The Best Free Agents not named “LeBron” or “Melo”
NBA News: Best Available Free Agents
For the last four years Dwayne Wade has been LeBron’s right hand man in Miami and has two more rings to show for it. But the “Big 3” era in South Beach appears to be in jeopardy. Not only has each player opted out of their contracts, but Wade has been battling knee problems that stem from having his meniscus removed 11 years ago when he was at Marquette. I’d put my money on Wade returning to Miami, but at far less than a max deal.
Often viewed as the weakest link of the “Big 3” Chris Bosh is still a proven double-double machine and is expected to command quite a hefty salary in free agency. It’s reported that Bosh is looking to sign a five-year deal worth between $80 million and $90 million contract. Bosh will likely wait until the rest of the “Big 3” make a decision before choosing a team.
At just 24 years old Eric Bledsoe is the up and coming point guard that a lot of teams are looking for. This past season Bledsoe flourished with a change of scenery in Phoenix, and he doubled his scoring output with an average of 17.7 points to go along with 5.5 assists per game this past season. But the best part about Bledsoe may be that he is still developing, and does not appear to have reached his ceiling just yet. As a restricted free agent, the Suns will have a chance to match any offer made to Bledsoe.
At 38 years old, you might as well call Tim Duncan the “Energizer Bunny.” This guy just keeps going, and going! Last season he averaged over 14 points and nearly 10 boards a game. With 4 NBA titles to his name it’s rather likely that Duncan will re-sign with the Spurs at a significant discount.
After nearly a decade of being the centerpiece of the Chicago Bulls, Luol Deng was shipped to Cleveland halfway through last season. Whichever team signs him, will get a great defender, who can put nearly 20 points a game and almost seven boards a game. Deng is at his best when he is slashing to the hoop, and he is pretty consistent at knocking down the 18-foot jumper.
He may be best known for blowing in LeBron James ear during the playoffs, but Lance Stephenson is more than just a jokester. Stephenson had a breakout year for the Pacers averaging over 13 points a game and over 7 boards a game. Reportedly the Pacers have already offered a five-year deal worth $44 million, but Stephenson is looking for more.
For years now it seems that the Los Angeles Lakers have been trying to move the 7-foot Spaniard. With this the odds are fairly good that Pau Gasol will be playing his home games somewhere other than the Staples Center next season. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Gasol has shown that he can still put up his career averages of 18 points a game. So far, both the Thunder and Bulls have emerged as possible landing spots for Gasol.
Viewed as one of the young building blocks of the Pistons, Detroit can match any contract offer Greg Monroe receives. At only 24, Monore has proven that he can get you a double-double nearly every time he steps on the court. This skill set should go a long way in securing top dollar for his next contract.
Notable free agent signings:
Marcin Gortat: resigned with Washington for 5 years, $60 million
Kyle Lowry: resigned with Toronto for 4 years, $48 million
Dirk Notwitzki: resigned with Dallas for 3 years, reportedly in the $30 million range
Rudy Gay: opted into player option with Sacramento for $19.3 million
Zach Randolph: opted into player option for $16.5 million along with a 2 year extension for $20 million.