We're now 12 days into NBA free agency, and while almost all of the big names are gone, there's still some talent to be had in the pool of unsigned players.
Kevin Durant went to the Bay Area to join the Warriors and Al Horford shipped up to Boston with the Celtics to kick off the summer, and most other free agents have made their choices as well. Dwyane Wade bolted from Miami to join the Bulls while stars like Andre Drummond, Mike Conley and DeMar DeRozan decided to stick with their current teams to sign massive deals.
Everyone was feeling the love of the new salary cap, with players like Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes signing lucrative contracts. Of Tom Ziller's ranking of all 117 free agents in the 2016 class, the top 23 were gobbled up within the first week. A slew of other middling players were signed, too, leaving a slim cast of characters left to choose from for teams in need of talent.
That's not to say there isn't anyone left, however. Here are the top eight players left:
1. Dion Waiters (unrestricted free agent, No. 24 in Ziller's ranking)
The Thunder lost Kevin Durant and traded Serge Ibaka, and now they're reportedly rescinding their qualifying offer to Waiters, allowing him to become and unrestricted free agent, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Thunder still have Bird Rights and could re-sign Waiters, but this will give them some more cap flexibility with the impending Russell Westbrook decision looming.
Waiters has reportedly received interest from the Kings, the Bulls and the 76ers, but with the Bulls signing Wade and the Kings grabbing Arron Afflalo and Garrett Temple, Philadelphia looks like a very real possibility.
2. J.R. Smith (unrestricted free agent, No. 33)
The sharp-shooting Smith is starting to get worried about whether he'll be able to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers after helping them win a title last season. He played great defense and hit big shots all year, but the Cavaliers have yet to sign him.
They haven't signed LeBron James yet, either. Once that happens, signing Smith should happen quickly -- unless Smith wants too much money. There are rumors that Smith is asking for $15 million per year. He deserves that kind of contract, but the question is whether or not the Cavaliers can provide it. It seems unlikely he'll leave, though, so expect Smith to be on the court when Cleveland defends the NBA championship next season.
3. Donatas Motiejunas (restricted free agent, No. 68)
The Rockets tried to trade Motiejunas away this season -- he failed his physical so wasn't dealt to the Pistons -- but it's looking like they'll keep him barring a massive offer elsewhere because they can match any offer he signs. If healthy, Motiejunas could be a valuable asset for the Rockets frontcourt.
4. Mario Chalmers (unrestricted free agent, No. 72)
Chalmers says he's going to be ready to go for training camp this summer after tearing his Achilles last summer, but has yet to make much noise in the free agency rumor mill. If healthy, he'd be worth taking a shot on as a backup point guard -- he's not going to star, but has shown flashes of great play during his NBA career.
5. Maurice Harkless (restricted free agent, No. 73)
Harkless' agent says there's no rush to sign a contract, but it's likely Harkless will sign the qualifying offer the Trail Blazers laid out for him if he can't get a big offer sheet elsewhere. The four-year veteran played 76 games for the Blazers last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game while coming on late in the year. If a team sends an offer to Harkless, the Blazers will have a tough decision depending on how rich the contract is.
6. Josh Smith (unrestricted free agent, No. 85)
Looking for a somewhat decent defender who takes questionable shots and makes bad decisions? Josh Smith may be your guy. The NBA journeyman has been with the Hawks, Pistons, Rockets and Clippers, but hasn't been the focus of too many rumors this summer. He's not going to be the player he was with the Hawks, but if Smith can find a home where he's comfortable -- and the team is comfortable with him taking some ill-timed shots -- he has the tools to provide valuable minutes.
7. Jason Thompson (unrestricted free agent, No. 87)
The eight-year veteran just finished up a playoff run with the Raptors, getting five minutes of playing time throughout the postseason. His production has waned since a solid rookie season in 2008-09, but he still has some skills. With his experience in the league, he could be a solid option as a third big man for a team in need.
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