While almost all NBA free agents have found a home for next season, there are still a few left that could positively impact a franchise. Below, I have outlined the best free agents still available for the 2016-2017 NBA season.
While LeBron James is still technically a free agent, we all know he will be heading back to Cleveland for at least one more year in a pursuit to take down possibly the most stacked team in NBA history – the Golden State Warriors.
Considering the impact JR Smith had on the Cavaliers championship run, it looks like the Cavaliers will have no choice but to re-sign the sharp shooter. While he may be the most streaky shooter in the NBA, JR Swish knows how to make tough shots. He is a threat from anywhere on the court, and a crucial piece to help spread the floor for LeBron James.
Dion Waiters is a restricted free agent, so the Oklahoma City Thunder have the opportunity to match whatever offer teams throw his way. There were rumors that the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets were going after Waiters, but nothing has happened yet. I’m sure if given the opportunity, he would love a larger role.
After seeing his teammate Crabbe get $70 million, Harkless should be expecting to get paid, and it’s only a matter of time; however, he may decide to wait until next summer to test the waters of free agency when he becomes unrestricted. At 6’9”, he provides great length and athleticism that is perfect for today’s NBA. I see him heading back to the Trailblazers for at least one more year.
Mario Chalmers revived his career last season while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. Unfortunately, in March, he suffered a season ending Achilles injury. He should be healthy and ready to go for the 2016-2017 NBA season. While he may not have starting point guard talent anymore, he can still provide assistance off the bench for a number of franchises. With Dellavedova gone, maybe he will reunite with LeBron in Cleveland?
Motiejunas has been plagued with injuries over the past few seasons, and that has hurt his stock tremendously. He has great footwork in the post, and a decent jumper. He is currently a restricted free agent. Due to his injury prone nature, it is unlikely he will get a large enough offer from another franchise that the Rockets wouldn’t match. I see him headed back to the Rockets for next season.
Lance Stephenson’s career has been filled with ups and downs. He seemed like a legitimate starter in his tenure with the Indiana Pacers, and then basically fell off the map. In 26 games last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, he may have revitalized his career by averaging 14.2 points on 47% shooting. Maybe he will re-unite with the Indiana Pacers, or maybe he will re-unite with his old coach Frank Vogel in Orlando. Head-case or not, Stephenson still deserves a spot on an NBA roster.
After exiting the NBA for the 2015-2016 NBA season, it appears Larry Sanders is confident a team will pick him up for this upcoming season – and not just any team…
I know where ever I decide to go, we gettin a ring…
— L8 Show (@LarrySanders) July 10, 2016
It appears Sanders thinks he will be signed by a contender. That limits him to a few teams. Since the Warriors have already passed on Sanders, and the Cavaliers just signed Birdman, I’m not sure which team he thinks will win the 2017 NBA Championship…
Rip Hamilton had this to say, per CBS
“I’m giving myself thirty days where I am really hitting the gym. I’m working on my game. I’m in the weight room. I’m running my two, three miles a day. And I’m trying to see if my body can hold up. If my body can hold up after these thirty days, I will be making a comeback. If I get the opportunity where I can come in and earn my minutes, I think that I will be able to make an impact on someone’s NBA team.”
After being out of the NBA for the last 3 years, it is unclear whether or not his body will be able to handle the strenuous life of an NBA player. We should find out shortly whether or not there will be a market for the vet.
A few weeks ago on Sirius XM NBA Radio, Kenyon Martin stated he had been working out in the gym, and was ready to make an NBA comeback if given the opportunity. Will he re-unite with his longtime friend Jason Kidd in Milwaukee? Only time will tell.
Carlos Boozer sat out the 2015-2016 NBA season. A few weeks ago, he had this to say to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“The previous season with the Lakers was a tough year. Kobe [Bryant] got hurt, Steve Nash went down and we had a young group still learning to win. I ended up taking the next year off, spent time with my kids and family and right now my body feels great. I feel terrific. I have been working out hard all year, and I miss the game. I want to play again.”
It is still unclear where Boozer will end up, but he would be a quality veteran for a team with a young roster to bring on board.