The NBA has officially hit its dead period. The summer started out with a bang and a ton of craziness, but it’s certainly calmed down. Aside from the shocking news about Kyrie Irving a few weeks back, there has been little to no offseason activity as of late in the league.
The market is dwindling at a rapid rate. Players who bet on themselves won’t get the payday they’re expecting, and neither will the guys who simply entered the field because their contracts expired.
However, with that being said, there are still plenty of free agents left for teams to pick from if they need some roster help. It’s not a crop of franchise-altering names, but some can be solid starters and others could potentially bolster a bench. Here’s a list (a star denotes a restricted free agent) of six names left who can make a difference for a team.
Nerlens Noel – Dallas Mavericks*
It is August 6 and there hasn’t been a peep about any contract talks with Noel outside of the qualifying offer his team extended to him in late June. According to reports, Dallas wasn’t even close to an agreement because of the 23-year-old’s desire to sign a maximum deal.
There are two problems with this on Noel’s part:
- Nobody has made an offer to him period, so he can forget over $100 million.
- He doesn’t hold the leverage in this case. There aren’t many teams left who can pay him that much, and if by some miracle one does, the Mavericks can match the offer.
Dallas could pay him roughly $4.2 million next season if nobody bites, which seems to be the most likely scenario as the days continue to pass. If Noel and his agent don’t budge, we’ll have a stalemate that could turn into a potential hold out entering next season. It’s a complicated situation.
It’s not like Noel doesn’t have starting caliber talent. He’s an excellent defender and rim protector. He’s showed that he can finish inside in traffic. He’s got an underrated ability finding the outside man from in the paint.
Clearly, the injury history and lack of offensive versatility have hurt Noel this summer. If he’s going to expect teams to trust him with a commitment such as a max contract, the fourth year big man is going to have to stay durable for the majority of the season and make more strides as a dual threat center.
Mason Plumlee – Denver Nuggets*
Still entering his prime, Plumlee has plenty to offer a team interested. He has an all-around game that should have coaches chomping at the bit to bring him in. Oddly enough, outside of the qualifying offer from the Nuggets, nobody has made a bid.
In all likelihood, it’s because he’s a non-factor outside. The rebounding could use some work as well. Other than that, though, there’s not too much to pick on.
Plumlee’s an athletic big with the ability to keep possessions alive and provide a boost in energy. He also has the versatility to either start or come off the bench to anchor a second unit.
If there continues to be a lack of interest among the rest of the league, Plumlee will probably take his $4.6 million for a year with Denver and look for a better deal in 2018.
JaMychal Green – Memphis Grizzlies*
Maintaining the trend of young big men not receiving attention, Green is one that can actually offer an outside threat. He’s a tad small at power forward at 6-foot-9, 227 pounds, but definitely plays bigger than his size.
If you want a frontcourt player that’s physical, can rebound and has the ability to shoot the three consistently, Green’s your guy. The Grizzlies have extended a $2.8 million qualifying offer to him and can match any team if they want to give him a contract.
Nikola Mirotic – Chicago Bulls*
A sharpshooting stretch four, Mirotic has expressed interest in staying in the Windy City. The Bulls have indicated the same and have tendered a qualifying offer worth around $7.2 million.
Mirotic’s three-ball game fell off last season after a tremendous showing in his second season, but he slightly improved his overall field goal percentage with more success within the arc.
Michael Beasley – Milwaukee Bucks
The first unrestricted free agent on the list. Despite having nine years of experience in the NBA, Beasley is still only 28 years old. There’s a lot of success to be had yet for him.
In the six games he started for Jason Kidd last season, he averaged 15.3 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 61 percent. He doesn’t take a lot of threes, but he converted on 41.9 percent of them, for what it’s worth.
Shabazz Muhammad – Minnesota Timberwolves
On July 3, the Wolves decided to rescind their qualifying offer and make Muhammad an unrestricted free agent. This could easily be the proverbial diamond-in-the-rough pickup for a team.
Muhammad is a pure scorer who can slash and give you a corner three threat. Since he’s only 24 and has plenty of potential to reach still, it shouldn’t be too long before a team comes forth and offers him something.
The remaining field isn’t too enticing to teams around the league, but there’s still talent left to be signed. Here’s a list of the all of the rest available in free agency.
Other Notable Free Agents:
Alex Len (restricted), Andrew Bogut, Jeff Withey, Donatas Motiejunas, Roy Hibbert, Tiago Splitter, Festus Ezeli
Jared Sullinger, David Lee, Brandon Bass, Thomas Robinson, Kris Humphries, Jordan Hill
Mike Dunleavy Jr., Derrick Williams, Gerald Green, Dante Cunningham, Metta World Peace, Brandon Rush, James Michael McAdoo, K.J. McDaniels
Deron Williams, Monta Ellis, Tony Allen, Leandro Barbosa, Randy Foye, Jason Terry, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks, Anthony Morrow, C.J. Watson, Beno Udrih, Isaiah Canaan
Although most of the free agency fireworks went off long ago, sometimes, it’s an under-the-radar signing late in the summer that can make a big difference for a team. It’ll be interesting to see where some of the potential difference-makers end up.
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