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2015 Free Agent Power Rankings

The Finals start Thursday, and free agency begins in less than a month, so the time is right for another check on how the NBA’s top 2015 free agents stack up. There’s a strong chance that everyone in the top 10 will sign maximum salary deals this summer, the last before projected leaps in the salary cap will make max contracts even more lucrative. Regardless, one Cavalier has widened his lead for the No. 1 spot, while another is on a slide:

  1. LeBron James (player option) — Absent Kevin Love and a hobbled Kyrie Irving, the Cavs stormed through the Eastern Conference on their way to the finals thanks in large measure to LeBron’s tour de force. If there was any doubt that he’s still the best player in the game, and this year’s best potential free agent, there is none now, just as there’s no doubt that he’ll re-sign with Cleveland. Last ranking: No. 1
  2. Kawhi Leonard (restricted) — A year ago, the performance that Leonard put on in the Finals, when he scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for just the second time in his career, seemed like an outlier. Now, having averaged 20.3 points per contest over San Antonio’s seven-game series loss to the Clippers, the Defensive Player of the Year has evolved into a two-way beast for opponents. None of them will be getting their hands on him this summer, as the Spurs seem poised to re-sign him for the max once they’re done pursuing the next two guys on this list. Last ranking: No. 3
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge — The power forward will likely have the capacity to dictate the offseason for several teams, as he seems a safer bet to change locations this summer than anyone in the top six of this ranking. It doesn’t appear as though he wants to hold up the affairs of half the league with a lingering decision-making process, having said that he’ll probably make a fairly swift choice. The Spurs, Mavs, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics and, of course, the Blazers are among those apparently hoping he chooses them. Last ranking: No. 4
  4. Marc Gasol — Gasol’s most recent public comments included lines that seem like optimistic signs for both the Grizzlies and the Spurs, whom the Grizzlies reportedly fear most as a suitor for the 30-year-old. Still, San Antonio will first go after Aldridge, as Portland’s big man is viewed as more obtainable than Gasol, according to Marc Stein of The Mavs, Knicks and Lakers are apparently ready to test the notion that Gasol’s ties to Memphis are just too strong for him to leave. Last ranking: No. 5
  5. Kevin Love (player option) — Love again said this past weekend that he plans to be back in Cleveland, just as he told Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group in January that he planned to opt in. Rumors persisted, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said a month ago that the Cavs had legitimate fear that he’ll leave. Still, that was before Cleveland marched to the Finals without him, opening questions about his value to the Cavs and others. Last ranking: No. 2
  6. Jimmy Butler (restricted) — Derrick Rose took more shots than he did, but Butler averaged more points than his teammate did in the playoffs, further indication of the transformation of the former No. 30 overall pick into the focal point for the Bulls. He was also an All-Defensive Second Team selection, so it seems the Bulls won’t change course from their plan to give the max to their restricted free agent. Last ranking: No. 6
  7. Greg Monroe — Monroe doesn’t rebound like DeAndre Jordan, the next man on this list, and he doesn’t have Jordan’s playoff experience. Monroe does have a polished offensive game and shoots 75% from the line, and that, along with improved defense, gives him the nod. Last ranking: No. 7
  8. DeAndre Jordan — The Clippers center might not be as valuable as Monroe, but it’s clear that even a player with his sharply limited offensive range will be sought after. Doc Rivers indicated that he’ll offer Jordan the max to stay with the Clippers, though the Mavs appear to be a serious threat. Regardless, it appears that once Aldridge decides what he’s going to do, Monroe and Jordan will have a ton of sway over the market. Last ranking: No. 8
  9. Draymond Green (restricted) — Nearly unlimited defensive versatility plus averages of 14.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs leave little doubt why Green’s retention will be a priority for the Warriors. Golden State’s brass has given every indication that they intend to match all offers for him, according to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. Last ranking: No. 10
  10. Goran Dragic (player option) — The point guard would reportedly be less likely to re-sign with Miami if the Heat don’t retain Dwyane Wade, but it’s otherwise seemed as though the Heat are well out in front to keep the player for whom they relinquished two first-round picks at the deadline. The Lakers, Knicks, Pelicans, Kings and Bucks are other teams expected to make a go at Dragic to see if he’ll change his mind, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote recently. Last ranking: No. 9

As we’ve done a couple times when we’ve delivered previous versions of these rankings, we’ll show the next 10 most powerful free agents:

Check this list for a full register of 2015 NBA free agents.

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2 thoughts on “2015 Free Agent Power Rankings

  1. MattB

    You can remove Al Jefferson from this list. He’s officially opted in for next year.

    Also, I don’t see how Greg Monroe could be ranked above DeAndre Jordan. Is it simply that Monroe is a more realistic target for more teams? If it’s simply based on their skill sets, I’m certain a majority of GMs would rather have Jordan if both are to be paid the max.

  2. Chuck Myron

    We’ll definitely take him off when we do our next version of the list. The numbers show Monroe performed surprisingly well on defense last season; not to Jordan’s level, certainly, but enough that, considering Monroe’s superior offensive skills, it makes him a slightly more valuable player.

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