Kurt Helin

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Who is left: 15 best free agents still on the board

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In less than a week, more than 60 players have found their home for next season — NBA free agency moved fast this summer. The owners were handing out multi-year deals like mini-Snickers bars on Halloween.

But there are still some guys out on the board that could help a team.

Below are who I have ranked as the 15 best players still available as of Monday morning. A few of them — specifically, the top three — are free agents in name only, we know where they are going to land. The race for others is wide open.

The best guys still on the board are:

LeBron James — He’s not leaving the Cavaliers; he’s just trying to use his free agency to get his boy Tristan Thompson a bigger deal. Those talks have stalled, so LeBron isn’t talking. He also isn’t leaving Cleveland.

Marc Gasol — It’s interesting that a deal isn’t done here yet, the Grizzlies’ owner was in Spain July 1 and there isn’t much to talk about as he is a max player. Whatever the reason for the delay, there is no rumbling around the league that he is suddenly available.

Tristan Thompson — He is going to be a Cavalier, the two sides reportedly were close to a deal but have not been able to close the final gap. Still, the restricted free agent isn’t talking to anyone else; he will remain a Cavalier. Once he signs, LeBron will start his negotiations.

David West — He will turn 35, but he’s still a rock solid power forward who can knock down the midrange shot for a team. He turned down $12 million from Indiana and is going to take a steep pay cut to go to a contender. The Cavaliers are considered the front-runners, but the Spurs and Clippers have interest as well.

Josh Smith — The power forward with the love of the three pointer (even though he shouldn’t take them so much) wanted to return to Houston, but they don’t have the money to offer what he wants. There have been talks with the Sacramento Kings, but those have been slow.

J.R. Smith — The Cavaliers have interest in the streaky two guard, but only at a price to their liking. Which may not be a price that Smith likes. There have not been reports of talks with other teams that are going to offer him more.

Enes Kanter — The Thunder are expected to retain Kanter’s rights, he gives them some offensive punch up front they need to balance out Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But no deal yet, and there are rumors the Knicks and Blazers may try to swoop in with offer sheets (which the Thunder could match).

Jeremy Lin — Dallas has been in talks with Lin about helping to fill in their hole at the point, and that may end up being a sign-and-trade with the Lakers to make the money work. If that doesn’t work out a number of other teams could be lurking including the Pacers, Bulls, Clippers, Spurs, and Lakers.

Mo Williams — There were reports early on that he wants to return to the Cavaliers, but they have other issues to take care of first (see the top of this list). Memphis has interest in him as well, and there could be a sign-and-trade with Charlotte. Wherever he lands, the team will get a solid, veteran backup point guard.

Gerald Green — The backup two guard who isn’t afraid to shoot drew interest from a few teams, but the top tiers of free agency still need to shake out before a deal for him falls in place.

Jason Terry — He wanted to stay with the Rockets, they were not so sure about this idea. Eventually someone will pick him up — he did shoot 39 percent from three last season — but there are no reports of serious interest for him right now.

Alan Anderson — Unlike the player above him on this list, there is a lot of interest in the 32-year-old shooting guard, Yahoo Sports says he is a popular target for teams looking to add to their bench. The Nets want to keep him, but if Anderson wants to be on a team that actually wins games, he will have a lot of options.

Jordan Hill — The Lakers overpaid him last year to be a trade chip, that didn’t work out, but he showed he can be a decent reserve big man. Given real structure and a role off the bench he can be useful. When teams strike out on their other big man options he will get calls.

Dorell Wright — You want shooting? He’s got shooting. More than half his attempts came from three last season, and he hit 38 percent of them. Portland initially wanted to retain him, but with the shake-ups there he could be on the move. No serious offers for him yet.

Matthew Dellavedova — The Cavaliers can’t let him go, he’s one of the most popular players on the team plus provides some feistiness on the court. He and the Cavs were reportedly getting close to a deal, but nothing is official yet.

Here’s a bonus 16th guy, just for fun:

Darrell Arthur — He’s a solid defender that a lot of teams might want to add at the four spot, plus he plays a smart game (well, except for taking more jumpers than he should). Talks with him should start to heat up as teams miss on other targets.

Cory Joseph reaches four-year, $30 million deal with Toronto

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs
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Early on Sunday morning, the San Antonio Spurs withdrew their qualifying offer to Cory Joseph. It was a salary cap move — they need the space for LaMarcus Aldridge — but it made Joseph an unrestricted free agent. Still, it was possible the Spurs would re-sign the Gregg Popovich favorite.

By Sunday afternoon, Joseph had reached a deal with Toronto.

Joseph himself announced it on Twitter.

Chris Broussard of ESPN broke the deal and had the financial details.

This is a good pickup for the Raptors. Joseph is a slasher whose game is to get to the rim — almost 40 percent of his shot attempts last season were within three feet of the rim, and he finished an impressive 60.2 percent of them. He can shoot the three, but he chooses not to very often.

Joseph will back up Kyle Lowry in Toronto, with rookie Delon Wright behind them.

Omri Casspi reaches two-year, $6 million deal to stay in Sacramento

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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Omri Casspi has a game that fits with what George Karl wants to do: He runs the floor well, and he shot 40 percent from three last season.

That — and the fact he is popular with teammates, including DeMarcus Cousins was enough to keep him in the fold.

Casspi and the Kings have reached a deal to bring him back, something the player himself confirmed on Twitter.

Marc Stein of ESPN has the contract details.

That’s a good deal for the Kings. Casspi was solid for the Kings last season playing more than 20 minutes a night and scoring 8.9 points a game in the ones where he played. It’s not a game changer of a signing, but it’s a quality, smart one.

The Kings could use this win right now.

Video: Tyler Johnson hits Summer League game-winner for Heat with .4 on clock

Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat
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Whether regular season or Summer League, we love us some buzzer beaters.

In case you missed it because you were grilling burgers and watching fireworks, NBA Summer League started on July 4 down in Orlando (it moves on to Denver and Las Vegas next week).

On Sunday, Tyler Johnson — who was up and down between the Heat and Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League last season — made a great cut to the basket with 0.4 on the clock, caught the ball and got the shot off at the rim to lead the Heat past the Nets.

Report: Detroit Pistons sign restricted free agent Reggie Jackson for five-years, $80 million

Reggie Jackson
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This seems steep. Was there anyone else going to make a big play for him?

The Detroit Pistons traded for Reggie Jackson last season, and he finished the year strong once he adjusted to Stan Van Gundy’s system. He looked good running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond. It was expected that the Pistons would want to retain him.

They did — for five years at $80 million. So reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Restricted free-agent guard Reggie Jackson has reached agreement on a five-year, $80 million extension with the Detroit Pistons, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy wanted to fully commit to Jackson as one of the franchise’s cornerstones and will do so with a substantial investment of $16 million per season. There is no player option in the contract, league sources said.

The question here isn’t should the Pistons have kept him — they did the right thing. He averaged 17.6 points a game with a PER of 19.8 after being traded to the Pistons (and his numbers near the end of the season were better than that). This is a guy they wanted to retain, someone Van Gundy sees as the future point guard for the Pistons.

The question is, did they have to pay him that much?

The Thunder a season ago offered him four-years, $48 million ($12 million per year) and he turned it down — that proved to be the smart move.

The Pistons rewarded him as a cornerstone player, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else saw him that way and would have bid within $10 million of that total price (if even that high). The Pistons could have let the market set his price and matched it. It’s a cold business, but the Pistons could have saved some money here.

That said, SVG lost Greg Monroe this year to a qualifying offer. He couldn’t risk that again, maybe that motivated the offer.

Also, with the cap about to spike by $40 million or so over two years thanks to the new television deal, the pain from overpaying a little here is not that serious. If he is as good as SVG believes, locking him in at this price will be a steal in a few years.