2019/20 NBA Free Agents

Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2019

The NBA’s new league year is set to begin on Sunday night, and this year’s free agent period should be a fun one. Several big-market teams have enough cap room for one or more stars, and as cap expert Keith Smith notes (via Twitter), the 2019 free agent class projects to be the biggest in NBA history in terms of total players hitting the market.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2019/20 NBA season. The players on this list are on track to become free agents tonight, though they won’t be able to officially finalize new deals until July 6.

Our rankings take into account both a player’s short-term and long-term value. If we were to consider solely a player’s worth for the 2019/20 season, a veteran like J.J. Redick would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Terry Rozier, might be ranked a little lower.

Our top-50 list is a tag-team effort, with Clark Crum’s rankings incorporated along with my own.

In addition to the players listed below, there are plenty of other notable free agents available this summer. You can check out our breakdowns of free agents by position/type and by team for the full picture.

Here are our top 50 free agents of 2019:


1. Kawhi Leonard, F, Raptors
In rampaging through the Magic, Sixers, Bucks, and Warriors en route to an NBA championship, Leonard made a strong case for the title of Best Player in the World. He’ll get as much money and as many years as league rules allow from any team he wants to join. Leonard’s suitors include the Raptors, Lakers, Clippers, and Knicks.

2. Kevin Durant, F, Warriors
Leonard’s prime competitor for that Best Player in the World title, Durant earns the second spot on this list despite being in the very early stages of the recovery process from a torn Achilles. Even though he’ll miss the entire 2019/20 season, he still has a chance to get the biggest free agent contract of the summer if he returns to the Warriors on a five-year, $221.6MM deal. He’s also expected to consider the Clippers, Nets, and Knicks, with his decision set to come tonight.

3. Kyrie Irving, G, Celtics
It was a tumultuous year in Boston, and there are questions about Irving’s attitude and locker-room influence, but it’s hard to deny his on-court production (23.8 PPG, 6.9 APG, .487/.401/.873 shooting). Irving is considered very likely to sign a four-year, maximum-salary deal with the Nets.

4. Jimmy Butler, G/F, Sixers
After taking a back seat to his star teammates at times in Philadelphia, Butler showed in the Eastern Semifinals against the Raptors why he’s considered a max-salary player in his own right. Butler was the Sixers’ most consistent player in those seven games, going toe-to-toe with Kawhi Leonard and helping push Toronto to the limit in the toughest series of their title run. The Rockets and Heat are both pursuing sign-and-trade possibilities with Butler.

5. Klay Thompson, G, Warriors
Like his teammate Durant, Thompson won’t be healthy to start the 2019/20 season after suffering a major leg injury in the NBA Finals. And as is the case with Durant, a major injury doesn’t really diminish Thompson’s value. Despite his torn ACL, he’s expected to reach a five-year, maximum-salary deal with the Warriors.

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2019 NBA Free Agent Power Rankings 2.0

When we published the first installment of our 2019 NBA free agent power rankings back in September, there were a few more big names on track for the open market next summer. However, Karl-Anthony Towns – who placed No. 2 on that list – signed a rookie scale extension with the Timberwolves and Myles Turner did the same with the Pacers.

With those top restricted free agents off the board, there are still a handful of 2019 RFAs-to-be who show up in our top 20, but the very top of our list consists almost exclusively of players who will be unrestricted free agents.

That should make 2019’s free agent period particularly interesting. After all, even if Towns hadn’t signed an early extension with Minnesota and was still on our list, there would be little drama surrounding his free agency — the Wolves had the ability to match any offer and would have done so, if necessary.

That’s not the case for unrestricted free agents though. This year’s top FAs, including Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard, could secure slightly longer and more lucrative contracts if they stay with their current teams, but otherwise there’s nothing stopping them from jumping ship. And there are no guarantees they won’t do so, which could make 2019 one of the most exciting NBA offseasons in recent years.

With all that in mind, our updated list of the top potential free agents for 2019 is below. Extensions, injuries, breakout years, trades, and poor performances figure to affect these rankings over the course of the 2018/19 campaign, so we’ll be revisiting the list again before the end of the season to make updates and changes.

Our list reflects each player’s current expected value on the 2019 free agent market, rather than how we think they’ll perform on the court for the 2018/19 season. For instance, older players like J.J. Redick and Brook Lopez have solid short-term value, but didn’t crack our top 20 because they’re unlikely to sign huge, long-term deals next summer. In other words, age and long-term value is important.

Here’s the second installment of our 2019 NBA free agent power rankings:

  1. Kevin Durant, F, Warriors (player option)
  2. Kawhi Leonard, F, Raptors (player option)

While Durant is probably 2019’s clear-cut top free agent, he and Leonard belong in a tier of their own as the only players who are mortal locks to get long-term, maximum-salary contracts if they stay healthy the rest of the way. They’re two-way monsters who are among the NBA’s top five players when they’re at their best. Durant is three years older than Leonard, but that won’t prevent him from securing a huge payday next summer.

  1. Jimmy Butler, G/F, Sixers (player option)
  2. Kyrie Irving, G, Celtics (player option)

If Durant and Leonard are Tier 1 free agents, Butler and Irving are in Tier 1A. They’ll surely get maximum-salary offers, but there’s uncertainty about whether they’ll get five full years at the max.

While Butler is an elite two-way player, interested teams may have concerns about his stints in Chicago and Minnesota ended. As for Irving, he has battled multiple injuries in recent years and isn’t nearly as strong a defender as the three players ahead of him on this list, though the 26-year-old’s offensive play-making and shot-making make him one of the league’s best players.

  1. Khris Middleton, G/F, Bucks (player option)
  2. Klay Thompson, G, Warriors

It’s possible I’m weighing this year’s performance too heavily here, but the truth is there may not be much difference between Middleton and Thompson in terms of their market value. Both players are excellent three-and-D wings who can knock down outside shots in bunches and handle tough assignments on the defensive end.

Middleton is a year and a half younger than Thompson and is more of a play-maker than Klay (4.0 APG vs. Thompson’s 1.8). He’s also knocking down 41.9% of his three-point attempts this year, while Thompson is making a career-worst 35.0%. Thompson may very well surpass Middleton on this list by season’s end, but for now I want to reward the Bucks swingman for his terrific start.

  1. Tobias Harris, F, Clippers
  2. Kemba Walker, G, Hornets

It seems unfair to rank Walker this low, given how good he has been for Charlotte this season. But his shooting numbers (.440 FG% and .358 3PT%) aren’t elite and he’ll be 29 when he reaches free agency. His position and size also make him less versatile than Harris, the 26-year-old forward who has posted a red-hot .508/.416/.852 shooting line this season as the scoring leader for one of the NBA’s best teams. Both of these guys will get paid big money, and would be among the top five free agents available in many other years.

  1. Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Knicks (RFA)
  2. Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic

It’s hard to judge the relative value of these two players. One is a 23-year-old unicorn who was a lock for a five-year max before suffering an ACL tear. The other is a veteran who has taken a massive leap so far this season and is putting up career-best numbers virtually across the board. I’m giving Porzingis the edge because I think teams would still be more willing to heavily invest in him long-term, given his age and potential.

It will be interesting to see how motivated the Knicks are to get Porzingis back on the court this season — if he returns and looks great, he might inadvertently sabotage the Knicks’ tanking efforts while increasing his appeal to rival suitors.

  1. Nikola Mirotic, F, Pelicans
  2. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Warriors

Between these two bigs, I’m giving Mirotic the edge over Cousins, since an Achilles injury is one of the most difficult ailments for an NBA player – particularly a center – to come back from. It’s certainly possible that Cousins could move into the top 10 by season’s end. For now though, he’s still rehabbing that Achilles injury in an effort to get back on the court, while Mirotic is posting career-best numbers (18.9 PPG, 10.0 RPG, .465 FG%) as the stretch four in New Orleans.

  1. Harrison Barnes, F, Mavericks (player option)
  2. Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies (player option)
  3. Al Horford, C, Celtics (player option)

I’ve grouped these three players together because they all fall into a similar boat, as their massive player options for 2019/20 may dissuade them from actually opting out and becoming free agents. While they could do very well for themselves on the open market, they might not be able to exceed the amount of those option salaries on new deals. Barnes’ and Gasol’s options are both worth $25MM+, while Horford’s is worth $30MM+.

As for their rankings, Barnes gets the edge due to his age and his versatility. Gasol is having the best season of the three, but will turn 34 in January, limiting his ability to get a long-term contract. Horford is in a similar position, as he’ll be 33 by next July.

  1. Eric Bledsoe, G, Bucks
  2. D’Angelo Russell, G, Nets (RFA)
  3. Terry Rozier, G, Celtics (RFA)

Of these three point guards, Bledsoe is having the best season so far, running the point for one of the NBA’s top teams and scoring more efficiently than ever (.519 FG%). He’s also a strong defender and will still be on the right side of 30 when he reaches the open market.

Rozier and Russell are trickier players to assess. Rozier has taken a step backward in 2018/19 after proving his worth down the stretch last season. Russell is having his best season, but still hasn’t made huge strides toward stardom, and continues to face questions about his defense. Given the nature of restricted free agency, I think they’ll both do very well on their next contracts.

  1. Julius Randle, F/C, Pelicans (player option)
  2. DeAndre Jordan, C, Mavericks

Randle gets the nod over Jordan here due to his youth and the fact that he still has room to improve. Still, despite his abilities as an inside scorer and rebounder, Randle won’t become a truly elite free agent unless he develops more as an outside shooter or rim protector.

While Jordan’s rim protection was once his calling card, he’s blocking just 1.1 shots per 36 minutes over the last two seasons after averaging 2.3 up until that point. As he enters his 30s, he’s no longer the defensive anchor or Defensive Player of the Year candidate he used to be, though he’s still a solid interior defender. His improvements at the free-throw line also increase his value — he’s making foul shots at a 75.8% rate this year after flirting with 50% for most of the rest of his career.

Also receiving strong consideration (in alphabetical order):

Disagree strongly with any of our rankings? Feel like we omitted any players that should be in the top 20? Weigh in below in the comment section to let us know!

And for more names, be sure to check out our full 2019 free agents lists, sorted by position/type or by team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Free Agent Power Rankings 1.0

The list of remaining 2018 free agents continues to dry up, which means it’s nearly time to shift our focus to the group of players on track to reach the free agent market in 2019. We’ve got a full list of those 2018 free-agents-to-be, divided by position and FA type, and a separate list that sorts them by team.

Since we’re still nearly 10 months away from the 2019 free agent period opening, those lists look a little more star-studded now than they’ll end up being. A handful of top-tier restricted free agents figure to sign extensions with their current teams before opening night in October, and it’s possible that a couple veterans will be extended in the coming months as well. Kevin Love, for instance, was eligible to reach the open market in 2019 up until he signed a four-year, $120MM extension with the Cavaliers.

Still, even though not all of the top potential 2019 free agents will reach the open market – and not all of them will change teams if they do – the current list includes so many big names that it should still look pretty impressive when next July rolls around.

Below, we’ve taken our first crack at ranking some of the top potential free agents for 2019. While this is our first extended look at 2019’s top free agents, it certainly won’t be our last. Extensions, injuries, breakout years, trades, and poor performances figure to affect these rankings over the course of the 2018/19 season, so we’ll be revisiting the list every month or two to make updates and changes.

Our list reflects each player’s current expected value on the 2018 free agent market, rather than how we think they’ll perform on the court for the 2018/19 season. For instance, older players like J.J. Redick and Trevor Ariza have solid short-term value, but weren’t considered for our top 20 because they’re unlikely to sign huge, long-term deals next summer. In other words, age and long-term value is important.

Here’s the first installment of our 2019 free agent power rankings:

  1. Kevin Durant, F, Warriors (player option): One of the top two players in the NBA, Durant has taken below-market deals in each of the last two years, but 2019 could be the summer in which he makes up for it — the Warriors will finally have his full Bird rights, meaning he could sign a five-year deal worth a projected $221MM+.
  2. Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Timberwolves (RFA): Towns is a near lock to sign an extension with the Timberwolves before the October 15 deadline, with both Tom Thibodeau and team owner Glen Taylor expressing confidence it’ll get done. While there are some concerns about Towns’ defense and reported tension in the Minnesota locker room, his age, his offensive game, and his durability would make him one of the NBA’s safest long-term investments if he somehow reached the open market.
  3. Kawhi Leonard, F, Raptors (player option): The fact that Leonard ranks this high after missing all but nine games with a quad injury last season and then forcing his way out of San Antonio is a testament to his talent. So far this offseason, reports on his health have been positive. If he looks like the old Kawhi in 2018/19, he has the potential to rise the top of this list by next July.
  4. Jimmy Butler, G/F, Timberwolves (player option): One of the best two-way wings in the NBA, Butler can do a little bit of everything — over the last four seasons, he has averaged 21.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.8 SPG with a .461/.352/.848 shooting line, earning four consecutive All-Star nods. He should have several suitors when he reaches the open market next summer.
  5. Klay Thompson, G, Warriors: Thompson has earned a top-five spot on this list for now due to his otherworldly outside shot, his underrated perimeter defense, and his durability — he has missed just 21 total regular season games in seven NBA seasons. He may be the third option for the Warriors, but Thompson would be a bona fide star and a perennial threat for the league’s scoring title if he played for a team that leaned on him more heavily.
  6. Kyrie Irving, G, Celtics (player option): Irving will likely rise on this list if he shows that his knee issues are behind him and has a healthy 2018/19 campaign. He’ll only be 27 years old next summer, and teams will be willing to accept his defensive shortcomings to get his offensive play-making into their lineups, so his health will be the primary X-factor — he has missed at least seven games in each of his NBA seasons, including 61 over the last three years.
  7. Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Knicks (RFA): Like others on this list, Porzingis’ upside outweighs his health concerns, but his ranking could fluctuate depending on how he looks upon returning from his ACL tear. Of course, the Knicks could take his name off this list entirely by locking him up to a rookie scale extension by October 15.
  8. Khris Middleton, G/F, Bucks (player option): Giannis Antetokounmpo deservedly receives the lion’s share of the attention in Milwaukee, but Middleton has developed into one of the most effective wings in the NBA, averaging 20 PPG for the first time last season while starting all 82 games and chipping in 5.2 RPG and 4.0 APG. Throw in his .391 career 3PT% and his dangerous length and wingspan on defense, and Middleton will be in line for a substantial raise in 2019.
  9. Kemba Walker, G, Hornets: Walker isn’t a top-five NBA point guard, but he’s a two-time All-Star who might look even better if he got the opportunity to play alongside a second star. A Hornet since 2011, Walker is fond of the city and the franchise, so it will be interesting to see if he stays put or seeks a free agent opportunity that puts him closer to title contention.
  10. Myles Turner, C, Pacers (RFA): Although injuries and the arrival of Domantas Sabonis diminished Turner’s impact in 2017/18, the 22-year-old capable of protecting the rim (1.8 career BPG) and making outside shots (.353 3PT% over the last two years). He should only get better, and if he reaches restricted free agency, an up-and-coming organization looking for a young building block may put pressure on the Pacers with an aggressive offer sheet.
  11. Tobias Harris, F, Clippers: Harris reportedly turned down an extension offer from the Clippers worth about $80MM, so he seems to be betting on a major payday in free agency — if the 26-year-old keeps playing like he did after being traded to L.A. last season, he should get it. In his first 32 games for the Clippers, Harris recorded 19.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.1 APG with a .473/.414/.800 shooting line.
  12. Al Horford, C, Celtics (player option): Horford is one of a few players on this list who may ultimately exercise his player option rather than opting out. He remains one of the NBA’s most underrated and effective frontcourt players and could probably secure one last lucrative multiyear contract next summer, but his $30MM+ player-option salary will be tough to turn down.
  13. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Warriors: This spot seems simultaneously too high and too low for Cousins, who is one of the NBA’s most productive players when he’s healthy, but is still recovering from an Achilles tear, one of the most challenging injuries for an NBA player to return from. Even if he looks good for the Warriors in the second half and helps the team win another title, Cousins will essentially be a role player for the star-studded squad, which will limit his chances of signing a massive long-term deal in 2019.
  14. Goran Dragic, G, Heat (player option): Coming off his first All-Star performance, Dragic’s stock is high, but he’ll turn 33 years old next May and there’s no shortage of productive point guards around the NBA. His market won’t bottom out, but he won’t be signing a $100MM contract either.
  15. DeAndre Jordan, C, Mavericks: Jordan opted for a one-year contract this summer, presumably expecting a more player-friendly market in 2019. That’s certainly possible, but as this list shows, there will also be more elite free agents available than there were in 2018, which will work against the veteran center. He’ll also turn 31 next summer, and his shot-blocking numbers have fallen off sharply in recent years. While his ability to rebound, defend, and finish at the rim should earn him a solid deal, Jordan probably won’t be one of 2019’s most sought-after free agents.
  16. Julius Randle, F/C, Pelicans (player option): After settling for a short-term, mid-level contract in 2018, Randle will look for a big year playing next to Anthony Davis. He’ll be 24 when he returns to unrestricted free agency, assuming he declines his 2019/20 player option.
  17. Terry Rozier, G, Celtics (RFA): Of the restricted free agents on this list, Rozier is the most likely to switch teams, given the presence of Irving and Marcus Smart in Boston. The Celtics will have to make sure they can re-sign Irving before making letting Rozier get away, but he’d be a nice fit for a young team in need of a point guard, such as the Suns or Magic.
  18. Eric Bledsoe, G, Bucks: Bledsoe was inconsistent as a Buck, but he’s still just 28 years old and is capable of being a strong defender and play-maker when he’s making the right decisions. A year under new head coach Mike Budenholzer could help improve his stock.
  19. Harrison Barnes, F, Mavericks (player option): Like Horford, Barnes may simply decide to opt into the final year of his contract if he determines he won’t be able to top his $25MM+ player-option salary. If he chooses free agency, he’s the sort of three-and-D wing who would look good to a lot of teams as a second or third option.
  20. Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies (player option): 2017/18 was mostly a lost season for Gasol and the Grizzlies, but the veteran big man continued to impress, adding a three-point shot (.362 3PT% over the last two years) to complement his ability to rebound, defend, and score and pass out of the post. Staying healthy will be a key component in Gasol’s option decision next summer — a healthy year could earn him one last big contract, but he’ll be 34 in January and will probably pick up his option if he struggles through an injury-plagued season.

Disagree strongly with any of our rankings? Feel like we omitted any players that should be in the top 20? Weigh in below in the comments section to let us know!

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Free Agents By Team

Hoops Rumors’ up-to-date list of 2019 free agents by team is below. These are players who are eligible for restricted or unrestricted free agency after the 2018/19 season.

This list will continue to be updated throughout the 2019 offseason, so be sure to use it and our list of 2019 free agents by position/type as points of reference. Both lists can be found anytime under “Hoops Rumors Features” on the right-hand sidebar of our desktop site, or in the “Free Agent Lists” section of our mobile menu. If you have any corrections or omissions, please contact us.

Updated 9-15-19 (2:54pm CT)

Atlanta Hawks

  1. Justin Anderson
  2. Alex Poythress (two-way)

Boston Celtics

  1. Jonathan Gibson

Brooklyn Nets

  • None

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2019 NBA Free Agents

Hoops Rumors’ up-to-date list of 2019 free agents is below. Each player’s 2019 age is noted in parentheses.

These are players who are eligible for restricted or unrestricted free agency after the 2018/19 season. They either finished the ’18/19 season on an NBA roster or were unsigned at season’s end, but appeared in at least 10 games. A handful of noteworthy former players who are reportedly generating NBA interest also appear in the list.

This list will continue to be updated throughout the 2019 offseason, so be sure to use it and our list of 2019 free agents by team as points of reference. You’ll be able to access this list anytime under the “Hoops Rumors Features” menu on the right sidebar on our desktop site, or on the “Free Agent Lists” section of our mobile menu. If you have any corrections or omissions, please contact us.

Updated 9-15-19 (2:54pm CT)


Unrestricted Free Agents

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers

Two-Way UFAs

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Centers

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

There are no restricted free agents left on the market.


Player Options

There are no player option decisions remaining. All player option decisions for the 2019/20 season can be found right here.


Team Options

There are no team option decisions remaining. All team option decisions for the 2019/20 season can be found right here.


Non-Guaranteed Contracts

The list of players who have non-guaranteed salaries for 2019/20 can be found right here.


Contract information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.