The majority of the players still available on the unrestricted free agent market are unsigned for a reason. Many of those free agents are coming off down years or didn’t play all that much during the 2016/17 season — they had a negligible or negative impact on their respective teams last year, and aren’t expected to be major difference-makers next year either.
Still, several players still on the market were regular rotation players for their teams last season, and many provided steady and reliable production during those regular minutes. Some of those free agents are coming off lucrative contracts and may have entered July with aspirations of landing a mid-level type deal. At this point in the NBA offseason calendar though, most are unlikely to secure more than minimum salary contracts, which could make them intriguing bargains for teams still looking to fortify their rosters.
Here are the 10 remaining unrestricted free agents who saw the most action during the 2016/17 season, along with their total minutes played and minutes per game:
- Monta Ellis, Pacers: 1,998 (27.0)
- Tony Allen, Grizzlies: 1,914 (27.0)
- Matt Barnes, Kings/Warriors: 1,777 (24.0)
- Deron Williams, Mavericks/Cavaliers: 1,657 (25.9)
- Dante Cunningham, Pelicans: 1,649 (25.0)
- Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves: 1,516 (19.4)
- David Lee, Spurs: 1,477 (18.7)
- Jason Terry, Bucks: 1,365 (18.4)
- Randy Foye, Nets: 1,284 (18.6)
- Boris Diaw, Jazz: 1,283 (17.6)
Several players on that list are on the decline — Williams was a weak link in the Cavs’ rotation in the postseason, and guys like Barnes, Lee, Terry, and Diaw probably don’t have much left in the tank. Still, they all have NBA Finals experience, and could still be useful bench pieces for teams that aren’t expecting them to play 25 or 30 minutes per night.
Ellis and Muhammad, meanwhile, have holes in their games that will make teams hesitant to invest too heavily in them, but their scoring ability certainly makes them worth a roll of the dice on a minimum deal. The same can probably be said of Foye, who has struggled with his outside shot in the last couple seasons, but is still a 36.6% career three-point shooter.
Allen and Cunningham are perhaps the most intriguing names here. Allen earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team last season and is still viewed around the league as one of the game’s most tenacious perimeter defenders. That’s a valuable skill set for a contender. As for Cunningham, the 30-year-old has been a steady frontcourt piece for the Pelicans and Timberwolves over the last several seasons, and added a new wrinkle to his game in 2016/17, averaging 1.1 3PG with a .392 3PT%. If he continues to show that ability to stretch the floor, he’d be a fit for most clubs.
In addition to the players noted above, Gerald Henderson (23.2 MPG), Brandon Rush (21.9), and Andrew Bogut (21.6) are among the current unrestricted free agents who earned consistent minutes last season, but missed chunks of the year due to injury. Henderson remains injured and may miss the entire 2017/18 campaign, but Rush and Bogut should be players of interest for clubs still scouring the market.