We’re nearly six weeks into the NBA’s 2019 free agent period, and the market has been just about picked clean. None of our top 50 free agents of 2019 remain on the board, and news of free agent signings within the last week or two has focused primarily on non-guaranteed training camp invitees.
Still, our list of remaining 2019 free agents features some interesting names. Roster spots around the NBA are becoming scarce, but a number of unsigned players could help out contending teams. Some of these players could sign in the coming days or weeks, while others may have to wait for injuries to open up opportunities.
In a series of posts, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the most noteworthy free agents still on the board, breaking them down by position. That series starts today with a list of some of the most intriguing veteran guards on the open market.
Let’s dive in…
- Shaun Livingston: When Livingston was waived by the Warriors a month ago, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the veteran point guard was “determined” to continue playing. If that’s the case, it’s surprising that a player with his championship experience hasn’t found a new NBA home yet. A June report had indicated that Livingston would seriously consider retirement, so that scenario shouldn’t be ruled out. Golden State will likely offer him a role with the team if he chooses to retire.
- Jeremy Lin: Although he was a member of the NBA champion Raptors last season, Lin wasn’t part of the club’s postseason rotation, playing garbage-time minutes in eight playoff games. The 30-year-old expressed frustration with his free agency last month, wondering aloud if the NBA has “given up” on him. However, he also doesn’t appear ready to seriously pursue overseas options — talks with CSKA Moscow reportedly broke down in late July.
- J.R. Smith: Although he sat out most of the 2018/19 season, Smith was technically under contract with the Cavaliers up until last month. He’s a free agent now and met with the Bucks before they signed Kyle Korver. I expect a team in need of outside shooting help to roll the dice on Smith at some point in the coming months, but that’s not a lock.
- Jamal Crawford: The only update we’ve heard on Crawford so far this offseason is that the Suns renounced his free agent rights. However, he said back in the spring when the regular season was winding down that he had no plans to retire this year, so the lack of summer rumors doesn’t mean he has given up on finding a new NBA contract. In April, the 39-year-old said that finding a good fit would be his top priority this offseason. We’ll have to wait to see if that fit is still out there for him.
- Chasson Randle: Randle emerged as the Wizards’ backup point guard following John Wall‘s injury last season, and played pretty well in a part-time role, averaging 5.5 PPG and 2.0 APG with a .400 3PT% in 49 games (15.2 MPG). That performance hasn’t earned him a new NBA contract yet, but given how few point guard options are left on the market, I’d expect a suitor to come calling this fall, especially once clubs start to get hit by injuries.
Raymond Felton, Devin Harris, and Jose Calderon are among the other veteran point guards still available. All three have been productive backups in the past, but they’re now 35, 36, and 37 years old, respectively. Their days as regular rotation players are probably nearing an end, if they’re not over already.
Isaiah Canaan never seems to be any team’s first choice as a backup at the point, but he has suited up in regular season games for six different clubs over the last four seasons. It wouldn’t be surprising if he adds a seventh (and maybe an eighth) team to that list in 2019/20. Isaiah Briscoe, who briefly claimed the backup role in Orlando last season before suffering a torn meniscus, could be an interesting developmental project for a team if he’s healthy — he’s only 23 years old.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.