Free Agent Stock Watch

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 offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players on teams still alive in the postseason:

Lou Williams, Hawks, 34, PG/SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2018

When the Clippers and Hawks swapped veteran point guards at the trade deadline, the general consensus was that Los Angeles pulled off a coup landing Rajon Rondo. It doesn’t look that way right now. Rondo has only played nine minutes in the last four games against Utah, while Williams had 15 points, three assists and two steals in 23 minutes during Atlanta’s dramatic Game 5 comeback at Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Williams may not possess Rondo’s leadership qualities, but he’s been instant offense for many seasons wherever he’s played. The 34-year-old has been in the league since 2005 but he can stick around a few more seasons due to his offensive prowess.

Jeff Green, Nets, 34, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

It’s amazing to think that the Jazz had no use for Green midway through last season and put him on waivers. The Rockets scooped him up and he was highly productive. He’s doing the same thing for the Nets. After a solid regular season, Green battled a foot injury that sidelined him for six postseason games. Back in action, Green delivered a monster performance in Game 5 against Milwaukee, firing in 27 points while draining 7-of-8 3-point attempts. Green won’t have any trouble finding work as an unrestricted free agent this summer, whether he re-signs with Brooklyn or joins another contender.

Reggie Jackson, Clippers, 31, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.33MM deal in 2020

A TNT broadcaster called Jackson “Mr. June” as he made several clutch baskets in Game 5 at Utah on Wednesday. He’s not on the level of baseball’s “Mr. October” but this Reggie Jackson is proving to be a consistent playoff performer for the Clippers. He averaged 15.4 PPG against Dallas in the opening round, including a 25-point outing in Game 6. He scored 29 points in Game 2 and 22 in Game 5 against the Jazz. Jackson has also kept his turnovers down to a minimum. After having to settle for the veteran’s minimum in free agency last year, he’s due for a substantial raise when he enters the market again this summer.

Mike Conley, Jazz, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $152.6MM deal in 2016

Conley finally got his first taste of the All-Star Game this season. He got off to an impressive start in these playoffs, scoring 20 or more points in the first three games against Memphis. The injury bug soon bit him as Utah closed out the series and he’s been sidelined with a hamstring strain throughout the second round. That’s the main concern with Conley as he enters unrestricted free agency – he’s had numerous leg injuries in recent seasons. That could limit the amount of years teams will be willing to offer him.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Western Conference

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Western Conference:

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Drummond had a golden opportunity to show he could perform in the biggest moments. He was reportedly promised a starting spot by the Lakers after he reached a buyout agreement with Cleveland and cleared waivers. Drummond withered in the spotlight and was benched for Game 6 of the first-round series with Phoenix.

Coach Frank Vogel lavished praise on Drummond after the season, saying “We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time.” That seems like a long shot, considering how the postseason played out.

The two-time All-Star is still only 27 but his status has fallen dramatically over the past two seasons. He might be fortunate to receive the mid-level from a team seeking an elite rebounder.

Serge Ibaka, Clippers, 31, PF/C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $19MM deal in 2020

Ibaka said last month he’s been dealing with back pain all season caused by a pinched nerve. It continued to hamper him to the point where he underwent back surgery on Thursday. He only appeared in 41 games during the regular season and had been limited to two postseason games.

Several contenders were interested in Ibaka during free agency last year due to his postseason track record. He was considered the Clippers’ most important addition during the offseason but now they’ll have to strive for a championship without one of their top frontcourt players. Ibaka holds a $9.72MM option on his contract for next season and it’s a safe bet he’ll take the guaranteed money.

Langston Galloway, Suns, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2020

Galloway signed a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum to join an improving team seeking a second-unit shooter. He was Detroit’s top reserve a season ago but the opportunities haven’t been there in Phoenix. He only saw action in 40 games during the regular season and has made two cameos in the playoffs. The Suns have gone with a three-man rotation in the backcourt – Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Cameron Payne – rendering Galloway as a spectator. Galloway will likely have to settle for a similar contract next season from a team that promises to give him more playing time.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks, 29, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $71MM deal in 2017

The Mavericks need to improve their supporting cast around Luka Doncic but they don’t want to lose Hardaway. Despite his Game 7 clunker (11 points, 1-for-9 on threes), Hardaway and Dorian Finney-Smith were the team’s most impactful players besides Doncic during the first-round series against the Clippers.

The Mavericks have made re-signing Hardaway a high priority. They’ll have some competition for his services and they to be cognizant of weighing down their future cap with enigmatic Kristaps Porzingis on the books for three more seasons (including a player option). But Hardaway is in a good spot to get another lucrative multiyear deal.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Eastern Conference

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Eastern Conference:

Elfrid Payton, Knicks, 27, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $4.77MM deal in 2020

Payton’s postseason role was reduced to something rarely seen in any sport – the starting lineup cameo. He played a few ineffective minutes, then never returned to the court for two games until coach Tom Thibodeau completely gave up on him. Payton started regularly all season but his post-All-Star break woes drove Knicks fans nuts. They won’t have to worry about a repeat – Payton will be an unrestricted free agent. Payton has been a starter throughout his career but it’s hard to imagine him getting much more than the veteran’s minimum to fill out someone’s bench next season.

Evan Fournier, Celtics, 28, SF (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $85MM deal in 2016

Fournier was the biggest acquisition the Celtics made at the trade deadline and they leaned on him heavily against the Nets with Jaylen Brown sidelined. Fournier averaged 15.4 PPG on 43.3% shooting from 3-point range in 33.4 MPG. Solid numbers, but he’s not the type of player who can carry a team. Fournier is expected to seek a contract similar to the one he signed with the Magic five seasons ago but is he really a $17MM a year player? There’s a general sense that Fournier may have to settle for the mid-level exception or something slightly above that figure.

Duncan Robinson, Heat, 27, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3MM deal in 2018

Robinson pumped in 24 points in Game 1 against the Bucks, then petered out the rest of the series. That won’t hurt him in restricted free agency. The Heat have to make a lot of tough decisions this offseason – one of them will be how big an offer sheet they’d be willing to match to retain Robinson. First, they’ll have to extend a $4.7MM qualifying offer but that’s a formality. During last season’s playoff run to the Finals, Robinson averaged 11.7 PPG. He’s a career 42.3% 3-point shooter and he’ll be looking for a big payday after playing on a rookie contract.

Alex Len, Wizards, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2020

Len has passed through a handful of organizations over the past four seasons. He’ll be on the move again as an unrestricted free agent. Len received 40 regular-season starts from the injury-depleted Wizards after getting waived by the Raptors. His playing time shrunk throughout the first-round series against Philadelphia – he played a grand total of three minutes in the last two games. Whether or not Thomas Bryant can effectively return from his knee injury next season, Washington needs to upgrade its frontcourt. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Ukranian-born Len explores European options.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, 29, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $103MM deal in 2019

Until Giannis Antetokounmpo and other All-Stars decided to sign extensions, the summer of 2021 was considered a free agent bonanza. Leonard’s free agent foray two seasons ago, after leading the Raptors to the NBA championship, was one of the big stories of that summer. He chose to go to Los Angeles and the Clippers mortgaged their future by trading for Paul George to give him a superstar sidekick. It could all unravel for the franchise this year if the Clippers lose to the Mavericks in the opening round. Leonard was expected to opt out this summer so that he could maximize his salary with his current team. Now, other contenders might kick the tires to see if Leonard would be willing to jump ship again. If nothing else, the Clippers’ front office will be sweating it out until Leonard signs the bottom line.

Cameron Payne, Suns, 26, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.2MM deal in 2019

It’s become an annual and unfortunate occurrence in the NBA postseason – Chris Paul suffers an injury at the worst time. Paul’s shoulder issue has limited his minutes against the Lakers the last two games and those minutes have gone to Payne. Not surprisingly, Phoenix has lost both contests but Payne has posted respectable numbers, averaging 17 PPG, 6.5 APG and 2.5 SPG in 30 MPG. The 2015 lottery pick struggled to find an NBA home until he signed with the Suns for their games in the Orlando bubble. Payne has found his niche as a second-unit point guard and if the Suns don’t re-sign him, some other team will take him for that same role.

Alex Caruso, Lakers, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5MM deal in 2019

Caruso doesn’t make a big dent in the stat sheet but he’s a pesky defender and energetic spark plug off the bench. He averaged 6.5 PPG, 2.8 APG, 2.3 RPG and 1.1 SPG in 24.3 MPG during the Lakers’ run to the championship last season. He’s averaging 21 MPG through their first three playoff games this season against the Suns. Caruso seems like a nice fit on the Lakers, dutifully playing his role while knocking down the occasional 3-pointer and looking to advantage of opportunities when his defender cheats off him. The unrestricted free agent will likely get a nice bump in salary.

Hassan Whiteside, Kings, 31, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2020

Whiteside was valued so much by the Heat in 2016 he was signed to a four-year, $98.4MM deal. Few teams will covet Whiteside’s services when he reaches free agency again this summer. He had to settle for the veteran’s minimum last offseason and his one season with the Kings was rather forgettable. He was relegated to backup duty, averaging 15.2 MPG in the 36 games that coach Luke Walton used him. Whiteside didn’t play after April 21, supposedly due to lower back tightness. He can still be useful as a rebounder and shot blocker in a reserve role but he’ll have to settle for the veteran’s minimum once again.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Southwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

DeMar DeRozan, Spurs, 31, SG/SF (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $139MM deal in 2016

DeRozan threw in a clunker in San Antonio’s play-in game against Memphis, shooting 5-for-21 from the field. The master of the mid-range game now enters unrestricted free agency in a league that craves 3-point shooters at the wing.

DeRozan does more than just knock down 18-footers. He’s got a knack for drawing fouls and this season he averaged a career-high 6.9 assists. What will that package of skills draw on the open market? We’ll find out if DeRozan doesn’t reach an extension agreement with San Antonio. The Spurs have an exclusive window to reach a new deal with DeRozan before free agency begins at the start of August.

Lonzo Ball, Pelicans, 23, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $33.5MM deal in 2017

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram said glowing things about Ball in their post-season press conferences. Ball said he would “love” to remain in New Orleans. Now, the proverbial ball is in the front office’s court.

Will the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball to make him a restricted free agent? If so, will they match any offer sheet? Should the Pelicans do so, they’re basically telling everyone they believe the trio of Williamson, Ingram and Ball is a championship-caliber core. That’s a pretty big leap of faith, considering the Pelicans went 31-41 this season with each of them playing at least 55 games. But Ball’s going to get paid this summer, one way or another.

Josh Richardson, Mavericks, 27, SF/SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2018

Richardson was acquired from the Sixers in a draft-night deal to upgrade their perimeter defense. According to the numbers, Richardson hasn’t made much of an impact in that area. He ranked 22nd among shooting guards on ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus ratings. Richardson’s offensive rating was even lower after averaging 12.1 PPG on 42.7% shooting (33% on threes) despite playing with a premier play-maker.

Richardson holds an $11.6MM option on his contract for next season. Perhaps he’ll seek for a multi-year deal on the open market but it may be prudent for him to take the guaranteed money and test the waters next summer.

Kelly Olynyk, Rockets, 30, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $50MM deal in 2017

Anyone want a stretch four who averages 19 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.1 APG and 1.4 SPG? Those are the stats Olynyk posted in a 27-game stint with the tanking Rockets. Those numbers can be taken with a grain of salt – Olynyk didn’t suddenly turn into an All-Star level talent at 30 years old. He did show that he can still be a highly productive rotation player. For obvious reasons, Olynyk enjoyed his stint in Houston and that will factor into his decision as he heads into unrestricted free agency. If nothing else, he gained more leverage over the past two months.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Norman Powell, Trail Blazers, 27, SG/SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2018

Powell was a popular name at the trade deadline as numerous teams pursued the high-scoring wing. Portland won the sweepstakes by giving up a solid young player in Gary Trent Jr., as well as Rodney Hood. Powell has an $11.6MM option on his contract for next season but he’s widely expected to decline it. He’ll be popular once again after the season, this time as an unrestricted free agent. He has struggled somewhat with his 3-point shooting since Toronto traded him but he’s still averaging 17.2 PPG with the Trail Blazers. His price tag will rise even more if he excels in the postseason.

Georges Niang, Jazz, 27, SF/PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $5MM deal in 2018

The Jazz don’t ask Niang to score a whole lot – he’s mainly limited to a few 3-point opportunities per game – but he does all the little things necessary to retain a rotation spot on a team with the league’s best record. He’s appeared in every game this season, averaging 15.9 MPG. With several key teammates sidelined lately, Niang has stepped up his offensive production, scoring in the double-digits in eight of the last 12 games. An unrestricted free agent, Niang seems like a nice fit in Utah, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he stays put. If not, he’ll be valued as a reliable second-unit player.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.6MM deal in 2018

Mykhailiuk had a golden opportunity to post some big numbers on a tanking team when the Pistons traded him to the Thunder. It would be unfair to say Mykhailiuk has flopped but he hasn’t really built up his value. He’s continued to struggle with his 3-point shot (32.2%), though he’s shown more willingness to drive to the basket and collected some steals on the defensive end. His qualifying offer is only $2MM, so there’s incentive for Oklahoma City to make him a restricted free agent. But Mykhailiuk probably won’t get an offer sheet, so he’ll either have to sign the QO or work out a contract with the Thunder.

Austin Rivers, Nuggets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $270K deal in 2021

Rivers basically found himself in exile in New York this season. Unable to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, Rivers wound up being a throw-in at the trade deadline, then was promptly waived by Oklahoma City. Jamal Murray’s season-ending injury led to Denver offering him a 10-day contract and Rivers soon earned a rest-of-the-season deal. With Will Barton also sidelined by a hamstring injury, Rivers not only finds himself in the rotation but also in the starting lineup. He’s averaging 15.2 PPG over the last five games while draining 19 of 36 3-pointers. The postseason will give Rivers even more chances to attract interest in the free agent market.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southeast Division:

Nemanja Bjelica, Heat, 32, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $20.5MM deal in 2018

There was a lot of bellyaching in Sacramento this season when Bjelica’s minutes were basically handed to Marvin Bagley III, as the Kings evaluated whether to make the 2018 No. 2 overall pick part of their long-term plans. Bjelica didn’t play for a month until injuries forced the Kings’ hands in February. He got a fresh start with Miami when it acquired him at the trade deadline. It hasn’t worked out.

Bjelica has been a non-factor while playing spot minutes. His 3-point shooting has tanked without steady playing time and that’s his top asset. Bjelica might wind up back in Europe unless he’s willing to accept a second-unit role at a much lower salary than he’s made the last three seasons.

Daniel Gafford, Wizards, 22, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6.1MM deal in 2019

When NBA analysts look at which trade deadline acquisitions have made the biggest impact, no one would have guessed that Gafford would be at or near the top of the list. He’s limited offensively but on his best nights, he’s a ferocious rebounder and shot-blocker.

Gafford is averaging 10.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 17.9 MPG for a team that has been decimated by frontcourt injuries. His $1.78MM salary for next season doesn’t fully guarantee until next January. The Wizards hold a $1.93MM option on the 2022/23 season. Rest assured, Washington will keep Gafford around.

John Collins, Hawks, 23, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $11MM deal in 2017

Collins could be the most intriguing free agent on the market this summer. The Hawks can make him a restricted free agency by extending him a $7.7MM qualifying offer. That’s a safe assumption. From there, things will get very interesting. Collins’ name was bandied about in trade rumors this winter – he reportedly turned down a $90MM extension offer with the hope of getting the max, or something close to it, in restricted free agency. Does any other team value Collins as a max-type player? We’ll find out when the market opens.

James Ennis, Magic, 30, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.33MM deal in 2020

The Magic brought back Ennis on a one-year deal for a team with playoff aspirations. Ennis was a starter the first half of the season until the front office decided to hit the reset button. With Orlando in total rebuild mode, Ennis will be seeking a new team this summer.

With the Magic focusing on their youth, Ennis hasn’t played this month, supposedly due to a sore calf. He’s passed through seven teams during his seven seasons in the league. Ennis will likely be looking at a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal for a club seeking insurance at small forward.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Central Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Central Division:

Frank Jackson, Pistons, 22, SG/PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, two-way ($449K) deal in 2020

An early second-round pick in 2017, Jackson was a rotation player with the Pelicans for two seasons after missing his first year with a foot injury. New Orleans let him walk in the offseason and the Thunder cut him in training camp, but Jackson has revived his career on a two-way contract with the Pistons.

Rather than playing the point, Jackson has thrived in an off-the-ball role under Dwane Casey. He has scored 14 or more points in six of the last eight games, including a go-ahead basket in the final minute against Cleveland on Monday.

It seems a good bet that Jackson, who has dramatically improved his 3-point shooting, will receive a qualifying offer from Detroit’s front office and become a restricted free agent this summer.

Denzel Valentine, Bulls, 27, SF/SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $4.64MM deal in 2020

Valentine is one of those low-turnover, glue guys that coaches feel comfortable putting on the floor but who doesn’t dent the stat sheet. He has been in Billy Donovan’s rotation most of the season but his shooting numbers remain subpar (38.4% overall, 33.0% from deep). Valentine signed his qualifying offer to stay in Chicago after an unspectacular 2019/20 season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will likely be looking at offers below the QO he inked in the fall. Chicago’s late lottery pick in 2016 might benefit from a change of scenery.

Doug McDermott, Pacers, 29, SF/PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $22MM deal in 2018

Dougie McBuckets is one of the cooler nicknames in the league and for much of the season, he’s lived up to it. Currently dealing with an ankle sprain, McDermott is averaging a career-high 12.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG. He’s been more than just a long-range gunner, as 56% of his shot attempts have come from inside the arc. A career 40.7% shooter from deep, McDermott has been a solid rotation player for Indiana since the club signed him to a three-year deal three years ago. He’ll return to unrestricted free agency this summer and could be looking at similar offers.

Bryn Forbes, Bucks, 27, SG, (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $4.79MM deal in 2020

Forbes started the past two seasons in San Antonio but he’s probably best suited in his current role as a second-unit scorer with Milwaukee. Forbes is averaging 9.6 PPG in 19.3 MPG while making a career-best 43.7% of his 3-point attempts. He’ll have an interesting decision this summer, as he holds a $2.45MM option on his contract for next season. If Forbes remains in the rotation and performs well in the postseason, the undrafted guard out of Michigan State will position himself to nix that option in order to pursue multiyear offers.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Atlantic Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Atlantic Division:

Blake Griffin, Nets, 32, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.23MM deal in 2021

Well, Griffin proved he could still dunk after agreeing to a buyout with the Pistons and joining the Eastern Conference favorite. He’s also proven that he’s a shadow of the All-Star performer who carried Detroit into the playoffs just two years ago. Other than a 17-point outing against his former team and drawing some charges, Griffin has made a minimal impact with Brooklyn. He went scoreless in 41 minutes of floor time against the Lakers and Timberwolves this week before getting rested on the second game of a back-to-back. Griffin might go from a max player to a veteran’s minimum backup as soon as this offseason.

Dwight Howard, Sixers, 35, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

Speaking of former perennial All-Stars playing on a veteran’s minimum contract, Howard has managed to stay healthy again after playing just nine games for Washington two seasons ago. Howard helped the Lakers win last season’s title but his production has dropped as a second-unit center in Philadelphia. His turnovers are up and his field goal percentage is down, though he does lead the league in one category – most technical fouls. Howard has nearly as many turnovers (12) as shot attempts (16) in the last six games. Perhaps Howard will get another minimum contract to stay in the league but it appears the end is near for an NBA career that began in 2004.

Reggie Bullock, Knicks, 30, SF/SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $8.2MM deal in 2020

While the playing time of the Knicks’ younger players has fluctuated quite a bit under Tom Thibodeau, Bullock has been a steady presence in the starting lineup. He’s the quintessential 3-and-D player, spacing the floor offensively and providing hard-nosed defense at the other end. Bullock is attempting 8.1 field goals per game, with 5.6 of them beyond the arc. He’s made 39.9% of his long-range attempts, connecting with incredible consistency. He drained 40% in both January and February, 40.5% in March and 43.1% this month. He’ll be in demand when he hits unrestricted free agency this summer.

Gary Trent Jr., Raptors, 22, SG/SF, (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.92MM deal in 2018

The Raptors traded away Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers in part because they weren’t sure they could re-sign him in unrestricted free agency. Trent, one of the two players they acquired for Powell, will be a restricted free agent this summer. While Toronto can match any offer, the team may have a dilemma if another suitor makes a big offer to the young sharpshooter. He’s averaging 17.4 PPG in 11 games with the Raptors, including a 44-point eruption against Cleveland on Saturday when he missed just two of 19 field-goal attempts. He tossed in a clunker against Atlanta on Tuesday but no doubt, Trent is hitting restricted free agency at a very good time.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Nicolas Batum, Clippers, 32, PF/SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

Batum had several teams interested in him last fall when Charlotte waived him and stretched out the $27.1MM remaining on his contract. He’s proven to be a bargain for the Clippers after signing for the veteran’s minimum.

Batum has been a regular presence in the rotation (28.4 MPG), serving as a “glue guy,” content to play defense and grab some rebounds without getting a lot of shot opportunities. His shooting percentage has dropped lately, but he’s still averaging a career-best 41.4% on 3-point attempts. It’s been a bounce-back season after he languished on the Hornets’ bench a year ago. He’ll get offers commensurate for a veteran role player.

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Cleveland couldn’t find a way to trade Drummond due to the $28.75MM in the final year of his contract. Once he cleared waivers, he had a choice of contenders and landed with the defending champions. It’s a tricky situation with Marc Gasol still on the roster and not thrilled about losing his starting role, but Drummond finds himself pursuing a championship for the first time in his career. If he can blend well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis once they return from injuries, the league’s most prolific rebounder can enhance his resume as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer.

Damion Lee, Warriors, 28, SG/PG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.5MM deal in 2019

Lee started 36 games for Golden State last season after the team went into tank mode. He earned his way from a two-way contract to a standard three-year deal. However, his 2021/22 salary – albeit a modest $1.9MM by NBA standards – isn’t guaranteed. It includes a partial guarantee of $500K if he’s still on the roster in mid-summer.

Lee has gotten steady minutes as a second-unit player, but really hasn’t contributed much offensively – he’s averaging 4.4 PPG over his last seven games. As a tax team, Golden State needs to fill its bench with low-cost options, so Lee could stick but the club could also seek a better scoring threat at that spot.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 28, PF, (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.88MM deal in 2020

It’s been a rough stretch for Kaminsky, who was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols at the beginning of the month. Prior to being sidelined, Kaminsky saw his playing time diminish – he averaged 3.5 PPG in 13.3 MPG during six appearances in March. Kaminsky was on Phoenix’s roster last season, had a $5MM option declined, then returned to the Suns after the Kings placed him on waivers. The ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft will find it difficult to regain his second-unit role once he returns. Kaminsky will likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum to stick around in the league next season.

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