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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2022

The NBA’s 2022 free agent period will tip off in less than two weeks, with teams and players permitted to agree to tentative deals as soon as June 30.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2022/23 NBA season.

While most of these players are on track to become unrestricted or restricted free agents, some have player or team options for ’22/23. Our list only includes the players we view as realistic bets to become free agents, which means a vet like Russell Westbrook, who is extremely unlikely to decline his $47MM+ player option, isn’t included. A player like Trey Lyles, who will almost certainly have his team option exercised, also doesn’t show up on this list.

Players who have contracts for next season aren’t listed here either, even if they’re candidates to be released. That group includes players like Danilo Gallinari, whose $21.45MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed for $5MM.

We’ll update this list periodically leading up to June 30 to reflect the latest option decisions. For example, if James Harden picks up his player option for 2022/23, he’ll be removed from this list, with everyone below him moving up a spot and a new player entering the mix at No. 50. If Gallinari is waived, he’d be a good candidate to move into the top 50, bumping the 50th-ranked player off the list.

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 2022/23 season, veterans like P.J. Tucker and Thaddeus Young would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Donte DiVincenzo or Nic Claxton, might be ranked lower.

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 2022:

1. Bradley Beal, G, Wizards
Four or five players have a legitimate case to be considered this summer’s top free agent. I’m giving the nod to Beal despite a disappointing 2021/22 season in which he was limited to 40 games and made just 30.0% of his three-pointers. Even in his down year, Beal continued to expand his ability as a play-maker, posting a career high 6.6 APG. And in each of the two prior seasons, he averaged more than 30 points per game. He’s entering his age-29 season, so there’s no reason not to believe a bounce-back year is in the cards, along with a potential $200MM+ contract this summer.

2. Zach LaVine, G, Bulls
Despite being affected by a knee issue in 2021/22, LaVine has averaged 25.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG on .491/.404/.851 shooting in his last two seasons in Chicago, earning his first two All-Star nods. By all accounts, his knee injury – which he addressed surgically in May – shouldn’t be a long-term concern, so the 27-year-old is in line for a massive payday this offseason, likely from the Bulls.

3. James Harden, G, Sixers
Harden appeared to be on track for the biggest contract of any of this year’s free agents, but an underwhelming 2021/22 season by his standards (22.0 PPG, 10.3 APG, .410/.330/.877 shooting) has raised some new concerns — and forcing a trade for a second consecutive year didn’t exactly burnish his image. Harden will turn 33 years old in August, so it’s conceivable that this season represented the start of his decline rather than a blip on the radar. Of course, even if Harden doesn’t recapture his MVP form, he’s still one of the NBA’s most talented play-makers and a dangerous scorer. He and the Sixers appear likely to compromise on a lucrative shorter-term deal.

4. Deandre Ayton, C, Suns (RFA)
The Suns didn’t give Ayton the five-year, maximum-salary contract extension he wanted a year ago and seem unlikely to put that offer on the table now that he’s a restricted free agent. That has opened the door for a possible Ayton exit, especially if another team is willing to offer him a four-year max deal (worth a projected $131MM). The Suns will do their best to create the impression they’ll match any offer sheet so that any rival suitor serious about landing the former No. 1 overall pick will have to negotiate a sign-and-trade.

5. Jalen Brunson, G, Mavericks
After locking up their first-round pick from the 2018 draft last year when they extended Luka Doncic, the Mavericks will face a more complicated negotiation this year with 2018’s second-rounder. Brunson has steadily improved in each of his four NBA seasons, putting up 16.3 PPG and 4.8 APG with a .502/.373/.840 shooting line in 2021/22. Perhaps most impressively, he thrived in the playoffs both with and without Doncic available, averaging 21.6 PPG overall as the Mavs got to within three games of the NBA Finals. Dallas faces serious competition from the Knicks and will likely have to give Brunson a fifth year and an annual salary of $25MM-ish to retain him.

6. Miles Bridges, F, Hornets (RFA)
Bridges reportedly passed on a four-year extension offer worth approximately $60MM last fall, which was the right call at the time and only looked smarter as the season progressed. As a restricted free agent this summer, it’s not out of the question that Bridges could double that figure. The 24-year-old forward saw his three-point percentage dip a little in 2021/22, from 40.0% to 33.1%, but otherwise improved across the board, establishing new career highs in PPG (20.2), RPG (7.0), and APG (3.8) while playing solid defense and exhibiting first-rate durability — his 2,837 minutes ranked second in the NBA.
Note: Bridges was arrested on felony domestic violence charges on the eve of free agency.

7. Anfernee Simons, G, Trail Blazers (RFA)
After generating buzz for years as a prospect, Simons began seriously delivering on that promise in his fourth season, averaging 17.3 PPG and 3.9 APG with a .405 3PT%. He boosted those numbers to 23.4 PPG and 5.8 APG with a .423 3PT% following Damian Lillard‘s abdominal injury. The Trail Blazers cleared space for him both on their cap and in their lineup by trading CJ McCollum in February, so it would be a surprise if he doesn’t remain in Portland.

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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2021

The NBA’s free agent period will tip off on Monday evening at 5:00 pm central time, with deals permitted to be officially consummated as of Friday at 11:01 am CT.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2021/22 NBA season. The players on this list are on track to become free agents tonight.

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 2021/22 season, veterans like Danny Green and P.J. Tucker would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Talen Horton-Tucker or Josh Hart, might be ranked a little lower.

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 2021:

1. Kawhi Leonard, F, Clippers
Leonard’s free agency is reminiscent of Kevin Durant hitting the market in 2019 after suffering a torn Achilles. An injured Durant earned a four-year, maximum-salary deal two years ago, and Leonard could do the same this offseason, despite an expectation that he’ll miss much of next season while he recovers from ACL surgery. A reunion with the Clippers appears likely for Kawhi, who chose Los Angeles in 2019 despite having just won a title in Toronto.

2. John Collins, F, Hawks (RFA)
Collins bet on himself when he turned down Atlanta’s reported extension offer of $90MM+ over four years last offseason. He should do better than that as a restricted free agent, and he might not even have to go shopping for an offer sheet — recent reports have indicated rival suitors aren’t optimistic about their odds of prying him away from the Hawks.

3. Chris Paul, G, Suns
Two years ago, suggesting that Paul might turn down the $44MM+ option on his contract for 2021/22 would’ve gotten you laughed out of the room. But after earning All-NBA Second Team honors and leading Phoenix to its first NBA Finals in nearly three decades, Paul is poised for one last big payday after opting out of his previous deal. Rumors are circulating that he and the Suns will work out a new three-year contract worth at least $90MM.

4. Kyle Lowry, G, Raptors
Lowry isn’t in the conversation alongside Paul as one of the all-time best point guards, but there are plenty of similarities between the two veterans, who both have a major impact on winning that goes beyond the box score. Count the Heat, Mavericks, and Pelicans among the many teams that recognize Lowry’s value — they all reportedly made him their top free agent target, with Miami currently considered the frontrunner to land him.

5. Mike Conley, G, Jazz
There’s no shortage of All-Star veteran point guards on this year’s free agent market, and you could make a case that Conley is a safer long-term bet than Paul or Lowry, given their respective ages. It sounds like the Jazz are prepared to make that bet on Conley to the tune of a three-year offer worth upwards of $25MM annually.

6. Jarrett Allen, C, Cavaliers (RFA)
The Cavaliers surrendered a first-round pick for Allen earlier this year and are unlikely to let him get away, even after using the No. 3 overall pick to draft Evan Mobley, whose best long-term fit may be at center. Allen appears to be in line for a long-term deal in the range of at least $15-20MM per year, and that number could creep even higher if a suitor with cap space emerges to put some pressure on the Cavs.

7. Lonzo Ball, G, Pelicans (RFA)
Although Ball has taken positive steps forward – shooting a career-best 37.8% on three-pointers in 2020/21 – and has earned praise from star teammates Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans seem lukewarm on the idea of bringing him back, having been linked to a handful of other free agent point guards in recent weeks. If New Orleans misses out on its top targets, perhaps its relationship with Ball will continue. Otherwise, the Bulls look like the top suitor to watch.

8. DeMar DeRozan, G/F, Spurs
DeRozan’s lack of a three-point shot (he has made 35 in the last three seasons) is an oddity for a wing in the modern NBA, but his mid-range game is deadly and he has become a legitimately dangerous play-maker, averaging a career-best 6.9 assists per game in 2020/21. DeRozan probably won’t make $27.5MM per year on his next deal like he did on his last one, but he’s one of the most talented offensive players available this summer and shouldn’t be overlooked.

9. Norman Powell, G, Trail Blazers
Powell picked a good time to have a career year, racking up 18.6 PPG on .477/.411/.871 shooting in 69 games for Toronto and Portland. He’s a versatile contributor on both offense – where he can comfortably score at the rim or knock down a corner three – and on defense, where he’s capable of guarding multiple positions. He’s a lock to get a raise on last year’s $10.9MM salary.

10. Dennis Schröder, G, Lakers
Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension offer worth more than $80MM during the season, perhaps believing that he could squeeze the Lakers for a more lucrative deal in the offseason. Now that Los Angeles has agreed to trade for Russell Westbrook though, a reunion with Schröder seems like a long shot, meaning he may have to seek out a team with cap space or try to figure out a sign-and-trade deal that gets him in the ballpark of his asking price.

11. Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Nets
Dinwiddie missed nearly the entire 2020/21 season due to a partial ACL tear, but has apparently been generating plenty of interest leading up to free agency, having been linked to the Wizards, Pelicans, Heat, and Knicks, among several other teams. I initially projected Dinwiddie’s contract to be a step down from the ones signed by Ball and Schröder, but now I’m not so sure.

12. Duncan Robinson, F, Heat (RFA)
A career 42.3% shooter from three-point range, Robinson will hit the market a year after sharpshooters Joe Harris and Davis Bertans got long-term deals worth $16-18MM per year. There’s no reason for Robinson not to pursue a similar payday with the Heat, who should make a strong effort to keep him.

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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2020

The NBA’s free agent period will tip off on Friday evening at 5:00 pm central time, with deals permitted to be officially consummated as of Sunday at 11:01 am CT.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2020/21 NBA season. The players on this list are on track to become free agents tonight.

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 2020/21 season, a veteran like Goran Dragic would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Dragic’s teammate Derrick Jones, might be ranked a little lower.

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 2020:

1. Anthony Davis, F/C, Lakers
There’s no mystery about where this year’s top free agent will sign. After winning a title during his first year in Los Angeles, Davis opted out of his contract, but only so that he can ink a new contract with the Lakers that increases his salary and potentially locks him in for multiple years.

2. Brandon Ingram, F, Pelicans (RFA)
Besides Davis, Ingram is the only 2020 All-Star eligible for free agency this offseason. And like Davis, he’s unlikely to go anywhere. The Pelicans have the right to match any offer sheet Ingram signs, and will certainly bring him back after a breakout season in which he averaged a career-best 23.8 PPG.

3. Fred VanVleet, G, Raptors
VanVleet has only started 82 games in his NBA career, but has emerged as one of the most popular free agents of 2020. That’s partly due to a lack of star power on this year’s market, but also because of the impressive step forward he has taken since the 2019 postseason. He established new career highs in several categories in 2019/20, including PPG (17.6) and APG (6.6).

4. Gordon Hayward, F, Celtics
At one point, Hayward looked like a lock to exercise his $34.2MM player option for 2020/21. The fact that he turned down that option suggests he’s pretty confident he’ll land a lucrative long-term deal on the open market, either from Boston or another team. We’ll trust his confidence. If Hayward doesn’t sign a three- or four-year contract with an overall guarantee that doubles – or even triples – the amount of his option, I’d be surprised.

5. Danilo Gallinari, F, Thunder
Gallinari has battled injuries at times during his 12-year NBA career, but has been relatively healthy and very productive during the last couple seasons. A 41.8% shooter from beyond the arc over the last two years, the 32-year-old will appeal to teams looking for a frontcourt player who can stretch the floor without being a major defensive liability.

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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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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2018

The NBA’s new league year will officially begin on Sunday at 12:01 am eastern time, and this year’s free agent period should be fascinating, given the lack of cap room available around the league. There may not be enough money to go around for all the quality players who will be seeking raises and multiyear deals.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2018/19 NBA season. The players on this list are on track to reach free agency on July 1, though a small handful could still pick up options for next season.

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 2018/19 season, a veteran like Dwyane Wade would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine, might be ranked a little lower.

Our top-50 list is a group effort, with Austin Kent, Clark Crum, Arthur Hill, and I all contributing to our composite rankings.

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 2018:

1. LeBron James, F, Cavaliers
Even at 33 years old, James will easily command a four- or five-year, maximum-salary contract if that’s what he wants. One of the NBA’s all-time greats, LeBron was operating at the height of his powers in 2017/18 and while we don’t think he can do this forever, he has shown no signs of slowing down. The team that ends up with him on its roster becomes an instant contender.

2. Kevin Durant, F, Warriors
You could make a case that Durant deserves to top this list after earning his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP, but whether he comes in at No. 1 or No. 2, his free agency will be a mere formality. He has already indicated that he’ll opt out of his current contract to sign a new deal with the Warriors.

3. Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets (RFA)
Like Durant, Jokic is unlikely to generate much drama with his free agent decision. The Nuggets could have had him back on a paltry $1.6MM team option, but chose to decline that option in order to lock him up to a long-term deal. The two sides are expected to finalize a five-year, maximum-salary agreement soon after the new league year begins.

4. Paul George, F, Thunder
Viewed as a virtual lock a year ago to eventually end up with the Lakers, George is still seriously considering heading to Los Angeles, but the Thunder remain very much in the mix too. The All-Star forward will have to decide whether a second year with Russell Westbrook and company can produce better results than the first one did, or whether it makes more sense to start fresh in L.A.

5. Chris Paul, G, Rockets
Paul had the chance to reach free agency a year ago, but exercised his player option to facilitate a trade to the Rockets instead. At the time, there was a belief that it was only a matter of time before CP3 and the Rockets finalized a longer-term arrangement. As such, it would be a major surprise if Paul leaves Houston this summer.

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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2017

The NBA’s new league year will officially begin on Saturday at 12:01 am eastern time, and while this year’s free agent period may not be as wild as last year’s, when the salary cap jumped by $24MM, there are several teams with the ability to splash around this July, and several players worth significant investments.

Listed below are our top 50 free agents for the 2017/18 NBA season. The players on this list will definitely become free agents on July 1 (or are free agents already), which is why we haven’t included any players who may remain under their current contracts. Rajon Rondo, for instance, is considered likely to be waived, but could still be traded or retained, so he’s on our list.

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 2017/18 season, veterans like Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol would likely place higher, while younger free agents with upside, such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nerlens Noel would be ranked a little lower.

In addition to the 50 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 2017:

1. Kevin Durant, F (Warriors)"<strong
2. Stephen Curry, G (Warriors)
Durant and Curry stand on their own above the rest of 2017’s free agent class. They’re both former MVPs. They’re both members of the NBA champion Warriors. And they’re both not going anywhere this summer. The NBA offseason is unpredictable, and anything could happen once the new league year opens on Saturday and Durant and Curry officially become free agents. But the expectation is that the duo will have no desire to talk to any team besides Golden State. Because the Warriors hold Curry’s Bird rights, he’s expected to get a five-year deal worth the max ($200MM+) if he wants it, while Durant will likely sign a shorter-term pact, possibly worth a little less than the max.

3. Gordon Hayward, F (Jazz)
An effective scorer heading into 2016/17, Hayward elevated his game to another level in his contract year, earning his first All-Star nod and averaging a career-high 21.9 PPG. Hayward contributes on both ends of the floor and is an efficient scorer, with a shooting line of .471/.398/.844 last season — he’s also just 27 years old, meaning his next contract should cover his prime years. Hayward’s choice this summer appears likely to come down to a move to South Beach, a reunion with his former coach Brad Stevens in Boston, or a return to Utah with a rising Jazz team coming off a 51-win season.

4. Blake Griffin, F/C (Clippers)
Griffin had been on track to hit free agency alongside fellow star Clipper Chris Paul, but CP3 unexpectedly opted into the final year of his contract as part of a trade to the Rockets this week, making Griffin’s situation more intriguing. It’s not clear yet if Paul’s departure will make Griffin more or less likely to return to Los Angeles, but it will be interesting to see how high the Clippers and other suitors are willing to go. Griffin is certainly worth a maximum salary offer based on talent alone, but his injury history will make teams proceed with caution — the former first overall pick has averaged just 54 regular season games played over the last three seasons.

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Top 50 NBA Free Agents Of 2016

The NBA’s free agent period is about to get underway, and it should be a fascinating month of July. With the salary cap expected to rise at least $24MM, from $70MM to $94MM, teams around the NBA will have more money than ever to spend on available players, and there will likely be some sticker shock on some of the deals signed this summer.

While the free agent recruiting period begins on July 1st at 12:01am eastern time, teams aren’t permitted to finalize any signings until the July moratorium lifts on July 7th at 12:01am. During the next six days, however, we can count on teams and players reaching tentative agreements — as last year’s DeAndre Jordan saga taught us though, those agreements are hardly set in stone.

With free agency set to begin, be sure to check out our full list of 2016 free agents, and use our 2016 free agent tracker to keep tabs on the latest contract agreements.

Here’s our breakdown of the top 50 NBA free agents on the market this summer:

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Community Shootaround: Best Remaining Free Agents

Most of the players on the Hoops Rumors’ Top 50 Free Agents list came to terms on new contracts fairly quickly. But more than three weeks after the start of free agency, there are a handful who still remain on the market.

Setting aside Hornets forward Miles Bridges, whose domestic abuse case has clouded his future in the league, and center Montrezl Harrell, who is dealing with legal issues of his own, only three players from our top 50 remain unsigned: Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, Rockets guard Dennis Schröder and Bucks forward Jordan Nwora.

Sexton is a restricted free agent who’s trying to bounce back from a torn meniscus that limited him to 11 games last season. Cleveland is reportedly focused on staying under the luxury tax line and has about $15MM to work with. Sexton is believed to want “starting guard money” with a first-year salary in excess of $20MM. Only the Spurs and Pacers have enough cap room left to offer him that much without a sign-and-trade.

Schröder played 15 games for Houston after being acquired from the Celtics at the deadline. Although the unrestricted free agent has a good relationship with the team, he’s not expected to return as Houston is focused on providing minutes for its young players.

Nwora, who is restricted, is in limbo as he waits for an offer that Milwaukee will have the option to match. General manager Jon Horst said the team is working with Nwora’s agent to find an acceptable solution for all parties. However, there’s no rush to get anything done with training camp still two months away.

Apart from the top 50, there are several intriguing veterans who remain on the open market, including Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard.

We want to get your opinion. Which remaining free agents do you think can provide the most help and where do you think they should end up? Please leave your answer in the space below.

Bobby Portis To Decline Option With Bucks

Bobby Portis has told the Bucks he will decline his $4.6MM option for next season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 27-year-old forward will be an unrestricted free agent, but there’s a good chance he’ll stay in Milwaukee on a more lucrative deal, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says Portis “seems destined” to sign a new contract worth more than $40MM over four years to remain with the Bucks.

The Bucks have Early Bird rights on Portis and can pay him up to $49MM over four seasons, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Marks adds that a new Early Bird contract must cover at least two seasons with no options in the second year.

Portis played an important role in Milwaukee’s title-winning team in 2020/21 and was just as valuable this past season. He moved into the starting lineup — starting 59 of the 72 games he played — and averaged a career-best 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per night.

Portis was the No. 13 player on our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents.

Poll: Dennis Schröder’s Next Team

Veteran point guard Dennis Schröder, currently playing for the German national team in EuroBasket action, is the only unrestricted free agent left on our list of the top 50 NBA free agents of 2022.

It’s hard to believe we’re only a year-and-a-half removed from Schröder reportedly turning down an extension from the Lakers worth $80MM+. Last summer he had to settle for a one-year, $5.9MM deal with the Celtics, who eventually traded him to the Rockets in February.

In 64 games (28.7 MPG) split between Boston and Houston during the 2021/22 season, Schröder averaged 13.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 4.6 APG on .431/.344/.853 shooting — solid production. Still, when a team trades you away in the middle of an extended hot streak and goes on to make the NBA Finals, that raises some red flags.

Schröder, who turns 29 next week, remains a talented scorer and is a plus ball-handler who can set up both himself and teammates. His ability to create shots is a valuable skill. And it’s not as though he’s past his peak physically — he’s still one of the quickest players in the league.

He’s not without flaws, however, as he’s an inconsistent outside shooter whose defensive effort often fluctuates. He also skews a little on the selfish side, preferring to look for his own shot, even though he’s a good passer when he’s so inclined.

More than two months into free agency, there aren’t many teams with roster openings, so the odds of Schröder landing a deal for more than the veteran’s minimum seem remote. Having said that, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t find a team before training camps start later this month.

Things have been pretty quiet on the rumors front. Marc Stein reported that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to signing Schröder a couple of weeks ago, but then they traded for Patrick Beverley, making a reunion more uncertain. A couple of high-ranking Mavericks executives recently watched Schröder compete, and Stein subsequently wrote the Mavs have considered adding a veteran ball-handler, but Dallas might not want to carry a 15th roster spot right away due to the luxury tax. All the other rumors about Schröder are months old.

Even though they haven’t been linked in any way that I’m aware of, the Hornets might make the most sense as a potential match. They only have 13 players on guaranteed deals and don’t have a backup point guard behind LaMelo Ball at the moment.

The Suns and Hawks could also be a fit. Both teams only have 13 players on guaranteed deals. Phoenix has Chris Paul and Cameron Payne at the point, but Paul is one of the oldest players in the league and Payne is coming off a down season. Schröder spent his first five seasons with the Hawks, but they already have Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and Aaron Holiday, so minutes might be harder to come by there.

With training camps less than three weeks away, we should learn pretty soon where Schröder will be headed — assuming he finds a team. In the meantime, we want to know what you think. Which team will sign Schröder in the coming weeks?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your two cents!

And-Ones: In-Season Tournament, Cole, Alatishe, 2023 FAs

More details have emerged about a possible in-season tournament. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the proposed tournament would run through November, with eight teams advancing to a single-elimination round in December. All of the games would be part of the regular season schedule, with one extra game for the two finalists.

The tournament has yet to be finalized, but it could be implemented as soon as the 2023/24 season if the NBA and the Players Association agree to it, per Charania. The eight teams that advance would receive to-be-determined prizes, Charania adds.

Charania previously reported that the “Final Four” of the tournament would be held at a neutral site; it’s unclear if that’s still part of the framework. Commissioner Adam Silver has long been a proponent of an in-season tournament.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA veteran Norris Cole hit a game-winning shot with 1.4 seconds left to lift Team USA past Puerto Rico at the AmeriCup on Thursday, according to an Associated Press report. “I just wanted to make a play for the team,” said Cole, who had the final eight points for the U.S. “The team trusted me, drew up a play for me to catch it and I was able to make a play. Moments like that, everybody dreams about, but I work hard at my individual game along with the team game, I was able to show my individual talent within the team concept, and it worked out.” The Americans won the quarterfinal by a score of 85-84, with Cole recording a game-high 20 points. Team USA will face Argentina in the semifinal on Saturday, with the medal-round games on Sunday, per the AP. The other semifinal features Brazil vs. Canada.
  • Oregon State forward Warith Alatishe won’t return for a “super-senior” year in 2022/23 and plans to pursue a professional career instead, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Alatishe spent his first two seasons at Nicholls State prior to transferring to Oregon State. He averaged 9.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG and 1.1 BPG over the past two seasons with the Beavers.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac recently released his list of the top 50 potential 2023 free agents. No. 1 on his list? Sixers guard James Harden, followed by Nets guard Kyrie Irving. Rounding out Smith’s top 50 is Spurs wing Josh Richardson.

Thunder’s Luguentz Dort To Become Restricted Free Agent

The Thunder are declining the $1,930,681 team option on Luguentz Dort, making him a restricted free agent, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link).

A report last week indicated that Oklahoma City would pick up the option, with GM Sam Presti telling Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman that was the likely outcome.

“Obviously it’s our plan to exercise that pending anything different,” Presti said.

Evidently Presti has reevaluated that decision, which isn’t very surprising considering Dort would have drawn considerable interest on the open market as an unrestricted free agent in 2023. Declining the option and making him restricted gives the Thunder the ability to match any offer sheet he receives in a free agent market where not many teams have cap space.

The barrel-chested Dort, who turned 23 in April, has showed continuous improvement after going undrafted out of Arizona State in 2019. He averaged 17.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG on .404/.332/.843 shooting in 51 games (32.6 MPG) last season while playing solid, switchable defense.

Given his rate of improvement and the NBA’s ever-growing need for wings who can contribute on both ends of the court, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dort sign a contract in the range of $15-20MM annually. Dort is ranked No. 9 on our list of top 50 free agents.

Pistons’ Cory Joseph Opting In For 2022/23

Pistons point guard Cory Joseph will pick up his player option for 2022/23, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The decision will lock in Joseph’s $5,155,500 salary for next season.

An 11-year veteran who has appeared in over 700 regular season games, Joseph had a productive 2021/22 season in Detroit, averaging 8.0 PPG, 3.6 APG, and 2.7 RPG with a .445/.414/.885 shooting line in 65 games (24.6 MPG). He started a career-high 39 contests, with most of those starts coming alongside Cade Cunningham as the two point guards exhibited an ability to play alongside one another.

While it’s possible Joseph could have matched his option salary or gotten a multiyear deal as a free agent, the fact that he opted for the guaranteed money suggests that his market may not have been especially hot.

Given Joseph’s solid production in a rotation role in 2021/22, Detroit could simply bring the 30-year-old back for next season. However, he doesn’t really fit the young team’s timeline, and the Pistons have been linked to free agents such as Jalen Brunson and Dennis Schröder in recent weeks, which suggests they may not envision as significant a role for Joseph going forward.

As such, it wouldn’t be surprise if Joseph emerges as a trade candidate once he officially opts in — playoff teams in need of a reliable backup point guard would likely have interest.

Joseph had been the No. 41 player on our list of this year’s top 50 free agents. Since he’s opting in, he’ll be removed from that list, but he remains a part of our free agent prediction contest. If you’re entering that contest, be sure to list Joseph’s destination as Detroit to earn a free point, even if he’s traded later in the offseason.

All of this year’s player option decisions can be found right here.

Bucks’ Pat Connaughton Opts In For 2022/23

Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton has decided to exercise his player option for 2022/23, putting off free agency for another year, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Having opted in, Connaughton will assure himself of a $5,728,393 salary for next season.

Connaughton, 29, had the best season of his seven-year career in 2021/22, averaging 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in 65 appearances (26.0 MPG). He also established new career highs in three-pointers per game (2.2) while knocking them down at a 39.5% clip. Connaughton’s emergence on the wing was one factor in the Bucks’ decision to trade Donte DiVincenzo at the 2022 deadline.

Connaughton’s option decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he likely could’ve earned a raise if he had chosen to test the open market. John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he felt Connaughton was worth twice as much as his $5.7MM salary and got the sense that a number of teams agreed.

Now that his option has been exercised, Connaughton will be eligible to sign a contract extension for up to four years and approximately $59MM. As Hollinger notes in a follow-up tweet, it’s possible the veteran wing and the Bucks have already discussed the possibility of an extension and reached a mutual understanding contingent on Connaughton opting in.

Theoretically, the Bucks could commit to paying Connaughton the same amount over the next few seasons with an opt-in and extension as they would have if he’d opted out and signed a new free agent contract. Locking in a lower ’22/23 salary should benefit Milwaukee financially, with team salary projected to be well over the luxury tax line next season.

Connaughton had been the No. 20 player on our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents. If you enter our free agent prediction contest and select the Bucks as his destination, you’ll earn a free point.

Heat Issue Qualifying Offer To Caleb Martin

The Heat have officially issued a qualifying offer to forward Caleb Martin, making him a restricted free agent, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

A qualifying offer is essentially a one-year contract offer that a team must make to a player eligible for restricted free agency if it wants to avoid him becoming unrestricted. The QO can be accepted by the player, but it’s often just a placeholder, giving his current team the right of first refusal in the event that he signs an offer sheet with a new team.

After spending his first two NBA seasons in Charlotte, Martin was waived by the Hornets last August, then signed a two-way contract with Miami, where he outperformed that two-way deal and was converted to a standard contract. In 60 games (22.9 MPG) for the Heat, the 26-year-old averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal on .507/.413/.763 shooting.

Martin’s qualifying offer will be worth his minimum salary plus $200K. Based on a $122MM salary cap, a player with three years of NBA experience projects to have a minimum salary of $1,876,674 in 2022/23, so his QO would be worth $2,076,674. That number will be adjusted slightly upward or downward if the cap doesn’t come in at exactly $122MM.

Because the Heat only hold Martin’s Non-Bird rights, it may be a challenge for them to make him a competitive offer if he draws serious interest on the open market. If they want to give Martin a starting salary higher than about $2.25MM, the Heat will have to dip into their mid-level exception to do so.

Martin is the No. 31 player on our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents.

Hoops Rumors’ Free Agent Prediction Contest Leaderboard

Forty of the 50 players who made our initial list of the top NBA free agents of 2022 have already tentatively come off the board. Some of those players picked up options or signed extensions with their old teams; many have reached free agent agreements since Thursday, either with their former team or a new club.

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

With just 10 of our top 50 free agents left on the board, our free agent prediction contest is already entering its home stretch. You can check out the leaderboard right here to follow along with the action and see how you’re doing relative to the competition.

Using the leaderboard, you can search for your own name in the contest results. You can also click on anyone’s name to see their individual picks.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • During the July moratorium, the leaderboard is being updated based on tentative contract agreements. However, until those agreements become official after the moratorium, they won’t be locked in. In other words, if we’d been running this contest back in 2015, when DeAndre Jordan committed to the Mavericks before changing his mind and signing with the Clippers, you wouldn’t have gotten credit for predicting Jordan would sign with Dallas, even if he may have been listed in our leaderboard as a Mav for a few days.
  • If a player exercised his option, his free agency is over. For example, Kyrie Irving will be considered to have “signed” with the Nets even if he’s traded later in the offseason.
  • Ties will be broken based on which entrant picked the higher-ranked free agents more accurately on a cumulative basis. Each free agent will be assigned a point value based on his ranking and the entrant with the lower overall point total would win a tiebreaker. For instance, an entrant who correctly picks the No. 4 and No. 8 free agents’ destinations (12 points) would earn the tiebreaker over an entrant who correctly picks No. 1 and No. 14 (15 points).
  • We will announce the winners on Hoops Rumors once all 50 free agents have signed or on September 27, 2022, whichever comes first. If there are any unsigned players as of September 27, they’ll be excluded from the competition.

You can keep tabs on the leaderboard via the “Hoops Rumors Features” sidebar of our desktop site or the “Features” page in our mobile menu.

Hornets Re-Sign Cody Martin To Four-Year Deal

JULY 6: The Hornets have officially re-signed Martin, the team announced in a press release.

“Re-signing Cody was one of our offseason priorities, and we’re excited to have him return to the Hornets,” president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He is an exceptional defender, plays hard at both ends of the floor and has improved all aspects of his game since entering the NBA. Cody will continue to be a valuable member of our team as we move forward.”

JULY 2: The Hornets and restricted free agent Cody Martin have reached an agreement on a multiyear deal, reports Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (via Twitter). According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), Martin is signing a four-year, $32MM contract to remain in Charlotte.

Martin, 26, has spent his first three NBA seasons with the Hornets and emerged as a key part of the team’s rotation in 2021/22. He averaged an extra 10 minutes per game and improved his numbers across the board, setting new career highs in PPG (7.7), RPG (4.0), APG (2.5), SPG (1.2), FG% (.482), and 3PT% (.384).

A second-round pick in 2019, Martin earned a total of $4.47MM in his first three years in the NBA, so his new deal represents a major pay increase. Because the Hornets held his Bird rights, they won’t need to dip into their mid-level exception to complete the signing.

The deal with Martin is the first move of what has been a relatively quiet free agent period in Charlotte so far. In the weeks leading up to free agency, it was assumed that sorting out Miles Bridges‘ contract situation would be the Hornets’ top priority. However, Bridges was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence this week.

With Bridges’ NBA future up in the air, the Hornets shifted their focus to re-signing their other key restricted free agent wing. It’s unclear to what extent Martin explored the open market, but Charlotte would have had the ability to match any offer sheet he signed. The two sides avoided any drama by negotiating a new directly.

Martin’s twin brother Caleb Martin is one of the top free agents still on the board. Cody and Caleb ranked 28th and 29th, respectively, on the final iteration of our list of this year’s top 50 free agents.

2022 NBA Free Agency Primer

The NBA’s 2022 free agency period officially begins on Thursday at 5:00 pm central time. At that point, we can expect news of contract agreements to start pouring in, continuing well into the night.

By our count, a staggering 56 free agents agreed to deals on day one of free agency in 2021 — we’ll see if that number is matched later today.

Here are a few links to prepare for you one of the most exciting days on the NBA calendar:

James Harden Re-Signs With Sixers On Two-Year Deal

JULY 27: Harden’s new contract is official, the Sixers announced on Twitter.

“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal,” he said in a statement. “From my first day with the 76ers organization, the team and the fans have helped me feel at home here in Philadelphia. I’m excited to build off of last season and I can’t wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey.”  

JULY 20: James Harden is re-signing with the Sixers on a two-year, $68.6MM deal that includes a player option in year two, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Harden will earn $33MM in 2022/23 and the player option is worth $35.6MM for ’23/24. The former league MVP will have the opportunity to enter free agency again next summer and possibly negotiate another contract.

It was viewed as inevitable that Harden would re-sign with Philadelphia, it was only a matter of when, not if. By agreeing to a one-plus-one contract structure, it will also give him veto power on any trade during the ’22/23 league year.

According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), with Harden on board at $33MM, the Sixers are approximately $3.4MM below the tax apron for ’22/23. The 76ers incurred a hard cap when they signed P.J. Tucker to the full mid-level exception and Danuel House to the bi-annual exception, so they cannot exceed the $156,983,000 tax apron at any point during the league year.

Both players were signed due to the flexibility Harden gave Philadelphia when he agreed to a pay cut — he previously declined his $47.4MM player option to sign a new deal. Harden recently explained the reasoning behind his decision to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“I had conversations with (president of basketball operations) Daryl (Morey), and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players. I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over,” Harden said. “This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”

Harden, who turns 33 next month, had a down season by his lofty standards, appearing in 65 regular season games (37.2 MPG) with averages of 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG and 1.3 SPG on .410/.333/.877 shooting. Those averages dipped to 18.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 8.6 APG on .405/.368/.893 shooting in 12 postseason games (39.9 MPG) with the Sixers last season.

He was reportedly hampered by a hamstring injury for much of the season, the same issue that plagued him in the playoffs last year with Brooklyn. Harden famously requested a trade from the Nets ahead of the deadline in February in a deal that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and other assets to Brooklyn.

When Harden officially signs his new deal, Philadelphia will have 12 players on the 15-man roster signed to guaranteed deals, as shown by our roster count. He was ranked No. 3 on our list of the top 50 free agents this summer.

Miles Bridges, Collin Sexton Among Players Receiving QOs

The Hornets have issued qualifying offers to a pair of forwards, officially making Miles Bridges and Cody Martin restricted free agents, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Bridges’ qualifying offer is worth $7,921,300 as a result of him meeting the starter criteria in 2021/22. That one-year offer is essentially a placeholder, giving the Hornets the ability to match any offer sheet Bridges signs as a free agent. He could accept the QO, but will likely receive a far more lucrative long-term contract — perhaps even a max deal.

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak expressed confidence in the team’s ability to re-sign Bridges today, telling reporters that “we’re going to bring him back.”

As for Martin, his qualifying offer is worth a more modest $2,228,276. He’s coming off a strong season as a rotation player in Charlotte and has earned a raise himself, albeit not one as substantial as the one Bridges will receive.

Bridges and Martin rank sixth and 29th, respectively, on our list of the top 50 free agents of 2022, and will each move up a spot when we officially remove Kyrie Irving.

Here are a few more qualifying offer updates from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers have extended qualifying offers to Collin Sexton and RJ Nembhard, making both players restricted free agents, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter links). Sexton’s QO will be worth $7,228,448 instead of $8,559,357 because his torn meniscus prevented him from meeting the starter criteria. Nembard’s QO is for a two-way deal with a small partial guarantee.
  • The Raptors made qualifying offers to both of their two-way free agents, Justin Champagnie and David Johnson, tweets Blake Murphy of Toronto has reportedly agreed to a two-way deal with Ron Harper Jr., which would leave only one two-way slot for Champagnie or Johnson, so perhaps the team plans to promote one of them to a standard contract.
  • The Raptors also continued their annual tradition of submitting a qualifying offer to French guard Nando De Colo, who has been out of the NBA since 2014 and continues to play for Fenerbahçe in Turkey, Murphy notes. There’s no indication De Colo will ever return to the NBA, but if he does, the 35-year-old’s RFA rights would be controlled by Toronto. The qualifying offer projects to be worth $2,011,516, based on a $122MM cap.
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