Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff 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 playoffs ongoing at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Jerami Grant, Nuggets, 26, PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $27.3MM deal in 2018

The Nuggets are on the verge of elimination again despite the increased offensive production of Grant. He scored a playoff-high 26 points in Denver’s lone win against the Lakers in Game 3, then added 17 points in Game 4. The trust that coach Michael Malone has in Grant defensively against the Lakers’ jumbo lineups was apparent – he played a total of 77 minutes in those two games. Grant has a $9.35MM option on his contract for next season. Prior to the restart, Grant said he was likely to decline it and test the free agent waters. It’s doubtful he’s changed his mind.

Dwight Howard, Lakers, 34, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019

Howard piled up more fouls than points in Games 2 and 3 against Denver. Instead of Howard losing playing time, coach Frank Vogel surprisingly decided to start him in Game 4. The former Defensive Player of the Year delivered a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) in 23 minutes. He’s a dinosaur by current NBA standards – an aging center who can’t stretch defenses. But every once awhile, Howard reminds everyone he can still be a factor. It’s easy to see the Lakers signing him to another short-term deal.

Dion Waiters, Lakers 28, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $500K deal in 2020

Waiters got a chance to revive his career when the Lakers signed him to a rest-of-the season contract in March. The opportunity was there for Waiters to crack the rotation in the postseason but ineffectiveness and a groin injury have rendered him a non-factor. He’s only appeared in five playoff games, totaling 10 points (no threes) in 38 minutes. Given his controversial history, the fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft will probably be scrounging for a veteran’s minimum deal.

Derrick Jones, Heat, 23, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.16MM deal in 2018

It’s been a rough restart for Jones. He had a bout with the coronavirus, then suffered a neck strain during a collision in the seeding games. He also dealt with an ankle injury during the opening round of the playoffs. His biggest problem now is he’s out of the rotation. The emergence of Tyler Herro and the presence of veterans Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala has limited him to a total of 30 unspectacular minutes against Boston. Jones will be an unrestricted free agent and he’ll draw some interest, but his price tag may have dropped this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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22 thoughts on “Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

  1. Sillivan

    Knicks need everything
    Knicks can offer Grant overpay contract if Clippers sign and trade Harrell to another team

    • Arnold Ziffel

      Why would Grant want to play for the Knicks, worst organization in sports?

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Keeping count. Now it’s up to 12 players we are signing. And 10 players we are trading for. You understand next yr. Is the biggest FA yr in history. No one wants to get locked in to big contracts this yr. Relax and take a breath.

  2. Rewane

    Grant: versatile defender, good cutter with hops for dunks, and decent shooter from 3, a great role player to have on any team. Nuggets should lock him up through his prime. 4/60
    Howard: decent rim protector whose only offense is putbacks and catching lobs, and pretty much every team has that kind of center who’s ten years younger than him. Playing with great passers like LeBron and Rondo also helped him to get a lot more lobs. Unless Warriors want him or Rockets micro ball is gone with D’Antoni, signing with Lakers for minimum again gives him the best mix between a role and a chance at title.
    Waiters: China, unless Warriors want him.
    Jones: Aside from crazy dunks a couple times every season, he is just Grant without a 3 point shot. Warriors and Heat are pretty much the only teams with enough collective playmaking to make him useful on offense. Probably a minimum deal for one of the teams if he wants to be in a playoff team, unless Rockets want him as their new center.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The Rockets are not bringing back Dwight Howard, that’s just crazy. They’re far more likely to sign Boogie Cousins than him.

      • Rewane

        They aren’t likely to sign either of them. I sadly believe Cousins is washed at this point.

      • GoLandCrabs

        I love how you said Howard was a terrible signing at the time. The man has been everything the Lakers needed and more.

    • Sillivan

      After signing Grant
      Then Nuggets have 17 million left for 4 players
      Craig
      Milsap
      Plumlee
      Morris

      • x%sure

        They will probably skip Plumlee, who has not been playing well. This will increase the value of Milsap & Grant! Probably Grant will not feel loyalty to Denver for signing; Milsap might since he was on a $3/90 or some such.
        Monte Morris is signed per BasRef.

        • Rewane

          Milsap’s 35 and and playing 24 minutes per game in both regular season and playoffs. With MPJ emerging, it’s hard to justify paying him more than 10 million per year.

          • Rewane

            And I think he’s gone as teams who miss on AD might overpay him a long term deal.

            • bdpecore

              Nobody is going to give Millsap a long term deal considering he’s already 35. He’s better off signing 1+1 deals for the remainder of his career.

      • Rewane

        Plumlee for minimum, unless Milsap also wants to stay for minimum. MPJ Grant Jokic is their future playoff rotation for bigs, with Plumlee playing when Jokic rests.
        They can also let one of Craig and Morris walk, since a healthy Barton will replace one of them.v

        • x%sure

          That’s better, first offer a minimum to Plumlee& others.
          Vonleh picked a bad team to stay rostered on.
          Monte Morris is starter-quality IMO, depending on his endurance.

  3. Curtisrowe

    I think Jones is going to be fine. Miami is DEEP. They have guys that barely play that would be getting 25 minutes a game for most teams. Jones is 23 years old and can FLY. Him losing his rotation spot in the ECF isn’t going to hurt him all the much. He will be in demand.

    • DynamiteAdams

      Athletic guys that can’t shoot consistently fizzle out. There’s at least 2 or 3 of these guys in every draft class.

  4. bknowledge

    Nuggets need to bring back Jerami Grant. A core of Jokic/Murray/MPjr/Grant looks championship level. Hope Milsap will return and play 20 minutes as back-up center. Develop offensive sets for MPjr (at least half a dozen set plays). Hope Harris plays like he did 2 and 3 years ago or seek an upgrade and possibly trade him. I hope Noah Vonleh stays and they’re able to develop a role for him…I don’t understand why no team has been able to find 15 minutes a game for Vonleh as a stretch 4/5 that rebounds and defends.

  5. Grant is only player here that might command a larger contract. I expect Denver to be aggressive and keep him. He and MPJ are both 4’s, but they can play together some and Grant’s defensive flexibility will be hard to replace. If the Nuggets balk at a price, he’ll have suitors even in a tight cap space market. Knicks would be among the many good fits for him.

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    Leave the Knicks alone. None of you have a clue about them. Fact you answer silly, is all you need. He’s posted 15 different players we will sign. 10 trades we will do. And he’s probably better than the stuff you read. Knicks are rebuilding. We are not trying to win anything. A new coach is here to build value and a team concept. This is the youngest team in NBA. We are not making any major moves es till the end of yr. After we see what we got and where we are. It’s a rebuild. Something we haven’t done since Ewing. We have three picks in this draft. Thibs will work and evaluate players and team. Then they will make a move or two. Knicks are not killing their cap for next yr. So we are not signing VanVleet. Knicks are not signing any high priced FA till next yr. Why would be. Do you even know why ? We have about 30-35 million coming off books. They might go after Woods (10 mill). Or sign a backup center. Grant is not coming here or any player who will get major mins. Cause we have plenty of young players. Who need to play mins. So we can evaluate or get better or trade. In other words they need to PLAY. Our young’s guys need to PLAY. Otherwise we are stuck or we lose them for nothing. Thibs will always play to win. But the whole organization knows we are committed to rebuilding. And getting the young guys to grow. For that they need to PLAY . Get informed.

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