The biggest names have been signed, but plenty of free agents are still available as NBA teams round out their rosters this summer.
Plenty of times a team’s fortune has swung with quick one-year or three-year deals with an under the radar player, and this year is no different. The Dwight Howards and Chris Pauls are obvious franchise cornerstones, but they also need diligent teammates willing to do the dirty work in order to create a championship squad.
Below are the five best players still on the market at each position.
PG Brandon Jennings
The Milwaukee Bucks made a qualifying offer to Jennings before free agency officially began, and said they would match any other offer for the restricted free agent. However they reportedly signed Atlanta guard Jeff Teague to a four-year $32 million deal with the Hawks can match.
Teague could be cheaper insurance for Jennings, who wants a maximum level contract after 17 points and 5.7 assists a game in four years in Milwaukee.
Even with his poor shooting numbers, Jennings has proven he can lead a team to the playoffs. If he stays he’ll have a lot more help with O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino helping him out in the backcourt.
SG Gary Neal
Neal also got a qualifying offer from the San Antonio Spurs, but his hot shooting in the playoffs might turn into a much bigger pay day. He shot 41 percent from deep in the Western Conference Finals and the Finals, including six three-pointers in the Spurs 36-point Game Three route over the Heat.
Teams always need plenty of long-range shooting, and Neal showed he could single-handedly outscore Miami.
SF Stephen Jackson
He’s had his issues, and was released by the Spurs before the playoffs, but very few players are as versatile as Jackson. The market for small forwards is very weak this year, which could be to his benefit. A number of top teams should reach out, and Jackson could earn a one or two-year deal for more than the veteran’s minimum.
PF Jason Maxiell
Maxiell is a serviceable veteran who can play both forward positions. He would be a solid fit for any team looking for a back-up. His age, 30, might be of some concern, but Maxiell would fit in nicely as a role player for a number of contenders at a bargain price.
C Nikola Pekovic
Pekovic reportedly wants to stay with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but his incredible breakout season of 16.3 points and 8.8 boards a game turned him into one of the more coveted centers on the market.
According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota has to contend with Portland and Atlanta for Pekovic, but the T-Wolves clearly have a leg up on everyone else. It will be interesting to see how willing Pekovic is to stay in Minnesota if he doesn’t like the team’s offer.