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.
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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