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.

Enes Kanter, Celtics, 28, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9.77MM deal in 2019

It’s difficult to pump up your value when you’re glued to the bench. That’s the dilemma for Kanter, who has dropped out of the Celtics’ big man rotation. Kanter averaged 15 MPG in the opening round against Philadelphia but coach Brad Stevens has gone with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III during the second-round series against Toronto. Save for a four-minute cameo on Thursday, Kanter has been a spectator. He has a $5MM player option for next season and the benching might compel him to take the guaranteed money and force the front office’s hands.

Goran Dragic, Heat, 34, PG (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $85MM deal in 2015

Perhaps we all forgot how good this guy can be. Dragic is getting a little long in the tooth and has battled injury issues, but he’s been fantastic on the Orlando campus. He’s been the most consistent offensive force for the surprising Heat, averaging 22.8 PPG and 5.0 APG against Indiana in the first-round sweep and 25.0 PPG and 4.5 APG in Games 1 and 2 against Milwaukee. Dragic could provide a major jolt for any playoff-caliber club and his price tag keeps rising.

Ben McLemore, Rockets, 27, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4.3MM deal in 2019

McLemore got off to a strong start in Orlando, including back-to-back 20-point games during the seeding round. As the playoffs have moved along, McLemore has seen his playing time diminish. He received 10 or fewer minutes in the last three games against Oklahoma City, as Russell Westbrook’s return affected his role. McLemore’s $2.3MM for next season isn’t guaranteed. The contract is cheap enough for the Rockets to retain him, but if that happens, there’s no guarantee he’ll be a rotation player.

Evan Fournier, Magic, 27, SG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $85MM deal in 2016

Fournier has a $17.15MM option on his contract for next season. It seemed likely prior to the stoppage of play in March that he’d opt out and test a weak free agent market. His career year hit a snag during the restart, as he battled a non-COVID related illness and then was generally a non-factor in the first-round series against Milwaukee. He shot 35.7% from the field, compared to 44.9% shooting during the regular season. With all the uncertainty surrounding next season, Fournier has more incentive to take the guaranteed money.

Noah Vonleh, Nuggets, 25, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2019

A lottery pick in 2014, Vonleh has already played for six organizations. It looks like he’ll be adding a seventh to his resume next season, provided he can find another NBA home. Vonleh made three brief appearances in the seeding round but his only action during the playoffs was a three-minute stint during a 37-point loss to Utah. It’s easy to forget that Vonleh started 57 games for the Knicks last season. There won’t be any teams valuing him as a starter this offseason; he’ll be fortunate to get another veteran’s minimum deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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13 thoughts on “Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

  1. Sillivan

    Stock price rises
    Dragic 2 years 40 million
    Crowder 3 years 30 million
    Free agents
    Jones
    Leonard
    Hill

    • Curtisrowe

      You said 2 years 20 for Crowder yesterday. If he has a good game tonight you thinking 4 years 40 million?

  2. Curtisrowe

    Fournier has REALLY hurt his value. He isn’t going to even sniff that kind of money again.

    • Magic 24/7

      Not really, GM’s will know that he was dealing with multiple health issues.

      Fournier was coming off of a season ending UCL injury to his shooting arm. It happened right before Covid shut down the NBA; and that of course disrupted his rehab until right before bubble. Only reason he played was because the delayed season created enough time for a potential return.

      Then immediately upon entering the bubble he got really sick; played through it a couple games but Magic were forced to shut him down until the playoffs began.

      Clifford said that Fournier couldn’t exercise at all entire bubble, much less practice…said he was never even remotely close to 100%. Up until the morning of game 1 of playoffs he was still listed as questionable.

      Not that it matters much as he was always more than likely to opt in to his final year with Magic anyhow.

      …and if he doesn’t, GM’s will know his health context + that the 6’7 SG in his 1st year entering peak prime put up 18.5ppg on 59.5 TS% including 39.9 3P% (37% on pull up 3’s / 44.3% on C&S 3’s)…and that he was in top 77th %ile of NBA as PnR ball handler.

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    McLemore isn’t a free agent. The Rockets will keep him next season on his team-friendly deal. Assuming they don’t find someone better to replace him.

    • wagner13

      No, but his contract is non-guarenteed, so they could potentially release him and make him a free agent. Although, as you mentioned, he’s dirt cheap and likely to be retained in a shooter-friendly offensive system

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Vonleh played ok for us. A good reb and plays D. He’s an athletic big. I’m surprised someone doesn’t give him a shot. I think he can be a good bench big. Rotation guy. Funny how some players kind of get lost in minds of teams. Young guys you’re suppose to coach up. Not give up on them. Can’t teach size. An athletic big does not come around all the time.

  5. x%sure

    For Dragic, “price tag is rising” from $19mil at present? Or from about $10mil, a likely projected future price, before the restart started. I think somewhere between.

    • Curtisrowe

      At 35 years old next year Dragic won’t be getting any sort of multi-year contract at big money.

  6. the dude

    Jimmy B has been vocal about Dragic being the best player hes played with

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Yeah but they sat him for awhile. He wasn’t even hurt. He never complained, he’s a pro. A scoring PG is what Im saying. Dragic is a FA making 19 mill. He’s 34 will be 35 in May. He absolutely can get 2-3 contract. It’s true after this can Heat let him go. Heat are all about cap space for next yr FA. That’s been their thinking. It’s why Dunn started all year. IMO Spoelstra got lucky. He buried Drajic. Then he played and he played well. So now he is riding him. But all yr Heat knew he was leaving. For the Sixers you don’t think he takes 2 yrs 40 mill. I know they have to open cap room. Even 3 yrs 50 mill. They compete for East. Heat are not signing him past a yr. I see Sixers with a good scoring PG. Right back on top of East.

    5-6-86

    • x%sure

      I wonder if Jimmy B would warn him against Philly. He would be good there but what does Embiid want, and is Brand listening?

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