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NBA

Ranking The Free Agents — Point Guards

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The next installment of the wild ride that is NBA free agency is fast approaching, so our team here at Basketball Insiders is breaking down the potential players that could have new homes next fall.

With our first outline focusing on power forwards, the next position of highlight will be point guards.

Based on the estimated $99 million salary cap that teams will be operating under for the 2017-18 season, here are the potential brackets for max salaries that these floor generals are after:

  • $25,250,000 for players with 0-6 years of experience;
  • $30,300,000 for players with 7-9 years of experience; and
  • $35,350,000 for players with 10 or more years of experience

With the max salaries set in stone, teams may also have the option for a mid-level exception set at $8,406,000.

Now that the money is laid out, here are the point guards this summer who could wind up with a new zip code.

Maximum Salary Guys

Stephen Curry — Golden State Warriors — $12,112,359

The two-time league MVP and world champion is fresh off another run through the NBA’s postseason and will be looking to cash in.

Up until this point, Curry was on arguably the biggest bargain deal in the league. After signing a less than max extension following his rookie deal, Curry blossomed into the game’s best three-point shooter ever.

Such a deal allowed Golden State to extend the likes of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green along with signing Kevin Durant, all with relative financial ease. However, their days of getting Curry on the cheap are gone.

By meeting all of the necessary qualifications under the new CBA, Curry is eligible for the new max contract that will see him pull in a $200 million deal. The Warriors will fill out that contract as soon as possible, and Curry will gladly sign on the dotted line.

Chris Paul — Los Angeles Clippers — $22,868,827

One of the more interesting free agent situations is that of Paul’s future.

With things uncertain in Los Angeles (Blake Griffin opting out, J.J. Redick’s free agency, DeAndre Jordan on the trade block), the Clippers’ core could be headed in many different directions, Paul included.

At 32 years old, this will likely be Paul’s last major contract. Should he decide to stay with the Clippers, Paul could sign a five-year deal for roughly $205 million.

Still, money aside, with his opportunity of competing at a high level for a championship contender closing its doors, greener pastures may catch Paul’s eye this July. Of the teams that are potentially looking to court the elite point guard, San Antonio and Houston top the list. If Paul were to jump ship to either of those franchises, his chance at a ring in the near future, one could argue, would increase.

Kyle Lowry — Toronto Raptors — $12,000,000

After a career year in Toronto, Lowry will be looking for a serious raise this summer, and he won’t have to look too hard to get it.

Even at 31 years old, Lowry can still play with the best of them. Coming off of three straight All-Star appearances, Lowry’s averages in points and assists have increased each of those seasons.

For Lowry, rejoining his backcourt running mate DeMar DeRozan in Toronto seems like the most plausible option. Lowry would be leaving a ton of money on the table if he decided to leave the north.

With Lowry’s hometown Philadelphia 76ers addressing their point guard needs by drafting Markelle Fultz, the veteran’s list of suitors may have dropped by one. Minnesota and San Antonio, though, could be landing spots for Lowry, especially if the Spurs miss out on Paul.

Near Maximum Salary Guys

George Hill — Utah Jazz — $8,000,000

After a resurgent year out in Utah, Hill could find himself with a nice salary increase this summer as he looks for a new home.

While it’s entirely possible that the Jazz could bring Hill back—he was a crucial part of their playoff run this past season—the team’s sights will initially be set on securing Gordon Hayward.

Should Hill leave Salt Lake, however, his next home may depend on where the guys in the “max” category wind up. If a team like San Antonio whiffs on their bigger name targets, bringing Hill into the fold at a lesser price per year could certainly be something they explore.

Jrue Holiday — New Orleans Pelicans — $11,286,518

As the point guard for a team that features two of the league’s best low-post talents in Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins, Holiday’s role in New Orleans could be crucial moving forward.

At just 27 years old, Holiday certainly has enough left in the tank to make an impact for a number of teams across the league. What may cause a potential suitor to pause, however, is the fact that Holiday has completed a full 82-game season just once in his career.

No matter, as the Pelicans look to retain Holiday, teams like Minnesota and Dallas are reportedly looking to court the point guard as well.

Above Mid-Level Guys

Jeff Teague — Indiana Pacers — $8,800,000

Derrick Rose — New York Knicks — $21,323,252

Rajon Rondo** — Chicago Bulls — $14,000,000

Shaun Livingston — Golden State Warriors — $5,782,450

Patty Mills — San Antonio Spurs — $3,578,948

 

Mid-Level or Below Guys

T.J. McConnell** — Philadelphia 76ers — $874,636

Deron Williams — Cleveland Cavaliers — $259,526

Darren Collison — Sacramento Kings — $5,229,454

Ty Lawson — Sacramento Kings — $980,431

Brandon Jennings — Washington Wizards — $1,200,000

Aaron Brooks — Indiana Pacers — $2,700,000

Michael Carter-Williams — Chicago Bulls — $3,183,526

Trey Burke* — Washington Wizards — $3,385,598

Tyler Ennis — Los Angeles Lakers — $1,733,880

Spencer Dinwiddie** — Brooklyn Nets — $726,672

Ramon Sessions — Charlotte Hornets — $6,000,000

C.J. Watson** — Orlando Magic — $5,000,000

Shelvin Mack — Utah Jazz — $2,433,334

Sergio Rodriguez — Philadelphia 76ers — $8,000,000

Isaiah Canaan** — Chicago Bulls — $1,015,696

*Qualifying Offer (If made, player becomes restricted free agent)

**Non-Guaranteed Contract (If player is waived by current team before contract becomes fully guaranteed, becomes unrestricted free agent)

Having an effective floor general is imperative to a team’s success. The good point guards are an extension of the coach while on the court. This offseason, there are a handful of those very elite options that could help any number of teams, but most will stay put in their current homes due to the simple fact that franchises don’t let good point guards just walk out of the door.

But other than the top-flight talent, there are a number of serviceable veterans and young guys looking for a chance that could be good additions to teams across the league.

Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.

About Dennis Chambers

Dennis Chambers

Dennis Chambers is an NBA writer in his first season with Basketball Insiders. Based out of Philadelphia he has previously covered NCAA basketball and high school recruiting.