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The 18 best remaining free agents

SB Nation logoSB Nation 7/14/2017 Tim Cato

© Provided by Vox Media, Inc. NBA free agency is all but over. The biggest names were all signed a week into the month, and the middle-of-the-pack ones have gone steadily since then until almost none of them are left. Still, every team needs a solid eighth or ninth man coming off the bench, and more rotations haven’t been finalized so far than have. That leaves us with the best players who are still on the free agency market.

Players likely only headed to one team

Nerlens Noel

The restricted free agent and the Mavericks were “not close” to a deal on Wednesday, according to a league source, but the team is still the extremely heavy favorites to sign him before the summer is up. It’s only a matter of time, and whether someone else decides to extend him an offer sheet that would inevitably be matched. (There aren’t many teams left with cap space.)

Pau Gasol

Gasol opted out of his deal with the San Antonio Spurs which would have paid him $16.2 million next season. It must have took some convincing by San Antonio, who wanted flexibility for the summer, but they will presumably reward Gasol now that their plans fell through.

Mason Plumlee

It’s impossible to gauge what Denver thinks of Plumlee, who they acquired last year for Jusuf Nurkic. They have an excess number of players in the front court already, but Plumlee is a restricted free agent, so there’s also no reason to let him go elsewhere. The most likely option might be Plumlee taking the qualifying offer for a year.

Nikola Mirotic

Mirotic is another restricted free agent, and a player who the Bulls have said they’d love to keep. With time, he’ll probably re-up with Chicago.

Jonathon Simmons

Despite the Spurs maybe renouncing his restricted free agency rights (although that wasn’t totally clear), it still seems most likely that the player discovered by the Spurs will end back up with them. UPDATE: Guess not! Simmons signed a three-year deal with Orlando.

Manu Ginobili

Either Ginobili has said, “I think I can still play,” but his decision to return or retire next season is still up in the air. If he returns, of course, the only option is the Spurs.

Alex Len

The Suns are presumably set on retaining their restricted free agent center, especially given the only other two on the roster are 34-year-old Tyson Chandler and 6’7 Alan Williams (if you can even call him that). Marquese Chriss could (and probably should) slide up there at some point, too, since his outside game doesn’t appear to be developing.

JaVale McGee

The Warriors are the only team that accentuates McGee’s strengths enough that his weaknesses don’t overtly shine through. (To be fair, McGee also played one of his best years of basketball.) Since he didn’t get a huge offer on the open market, there’s a good chance he returns somewhat cheap to Golden State.

David Lee

This one is iffier than any player listed above, but Lee was a successful rotation player in San Antonio last year after struggling to be that in any of his stops since Golden State. He declined a player option, but may end up returning there anyway.

Players who could be headed anywhere

Derrick Rose

Does anyone want Rose? He averaged 18 points on 47 percent shooting last year, a way higher percentage than the previous seasons. But given his inability to hit threes and declining free throw rates, he’s still not a highly efficient player, not to mention a poor defender.

Shabazz Muhammad

After a couple decent seasons with the Timberwolves, Muhammad may be able to carry on the decent role playing with another team as well. Plus, he shot 34 percent from three last season, which isn’t too bad.

Tony Allen

It appears the Grit ‘N’ Grind days are over, and Allen may be moving on from Memphis. That’s sad, and his effectiveness is almost gone, but he’s a good veteran on the bench for someone, you’d think.

Rajon Rondo

Chicago’s young players really seemed to enjoy Rondo as a veteran. But despite those two games in the playoffs against Boston, it does seem like his days of being an effective NBA player in virtually any role on the court are just about done.

JaMychal Green

It’d make sense for him to return to Memphis, and that still seems like the frontrunner, but after weirdness on the Fourth of July and virtual silence ever since, who knows.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

This is the player you sign on, like, July 24 for the minimum, and then he ends up starting 38 games for your favorite team. It’s not great, but at least it’s decent value. And hey, he shot 39 percent on threes last year, his best number behind the arc yet.

Deron Williams

Despite barely showing up in the Finals, Williams was actually quite good during the regular season. Still, he’s not consistent.

Andrew Bogut

Another Mavericks castoff from last season, Bogut is reportedly healthy and ready to go. Still, his injury history would scare anyone off, and he probably shouldn’t make more than the minimum. Also, do fellow teammates appreciate his locker room presence?

Ty Lawson

What a dramatic rise and fall of a career. Lawson was incredibly average last year in Sacramento if anyone needs an extremely backup point guard.

Brandon Jennings

Another incredibly average point guard, but if you must have one ...

RELATED SLIDESHOW: Free agents on the move (provided by USA TODAY Sports)

Derrick Rose: From New York to Cleveland NBA free agency: Players on the move


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