All 50 of the players we identified as 2021’s top NBA free agents prior to the start of the new league year last month have come off the board, many of them within hours of the start of free agency. Nearly all the players we listed in our “honorable mention” have found new homes as well.
However, a few of those honorable mentions remain unsigned, as do a handful of other noteworthy veterans. There are many players worth mentioning, and the full list of current NBA free agents can be found right here, but today we’re singling out 10 vets who fall into three particular categories. Let’s dive in and have a look…
- J.J. Redick: Redick is one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, having converted 41.5% of his 4,704 career attempts. However, a heel injury slowed him down in 2020/21, and he has stated he’s in no rush to sign a new contract for ’21/22. When he’s ready, he’ll likely favor a team close to his home in New York, with the Nets and Knicks believed to be atop his wish list.
- James Ennis: Ennis has been a regular NBA role player for the last several years and is coming off a season in which he converted 43.3% of his three-pointers. He has reportedly drawn interest from the Lakers, Bulls, Trail Blazers, and Magic, among other teams, and seems unlikely to remain unsigned for much longer.
- Garrison Mathews: Mathews emerged as a rotation player for the Wizards while on a two-way contract during the last two seasons, making 38.9% of his threes in 82 total games (15.4 MPG). His solid play earned him a qualifying offer this summer, but Washington pulled that offer on the table during the first week of free agency, making Mathews an unrestricted free agent.
- Mike Scott: A veteran stretch four, Scott had a bit of a down year in Philadelphia in 2020/21, but still has a .381 3PT% over the last four seasons, an impressive mark for a player who is also capable of battling big men in the paint. The 76ers signed Georges Niang to replace Scott, but the 33-year-old should catch on somewhere.
- DeMarcus Cousins: Cousins isn’t the same player who earned four All-Star berths and two All-NBA nods earlier in his career, but he wasn’t bad down the stretch with the Clippers this past season, averaging 7.8 PPG and 4.5 RPG on .537/.421/.682 shooting in 16 games (12.9 MPG). Like the other players in this group, he’s not a plus defender, but he can provide some second-unit scoring punch.
- Jahlil Okafor: Recently waived by the Nets, who were facing a roster crunch, Okafor has played for four teams since being drafted third overall in 2015 and has seen his minutes steadily decline during that stretch. He’s still a solid inside scorer, but his lack of an outside shot limits his effectiveness on offense, and he’s not the sort of center who’s comfortable switching onto perimeter players on defense.
- Isaiah Thomas: Like Cousins, Thomas has been limited in recent years by health issues. But he claims he’s back to full strength after being bothered by a long-term hip injury, and has worked out for teams like the Lakers and Mavericks in an effort to prove it. It’d be great to see Thomas get another shot, but his injury history and defensive shortcomings have made teams wary.
- Avery Bradley: Once a coveted three-and-D wing, Bradley has seen his stock dip in recent years as he has bounced around the NBA. Since being traded from Boston to Detroit in 2017, he has played for six different teams. Still, Bradley’s the sort of solid veteran that should eventually end up on a 15-man NBA roster, especially if and when teams start getting hit by the injury bug.
- Frank Ntilikina: Defense was never a problem for the former lottery pick, but he hasn’t developed enough of an offensive game to be considered a reliable two-way player. A return to Europe could be a possibility for Ntilikina, who reportedly drew interest from Virtus Bologna before the Italian team signed Ty-Shon Alexander.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Hollis-Jefferson had a pretty solid year in Toronto in 2019/20, showing the ability to bring energy off the bench and guard multiple positions. So it was a bit of a surprise that he didn’t get a chance to play in ’20/21 until the Blazers gave him a shot during the season’s last two months. He’s still only 26 years old — a team in need of a hard worker and tough defender could do much worse with its 14th or 15th roster spot.