Did you complete the 2020-21 NBA season? Check. Complete the 2021 NBA Draft? Check. Free agency, you are next.
The league’s annual spending spree is scheduled to begin Monday night with teams and players officially authorized to begin negotiations at 6 p.m. ET. (“Officially” is the keyword, as the discussions have undoubtedly already been discussed). The biggest stars in this year’s class, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul, may not really be available, but there will be plenty of other helpful players looking for new offerings. .
Let’s take a look at the top goals and what makes them so appealing to GMs hoping to improve their rosters.
MORE: The Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2021 NBA Draft
NBA Free Agency 2021: Ranking of the Top 20 Players
1. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (player option)
Despite suffering a partially torn ACL during the 2021 NBA playoffs, Leonard will get the most money. Before his injury, he averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals in 11 postseason games, shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent shooting. triples. He’s one of the best players in the league and he’s still in his prime.
It’s impossible to know exactly what Leonard is thinking before free agency, but the most likely scenario here is that the two-time MVP of the NBA Finals will stick with the Clippers on a new contract.
2. Chris Paul, Suns (player option)
Remember when Paul’s contract was once deemed toxic, with that $ 44.2 million player option pending during the 2021-22 season? It doesn’t look so bad now, huh?
The eleven-time All-Star was fantastic in his first season with the Suns, taking them to No. 2 in the Western Conference and just two NBA championship wins. Paul is “almost destined” to stay in Phoenix, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
3. Kyle Lowry, Raptors (no restrictions)
Here it is where it gets interesting. Lowry looks like he’s leaving Toronto and he won’t be short of suitors. Many teams would love to add the veteran point guard, who averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds last season.
Heat, Mavericks, Pelicans and others will participate in Lowry’s drawing. This guy is going to get paid.
4. John Collins, Hawks (restricted)
Collins has been a popular name in trade rumors for the past year, but the Hawks have been hesitant to let him go. That was a good move for Atlanta, as the 23-year-old emerged as a key member of Atlanta’s career in the 2021 Eastern Conference finals, averaging 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
So it’s not surprising to hear that outside teams “increasingly operate on the premise that you can’t take Collins away from the Hawks.” according to Marc Stein.
5. Mike Conley, Jazz (no restrictions)
Coming out of the first All-Star season of his career, Conley has all the influence on his side in conversations with the Jazz. If Conley left the negotiating table, his phone would immediately start to explode with messages, but Utah would not have a way to find a suitable replacement given its financial constraints.
Unsurprisingly, the Jazz have made rehiring Conley their “top priority.” by stoneand plans to offer him a three-year contract in the “$ 75 million” range.
6. DeMar DeRozan, Spurs (no restrictions)
DeRozan’s concerns about efficiency and shot selection are fair, but he knows how to get baskets (21.6 points per game in 2020-21) and is an underrated passer (6.9 assists per game, the highest of his career). It could have a big impact on the right situation.
DeRozan was rumored to be a potential Lakers target, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports recently reported that the Russell Westbrook trade “eliminated that option because it would have required a sign-and-trade scenario and an inclusion of (Kyle) Kuzma.” It’s unclear if DeRozan would be willing to take a sizable pay cut to join a true contender.
7. Lonzo Ball, Pelicans (restricted)
Ball’s older brother is entering restricted free agency after the best season of his career. The 23-year-old averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 37.8 percent of his 3 points with great volume.
“There is believed to be a mutual interest” between Ball and the Bulls in a four-year, $ 80 million deal, by fishermanAlthough it’s worth noting that the Pelicans will have a chance to match any offer sheet he throws at Ball.
8. Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers (restricted)
After being sent from Brooklyn to Cleveland as part of the James Harden trade, Allen quickly emerged as the center of the Cavaliers’ future. He’s a strong roll man on offense and rim protector on defense.
While Allen is expected to eventually sign a new deal with Cleveland, multiple reports have pointed to the Raptors as a team that could come after him.
9. Dennis Schroder, Lakers (no restrictions)
Schroder didn’t exactly stand out in the playoffs (14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 40 percent shooting), but that postseason performance won’t define him as a player. If Paul and Conley leave the board early, there could be a bidding war for their services.
The Lakers might uncover some kind of sign-and-trade scenario involving Schroder, but it’s hard to see why a team would go down that path instead of just signing him into the salary space.
10. Duncan Robinson, Heat (restricted)
Robinson is the best pure shooter on the market, having exhausted 42.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in the past two seasons. Create clean looks in a variety of shapes (cuts, transfers, window frames, transitions) making it more valuable than a typical type.
If another team throws a lot, will the Heat be willing to call?
11. Norman Powell (player option)
12. Spencer Dinwiddie (no restrictions)
13. Richaun Holmes (no restrictions)
14. Tim Hardway Jr. (no restrictions)
15. Evan Fournier (no restrictions)
16. Gary Trent Jr. (no restrictions)
17. Kelly Oubre Jr. (no restrictions)
18. Reggie Jackson (no restrictions)
19. Will Barton (player option)
20. Lauri Markkanen (restricted)