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Ranking NBA’s Remaining Restricted Free Agents

There are several dozen free agents on the market this summer, but here is a look at some of the top restricted free agents.

Jabari Davis



With Avery Bradley agreeing to re-sign with the Boston Celtics and Patrick Patterson reportedly set to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors, some of the NBA’s notable restricted free agents are already off the market. Now, let’s take a look at the rest of the league’s restricted free agents. These are players who can sign an offer sheet with a new team, but whose original franchise has the opportunity to match and keep them in town.

Restricted free agency is a bit more complicated than unrestricted free agency, which is what the superstars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh are currently going through. Several players who could’ve been restricted free agents – such as Evan Turner and Ed Davis – are not because their respective teams did not extend them a qualifying offer, making them unrestricted instead.

Here’s a ranking of the restricted free agents in terms of their pecking order on the open market.

Ryan Kelly – PF, Los Angeles Lakers

After having his pre-draft training and summer workout routines delayed due to lingering foot issues, Kelly really had a surprisingly productive year (8.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG) as a reserve stretch-four in the freedom of Mike D’Antoni’s offense for the Lakers in 2013-14. Although he’ll need to add muscle and strength to physically compete with his counterparts, Kelly is more athletic and possesses more ball-skills than you might initially imagine. He’s likely to be retained by the Lakers, but the 23-year-old could definitely work his way onto multiple rosters throughout the league.

Mike Scott – PF, Atlanta Hawks

Scott is a hybrid forward who can stretch the floor from the power forward position. He can be a bit streaky from deep, but can get hot and make it difficult for teams to find an appropriate matchup. Scott ended up being a main part of Atlanta’s rotation ( 9.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG) by the time their seven-game series in the opening round against the Indiana Pacers. While it isn’t certain whether he’ll be back with the Hawks, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported interest from several “rival teams” earlier this week.

P.J.Tucker – SF, Phoenix Suns

Beyond the 9.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG from a small forward, Tucker has developed a reputation for being one of the league’s tougher – yet somewhat unheralded – perimeter defenders over the last few seasons. At 6’6, 224 pounds, Tucker combines size, lateral movement and all-out effort to make life difficult for the league’s top scoring swingmen. Phoenix has the resources to keep Tucker, but he’d also be a an instant contributor on any team that needs to add veteran depth and is in need of a defensive-oriented player.

Greivis Vasquez – PG, Toronto Raptors

At 6’6, Vasquez is another player with great size for his position, only this 27-year-old is capable of running an offense better than most reserve guards and at least a few of the league’s current starters. Vasquez played well in a reserve role behind Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, and since the rumors of Toronto’s interest in drafting Tyler Ennis didn’t come to fruition, he could seemingly still have a place with the Raptors. Vasquez’s last season as a starter was 2012-13 for the New Orleans Pelicans, and it was impressive enough (13.9 PPG and 9.0 APG) that you might expect him to pursue another starting job this summer.

Chandler Parsons – SF, Houston Rockets

Parsons is one of the many players caught in the “we’ll have to wait and see what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James do, but we’ll get right back to you” ruts, and that cannot be an appealing situation for the 25-year-old forward after reportedly playing a pivotal role in the recruitment process of teammate Dwight Howard and providing a quality year (16.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.0 APG) in their lone season together. Parsons may not currently be quite worthy of the $10-12 million per year range that has recently been attached to him, but he is the type of versatile player that blends well with most of the offensive systems throughout the league. If the Rockets are ultimately ready to move on, he won’t have trouble finding suitors as the Celtics, Lakers and even the Suns have reportedly expressed an interest.

Greg Monroe – PF, Detroit Pistons

Monroe must feel as though he’s been in a game of tug-of-war in terms of whether he’ll ultimately wind up sticking around in Detroit. There were reports that Stan Van Gundy didn’t want him back, but then those were quickly refuted. Monroe even had to publicly deny reports that claimed he had requested that Josh Smith be traded before deciding what to do this summer, but whether he requested it or not, one could hardly fault him. To no fault of anyone currently associated with the Pistons, a front line of Andre Drummond, Monroe and Smith simply isn’t going to work. If the offensively gifted power forward ends up the odd man out, there should be plenty of interest from teams like the Hawks, Cavs, Lakers and perhaps even the Hornets if they were to desire a twin-towers appeal beside Al Jefferson.

Isaiah Thomas – PG, Sacramento Kings

While we can’t be absolutely certain Thomas’ time in Sacramento is completely done, signs point to an unlikely return given the reported three-year deal they’ve agreed upon with former Clipper Darren Collison. What we do know is that whether it comes from the Kings or someone else, Thomas is likely to get paid handsomely by someone this summer. Coming off a career season (20.3 PPG, 6.3 APG), the 5’9 Thomas would also look great with the Lakers, HEAT, Mavs, Pistons and potentially even the Suns with their preferred uptempo style (depending on what Phoenix winds up doing with their backcourt duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe).

Gordon Hayward – SG, Utah Jazz

Hayward is another one of the more versatile RFA’s on the market, as he can do a bit of everything while on the floor. Although Hayward struggled with his shot throughout 2013-14 in Utah, part of that could have been due to the lack of viable offensive weapons surrounding him. He still managed to provide 16.2 PPG, 5.2 APG and 5.1 RPG for a struggling team, and is now due to reap the financial rewards this summer. Having denied his request for an extension prior to the season, it was a bit peculiar to see GM Dennis Lindsey stand by an apparent promise the Jazz would match any offer for their RFA just earlier this week. The Cavs, Suns, Hornets and Celtics are each a part of the group expected to pursue Hayward regardless of Utah’s plans.

Eric Bledsoe – SG, Phoenix Suns

It’s always difficult to decipher which rumor to believe at a given time throughout the free agency process, but it appears the Suns are still currently willing to match any offer for their 24-year-old RFA. Bledsoe is a special athlete at 6’1 and just under 200 pounds. He’s lightning-quick and has the ability to finish both in traffic and over the top of unsuspecting post defenders. That ability is what also makes Bledsoe a bit of a high-risk, high-reward player moving forward, but he should be able to continue making adjustments to his game as he develops in order to become less reliant on all that athleticism.

Unless the Suns are able to move Goran Dragic, which they’re rumored to be seriously exploring, a team could make their decision on Bledsoe difficult by offering a max contract to the up-and-coming point guard. That may seem like a lot for a player that just missed 39 games in his first year as a starter, but he has a lot of fans around the NBA and a team could be getting the league’s next very-good-to-great backcourt weapon just as he’s entering what could be a hugely productive prime.

Additional RFA’s on the market:

Kevin Seraphin, PF (Wizards), Nando De Colo, G (Spurs), Jae Crowder, SF (Mavericks)



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NBA Daily: Jonathan Isaac Proving to be Key Part of Orlando’s Future

Basketball Insiders spoke with Jonathan Isaac about his rookie season, injuries, areas to improve on, his faith and more.

James Blancarte



On January 13, the Orlando Magic were eliminated from playoff contention. This date served as a formality as the team has known for quite some time that any postseason hopes had long since sailed. The Magic started the year off on a winning note and held an 8-4 record in early November. However, the team lost their next nine games and never really recovered.

Many factors play a role in a young but talented team like the Magic having another season end like this. Injuries to franchise cornerstone Aaron Gordon as well as forward Evan Fournier and forward Jonathan Isaac magnified the team’s issues.

Isaac, a rookie selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, started the season off reasonably well. On November 10, in 21 minutes of action, he registered an 11-point, six-rebound, one-assist, one-steal, two-block all-around effort against the Phoenix Suns to help the Magic get to that 8-4 record. Isaac then suffered an ankle injury midway through his next game and wouldn’t play again until December 17, by which time the team was already 11-20 with athe season quickly going sideways. From November until March, Isaac would only play in three games until finally returning to consistent action in the month of March with the season all but decided.

Basketball Insiders spoke to Isaac recently to discuss how he has pushed through this season, staying healthy, his impressive skill set and more.

“I’ve had a lot of time off from being injured so, I think my body is holding up fine along with how much I’ve played. I haven’t played a full season,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders “I feel good. I feel good.”

Isaac talked about what part of his game he feels strongly about and has improved on.

“I think defensively,” Isaac said. “I didn’t expect myself to make strides defensively like I have. I’ve been able to just be able to just do different things and help this team defensively and I didn’t expect that coming in so, that would be the one thing.”

Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise of Isaac’s defense and also focused on the rookie’s great defensive potential.

“His defense is out of this world. I mean it’s really something else,” Vogel said. “Just watch him play and everybody’s getting a taste of it right now. They haven’t seen him a whole lot but he’s an elite defender right now at 20-years old and the sky’s the limit for what he can be on that end of the floor.

While Isaac hasn’t logged a huge number of minutes on the floor this season, he has impressed in his limited action. As Coach Vogel stated, anyone who has taken the time to watch Isaac play this season has noticed his ability to guard other big men and his overall defensive impact.

“I think I’ve been able to do a good job on most of the people that I’ve had to guard,” Isaac said.

Missing Isaac’s defense impact and overall contributions partially explains why the Magic cooled off after their hot start. However, with the playoffs no longer an option, younger players like Isaac now have the opportunity to play with less attention and pressure. While it can be argued that the Magic aren’t really playing for anything, the truth is these late-season games can be an opportunity to develop these younger players and determine what to work on during the offseason.

There is more to Isaac than just basketball, however. Isaac discussed other parts of his life that are important to him, including religion and his faith.

“[M]y faith in Jesus is something that I put a lot of emphasis on,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders. “It’s a part of me.”

Isaac did not hesitate to credit his faith when asked if it helped him push through his injuries.

“I would say definitely,” Isaac said. “Especially with getting injured so early in the season and being out for 40 games. That’s a lot on somebody’s mental capacity and then just staying positive, staying joyful in times where joy doesn’t seem like it’s the right emotion to have. And I definitely [attribute] that to my faith.”

Looking forward, both Vogel and Isaac discussed the future and what the young big man can improve on.

“Offensively, he’s grown in confidence, he’s gained so he’s going to give us a big lift and our future’s bright with him,” Vogel stated.

Isaac gave a hint of his offseason training plans when asked what he looks forward to working on.

“I would say consistency with my jump shot. Really working on my three-ball and I would say ball-handling,” Isaac stated.

When asked if there was anything more he wanted to add, Isaac simply smiled and said, “Oh no, I think I got to get to church right now,” as the team prepared to play later that evening.

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Tyronn Lue’s Health Concerns Latest Bump In The Road For Cavaliers

Spencer Davies outlines Tyronn Lue’s decision to take a leave of absence to deal with health issues and covers the reaction around the NBA.

Spencer Davies



The win-loss record is not where they want it to be.

The performances have not been up to par with what they expect.

With that said, one thing is for certain: There is no other team that will have been more battle tested going into the playoffs than the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Day after day and week after week, there’s always something going on with the team. Between in-house arguments, on-court miscommunication, roster turnover, and more, it has been one giant roller coaster of a season.

Monday morning, another twist was added to the ride. In a statement released by the Cavaliers organization, Tyronn Lue and general manager Koby Altman announced that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence to address his health:

“After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.

“I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is. While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team.

“I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards. I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization’s support throughout.”

There were multiple instances where Lue either missed part of a half or an entire game this season. The symptoms are definitely not to be taken lightly. According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lue attempted to return to the bench Saturday night in Chicago but the team didn’t allow him to. Evidently, Lue was “coughing up blood” some nights.

Seeing it first hand after postgame press conferences, Lue was visibly exhausted and stress could likely be playing a part. He’s been fighting through the tough times the team has been going through and avoided stepping away twice this season.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford had his own battle with health problems earlier this season and temporarily left the team for those reasons. He has attempted to reach out to Lue, a friend and former player of his.

Other head coaches around the league—Joe Prunty, Steve Kerr, and Luke Walton—have all gone to bat for Lue when discussing the rigors of an NBA schedule and the toll it takes.

Altman supports the decision for Lue to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

“We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues,” he said.

LeBron James is glad that Lue is going to take some time to get better.

“Obviously, health is the most important with everything in life,” James said Monday after shootaround. “Not surprised by it at all. I knew he was struggling, but he was never not himself. He was just dealing with it the best way he could, but he was never not himself when he was around.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on here. We play a great sport, our coaches get to coach a great sport, and you guys get to cover a great sports. But health is most important right now and that’s what our coach is doing right now and we’re all in favor for it.”

The latest piece of news is a blow to the already injury-ridden Cleveland group. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over duties until Lue returns.

The good news for the Cavaliers is that Kevin Love can potentially return to the mix as soon as Monday night against Milwaukee.

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NBA Daily: Calderón’s Late NBA Start

Jose Calderón might be the only player in the league who didn’t grow up dreaming of playing in the NBA.

Joel Brigham



There are a lot of different ways to get to the NBA, but most of them involve lifelong scouting and an unceasing dream to play in the world’s premier basketball league.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard José Calderón didn’t really have either of those things.

“I never even thought of the NBA when I was a kid,” Calderón told Basketball Insiders. “I grew up in a small town in Spain, and I played basketball because my dad played and I loved it. I was having fun, always playing with the older guys because I was good at that age, but I never really even thought about playing any sort of professional basketball.”

Having grown up in Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, Calderón watched his father play for Doncel La Serena, which was his hometown team as a child. He was something of a prodigy, having attended practices and games with his father from a young age, and as burgeoning teenager he left home to play professionally for the lower-level Vitoria-Gasteiz team.

“They wanted to sign me at 13 years old, and we didn’t even know that they could sign people that young,” Calderón remembers. “So I did that, and I tried to get better. I tried to advance into the older clubs, but I never really did think about the NBA at all, honestly.”

That changed as he got older, though, especially after Spain finished 5th in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and Calderón started to get some stateside recognition.

“After that summer, [my agent and I] got a call from Milwaukee asking about my situation, and asked would I think about coming to play over here. It was sort of a let’s-see-what-happens sort of situation, but I couldn’t at that time because I was under contract. That was the first time I was really approached.”

As his teammates from the Spanish National Team made their way to the NBA, Calderón grew increasingly intrigued.

“Pau Gasol obviously opened a lot of doors for us,” he said. “Raul Lopez came, too. I was just playing basketball, though. I didn’t know anything about scouts. Later, when we started to get the calls from Toronto, I started to realize how possible it really was. That’s when I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’”

Despite being eligible for a few drafts in a row, Calderón never did get drafted, which was fine by him. Growing up the way he did, Calderón never had any dreams of his hearing his name called by Commissioner Stern, so playing his way through most of his deal with TAU Vitoria was no big deal for him. He could take or leave the NBA.

“Not getting drafted was the perfect situation for me,” he said. “In my satiation, coming from Europe, I was already playing professionally for a good team and making some good money. That was perfect for me at the time, and I was happy to be a free agent at 23, choosing where I was going to sign instead of going in the second round and having to play for one team.”

He signed with the Raptors in 2005 since they were the most aggressive in recruiting him to the NBA. As a 23-year-old rookie, he wasn’t overwhelmed physically the way a lot of rookies are, but he did find his new league challenging in other ways.

“The hardest part was just having to start over,” he said. “You start over from zero. It doesn’t matter if the other players know you or don’t, you have to prove yourself all over again. You could be the MVP of Europe, but to get respect in the NBA you have to gain it on the court.”

The talent differential was immediately noticeable, as well.

“There are so many guys out there that are better than you. It’s not just like a guy or two; there are six, seven guys on the floor any given time that are better than you.”

That meant making some changes in the way that Calderón played. He was asked to do a lot more offensively for his EuroLeague team. Playing with so many talented scorers completely changed his approach.

“I went from taking 20 shots a game to doing something else, and as a point guard in the NBA I had to approach that point guard role even more, to make those guys respect my game, to make them want to play with me. I had to be able to pass the ball, to do something different from all the other players, so I became a fast-first point guard to make sure we always played as a team. That’s how I get to where I am as a professional.”

Now 36 years old, Calderón is one of the league’s oldest players, making it easy for him to look back at where he came from to transform into the player he is today.

“I’ve grown so much, but I was lucky to be given the opportunity,” he said. “When you arrive from Europe, whether you’re good or bad, it doesn’t always matter if you don’t have the opportunity. Toronto gave me the opportunity to play 20 minutes a night, and that’s a lot. I made a lot of mistakes, but they let me play through those mistakes. All those little things added up for me, and I learned a lot.”

He owns two silver medals and a bronze in the three Olympics he’s participated in over the course of his career, as well as gold medals in FIBA World Cup and EuroBasket, but he’s never won an NBA championship. Joining up with LeBron James improves those odds, but that’s the thing that would really put an exclamation point on an excellent career.

Calderón could have stayed in Spain and been fine. He jokes that while the NBA has been very good to him, he and his family could have stayed in Europe and he could have made good money playing basketball there. He’s been happy with his career, though, however unorthodox his journey here, and he hopes his most prestigious accolades are yet to come.

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