teams. At age 35 and with invaluable playoff experience under his belt, he figures to have his choice of contending teams and can take less money for the right situation. While Gasol has lost a step athletically, he’s still a terrific positional defender, elite passer and solid situational option. If he stays in the NBA, expect to see him in the playoffs again.
27. Tristan Thompson: Cleveland Cavaliers
It doesn’t make that much sense for the Cavs to bring back Thompson, with Andre Drummond likely opting in and Cleveland far from playoff contention. He’s one of the league’s better screeners and averaged a double-double each of the last two seasons, and he retains value as a Finals-tested player who’s willing to do the dirty work. Still, there are a lot of veteran bigs on the market. If he’s willing to sign into the midlevel exception, he should have some decent options. Cleveland has his Bird rights, and a sign-and-trade could also make sense.
28. Paul Millsap: Denver Nuggets
There were times Millsap appeared to have lost a step in the Bubble, and, at age 35, his days of logging heavy minutes are numbered. But the versatile forward still provides valuable experience and should be a sought-after veteran who can help playoff teams, presumably using part of someone’s midlevel exception. He remains efficient and savvy, and he shot a career-best 43% from three during the shortened season.
29. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Los Angeles Lakers
Caldwell-Pope will reportedly decline his $8.5 million option and should be able to parlay his strong Finals performance into a raise, with a return to the Lakers likely on the table. As a reliable 3-and-D wing, the 27-year-old will have broad appeal, and one of the teams with cap space could make a competitive offer. He was arguably L.A.’s third-best player in the Finals, and the Lakers have his Bird rights and should be incentivized to keep him. He’s probably not as good as he was in the playoffs, but perceived reliability goes a long way.
30. Derrick Jones Jr.: Miami Heat
Jones hits free agency at age 23 offering plausible upside and per-minute production, and his injury history shouldn’t preclude a team from investing in his potential. He’s an elite athlete who plays bigger than his listed 6′ 6″, using his quickness and leaping ability to cover ground around the rim. The fact that he’s a solid free throw shooter bodes well for his potential to eventually space the floor, and, if he puts it all together, he could evolve into a starting-caliber player. Though still a tad unproven, Jones is one of the better long-term options on the market and should command solid interest.
31. Dario Saric: Phoenix Suns
Now 26, Saric has yet to live up to the lofty reputation that he brought over from Europe, but does supply a bit of versatility as a playmaking forward and was productive in his allotted minutes last season. He doesn’t offer much defensively, but he found a solid niche toward the end of the season, and the Suns may want to match competitive offers and let this play out.
32. Aron Baynes: Phoenix Suns
Baynes enjoyed a surprising career year in Phoenix, averaging double figures for the first time, starting 28 of 42 games and shooting 35% from three on four attempts per game. His toughness and reputation coupled with legitimate floor-spacing chops make him a desirable target for center-needy playoff teams. Baynes doesn’t block many shots and isn’t the most mobile defender, rendering him more of a situational player. But he’s the type of steady veteran who can get you through a long season safely, and the Suns may want him back to spell Deandre Ayton.
33. Rajon Rondo: Los Angeles Lakers
Love him or hate him, Rondo always seems to show up in the playoffs, and he looked spry in helping the Lakers to a title. At age 34, he hasn’t slowed down all that much, and his masterful feel for the game tends to manifest positively when it matters. He’s a no-brainer short-term target for contending teams and will likely decline his option after his impressive postseason.
34. DeMarcus Cousins: None
Cousins hasn’t appeared in a game since rupturing his Achilles in April 2019, which was followed by a torn ACL in offseason workouts that August. As a result, it likely won’t cost much to sign him. Cousins remains one of the more skilled bigs in the league and has always been productive when healthy, but the extended hiatus makes it extremely hard to guess as to what type of shape he’ll be in and how much of his old mobility he’ll regain. He does present some degree of upside as a buy-low option for a contender, but he recently turned 30 and his prime is likely behind him. If Cousins taps into any shred of his All-Star form, he could be a steal.
35. Rodney Hood: Portland Trail Blazers
Hood is all but certain to exercise his player option after a torn Achilles ended his season early, and it’s still unclear when exactly he’ll return to action. He was shooting 49% from three in 21 games pre-injury and remains a potent scorer, if somewhat one-dimensional. Gary Trent Jr.’s emergence may complicate his pathway to minutes, but Hood should end up back in Portland’s rotation when eventually healthy, and he will have a chance to reestablish his value.
36. Justin Holiday: Indiana Pacers
Holiday is a serviceable, veteran wing coming off a career year in which he shot 40% from the field and gave the Pacers consistent defensive effort off the bench. The 31-year-old has played for seven teams in seven seasons, has starting experience and should be a solid rotational addition. He should be able to command a multiyear deal after signing for part of Indiana’s midlevel last off-season.
37. Chris Boucher: Toronto Raptors
On a per-minute basis, the 27-year-old Boucher has been highly productive, but he’s spent the past couple of years stuck behind Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. He had some nice moments this season when given extended minutes and was the G League MVP in 2018–19. Toronto has invested enough time in his development that you’d think it’d like to keep him around, particularly if Gasol and/or Ibaka move on. His thin frame has been a holdup in the past, but he should also be an intriguing target for rival teams, with good shot-blocking skills and some shooting ability.
38. Markieff Morris: Los Angeles Lakers
Morris proved to be a valuable piece for the Lakers over the course of their title run and made 42% of his threes in the playoffs. That’s not sustainable in the long run, but his experience and ability to stretch the floor make him a useful complement to Davis. He was a strong pickup for L.A. on the buyout market, but should have multiple suitors looking to fit him into their midlevel exception.
39. Jeff Teague: Atlanta Hawks
Teague has made the transition from capable starter to reliable backup and seems likely to seek a winning situation, making him a good target for playoff teams in search of a backup ballhandler. He has postseason experience, can play on and off the ball and will be a viable, inexpensive option for teams looking to fill out their rotations. He’s one of the more reliable, established veterans on the market.
40. Carmelo Anthony: Portland Trail Blazers
Melo enjoyed an unexpected renaissance in Portland, proving he has more in the tank and his willingness to fit in as a floor-spacing four-man. The fit with the Blazers is strong enough that staying put might be a good idea, but at age 36, he figures to use free agency to try to optimize his chances of winning a title. The speculation that he might team up with LeBron James or Chris Paul never seems to go away. Late-career Melo isn’t going to swing your fortunes, but he’s certainly not done yet.
41. Jakob Poeltl: San Antonio Spurs
Poeltl isn’t a flashy player, and his counting stats don’t leap off the page, but he was a useful contributor for the Spurs and is a capable passer, screener and shot-blocker at 7′ 1″. The 25-year-old is an above-average defender and may still have a breakout season in him. There’s enough upside left here that San Antonio should match offer sheets within reason.
42. De’Anthony Melton: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies might find other teams sniffing around Melton, who has yet to fully hit his stride in the NBA, but remains an intriguing project as an athletic, defensive-minded guard. He’s struggled a good deal offensively and isn’t a very good shooter, but he’s 22 and his impact on defense was palpable. He could merit a multiyear offer from a new team hoping to develop him, but Memphis can match offer sheets and will likely want to see what it has moving forward.
43. DJ Augustin: Orlando Magic
Even coming off a down individual year, Augustin should be a solid bargain and quality backup point guard who can run a team’s second unit with a steady hand. He’s a solid shooter who takes care of the ball effectively and is only a year removed from starting 81 games and helping the Magic to the playoffs. He’ll be an attractive option who can slide into a rotation quickly.
44. Kris Dunn: Chicago Bulls
While at this point, Dunn may be a lost cause as a three-point shooter, he’s one of the league’s better defensive guards (2.6 steals per-36) and a solid bench player. His time on the Bulls was unspectacular, and as Chicago charts a new course, he might be more useful to another team that can better maximize his strengths. The Bulls can match offers, but it’s easy to see Dunn being gettable for the right price as Coby White assumes more of the backcourt minutes moving forward. He’s still 25, and a change of scenery should help him.
45. Dwight Howard: Los Angeles Lakers
Howard successfully salvaged his career at age 34 and proved to be a useful piece for the Lakers in the playoffs, reinventing himself as a rebounding specialist and viable antagonist for opposing centers. Howard can still bang inside, and if he can stay in great shape, he’ll have situational mileage left coming off the bench for playoff teams. It’s hard to see him as more than that, but he deserves some credit for backing up his commitment to playing a role.
46. Alec Burks: Philadelphia 76ers
Burks put together a nice season, averaging a career high 16.1 points in 48 games for the Warriors and became a useful deadline pickup for the Sixers as well. His size, scoring and ability to play on and off the ball make him a solid bench piece, and he’s due for a bigger contract this time around.
47. Glenn Robinson III: Philadelphia 76ers
Robinson quietly put together a career year at age 26, starting all 48 games for the Warriors with highly efficient shooting splits before moving to the 76ers at the trade deadline. Injuries limited his contributions in the bubble, but he’s a reliable shooter and playable defender who can help good teams using part of the midlevel exception. It never hurts to add a reasonably priced, useful wing.
48. Nerlens Noel: Oklahoma City Thunder
Somehow, Noel is still only 26 years old, and while his value has been somewhat situational, he’s still one of the league’s more productive shot-blockers. Teams looking to go center-by-committee will inevitably look his way and hope a change of scenery can get more out of him. Noel doesn’t offer any shooting and is strictly a rim-runner and play-finisher on the offensive end. But you can do far worse than what he offers defensively.
49. Avery Bradley: Los Angeles Lakers
Bradley opted to sit out the Orlando bubble, but was a constant part of the Lakers’ rotation during the season and a player L.A. would probably like to stay put, particularly with Rondo and Caldwell-Pope likely to test the market. Bradley remains a pesky defender and capable floor-spacer, and while the Lakers didn’t need him to win the title, he’s a strong fit with their personnel and worth keeping over the course of a longer season. If he opts out he should draw plenty of interest from playoff teams.
50. Langston Galloway: Detroit Pistons
Galloway had a solid year for the Pistons, and he’s a generally reliable three-point shooter who can get hot off the bench. He’s also a decent defender. While he doesn’t offer much else, he’ll be a nice, inexpensive pickup coming off a career year.