The NBA’s wild July free agent market is winding down. The big names went first — LeBron James switching teams on July 1 — followed by players on the next tiers, and it moved fast this summer with players realizing the market was tight and grabbing what they could. Now, teams are rounding our rosters with their final deals, two-way contracts, and some guys just getting invited to camp.
Still, there are a few notable free agents out there, several few of them restricted, looking for their next contract. Guys who could help a variety of teams. Guys who can get some buckets, block some shots, and just make plays. Most (after the top few) who will sign for minimum contracts at this point).
Here are our top seven free agents still on the market:
1. Clint Capela (restricted). He’s going to be a Rocket next season — other teams are not making offers for him — the only question now is the price. Capela believes he is a max or near-max player (his max from the Rockets is five-years, $148 million). He averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds a game (with a 24.5 PER), shot 65.2 percent, blocked 1.9 shots a game, plus was a crucial part of the Rockets starting lineup and switching defense. The Rockets were 4 points per 100 better with him on the floor. The Rockets offered him five-years, $85 million, which most years would be below his market value (things feel different in this tight market). Does Capela ultimately take that life-changing money (he has only made $6 million in his career), or does he play for the $4.7 million qualifying offer next season then become an unrestricted free agent in 2019?
2. Rodney Hood (restricted). No free agent to saw his stock fall as far last season as Hood — he went into last season as the expected go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz, and by the end of the season couldn’t get off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench). With the Cavaliers expected to match most offers (at least realistic ones), no team has been willing to roll the dice on a 6’8” wing who can get buckets, which also in part speaks to his need for an image upgrade. At this point no team is jumping in with an offer, he will remain a Cavalier, the only question is will it be for the $3.4 million qualifying offer or can the sides work out another deal.
3. Jamal Crawford. His age is going to scare some teams off (he’s 38), but the man can still get buckets. Not as efficiently as he once did, but the former Sixth Man of the Year can still score the rock (10.3 points per game last season). He’s also good in the locker room. He would bolster a lot of benches, (the Warriors have long been rumored with a minimum deal, Crawford should have other options as well at that price).
4. Greg Monroe. He bounced between the Bucks, Suns, and Celtics last season. Monroe’s game is old-school — he plays below-the-rim — but in the post he scores efficiently, and he will pull down some boards. It’s not the style a lot of teams are looking for in their big man, but as a reserve center he can help teams. Someone will jump in to grab him soon.
5. Dwyane Wade. He can’t do it every night, he has to be on a program to monitor his knees and get rest, but the man can still dial it up for a stretch and remind everyone he is one of the best two guards the game has ever seen. The question here is does he retire? If not, does he spurn Miami to go play in China (he reportedly has been offered three-years, $25 million by the Zhejiang Golden Bulls)? He could decide to return to the Miami Heat for one more season, a farewell tour.
6. Trevor Booker. He bounced between Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Indiana last season (he fit in and played well for the Nets and Pacers), and it’s a bit of a surprise a team has not picked up a solid rotation player at the four or five. Most of his shots come within 10 feet of the bucket, but he is efficient on those. The Cavaliers reportedly have expressed interest.
7. Nick Young. He played 17 minutes a night for the NBA champion Warriors last season (he didn’t exactly flow in their offense, or play great defense, but he hit some threes, shooting 41 percent from deep, and made some plays). A number of teams (including the Rockets) have expressed interest, just no deals yet. He needs to get one, the league is just more fun with Swaggy P in it.