Free Agent Stock Watch: Restart Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. With the seeding games winding down at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Carmelo Anthony, Trail Blazers, 36, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.16MM deal in 2019
Remember when Anthony’s reps were practically begging teams to give their client one more chance to play in the league? Carmelo took advantage of his opportunity with the Trail Blazers, finally accepting his new status as a role player instead of being the No. 1 offensive option. He’s turned it up a notch in Orlando during the Blazers’ run to the play-in round. The slimmed-down Anthony has reached the 20-point mark four times in eight games and made 46.9% of his 3s, while also being a factor on the boards (6.9 RPG). He won’t have to lobby for another contract after this season, nor will he have to accept the veteran’s minimum again.

Brandon Ingram, Pelicans, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $23.8MM deal in 2016
It’s not that Ingram was terrible in Orlando. It’s just that the Pelicans stunk up the joint and the stench clung to everyone involved. Following a breakout season which earned him an All-Star selection, Ingram was unable to carry his team into the play-in round. New Orleans’ poor performances left everyone wondering whether the roster should be reshaped, especially with the front office owning a boatload of draft picks. And Zion Williamson isn’t going anywhere. So while Ingram will still get rewarded handsomely in restricted free agency, is he worth franchise-player type money? There’s no guarantee now the Pels will match if he gets a giant offer sheet.

Cameron Payne, Suns, 26, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.17MM deal in 2020
Payne was on the free agent market this summer and was signed to fill an open roster spot prior to the restart. Phoenix didn’t bring him in simply for insurance. He appeared in all eight seeding games as a backup point guard, averaging 10.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 3.0 APG in 22.9 MPG. Though he signed a two-year contract, only $25K of that money for next season is guaranteed, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently noted. The way Payne performed in Orlando, he should have no trouble staying on the roster and earning the rest of his $1.977MM salary for 2020/21 as a second-unit player.

Tyler Johnson, Nets, 28, PG/SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $217K deal in 2020
Johnson signed a four-year, $50MM offer sheet with Brooklyn four summers ago but Miami chose to retain him. He finally wound up with the Nets in free agency and got just over $200K in a rest-of-the-season deal. No matter. Johnson was happy to get fresh start and it has shown during Brooklyn’s gritty performances in Orlando. He’s averaged 12.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 3.0 APG in 24.3 MPG and can now continue his push for another contract during the postseason. If the Nets don’t retain him, Johnson should easily find a home as a second-unit combo guard.

Jerian Grant, Wizards, 27, PG/SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $197K deal in 2020
Grant was signed as a substitute player in June after Davis Bertans opted out of the restart. Grant called it a “dream come true” to play for his hometown team, but he didn’t give the Wizards much incentive to re-sign him to an NBA contract. He appeared in six restart games, averaging 4.5 PPG and 1.5 APG in 13.3 MPG while shooting 25% from long range. Grant spent most of the season with the Wizards’ G League team and he may have to go that route again or look into overseas options.

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21 thoughts on “Free Agent Stock Watch: Restart Edition

  1. hiflew

    Brandon Ingram has talent and loads of potential, but he really seems to me like he going to be a bad contract for someone in a couple of years. I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before, but he just feels like a bad risk for anything close to a max deal.

  2. Sillivan

    Honestly I can only pay Ingram 4 years 100 million because of injury issue

  3. Sillivan

    I am not trading Wiggins 95 million salary for Ingram if he signs 181 million contract offseason

  4. Simmons>Russ

    Always doubted Ingrams fit in the Pelicans with Zion. Not that I doubt him or his talent I think he’s a solid young player but just not with those teammates.

    I personally think what suits Brandon Ingram the best is a team where he is getting a lot of touches on offence to score himself or create for others. He also suits not playing underneath someone who will make all the decisions and make Ingram a clear second fiddle. Ingram is either a first or second option and because of that I don’t think he suits many playoff teams.

    I think he gets the max because of his age and proven ability. I’m not sure if the Pelicans give him that but I’m sure someone will.
    I think Atlanta would make sense. Him and Trae Young become a solid 1-2 duo who share ball handling roles. Trae off the ball could be an amazing spot up shooter.
    Another place which makes sense is San Antonio.
    They don’t have a huge amount of youth going forward. White is closer to 30 than 20 now, Murray had a tough year coming off his big injury, Keldon Johnson didn’t really get any minutes up until the bubble and Lonnie Walker looks promising but also doesn’t get much time.

    Personally I’d love to see the Hawks trade with GSW to get Anthony Edwards for SG then throw a max offer at Ingram. Which would give them a real starting 5 of Young Edwards Ingram Collins and Capela. Collins looks like his next deal will be expensive maybe having a starting 5 like this would be good in evaluating him. How much does he contribute compared to the teams other building blocks. Could easily replace him with a stretch 4 for spacing and still be a very solid team

  5. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Why would anyone pay Melo more than the vet minimum?

    He has to play for a team like Portland that can hide him on defense.

    • MalikM98

      ah yes, they can hide his defence by not playing any defence….Its genius!

    • MalikM98

      Ah yes, Blazers can hide his defence by not playing any defence…..It’s genius!

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        Both Melo and McCollum are liabilities on defense, more the former than the latter. No way will they be asking Melo to guard LeBron, that’s a terrible mismatch for them. He will likely guard Kuzma, which is perfect since neither of them play any defense.

  6. x%sure

    Happy about Payne & Tyler Johnson getting their chances; they both have good things to offer but need the right spot. Payne is small, sharp, smart.
    Brooklyn will have many roster options 20/21. TJ would be a good anti-Irving, if such a thing is workable.
    I never saw the point to Jerian Grant.
    Maybe Ingram should move on. The season went on too long for what he was trying. NOLA should offer a 1+1max in case ZW cannot last either.
    Melo should go to a team with as strong a leader as Lilliard; like Portland.

  7. wagner13

    Does Melo re-sign with Portland after they were confident enough in his ability to give him a shot, or does he go with the best offer on the market?

  8. KnickerbockerAl

    Melo is having a nice run with Blazers. I doubt anyone is giving him more than minimum. He don’t deserve more. At least he can end his career with some dignity. Cause Blazers can use a bench scorer. He plays this way for a contender. He can help them. But I would not pay more than 3-4 mill.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Exactly, no one is going to pay him more than the minimum since he’ll be turning 37 during the 2021 season. Not even the Blazers will.

    • El Don

      Melo has been real good! One of the positive surprises of the season after over 1 year without playin’ at all! He is still easily in the top quarter of the league, so I fail to see how he doesn’t deserve more than the minimum.
      Are you telling me that right now PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers, Ty Gibson, Frank Ntilikina & so on are better than him? They are paid more but are so much worst than him.
      He is a HoF lock & shows when it matters, like in the game yesterday against MEM. The guy is a winner.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        Anyone who truly understands basketball would take PJ Tucker over Melo in a heartbeat. He’s an elite defender, one of the best in the NBA. I remember last year when they were deciding who played for team USA and people didn’t understand why Tucker deserved to be there. The difference between him and Melo on defense is vastly greater than it is on offense.

        • El Don

          I forgot PJ is about to hit the 25K points like Melo has already done! How silly of me, right?

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Come on bro. Melo had his shot. Don’t get me started with Mello. I got more him than Har en lol.
    I’ll admit he is playing well. He’s in shape and even playing D. I haven’t seen Melo play D in at least 5 yrs. If he played like this with Rockets. They could of had a nice run. He had to hit bottom to rise again. I’ll tell you what. If he plays smart. Plays as part of team. And takes good shots (still can shoot). He will get good looks. Plays D best he can. The Blazers could go7. Anything can happen in 7. He can turn all haters around. OK …. Melo show us. Shut us up. OK

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The leaving the D out of Harden is so 5 years ago. He’s not just playing defense these days, he has become one of the most effective low post defenders in the NBA. People are often surprised by this because he’s only 6-5, but he almost always defends their opponent’s center or PF. Comparing him to Melo is ridiculous, they’re not even close. Sure Melo won a bunch of gold medals in the olympics, but he will never be one of the top 5-10 players in NBA history they way James Harden will be once his amazing career is over.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Dude you know your Homer glasses. Makes you seem dumber at basketball than you really are. It does to most of us I guess. Low post. Rockets don’t have a low post player.
        Rockets team D stats. I’ll look it up for you K
        23rd in NBA pts allowed 115 pts a gm. Worst team is Atl at 130 pts a gm.
        25th in opponent FG 42.3. Worst is Cle 43.9%
        I can post D stats. Even do Har ens. Really won’t matter to you right. Truth is if they win it shouldn’t matter. Truth is they gave up a true rim protector. They are among worst D teams in NBA. That’s just the facts. If you are happy with Har en and his stats glory. That’s all that matters right. They will never win with him. This is a team gm. Not a stats game. Or an offense only game. It’s team defense and team offense that win titles. And great players yes. But great players play team ball and both ways. Har en hasn’t shown that yet.
        Like Melo time will pass him by. He won’t care cause he had the glory. And you will still be a Rockets fan looking for a title. Melo did that to us. I see the same with Har en. I’m a team guy. Don’t care about glory guys.

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