NBA OPINION: Free Agents that can still help a contender

NBA OPINION: Free Agents that can still help a contender

A lot of big-name free agents in the NBA were either on the move or stayed with their own team this offseason. With most rosters set for next season, there are limited roster spots or salary cap for a contender to dish out a huge paycheck to available free agents. However, there are still a handful of them that could still have a strong impact on a contender.

Some of these players are veterans who still have some gas left in the tank. Other younger players may take a short-term deal to improve their stock when they retest free agency in a year or two. Some teams may address their bench depth with either a veteran minimum deal or a trade exception, or a sign-and-trade.

Some of the Best Free-agents Still Available

Isaiah Hartenstein

What Isaiah Hartenstein Declining His Player Option Means For The Cleveland  Cavaliers

The 23-year-old big man had a much bigger role during the second half of last season when he was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers from the Denver Nuggets. A slight uptick in production and minutes during the latter part of the season makes front offices wonder what his potential ceiling is. Isaiah Hartenstein averaged 8.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.2 blocks in sixteen appearances for the Cavaliers.

Jarred Vanderbilt

Jarred Vanderbilt Has Been the Anti-Ant Man | Zone Coverage

The Minnesota Timberwolves dealt with a lot of injuries and an off-the-court incident with Malik Beasley. Jarred Vanderbilt took advantage of the few opportunities he had as he moved the ball as well as fighting for rebounds. He had a true 61.2 true shooting percentage last season for the Timberwolves and hit 71.7 percent of his shot attempts that were close to the rim for the Iowa Wolves.

Paul Millsap

Report: Warriors, Nets interested in free agent Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap is certainly not the 4x All-Star player like he once was but would bring his veteran experience to any team that chooses to sign him. He may not play 25 minutes+ like once he did. He has the ability to create scoring opportunities for others, shoot from behind the arc, rebound the ball, and block a few shots. He averaged 9.0, 4.7 RPG, and 1.8 APG for the Denver Nuggets.

JJ Redick

Pelicans deal JJ Redick to Mavericks | NBA.com

Like Millsap, JJ Reddick is beyond his prime but brings his veteran experience along with him. After getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks from the New Orleans Pelicans. Redick had a tough time getting minutes on the court, which held him to his lowest production since the 2009-10 season. However, he may have a role on a contender that is looking for a sharpshooter who shot 37.1 percent from downtown last season.

Lauri Markkanen

Sources - Cleveland Cavaliers get Lauri Markkanen from Chicago Bulls in  sign-and-trade, part of 3-way deal with Portland Trail Blazers

Lauri Markkanen is arguably the best free agent available and has yet to receive a good offer after a few teams like the San Antonio Spurs expressed interest in signing him this offseason. After averaging 18.7 points in 32.3 minutes in 2018-19, the once-promising prospect has struggled to find a key role with the Chicago Bulls. His key attributes are his size and his ability to knock down the three-ball as he shot 40.2 percent from behind the arc.

*(Update: Markkanen has signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier today).

Honorable mentions: Langston Galloway, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jabari Parker, DeMarcus Cousins, Dante Exum, Avery Bradley, Frank Ntilikina

 

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