Ranking The Free Agents – Power Forwards

Spencer Davies kicks off Basketball Insiders’ free agent series by looking at the best available power forwards.

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Updated 12 months ago on
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With the NBA Draft come and gone, the 2017 off-season is officially in full swing. As the July moratorium period approaches fast, our team at Basketball Insiders will take a position-by-position look at what players are available in this year’s free agent pool. We’ll be starting off with power forwards.

Last week, the NBA informed teams that the salary cap for the 2017-18 season is projected to be $99 million, slightly lower than what it was projected to be for much of last season. Based on this, maximum salaries are expected to amount to the following:

$25,250,000 for players with 0-6 years of experience

$30,300,000 for players with 7-9 years of experience

$35,350,000 for players with 10 or more years of experience

Aside from the maximum values, the mid-level exception for teams in year one is set at $8,406,000.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best players available at the four spot. All free agents are unrestricted unless denoted otherwise.

Max Guys

Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers – Last Year’s Salary: $20,140,839

After coming up short in another year yet again with the Clippers, Griffin exercised the early termination option in his contract to test the market as an unrestricted free agent. Since then, the 28-year-old has received interest from multiple teams.

According to reports, the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Miami Heat will make a run at adding Griffin to their respective rosters. While the intrigue is very real, the Clippers are the ones who have the advantage, as they can pay him the most out of any team.

Owner Steve Ballmer will likely open up the checkbook since the organization has made its feelings known on how much it values Griffin as both a player and a person. Let’s not forget that he enjoys his life in Hollywood, either.

Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks – Last Year’s Salary: $20,072,033

With a rebuild about to begin in Atlanta, there’s not much of a chance that Millsap will stick around. At 32 years old, the four-time All-Star isn’t getting any younger and probably would entertain a change of scenery, as well as a nice payday. The Hawks are already balking at the idea of offering a max contract to the seasoned veteran, so a sign-and-trade could be what happens after all is said and done.

Regardless of age, Millsap has proved his worth as one of the most consistent players in the game today. He can score, occasionally step out and hit some threes, lock up with solid defense and snatch up those rebounds.

Thus far, the reported teams that will pursue Millsap are the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings.

Near Max Guys

Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors – Last Year’s Salary: $12,250,000

The 2016-17 season was full of ups and downs for Ibaka. The Orlando Magic just didn’t seem to be the right fit, but when he was traded to the Raptors things started looking up. He could end up right back with them on a new contract pending on what happens with their other free agents.

Ibaka still has plenty left in the tank, but it may be risky to overpay for him with his history of injuries. Still, there are plenty of teams out there desperate for a rim protector and a stretch four who can shoot decent from deep.

Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks – Last Year’s Salary: $25,000,000

As the team first person that he is, Nowitzki will take less money so that the Mavericks can add some more free agent talent to the roster.

Dallas recently declined his $25 million team option but will re-negotiate a new two-year deal to bring back the organization’s beloved franchise player.

Above Mid-Level Guys

Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies – Last Year’s Salary: $10,361,445

James Johnson – Miami Heat – Last Year’s Salary: $4,000,000

Taj Gibson – Oklahoma City Thunder – Last Year’s Salary: $8,950,000

Ersan Ilyasova – Atlanta Hawks – Last Year’s Salary: $8,400,000

Patrick Patterson – Toronto Raptors – Last Year’s Salary: $6,050,000

Nikola Mirotic* – Chicago Bulls – Last Year’s Salary: $5,782,450

Marreese Speights – Los Angeles Clippers – Last Year’s Salary: $1,403,611

JaMychal Green* – Memphis Grizzlies – Last Year’s Salary: $980,431

Mid-Level or Below Guys

Willie Reed – Miami Heat – Last Year’s Salary: $1,015,696

David Lee – San Antonio Spurs – Last Year’s Salary: $1,551,659

David West – Golden State Warriors – Last Year’s Salary: $980,431

Amir Johnson – Boston Celtics – Last Year’s Salary: $12,000,000

Boris Diaw** – Utah Jazz – Last Year’s Salary: $7,000,000

Terrence Jones – Milwaukee Bucks – Last Year’s Salary: $1,287,418

Jared Sullinger – Toronto Raptors – Last Year’s Salary: $5,628,000

Jonas Jerebko – Boston Celtics – Last Year’s Salary: $5,000,000

Kris Humphries – Atlanta Hawks – Last Year’s Salary: $4,000,000

Mike Scott – Atlanta Hawks – Last Year’s Salary: $3,333,334

Luis Scola – Brooklyn Nets – Last Year’s Salary: $5,000,000

Kevin Seraphin** – Indiana Pacers – Last Year’s Salary: $1,800,000

Quincy Acy** – Brooklyn Nets – Last Year’s Salary: $1,790,092

Alan Williams* – Phoenix Suns – Last Year’s Salary: $874,636

Donatas Motiejunas – New Orleans Pelicans – Last Year’s Salary: $576,724

Maurice Ndour** – New York Knicks – Last Year’s Salary: $543,471

Nick Collison – Oklahoma City Thunder – Last Year’s Salary: $3,750,000

Brandon Bass – Los Angeles Clippers – Last Year’s Salary: $980,431

Lavoy Allen – Indiana Pacers – Last Year’s Salary: $4,000,000

James Michael McAdoo – Golden State Warriors – Last Year’s Salary: $980,431

*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)

This year’s crop of free-agent power forwards isn’t the most impactful, but there are plenty of players in the mid to above mid-level areas who can bring forth production for teams seeking help off the bench.

It’s a good collection of veterans and hungry young talent looking to prove their worth to teams that will give them a chance, and for those with money to spend, it may not be a bad gamble to do so.

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Spencer Davies is a Deputy Editor and a Senior NBA Writer based in Cleveland in his third year with Basketball Insiders. Covering the league and the Cavaliers for the past five seasons, his bylines have appeared on Bleacher Report, FOX Sports and HoopsHype.

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