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So how was everybody’s, ahem, “first day” of NBA free agency?
Please excuse the lowbrow snark. It is just genuinely ridiculous how the Association’s offseason timeline has progressed.
Always bracing for the unpredictable is a must, but we legitimately knew that Kyrie Irving was headed to the Brooklyn Nets a full day before the start of free agency, and we heard about Kevin Durant joining him with more than an hour to go. Kudos to them, and Kemba Walker, for figuring out how to travel into the future, hold their meetings and then return back in time to get a jump-start on making their decisions.
Anyway…other quality free agents are still on the board. Plenty of them. We’ve outlined the best 25 available players after using a mix of factors. Mostly: recent performance, age, health, developmental arc, expected contract value and the ease with which they can be fit into a new team.
Excluding players from consideration is straightforward. Contracts cannot be made official until the moratorium lifts at 12 p.m. ET on July 6, but we’ll be counting free agents as unavailable if the rumor mill has already made their destination official.
*Note: Analysis for available players is taken from our top-50 big board, but we’ve updated the text to reflect the most recent, relevant news.
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These players all have strong cases to make a top-25 bid, but for now, they just miss the cut:
- Khem Birch
- Jeff Green
- Justin Holiday
- Richaun Holmes
- Frank Kaminsky
- Enes Kanter
- Markieff Morris
- Elfrid Payton
- Thabo Sefolosha
- Ish Smith
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Noah Vonleh’s 2018-19 campaign is only getting tougher to contextualize.
Standout players from crappy teams must always be viewed with a measure of skepticism, and, well, the 17-win Knicks were terrible. Vonleh’s situation is complicated by the absence of established interest. New York has pivoted into three other combo bigs—Taj Gibson, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis—without a peep about taking care of him.
Bringing backing Vonleh is still in play. The Knicks have the flexibility, and his market clearly isn’t too robust after remaining unsigned through Sunday’s contract-for-all.
New York could also just be looking for higher-risk, higher-reward investments. That isn’t Vonleh. He is a dabbler—not elite in any one area, maybe even leaning on the side of incomplete, but a safe alternative to more expensive frontcourt reserves.
Squads that don’t have the deepest benches would be wise to take a look. Vonleh won’t get the same creative license on a better team, but his game is ready-made to complement. He banged in enough of his long twos (41.2 percent) and no-dribble threes (35.7 percent) last season to work the pick-and-pop, and while undersized for the 5 slot at 6’9″, his rebounding and so-so rim protection will hold up against other second-stringers.
Best Fits: Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota
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Supply and demand helps Wilson Chandler sneak onto the Day 2 big board. Stretch forwards were in short order to begin free agency, and they’re all but absent now.
Chandler isn’t going to transform a team’s direction or even be its finishing piece. He is 32, a suspect shooter and has battled injuries off and on for much of his career. But he’s affordable, and more importantly, he wants to play the 4.
“I’m more comfortable at the 4,” he said in March, per theLos Angeles Times‘Broderick Turner. “Most of my career I’ve always played the 4. But right now we’ve got [Danilo Gallinari] at the 4, so it’s just a matter of fitting in.”
Both theClippers andSixers notched monster offensive ratings with Chandler at power forward. Los Angeles’ defense cratered, but Philly’s staved off disaster. If he stays healthy and keeps hitting 40-plus percent of his catch-and-shoot threes, he can be a difference-maker—someone who unlocks a team’s most versatile lineups.
Best Fits: L.A. Clippers, Houston, Utah
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Rajon Rondo’s game has aged into even more of an enigma. His flashy style infers a net-positive impact, but that pomp and circumstance is so often without substance. The Lakers were statistically better at both ends with him on the bench last season.
Hope is not lost. Rondo’s engagement peaks juuust frequently enough to preserve it. Finding the right situation for him is imperative, as SI.com’s Rob Mahoney wrote:
“Rondo still can’t really shoot and still doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to play defense so much as make big defensive plays. If a team can survive those quirks in the year 2019, then Rondo could be an impact player. If not, he’ll continue to reward cutters with ingenious passes, read what set an opponent is running before busting it open, and then quietly cede points along the way.”
Stability is key. Rondo has gone from All-Star to journeyman. He doesn’t need a multiyear commitment so much as a set-in-stone role, be it as a starter or backup.
Bargain-bin shoppers with shooting in place and an unflappable hierarchy forecast as the most seamless landing spots. Less ambitious teams with major reps at point guard to spare also work.
Best Fits: L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Washington
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Austin Rivers is getting an impromptu bump from his postseason performance. He became Houston’s most important reserve by the end, and it wasn’t even close.
Through 10 appearances, Rivers drilled 45 percent of his spot-up threes and 53.8 percent of his pull-up treys. That same mix of shot-making wasn’t on display for his entire regular-season stay with the Rockets, but he did his job off the catch and gave them another ball-handler to leverage during Chris Paul‘s absence.
More consistent showings off the bounce would go a long way. Rivers hit 37 percent of his threes when using between two and six dribbles in 2017-18. His efficiency on those same shots dropped to 28.1 percent last year.
Cap-starved teams cannot be choosy, and they just so happen to be Rivers’ market. Shot creation comes at a premium, but he’s the rare, potentially effective source who should come on the cheap. If all else fails, he can at least be used as a standstill sniper and to switch certain defensive actions.
Best Fits: Detroit, Miami, Oklahoma City
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Motion shooters have utility even when they don’t add much else. Wayne Ellington is no exception.
Last season wasn’t so kind to him. He fell out of the Heat’s rotation, and it took him a little while to find a groove with the Pistons. But he cracked the 68th and 87th percentiles of scoring efficiency off screens in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. He still ended up shooting 37.1 percent from distance overall in 2018-19.
That value should persist on a team with more room to move him around in the half court. Getting more space in general will help with his one-dribble escapes. And even if he isn’t swishing tough-to-contest triples, his motion is a weapon on its own, if only because it sidetracks set defenses.
Best Fits: Detroit, L.A. Lakers, Philadelphia
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Jabari Parker is a nightmare on defense. His effort waxes and wanes, and the end result isn’t inspiring even when he tries. He’s constantly two steps behind the play.
Bucket-getters have value, and Parker is averaging more than 20 points per 36 minutes since 2016-17. He didn’t shoot well from three last season (31.3 percent), but neither Chicago nor Washington were shining examples of great floor balance.
Besides, Parker flashed league-average or better touch from deep in each of the two previous years, albeit through injury-shortened samples. At his best, he is a legit shot-creator who provides a spot-up outlet when he doesn’t have the ball.
Some team will roll the dice. It might even be the Wizards. They lost Bobby Portis to the Knicks and desperately need a floor-spacer on the frontline.
Best Fits: Washington, Charlotte, Cleveland
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Nerlens Noel’s free-agency status is complicated. He initially agreed to re-sign with the Thunder but has since requested “time to reevaluate their commitment on a new deal,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Open waffling counts as available in our book.
Landing somewhere for the room exception ($4.8 million) or mini MLE ($5.7 million) should be in play. Noel’s offensive game hasn’t yet come together—he should be much better finishing out of the pick-and-roll—but he’s a defensive terror. His length is a problem in passing lanes and around the basket, and he’s committed to forcing the issue in space and transition.
Holding this value in a starter’s role will be harder, and Noel might still project as a reserve. He’s best suited on a team that has more than 15 minutes per game for him but won’t drastically extend his workload right away.
Best Fits: Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers
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Willie Cauley-Stein is a restricted free agent in theory. The Kings extended him a qualifying offer, but signing Dewayne Dedmon renders him more than expendable. Sacramento can get around $13 million in room by renouncing Cauley-Stein’s rights.
That paves the way for another team to scoop him up on the cheap. Most of this summer’s buyers have burned through their cap space, and center vacancies are in shorter supply. The market is not in Cauley-Stein’s favor.
This might not be a problem in the end. A change of scenery may do him some good, and he asked for one before the Kings made him a restricted free agent.
Last year was an odd one for him. His shot selection improved, but he still lacks polish when he’s not finishing lobs and continues to regress at the foul line.
Unaddressed defensive issues hurt him more than anything. He is long and springy and, at times, very switchy but needs to find a team with more trustworthy perimeter stoppers who afford him leeway to put it all together.
Best Fits: L.A. Lakers, Oklahoma City, Portland
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James Ennis isn’t just one of the best three-and-D options left on the market—he’s among the only three-and-D options left on the market.
Ball-handling isn’t his specialty, and his career three-point splits are both wild and bogged down by tiny sample sizes. But he is a reliable enough set shooter, as he canned 35 percent of his catch-and-fire threes in the regular season.
Granted, Ennis’ outside efficiency plunged in the playoffs, but he still proved to be a defensive difference-maker. His one-on-one stands saved the Sixers more than once, and he allowed them more matchup flexibility than anyone other than Ben Simmons.
One question that must be asked unless he turns into a more reliable shooter: Can teams get away with him playing some 4?
Best Fits: Boston, Golden State, L.A. Lakers
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Dorian Finney-Smith doesn’t fit the three-and-D wing mold to perfection, but he does just enough at both ends to enter the discussion.
Dallas has used him to cover 2s, 3s, 4s and even some bigs. He ends up being a really nice half-court get if he’s a team’s second- or third-best defender.
Having Finney-Smith launch quick-fire jumpers coming around screens is a no-go. He’ll struggle even in set situations if he’s not given enough time. But he hit catch-and-shoot treys at a 36.7 percent clip before the All-Star break and can do some basic straight-line stuff off the dribble.
Best Fits: Dallas, Chicago, Sacramento
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Tyus Jones is not among the restricted free agents in line for a massive offer sheet. Playing for the Timberwolves has meant ceding status to starrier prospects and a more immediate timeline. Jones’ offensive game is a developmental project, and it shows.
His handle has gone from touch and go to more under control, and he can pilot a functioning pick-and-roll. But his overall effectiveness is bogged down by an uneven scoring profile. He is a shaky three-point shooter and erratic when dribbling into jumpers, and with the exception of 2017-18, he’s been an unsteady finisher around the rim.
Left ankle issues and Minnesota’s regime change are at least partially responsible for Jones’ underwhelming performance in 2018-19. He is worth a little faith. He just turned 23 and is shooting 41.3 percent on long twos over the pasttwoseasons. His defensive stands alone warrant court time. Lazy passes are a no-no on his side of the court, he doesn’t give up on plays after getting screened out of them, and he’s sneaky talented at ending possessions as the helper.
Best Fits: Minnesota, Orlando, Sacramento
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope catches a lot of flak, but only some is deserved. His freelancing is a functional migraine. Dribbling into low-percentage jumpers remains a specialty, and his commitment to getting out in transition is too often dwarfed by a subsequent devotion to short-circuiting fast breaks with pull-up threes.
Teams with a higher degree of spacing would have more luck with Caldwell-Pope. He is a willing passer when able to swing the ball to orbiting shooters, and players who fancy themselves dipsy-dooers off the dribble should commit more turnovers.
Upping his catch-and-fire looks should be the goal of whichever team signs him. Less on-ball work is inherently simpler, and Caldwell-Pope placed in the79th and82nd percentiles during his two seasons with the Lakers.
Best Fits: L.A. Lakers, Charlotte, Miami
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Wesley Matthews is only a step above Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s a more consistent defender off the ball but an even starker offensive acid trip. He considers himself a post-up artist at times and frequently dribbles into ill-advised pull-up jumpers, on which he shot just32.0 percent after joining the Indiana Pacers.
Enduring Matthews’ doing-too-much pluck isn’t always worth it. But it can be. He has knocked downmore than 38.0 percent of his spot-up threes in each of the past six seasons, and his recent injury history has not impacted his motor.
Since March 2015, Matthews has had a torn left Achilles tendon, hip and hamstring issues and a fractured right leg. That clearing 30 minutes per game while flying around, sometimes aimlessly, remains his baseline is flat-out ridiculous.
Best Fits: Detroit, Philadelphia, Toronto
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Frontcourt mobility is more important than ever, and JaMychal Green has the combination of nimble feet and strength to extend the boundaries of a rotation’s versatility.
Neither the Memphis Grizzlies nor Los Angeles Clippers used him in volume at the 5 last season, but he has that range, mostly when playing against second units that won’t test his lack of size at the rim. His side-to-side agility and length serve him well in space and permit him to log a lion’s share of his minutes at the 4 without much regard for matchups.
Green isn’t so much of a sure thing on offense. Stretch bigs are no longer novel at power forward. He has withstood the progression by transitioning from mere floor spacer to knockdown shooter. He put in 40.3 percent of his threes last season on 4.6 attempts per 36 minutes and kept perimeter defenses on tilt with strong screens and dives to the bucket.
Perhaps the most meaningful proof of Green’s utility came during the Clippers’ six-game first-round set with the Golden State Warriors. He nearlytripled the number of possessions he logged at center during the regular season in a truncated span whiledraining 55 percent of his spot-up treys. Los Angeles posted a plus-12.9 net rating in that time, with an offense that absolutely sang.
Best Fits: L.A. Clippers, Boston, Golden State
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Maxi Kleber would shoot up this list if he played a larger role or received more run at the center spot. Most of his minutes with the Dallas Mavericks have come at the 4, and hisscant time at the 5 has not yielded good defensive returns.
Only so much of that falls on Kleber. Teams shot wellat the rim with him at center, but he didn’t have much support in front of him. Dallas’ wing rotation last season included Harrison Barnes (before his trade to the Sacramento Kings), Luka Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Jackson—just one of whom is a clear defensive plus (Finney-Smith).
Squads with more impactful perimeter stoppers will have an easier time getting by with Kleber at the 5. If not, he has shown the outside-in quickness necessary to hang at the 4. He is an asset either way. The Mavs may be compelled to match the largest possible offer sheet (it’d be under $10 million) even though they have Dwight Powell and Kristaps Porzingis locked up long term.
Frontlines assembled around floor-spacing rim protectors are the dream. Kleber checks both boxes. He splashed in 35.3 percent of his threes on 5.2 attempts per 36 minutes last year and was even deadlier after Jan. 1, draining41.0 percent of his triples. His block totals don’t disarm, but opponents shot just 55.7 percent against him at the rim—a top-25 markamong 165 players who faced at least 150 point-blank looks.
Best Fits: Dallas, Atlanta, L.A. Lakers
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Kevon Looney became indispensable to the Warriors long before their rash of injuries and Kevin Durant’s dash to Brooklyn. Head coach Steve Kerr is reluctant to put him in the starting lineup or play him 30 minutes per game, but he is Golden State’s line to positionless defense without having to force Draymond Green to battle opposing centers.
Guards have a tough time cooking Looney on switches, and he is a stout rim protector for someone who stands 6’9″. So many of his covers don’t even get traditional looks on the basket. He sticks with ball-handlers step for step, often forcing contested baby jumpers and floaters, more than a few of which he’ll get a hand on.
Sticking Looney in the middle can come at the cost of defensive rebounds without supplementary size around him. It is a different story at the other side. He works his butt off to create second-chance opportunities, even when it means shooting the gap between the three-point arc and basket. Just seven players posted a higher offensive rebounding rate during the regular season.
Golden State doesn’t run enough pick-and-rolls to render a verdict on Looney’s screen-and-dives, but he’s a good cutter who is content to subsist on put-backs and transition opportunities. The ease with which this offensive role can translate will invite far-flung interest.
Bigs tend to get squeezed on the open market, but this isn’t last summer. More teams have cap space, and Looney proved critical to the Warriors’ cause even as he labored through a fractured rib cage in the NBA Finals. He has drawn interest from the Bulls and the Rockets. Golden State probably needs to offer a small bag to keep him but can do no such thing following the D’Angelo Russell sign-and-trade.
Best Fits: Golden State, Atlanta, Houston
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Almost250 players have averaged at least 100 three-point attempts over the past four seasons. No one is shooting them at a higher clip than Seth Curry, who has nailed 43.9 percent of his 684 outside looks (he missed all of 2017-18).
Established long-range sniping alone will not get him a massive deal. Shooters have a way of getting paid, but they won’t break the bank without other strong selling points. Curry has them.
Playing behindDamian Lillard and CJ McCollum capped his minutes and on-ball responsibility, but he has more to offer. He is a consistent scoring threat out of the pick-and-roll, and his lack of size has not prevented him from becoming a solid team defender. He is rock solid at tracking pick-and-roll creators and can hold is own in one-on-one situations when he’s not giving up too many inches or pounds.
Free-agent markets can always turn, but it seems like Curry will need to find yet another new home. The Blazers already burned their mini mid-level exception on Rodney Hood and have traditionally opted for mega-cheap guards behind Lillard and McCollum.
Keep an eye on the Lakers. They’ve contacted Curry, according to the Los Angeles Times‘ Brad Turner, and they’ll be desperate to spend on depth if they don’t land Kawhi Leonard.
Best Fits: Boston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers
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Kelly Oubre Jr. was never headed toward a dormant market. Restricted free agency has a way of being kind to 23-year-old combo wings. But his time with the Phoenix Suns took him from sheer upside play to “Well, damn: Maybe some team will throw him way too much money” territory.
In the40 appearances he made leading up to the left thumb injury that ended his season, Oubre averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 block while finding nylon on53.2 percent of his two-pointers. He responded well to Phoenix jacking up his pick-and-roll responsibility, and his forever arms wreaked extra havoc in passing lanes.
Whether Oubre secures monster offers depends on how much the Suns and other teams trust his offensive development. He is still a wild-card shooter from the outside and looks more comfortable launching off the dribble than from set positions.
And if he’s going to be saddled with ball-handling duties, he’ll need to become more of a playmaker. Dump-offs and finding wide-open cutters won’t do it. He has to a do a better job of holding his dribble and making more anticipatory passes.
Best Fits: Phoenix, New York, Sacramento
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Delon Wright breathed life back into his market after getting shipped to Memphis, where he averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 steals while draining 50.8 percent of his two-pointers. He never quite regained his scoring touch out of the pick-and-roll, but he resurrected his finishing around the rim and kept defenses on tilt by applying constant pressure in the half court.
Just16 players churned through more drives per game after the trade deadline. Wright still wasn’t the most efficient scorer in these situations, but he uncorked the occasional floater and exhibited a nice feel for finding teammates when the defense was scrambled. His assist percentage on drives (11.2) was right in line with those of LeBron James (11.5) and Damian Lillard (11.4)—no tiny task when considering the talent around him.
Envisioning an uptick from Wright next year and beyond doesn’t take much imagination. Nor do teams have to worry about housing him beside other ball-handlers. He made it work with the Raptors, and he’ll make it work again.
Pairing him with a lethal shooter in the backcourt is ideal but not entirely necessary. Wright offsets half-court congestion with hard cuts to the basket, and he’s only one season removed from downing41.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot deep balls.
Navigating his offensive issues is worth it just to deploy him on defense. He is ready-made relief for teams that don’t want to have primary point guards cover their own position, and his 6’5″ frame stands up against most 2s and many 3s. Any squad with him as its second guard or sixth man has a roadmap to building a switchable beast.
Best Fits: Memphis, Chicago, Phoenix
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And the winner of this year’s “He’s ranked too high! No, wait, he’s too low! Or is he just right? Help!” award goes to: Tomas Satoransky. It is fitting that he’s somehow still available in a market that got Terry Rozier nearly $20 million per year (via sign-and-trade).
Satoransky tantalizes as a point guard with the size of a wing, but he undermines his craftiness with perpetual reluctance. Eighty-nine players averaged as many drives last season. He ranked 86th in field-goal attempts and barely cracked the top 70 in trips to the charity stripe.
Offenses cannot survive for protracted stretches with him running the show on his own. He needs an All-Star outlet. That’s fine. Satoransky verges on a universal fit. He can captain the offense versus first-stringers for beats at a time, run the second unit mostly on his own and, most importantly, coexist with any number of ball-dominant scorers.
Nearly60 percent of Satoransky’s made baskets came off assists, and he canned39.7 percent of his spot-up three-pointers. Combine that with his vision and deceleration in the lane, and he’s a dream catch for every team looking to put the finishing touches on its offense.
Best Fits: Washington, Chicago, Orlando
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All is quiet on the DeMarcus Cousins front…for now. The Knicks at one point seemed to be his most aggressive suitor, but they should be off his trail after handing out deals to Taj Gibson (two years, $20 million), Julius Randle (three years, $63 million) and Bobby Portis (two years, $31 million).
Determining Cousins’ value and best fits is a mental tug-of-war with no clear answer. Does it make sense to bet on where his star cachet was before he joined the Warriors? Will he fare better on a team with fewer mouths to feed? Wasn’t he unplayable at times in the Finals? Wasn’t he also mission critical to both of Golden State’s victories over Toronto?
Should it matter that he’s less than a year removed from his post-Achilles-injury debut? Or that he suffered a torn left quad in the first round of the playoffs? Should it also count for something, anything, that he came back? And that he’s still a great passer? And bully in the post? And willing, if less efficient, three-point shooter?
How about those few moments during the Finals in which he actually cooked off the dribble? Are they offset by his oft-complete lack of mobility on the defensive end and in transition?
A deep and stormy center market doesn’t help Cousins’ case. Many bigs have been bilked of leverage over the past few summers, and this year’s pool is diluted by heft. Taking a flier on Cousins holds intrigue thanks to his star power from seasons past, but the ideal fit has yet to present itself.
Terms of his contract will remain a debatable matter if and when it does. Pinning down a sensible price point is tough. It gets a little easier if he’s inking a one-year deal; single-season investments can be bad but are seldom catastrophic. Beyond that make-good placeholder scenario, though, Cousins’ pay grade will be miles from zero risk.
Best Fits: Golden State, Boston, L.A. Clippers
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Marcus Morris is another could-go-higher, could-be-lower case study. The former feels more appropriate when looking at 2018-19 in totality.
He was among the Celtics’ most consistent players for much of the year. He hit treys and dabbled off the dribble. His presence on the defensive glass is more prominent than ever, and he’s a better passer than his assist totals indicate.
No team should have him orchestrate sets from square one, and his tunnel vision on drives is real. But he is a decent decision-maker before he gets too deep on his attacks and pretty good at making quick swings to the corners.
Crummy shooting splits hurt Morris after thetrade deadline. His cold stretch was something of a reality check—just not an overwhelmingly strong one.
Luka Doncic and Paul George were theonly other players last season to average as many points, defensive rebounds and made three-pointers per 36 minutes, and Morris shot 45 percent on triples in the playoffs. He’s going to get paid.
Best Fits: Boston, L.A. Clippers, New York
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Nothing figures to happen with Danny Green until Kawhi Leonard hammers out his future. He’s been linked to the Mavericks, according to the Dallas Morning News‘ Brad Townsend, but waiting out the fate of Toronto’s championship core no doubt takes priority.
Either way, Green will get paid. Three-and-D wings are the most sought-after non-stars. The most effective ones hold elevated positions in these exercises even if they want for flash and other dimensions to their game.
Players entering their mid-30s are almost always risky multiyear investments. Green may be in line to lose a step or two over the next three to four seasons. Toronto or his next team will deal.
Age shouldn’t too seriously dent Green’s value. Maybe it means he covers fewer point guards or plays less than all-time-great transition defense. His stopping power is not rooted in explosion. He is an average athlete (relative to NBA talent, not you).
Nor is his offense predicated on off-the-bounce work. Close to60 percent of his shot attempts last season were standstill three-pointers, of which he banged in 47.4 percent. Nearly 80 percent of his total looks came without more than a single dribble.
Green’s lows can be infuriating. He was so cold by the end of the Eastern Conference Finals that Raptors head coach Nick Nurse barely played him. Green has missed a ton of big shots. He’s also drilled a bunch of huge ones.
Of the35 players who have attempted at least 50 three-pointers in the Finals since 1984, Shane Battier is the only one who’s posted a better long-range clip.
Best Fits: Toronto, L.A. Lakers, Philadelphia
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Kawhi Leonard is keeping at least three teams on the hook—Raptors, Clippers, Lakers—entering Day 2, and his admirers may have to keep waiting even beyond that. He didn’t take any meetings Sunday and has no plans to rush his decision, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Expect both Los Angeles squads and Toronto to be in relative holding patterns until Leonard chooses between them. The prospect of getting him is worth the wait and risk.
Best-player referendums are passed almost weekly during the postseason. The jockeying has always felt hollow, even forced. This year was different. It was still excessive but carried meaning.
Leonard’s claim to the throne is genuine. This isn’t to be confused with open and shut. Giannis Antetokounmpo earned the title during the regular season. Stephen Curry and James Harden still exist. LeBron James will turn 35 next season, but he just missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005. He will be terrifying.
Leonard is right there—a megastar at both ends of the floor who led the new-to-each-other Raptors to a friggin’ championship in Year 1 while at times dragging his left leg.
Perhaps he forfeits the top spot if Kevin Durant is fully healthy. He deserves it now. The team that signs him transforms into a contender, if it wasn’t already. And from the looks of things, his decision will come down to three suitors: the Raptors, Clippers and,yes, Lakers.
Best Fits: Toronto, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers
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