Believe it or not, NBA free agency isn't over just yet. Yes, the big guns have already chosen their teams this summer; Kevin Durant is a Net, as is Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker is a Celtic and after much deliberation, Kawhi Leonard is a Clipper. Whether it be to strengthen their benches or mix new talents into their rotations, there are a ton of great players still available.
This late into the process, the biggest talents would have been snapped up by now, but there's still a ton of talent that could help any team. Often, these are the subtle moves that mean the difference between a deep playoff run and the lottery, it's huge for teams to nail these late pickups.
Here are some of the best NBA free agents still looking for a team...
Faried plays a position that has all but been eliminated from the game today, but he reinvented himself during a short stint with the Rockets this past season and may end up a true contributor again next season if he lands the right team. The bouncy power forward shot 20 three-pointers in his 25 games with the Rockets, nearly matching the 25 three's he hoisted up in his previous seven seasons in the league, adding another tool to his repertoire. While it's a small sample size, he shot a respectable 35% on those shots, and that combined with his effectiveness around the rim and his propensity towards rebounding make him a valuable asset to many.
For many in NBA, its a wonder that Faried is still a free agent. He recently updated fans with an optimistic message..
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Lin made headlines recently as he tearfully reflected on his status as a free agent and wondered if his NBA days were numbered. That remains to be seen, but Lin has proved to be both a useful offensive weapon off the bench and a locker room presence off it. That could make him a nice pickup for just about any team in the league. He'll be 31 soon, and after two injury plagued years with the Nets he managed to play 74 games last year. His shooting percentages leave a lot to be desired, but you can do much worse at the third point guard spot than Jeremy.
In the modern NBA, three-point shooting and defenders on the wing are at a premium, and Sefolosha offers both in spades. At 6'7" he can defend multiple positions and has shot 38% and 43% from three-point range the last two seasons. He probably won't start 82 games for you, but as a role player off the bench that you can throw out there to defend some of the best wing players in the league, he's well worth a pickup.
In the meantime, Thabo's not worrying about who he'll be lining-up for next season, he's just another kid having fun at camp..
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Melo is a fascinating case. He still has offensive skills, and shot about 36% from three-point region his last two full seasons. But he needs the ball, and can be exploited on defense, especially late in games or throughout a playoff series. Does that mean he can't play in this league anymore? Of course not, but for one reason or another, teams have deemed him not worth the hassle. On a minimum salary, and in a small role, Melo can still be effective, at this point it's just about whether or not somebody wants to give him a chance.
Thomas is very similar to Sefolosha in that he provides stout defense at multiple positions and some shooting punch. While he shot a career low from three-point range last season for the Knicks, he'd been enjoying a much more successful career beforehand. Thomas is low maintenance and doesn't require the ball much to be effective.
On a team as starved for shooting as the Lakers, Lance actually led the team in three-point shooting last season, hitting his long distance shots at a 37% clip. He's an irritant on defense, even if he's not actually all that great at that end of the court, and seems to hit form a few times a month to help his team get a win.
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Maybe he can charm his way into another team?
Dekker has been an intriguing prospect all four of his seasons in the NBA. At just 25 years old, he's big, at 6'9" and crazy athletic. He gets after it on defense, but still hasn't found a way to be offensively effective in the NBA. He hasn't been able to shoot the ball well from range and struggles handling the ball, but there's always a team that figures they can get him on the right track.
It looks like Bucks' fans have already begun efforts to usher Dekker back to Wisconsin..
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Lumbering big men aren't the most desirable asset in the NBA anymore, but they can be useful if you use them right. Nene was solid for the Rockets for the past three seasons, offering points around the rim, tough rebounding, veteran leadership and stout defense whenever called upon. The literal graybeard will be 37 years old soon, and has played 17 seasons in the league so far, but he still offers all of those same positives for the 2019-20 season.
Much like Nene, Joakim Noah is a relic of yesteryear in the NBA, but he showed last season he can still help a team win. The former Defensive Player of the Year chipped in 7 points and 6 rebounds a game off the bench in limited minutes for the Grizzlies last year, and showed he still has the play-making ability that made him an MVP candidate earlier in this decade.
When the Toronto Raptors went smaller and smaller in the NBA Finals, the Warriors struggled to find minutes for Jerebko on the floor. Even with the team decimated due to injuries later in the series they still limited his time on the court for defensive reasons. But every team isn't the Warriors or Raptors, and every game isn't the Finals, so there is room for a guy like Jerebko on plenty of teams. A big man who can shoot and rebound is an asset on any team, and it's a bit of a surprise Jerebko lasted this long into free agency.
It's not every day you get the opportunity to sign a living legend, but Vince Carter is just that. Signing Vince to your roster is no novelty signing though, as both the Kings and the Hawks have praised him for his time with their teams, thanks to his work as a locker room leader and a mentor to younger players on their teams. Vince turns the clock back for a spectacular performance every couple of nights, but his presence in the locker room and on the bench alone is worth the price for whoever decides to pick him up.
Shumpert has gained a reputation as a '3&D' player, but as a career 34% three-point shooter, it's a slight stretch. But Shumpert has championship experience, and is still athletic enough to drive to the rim when defenders run out a little too hard at him. The defensive side isn't in question, as he remains energetic on that end, grinding against the best wing players in the league whenever his number is called.
Stauskas never quite developed into the sharpshooter, Klay Thompson type Kings owner Vivek Ranadive thought he was going to be when he so enthusiastically drafted him back in 2014. But he's still just 25, so there's time for him to find a place in the league, and with shooting at such a premium these days he's worth a shot as an end of the bench reserve.
Believe it or not, Amir Johnson has been in the league for 14 years, and with that much experience he knows his way around the paint. He probably won't play a huge amount of minutes wherever he lands, but he grabbed over 19% of the available defensive rebounds whenever he was on the floor last year. Respectable rebounders don't grow on trees, so its likely Amir is going to get the call from somebody.
Crawford will turn 40 this season, what he hopes will be his 20th season, and after a season mentoring the young players on the Phoenix Suns he may be looking to play for a contender again. He might still get the chance, even at his advanced age he remains offensively effective off the bench. You wouldn't want to rely on Jamal producing each and every night, but a boost of performance every couple of games would be enough for a roster spot somewhere.
It's been a long while since J.R. got to play basketball, and you have to figure he's itching to get back on the court. As a sharpshooter with championship experience, somebody is going to give him a chance to get his career back on track. Placed on a team with veteran leadership in place, he could still be a valuable contributor off the bench.
Much like Amir Johnson and Nene before him, Zaza is the kind of big body and sure rebounder every team could use, even if it's just in small doses. Zaza is never afraid to do the dirty work, and comes with a ton of championship experience so he's sure to be ready for any situation.
Gortat has been on the open market since the Clippers waived him back in February, so his time in the league might be over, but it just takes one team to give the 12-year veteran a chance. Gortat has become a defensive liability in recent years, but remains a solid pick and roll big man who can knock down mid range shots.
If you Google Mejri, you're going to see he's ended up on the wrong side of a ton of posters. But if you look a little harder you'll see the former Maverick blocking his fair share of shots as well. At 7'1" he brings a ton of rim protection to your team and throws down his fair share of nasty dunks on offense as well.
Shooting is the buzz word here once again. After winning a ring with the Raptors, Meeks might find a home on the open market thanks to his reputation as a dead-eye shooter. He only played eight regular season games last year, but somehow found his way into 14 playoff games because his shooting is such a threat.
Speaking of buzz words, Grant is another 3&D option on the market, though, at 6'4" he's not as versatile defensively as some of the other options out there. Still, Grant was stout on defense and shot 36% from three-point range last year, helping the Magic reach the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Corey Brewer is as erratic an offensive player as there is in the league, but his energy on defense makes him invaluable to any team in need of defense. Add the veteran leadership that the Kings praised him for last year and you have a player worth at least the veteran minimum, even if it's on a few 10-day deals like the Kings gave him.
Luc Mbah a Moute
A few years ago, many people were convinced Luc Mbah a Moute's shoulder injury might have cost the Houston Rockets a championship. He was a menace defensively and shooting at a decent enough clip that he had to be respected on offense as well. He only appeared in four games last year, as he dealt with a knee injury. If he can get healthy, Luc will find a contender eager to add him to their roster.
Ryan Anderson has always been able to shoot, it's defense that's been the thorn in his side as his career winds down. As a big man that can shoot, he's benefited from the pace and space era as much as anybody, at least until teams started attacking him on the pick and roll and making him guard ball handlers in space. But when you can shoot that well, there's going to be a place for you in the league and somebody will come knocking on Ryan's door.
Who's Up In 2020?
Next summer will be just as insane with a number of big names up for free agency. Hitting 30 years of age, Draymond Green will be one of the biggest targets for teams next summer with the Warriors salary cap sheet quickly turning into a nightmare. If things go terribly, terribly wrong for Anthony Davis at the Staples Center this season, it wouldn't be the first time the Lakers have ever traded for a young, dominant big man to pair with their aging legend a year before the young star becomes a free agent, only for that star to bolt, right? Right?