Even though the big stars signed their contracts in the first two weeks of NBA free agency, there are still plenty of top players left on the market that could change a franchise’s fortunes.
None will touch the type of maximum-level contract that New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (five-years, $122 million) or the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh (five-years, $118 million). Most will receive a deal somewhere in the $2 million to $9 million per season range over three or four years, which could end up bargains for teams.
Below are the top 10 free agents available (both restricted and unrestricted included), as well as some notable players to keep an eye on for the rest of the summer.
1.Eric Bledsoe, PG
Undoubtedly the best free agent left, but Bledsoe still remains unsigned. As the Arizona Republic points out only Philadelphia could really offer him a max-deal, but Phoenix has the right to match any deal. Still Philly is unlikely to offer the max, and the Suns are pushing a four-year, $48 million contract.
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Two years ago, Bledsoe was considered a rising star, and while he remains one of the best young point guards in the league there are questions about his long-term durability. Phoenix is reportedly committed to re-signing Bledsoe, but their signing of Isaiah Thomas serves as some insurance.
2.Greg Monroe, C/PF
The former Georgetown standout and lottery pick is still available with Detroit also able to match any offer sheet he signs. There are some fears that the 6'11, 253-pound big man has already reached his potential. Averaging 14 points and nine rebounds in your first four years in the league is very impressive, but teams are coveting salary cap space maybe more than ever and won’t overpay for Monroe.
3.Jameer Nelson, PG
Nelson is far removed from the floor general that wreaked havoc in the NBA Finals, but he’s a steady leader who could be the first guard off the bench for most contenders. The Mavericks are reportedly interested in signing the veteran.
4.Ray Allen, SG
Will he or won’t he? Allen might retire, join King James in Cleveland, or sign on with another contender. He’s still one of the top 5 shooters in the league, and could likely play for another two seasons, but teams might hesitate on signing him for longer than a year.
5.Ramon Sessions, PG
Sessions has played for six different teams over his six year career, but that shouldn’t be a detriment. He can attack the basket as well as other top point guards, and hasn’t really been part of a winning team before. However, the 28-year-old is likely seeking a big deal and the few contenders with cap space and need for another guard won’t pay up.
6.Andray Blatche, PF
Blatche is one of the most offensively skilled big men in the league and after two solid years in Brooklyn he could be a steal for a number of teams. Should he take a pay cut, Blatche could latch onto a contender and play some big minutes.
A double-digit scorer every year since he entered the NBA in 1999, some might question Marion’s age (36) but he’s still a savvy veteran capable of helping out on both ends of the court.
Williams was excellent as Damian Lillard’s back-up in Portland, but his poor shooting in the playoffs might scare teams off. The Blazers are expected to make a push to bring back the serviceable point guard.
Four years ago he lit up defenses for 19.6 points per game, but Brooks has bounced around to four different teams since. Nevertheless, he’s still a spark plug off the bench, and has shot 36 percent from three for his career. (The Bulls are expected to officially sign Brooks this week.)
Crawford didn’t play as well behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson with Golden State as he did alongside Rajon Rondo in Boston, and his three-point skills are severely lacking. However, Crawford is still a versatile scorer who can fill out a bench nicely.
Notable mentions: Should Andrew Bynum actually play, or even want to play next season, he could receive offers from competitve teams seeking help at center. Marshon Brooks is another player who could benefit from another shot, considering the shooting guard never got much of one with Brooklyn, Boston or Los Angeles. Dorward Mike Scott greatly improved in his second year with Atlanta by doubling his scoring output. Scott is a bit undersized, but he might a strong bench addition on some rosters looking for some scoring punch.