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NBA PM: Free Agents Hitting The Market Injured

The NBA’s salary cap is set to rise significantly, but will these injured free agents get a big payday?

Lang Greene

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Can These Injured Free Agents Maximize Their Earnings This Summer?

Free agency is an exciting time for fans, but also for most players since it is a time to fully cash in on years and years of hard work in the gym. However, every year there are more than a few free agents who will head into the summer months injured and facing the prospect of toiling long hours in rehab attempting to regain their form.

Franchises face a huge risk opening up their wallet for an injured player. In past years, these teams would be insulated by market forces and a salary cap that increased a slight percentage. But this summer, the salary cap is expected rise in the neighborhood of $90 million and nearly half of the league is projected to have significant cap space to potentially become free agency players. Put simply, there will be plenty of money flowing and with a salary cap floor of $82 million, these injured guys may still get paid.

Let’s take a look at some free agents who will head into the market this summer recovering from an injury:

Hassan Whiteside, Miami HEAT
2015-16 Salary:
$971,000
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Whiteside is expected to be the premier big man on the market this summer, but the talented center suffered a strained MCL in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which essentially shut him down for the season. According to reports, Whiteside won’t have to undergo surgery for his latest ailment but teams may be wary because of his history of nagging (but not major) lower extremity injuries.

Miami is expected to put all of their efforts into locking up Whiteside long-term, but there will be plenty of suitors in the market who won’t have to get creative with how they work the cap in order to do so.

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
2015-16 Salary:
$13.4 million
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Noah embodies the heart, soul and will to persevere – all of which are characteristics that fans gravitate toward. But how much does the big man have left in the tank after undergoing shoulder surgery in January? This surgery sidelined him for the rest of the season and signing him to a long-term contract is a risk any potential suitor will have to make a calculated assessment on this summer. Noah’s phone will undoubtedly be busy in early July as he is a former two-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year and once finished third in league Most Valuable Player voting. When he’s on top of his game, he has always been a difference maker. But can the 31-year-old ever get back to the top of his game?

Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans
2015-16 Salary:
$15.5 million
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Gordon underwent successful season-ending surgery back in March to repair a fractured right ring finger. It marked the second time this year that Gordon required surgery for a fracture on the same finger. Gordon’s latest setback likely signals the end of his time in New Orleans, where in his first three seasons with the franchise he missed 115 games due to an assortment of ailments.

Gordon was once considered one of the better up-and-coming shooting guards in the league, but injuries have derailed his momentum. There’s no question he has game, but how long can he stay healthy? That’s the big question every team will have this summer.

Mario Chalmers, Memphis Grizzlies
2015-16 Salary:
$4 million
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

In what looked to be a cold-blooded move, the Grizzlies waived Chalmers after the veteran ruptured his Achilles. But Memphis was facing a rash of injuries up and down the rotation and needed to free a roster spot. After being traded to Memphis early in the campaign, Chalmers established himself as an instant scorer off the bench for the offensively challenged Grizzlies and a strong spot starter when Mike Conley went down to injury.

There will be a market for Chalmers, a starter on two championship teams during his stint with the Miami HEAT, but he might not be able to fully maximize his earning potential.

O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks
2015-16 Salary:
$8 million
Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

The Bucks entered the season with high expectations after reaching the playoffs in 2015, but ultimately fell flat. Mayo played in just 41 games, averaging a career low 7.8 points per contest, and was shut down for the season in March after suffering a leg fracture. While Mayo has never developed into the phenomenon some predicted after a stellar prep career, the veteran guard has been a serviceable pro in stops with Memphis, Dallas and Milwaukee.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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Headlines

#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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