The 2016-17 NBA season has ended. With the Warriors crowned as champions, team managers and coaches are preparing for the upcoming season. The Draft is on 22nd June, with a promising class. Then we enter the free agency negotiation period, where some big names are all up for grabs. While these players will be at their homes, relaxing and deciding their future, the teams would be doing all they can to retain or recruit new members.
The players that are likely to leave, have already scheduled meetings in July, indicating a busy week is about to start.
Here are the best free agents available on the market for this upcoming off-season.
20. Kyle Korver – CLE (SG)
10.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Korver did not have that much of a breakthrough season with Cleveland. While averaging a decent 10 points off the bench and adding to the formidable 3-point shooting arsenal of Cleveland, he was lack lustre and mostly absent throughout the entire finals with just 22 points in 5 games. However, he is still one of the best 3 point shooters in the league (and only one of 7 to score more than 2000 3-point shots). His average of 10 points off the bench would be useful for most teams, especially the likes of Orlando that struggle from deep.
19. Rudy Gay – SAC – (SF)
18.7ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.7 apg
Since moving to Sacramento, Gay has had success as an individual. He has been a near 19 points per game, 6 rebounds a game player, as the King’s try to break their playoff drought. Unfortunately, things took a difficult turn for them, as Gay was injured and Cousins was traded. King’s finished the season on a low.
It would be a gamble to have a good contract to a player who ruptured his Achilles tendon, but then again, he has been an efficient player for the team for 4 years.
18. Danilo Gallinari – DEN (SF)
18.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.1 apg
During the last 2 seasons, Gallinari has been a solid scoring and rebounding option for the Nuggets. This season, he helped Nuggets become one of the higher scoring teams, as they were 3rd in the league in scoring. The biggest drawback for him, would be his defensive skills and his fitness as he has not played a full season since 2009-10 (81 games out of 82).
He has a slightly higher salary at over $15 million, but has made it well, being a good scorer for the last 2 seasons. Teams that require a decent scoring option, might be interested in him, such as Oklahoma City Thunder. But if the Nuggets can assemble a strong squad, he might want to stick and re-sign with them.
17. Rajon Rondo – CHI (PG) – 2017-18 guaranteed for just $3M until Friday, June 30, 2017.
7.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.7 apg
The mercurial point guard had a season of downs and up. Not getting along with coach Hoiberg or Jimmy Butler and D-wade, he had a resurgence with the team as the Bulls secured a #8 seed. He played just 2 games against Boston, but was instrumental in Chicago taking the first 2 games against their fancied opponents, averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds in the 2 playoff games. With him absent, Chicago fell to the Celtics. While not an overall scoring threat, he is a great defensive asset and ball-handler.
His future is now in a bigger doubt, as Chicago traded Butler and acquired Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, who are likely to form the new backcourt. Rondo, would be paid $13.4 million (3 million being guaranteed) if Chicago take the option. Reports are suggesting that Chicago do want to waive him and re-sign him for a cheaper deal, which would facilitate the rebuild. He may not see as much minutes in Chicago, but he could have options for a good payday at Indiana or New Orleans.
16. Otto Porter Jr. – WAS (SF)
13.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 apg
In 2014-15, Otto Potter Jr was named the Shaqtin-a fool MVP. Not the greatest honour a player wants to receive. Since then, he has not looked back. This season, he was an important member of the revitalised Wizards under Brooks and was a reliable scoring option for the team. His defence improved and he made himself a lethal shooter from downtown, with 43% 3-point accuracy (148 made baskets).
With his improved performances over the last 2 seasons, there is no reason why he won’t get a big money contract with the Wizards as they look to try and make deeper playoff runs. He even received a compliment from Shaq himself on TV (after the twitter row between Shaq and JaVale McGee). The best way to earn a good contract is to have a great season just when you enter free agency. Being a restricted free agent, it gives the Wizards
a chance to match any offer.