SB Nation's 2015 NBA Free Agent Rankings by Tom Ziller | 6.21.2015

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Above: Draymond Green is one of a number of elite restricted free agents this year

In the new NBA, every summer features a potentially huge free agency period. Shorter contracts mean there are more free agents than we used to have in a given year. Sure, some of those are Cartier Martin and Drew Gooden, but we also have guys like Brandon Knight and Danny Green.

On top of that, the salary cap explosion on its way in 2016 has led to a lot of uncertainty as teams and players angle for the best situation. Players that normally chase the longest-term contract they can will be tempted to instead sign a short-term deal to become a free agent again in the near future.

There are a number of elite restricted free agents like Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler this year. You’d expect them to stay home, but strange things happen in July. We also have a few marquee names who have only ever played for one team, like Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. With sharks like the Spurs and Mavericks lurking, those stars re-signing can’t be guaranteed.

And at the head of the class, we have the best player in the world and eternal free-agent white whale, LeBron James. Let’s dig in.

NOTE: We listed all potential free agents, including those who had player options they have already accepted or said they would accept. We did this to have all potential free agents listed and avoid any last-minute ranking tumult. We'll continue to provide updates on individual player blurbs as necessary before July 1, though rankings will not change.

  • Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    1. LeBron James

    Unrestricted; opted out of player option ($21.5 million)

    No. 1 with an asterisk. There is basically no chance LeBron leaves Cleveland again, not after his triumphant return. But LeBron still become a free agent thanks to a clever short deal he signed in 2014, and since he's technically on the market, he needs to be on the list. And if he’s on the list, he’s No. 1. Few thought he’d leave Miami a year ago; he ended up changing the fate of multiple franchises by opting out and navigating back to northeastern Ohio. Again, the likelihood he’d move again is even smaller now. But it’s not zero.

    Needless to say, LeBron is the best player in the NBA and the only player currently active who has proven he alone is good enough to carry a team to the playoffs and even the Finals. He’s incredible. Despite the mileage he’s racked up over a career of long playoff runs, he should continue to be incredible into the future.

  • Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

    2. Kawhi Leonard


    Re-signed with Spurs (5 years, $90 million).

    One assumes that the Spurs will offer Kawhi, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and 2014’s Finals MVP, the full max contract available (roughly $90 million over five years). Leonard is fully worthy of that. But San Antonio has a history of convincing its stars to take discounts in order to support roster development and resource management. Tim Duncan, an all-time great, regularly cut the Spurs a salary break so that Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili could be retained. (In turn, those guys took less than the market would have demanded to save space for the Bruce Bowens, Matt Bonners and Tiago Splitters.)

    Neither side caved in 2014 when Kawhi was eligible for an early extension and his value was sky high. Given that Leonard is restricted, the Spurs aren’t in real danger of losing him immediately: They can match any offer sheet he signs with another team. But if San Antonio doesn’t come straight out with the full max, Leonard could sign a trickier deal with another team, perhaps one that allows the star to become an unrestricted free agent in two years. (Offer sheets to RFAs must be three years at minimum, but usually can include opt-out clauses for the final year of the deal.) That’d put the Spurs on shakier ground in the post-Duncan era.

  • Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports

    3. Marc Gasol


    Re-signed with the Grizzlies (5 years, $110 million)

    The best center in the NBA will draw offers from all corners of the NBA map. An elite defender and skilled scorer and passer, Gasol is the total package. Though he’s 30 years old and 7-footers typically age poorly, he doesn’t have a pegged odometer (less than 20,000 NBA minutes, including playoffs) nor does he rely on athleticism to do his work. He’s a rather safe bet on a max deal.

    He went to high school in Memphis and has spent his entire career there. He has a seemingly wonderful camaraderie with his teammates and the fans. There’s no indication Memphis plans to reset the team any time soon, which means Gasol can count on 50 wins and a playoff run every year until some crisis arrives.

    But if Gasol feels the Zach Randolph/Mike Conley era has run its course, and if the Spurs or another team can offer a more attractive future, you can’t rule out Marc submitting to wanderlust. It’s worth noting that his big brother was a massive success in Memphis, but won championships only when he left.

  • Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports

    4. LaMarcus Aldridge


    Signed with the Spurs (4 years, $81 million)

    Aldridge claims the title of the best free agent folks around the league think could actually change teams. After a disappointing finish to the 2014-15 season, Aldridge has an opportunity to hear pitches from teams in his native Texas and elsewhere before committing to a long-term deal. The Spurs, Mavericks and Rockets are all rumored to be heavily interested, and the usual suspects from big markets will be chasing LMA as well. The question is whether any of them can offer a better chance to win than a future with Damian Lillard.

    Aldridge, 29, is a brilliant mid-range shooter with some nifty post moves. He’s also a top defender and he’s tough as cowhide, playing the back half of the most recent season with a busted thumb. He’s good enough to make a bad team respectable or a good team elite.

  • Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    5. Kevin Love

    Unrestricted; player option ($16.7 million)

    Re-signed with the Cavaliers (5 years, $110 million

    Love experienced a very strange season that was unfortunately ended by a freak injury in the playoffs. Now, he faces one of the most interesting decisions in the league. He can opt out of his $16.7 million contract and become a free agent a year before the massive salary spikes arrives along with a new leaguewide TV deal. Or, Love can concede the $3 million raise he’d be in line to receive to give Cleveland another season and synchronize his free agency with the higher salary cap. It’s a devilish choice.

    If he does hit the market, Cleveland will try hard to retain him. Teams that offer a lower chance of winning, but more autonomy and better weather will chase hard; Love is seen at gettable, especially by the Lakers. But you’d think those losing season in Minnesota would have made Love embrace the Cavaliers tightly. Perhaps he thinks losing in L.A. would be a big improvement over losing in the tundra. We’ll see.

    UPDATE: Love opted out.

  • Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    6. Draymond Green


    Re-signed with the Warriors (5 years, $82 million)

    Green is one of a few young players who convincingly made a case for max contract status this season. The Swiss army knife was a huge piece of the Warriors’ epic rise, rendering David Lee irrelevant and giving the once-quiet Golden State squad enough mouth to be heard in all four corners of the union. He’s a constant triple-double threat and the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. That’s a crazy combination.

    Green’s restricted, so there’s little chance the Warriors let him go. But this Golden State front office has a history of playing a touch of hardball with its young stars. Stephen Curry ended up signing an early extension on an incredible discount due to injury concerns, and while the Warriors gave Klay Thompson a massive contract, they waited until the last minute possible. Given the salary concerns with Harrison Barnes coming due in another year and Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala on the books for big chunks, we could see Golden State try to convince Green to take a small discount. There’s no telling how Green might react to that, especially since he has the option of signing the qualifying offer and becoming unrestricted for the 2016 bonanza.

  • Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

    7. Jimmy Butler


    Re-signed with the Bulls (5 years, $95 million)

    Butler claimed the Most Improved Player award and became the supplemental scoring star Derrick Rose always needed. He’s in the conversation for best two-way shooting guard in the league, and he actually still has plenty of room to improve. He’s an iron man, too — Butler has played heavy minutes in Chicago and battled through a number of injuries.

    The Bulls would be foolish to play any games with his free agency, but Chicago’s front office works in mysterious ways. He’s deserving of the max. If the Bulls don’t offer it, someone else should and will.

    There are reports that Butler wants to sign a short-term deal so he can become a free agent sooner. That contract must be for at least three years.

  • Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

    8. DeAndre Jordan


    Signed with the Mavericks (4 years, $80 million)

    Jordan is the first player on our list for whom there is legitimate debate about contract size. The 26-year-old center is one of the league’s top rebounders and shot blockers, and he’s always near the top of the field goal percentage rankings. But there are serious questions about just how effective a defender he is, and the offensive efficiency is a bit beside the point considering he takes about six shots per game. His free throw shooting also remains atrocious. If he’s really not an elite defender, how much value does he really hold?

    Whether Jordan is worth a max contract (starting at $20 million a year because he has seven years of NBA service) will depend on the team bidding for him and how he adjusts to playing with someone other than Chris Paul. L.A. could certainly justify paying him whatever he wants given that they’ve won 55 or more games three straight seasons with him. But there’s a solid case against tying up 30 percent of the current cap in Jordan. We’ll see.

    Note that Jordan is perhaps the best candidate to take a 1-year flyer and hit free agency in 2016. He’s already made $45 million in the NBA. If he’s managed it well, that’s all the insurance he needs to delay a truly massive payday one more year.

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    9. Brook Lopez

    Unrestricted; player option ($16.7 million)

    Re-signed with the Nets (3 years, $60 million)

    Lopez is a walking injury report, and repeat foot injuries for 7-footers are the reddest flags in the NBA. But as he showed down the stretch of the season, Lopez is a game-changer when he’s healthy. He’s one of the few NBA centers who is a consistent bet to score better than 20 points per 36 minutes at league-average efficiency or better, plus offer some solid defense. (He has a mixed reputation on that end, and his very poor defensive rebounding doesn’t help matters. In my book, he’s no worse than average on defense as a whole when healthy.)

    Lopez has made good money already, but because of his injury history, he may not be comfortable opting in and hoping for the best. If he can cash in with a deal above $60 million over four years this summer, he just may go for it. And chances are he’ll get that deal, if not a much better one.

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    10. Tim Duncan


    Re-signed with the Spurs (contract TBD)

    He’s not playing anywhere but San Antonio. The fact that he’s No. 10 on a long free agent ranking list at age 39 — and could conceivably be a few spots higher! — is a testament to how good he remains. If he decides to stay in the league, San Antonio will need to reach a deal with him early to prevent a large cap hold from tying their hands with other targets. It’ll be interesting to see how low the Spurs ask Duncan to go here at the end of his career. He made $10 million a season on his most recent contract.

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    11. Dwyane Wade

    Unrestricted; player option ($16.1 million)

    Re-signed with the Heat (1 year, $20 million)

    Wade would be giving up crazy amounts of potential salary if he doesn't opt out. Miami is pushing him to stay under contract to preserve its grand 2016 plans, which will require 2010-like flexibility. If the Heat must re-sign Wade now, that limits what the team can do in a year. But remember: Wade took a major pay cut in 2015 as Miami reeled from LeBron’s second decision. Wade’s max is $23.4 million, and even in his 60-games-only state, a team would give him that. When he’s on the court, he’s a top-10 producer still. If he opts in, he’s taking a 31 percent discount for a non-playoff team.

    Wade is going to be an incredibly interesting free agent case study. His mix of legacy and age are rare on the open market.

  • Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    12. Brandon Knight


    Re-signed with the Suns (5 years, $70 million)

    Placing Knight above Goran Dragic needs a robust defense — especially considering what a disaster Knight’s brief time in Phoenix was post-trade — so here goes. Knight has the advantage of youth (he’s 23). Based on his trajectory to date, he can be expected to improve. Before the trade to the Suns, he was a top contender from Most Improved Player and a darkhorse All-Star candidate (because Eastern Conference). His field goal percentage is troubling, but he takes a ton of threes and has been consistently solid from behind the arc. That buoys his overall shooting efficiency to somewhere around average.

    His defensive numbers have been rough, but I believe in his brains and quickness. Point guard defense is a learned skill. He’s not the most amazing passer in the league, but he’s effective and has tamped down his turnovers. Given that he’s restricted and not a max contract candidate, he’s going to a massive bargain for the next four years, provided he improves at a reasonable rate. If Knight gets around $12 million per season, by the 2016-17 season he’ll be taking up about 13 percent of a team’s cap for potentially above-average starters’ production at a critical position. That’s huge!

    Knight may never be as good as Dragic is now, but because of years of service and restricted free agency, he’ll be cheaper. That counts in a capped environment.

  • Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    13. Goran Dragic

    Unrestricted; player option ($7.5 million)

    Re-signed with the Heat (5 years, $90 million)

    Dragic is a really solid starting point guard, Miami’s best in a decade (if not longer). He’s not a regular 20-point scorer or someone likely to tally 10 assists, but he provides some good offensive punch and he’s at least been on a good defensive team (the 2014 Suns). Just 29, you’d think he could recapture the magic of that incredible season. It does, however, look a bit like a fluke year. That said, his game is so Tony Parker smart that he should age pretty well. Locking him up up above $14 million or so could work out in the end.

  • Erich Schlegel/USA TODAY Sports

    14. Danny Green


    Re-signed with the Spurs (4 years, $45 million)

    Green is the youngest 27-year-old on the planet. He still doesn’t even have 10,000 total NBA minutes under his belt. He’s also never been paid more than $4 million in a season. Little attention has been paid to Green as San Antonio opens up its books in search of another star to pair with Kawhi Leonard for the next four years. For that reason, Green feels eminently gettable. He’s only one of the league’s most prolific and effective deep shooters and an excellent defender. He should command upwards of $12 million a year.

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    15. Roy Hibbert

    Unrestricted; Player option ($15.5 million)

    Opted in, then traded to Lakers

    Interestingly, Indiana seems to have dared Hibbert to opt out by suggesting his role will be diminished in 2015-16. A classic defensive center who controls the paint with length and shot-blocking acumen, Hibbert has seen his stock plummet since late in the 2013-14 season, when the big man turned in some poor playoff efforts. He’s still one of the tallest humans in the league and an excellent rim protector. The question is whether he can be more somewhere else. He ought to opt in and rehab his image, then hit the salary bonanza in 2016.

  • 16. Greg Monroe


    Signed with the Bucks (3 years, $50 million)

    Monroe famously called Detroit’s bluff and accepted the 1-year qualifying offer in 2015 after finding a reluctant market. Now that he’s unrestricted, he’ll have an easier time separating from the Pistons if he so chooses. Monroe hasn’t grown his game much at all in the NBA, but he’s a solid No. 3 scorer and brilliant rebounder. If he can be turned into a plus defender, he could be a steal at below the max this summer.

  • 17. Tristan Thompson


    Given that Thompson shares an agent with LeBron, it’s a lock that Cleveland shells out big cash to keep the young Canadian. He’s proven his worth, becoming one of the league’s best offensive rebounders and a credible defender. He doesn’t figure much on offense other than on the boards and as a diver on the pick and roll, but a Cleveland team with LeBron, Kyrie Irving and maybe Love needs little else from its other big men.

  • 18. Timofey Mozgov

    Unrestricted; Team option ($5 million)

    Option picked up by Cavaliers

    There is no chance the Cavaliers decline the team option on Mozgov, unless the big Russian pulls a Boozer. Mozgov, a burly defense-first big man, is just perfect for the Cavaliers and an absolute steal at $5 million. His next contract will be in eight figures.

  • 19. Paul Millsap


    Re-signed with the Hawks (3 years, $58 million)

    Millsap has been the same player for years now, with one wrinkle: he can shoot the three these days. You know what you’re getting with him, as long as he ages well (he’s now 30). He’s a 16-18 points per game scorer, a very solid defensive rebounder, a credible defender of traditional fours and a mid-range shooter par excellence. Over the last two years, he’s added the triple, where he’s solid from beyond the arc and better from the corners. He should command a pretty penny, especially if he’s not sold on staying in Atlanta.

  • 20. Khris Middleton


    Re-signed with the Bucks (5 years, $70 million)

    Middleton looks like the classic role player who gets massively overpaid based on one really good season, a la Bobby Simmons. Here’s how Middleton is different: he’ll be just 24 next season with two strong deep-shooting seasons and he’s excelled under two (very) different coaches. He’s more proven than you think. Given the future of the salary cap, you wonder if a team will throw $15 million per year or more at him to see if Milwaukee blinks.

  • 21. Robin Lopez


    Signed with the Knicks (4 years, $52 million)

    RoLo is a center who knows his role offensively (an efficient, low-volume scorer who eats on the pick-and-roll) and is a really solid defender without hunting down blocks. He’s a top offensive rebounder and a dreadful defensive rebounder, so fit is a concern — I wouldn’t trust him on teams reliant on smallball lineups. But as a plus player at a premium position, Lopez is a very attractive free agent.

  • 22. DeMarre Carroll


    Signed with the Raptors (4 years, $60 million)

    Carroll is similar to Middleton but older (29 in July) and with a stronger defensive reputation. He’s also unrestricted, which could lead to a massive payday. LeBron thoroughly dominated him in the playoffs, though he was playing through an injury. It’s hard to hold that against Carroll — who doesn’t LeBron dominate? — but it’ll be something teams consider heavily before backing up the armored truck in free agency.

  • 23. Thaddeus Young

    Unrestricted; Early Termination Option ($10.2 million)

    Re-signed with Nets (4 years, $52 million)

    Young has always had the athleticism to play either forward spot, but he’s not a credible deep shooter, so he’s a full-time four. At that spot, he’s a poor rebounder, but still good for 15 points per game and some surprisingly able defense. His steal rate is a bit stunning for a power forward, and though he seems too thin to guard traditional fours, he can get the job done. He’s also just 26. He elected to opt out and become a free agent rather than waiting a year, hoping he thrived with more time in Brooklyn and cashing in during the 2016 bonanza.

  • 24. Wesley Matthews


    Signed with the Mavericks (4 years, $57 million)

    Matthews is an odd case. He tore his Achilles late in the season and might not play until midseason. Before the injury, he was in line for a massive payday as one of the best wing defenders in the NBA and a prolific deep shooter. There’s no telling how the market will approach Matthews or what ideas his agent has in securing Wesley’s future.

  • 25. Eric Gordon

    Unrestricted; Player option ($15.5 million)

    Picked up his player option

    The Pelicans’ highest-paid player has a chance to lock in another long, rich deal. What a weird career he’s had, though. He had his best shooting season ever in 2014-15, but he’s really stopped driving to the rim much and has gone from a 20-point scorer to a 13-point scorer in just a few years. (He’s still only 26.) If Gordon is put into a position to rediscover his once prodigious dribble-drive game to pair with his tremendous shooting stroke, he can be a top-7 two-guard. Otherwise, he’s turning into an Anthony Morrow. That’s fine, but that’s not worth $15 million.

  • 26. Al Jefferson

    Unrestricted; Player option ($13.5 million)

    Picked up his player option

    Big Al didn’t deserve to be paired with Lance Stephenson. He’s 30 with lots of miles, the most old-school power forward in the league and needs to be a No. 2 scorer at this point. Let him be someone’s 2013 David West.

  • 27. Tobias Harris


    Re-signed with Magic (4 years, $64 million)

    Harris probably felt pretty good about returning to Orlando until they hired his old coach, Scott Skiles. He's a solid No. 2 scorer and mid-range shooter. It’s fitting that he’s been linked to the Knicks; he’s a (very) poor man’s Carmelo Anthony.

  • 28. Reggie Jackson


    Re-signed with Pistons (5 years, $80 million)

    Detroit didn’t give up much to land Jackson, so there’s no particular imperative to retain him. He’ll either be a high-scoring starter on a mediocre team or a Sixth Man of the Year candidate on a good team. Nothing in between. I’d be extremely nervous about paying him eight figures if not for the exploding salary cap.

  • 29. Monta Ellis

    Unrestricted; Player option ($8.7 million)

    Signed with the Pacers (4 years, $44 million)

    The Mavericks complained about Rajon Rondo ruining their team. Monta should be mad at the team for bringing Rondo into the backcourt. He made Ellis’ surprisingly-excellent playmaking less relevant and depressed his free agent value. If Monta is your No. 2 scorer and you have shooters at two or more other starting positions, you’re in great shape offensively. Monta could also be a new Manu if the right team brought him off the bench. Somehow, he’s just 29. He indeed opted out and will likely find a new team.

  • 30. Jae Crowder


    Re-signed with the Celtics (5 years, $35 million)

    Sign him to a modest contract around the mid-level, invest in a shooting coach, ask him to defend the opponents’ best wing every night and see where you are in two years. This is the type of player you chase if you want to grab a Middleton or Carroll before they are getting serious paper.

  • 31. Lou Williams


    Signed with the Lakers (3 years, $21 million)

    It’s hard to shell out huge money to a player you cannot start under any circumstances. Williams is a top-3 lightning bug in the league; he’d be a nice option at an Isaiah Thomas type contract ($7-8 million per year). Given that he just won hardware, he might be aiming higher. That’s a bit scary, even though he’s only 28.

  • 32. Tyson Chandler


    Signed with the Suns (4 years, $52 million)

    Chandler isn’t too worn out to anchor a defense. He is too old to be the only decent defender on a team. He’d be super interesting as a (potentially) cheaper alternative to Omer Asik and a mentor in New Orleans.

  • 33. Rodney Stuckey


    Re-signed with the Pacers (3 years, $21 million)

    Stuckey finally shot well from deep last season, but he doesn’t take many threes and the evidence in total suggests he’s a mediocre gunner. He can score, though. Just not efficiently. Stuckey should be a fourth-option starting point guard or a flexible bench playmaker. Don’t expect him to creep too far above the mid-level.

  • 34. Ed Davis

    Unrestricted; Player option ($1.1 million)

    Signed with the Blazers (3 years, $20 million)

    Davis should opt out by lighting his contract on fire in front of the Lakers’ practice facility. He’s the perfect role-playing power forward to slot next to a high-scoring center, of which there are many in the NBA. (There are not.) One of the league’s best rebounders. Would be a good running mate for Brook Lopez.

  • 35. Iman Shumpert


    Re-signed with the Cavaliers (4 years, $40 million)

    Shump, like most players in this range, needs the right role to succeed. For evidence, see how much more productive he was as a defense-first role player in Cleveland vs. his half-season in New York. He can shoot when needed, dribble the ball (an underrated basketball skill!) and guard most ones and twos fairly well.

  • 36. Luol Deng

    Unrestricted; Player option ($10.1 million)

    Picked up his player option

    Deng had a perfectly cromulent season in Miami, where he did many Luol Deng things. His free agency decision will be real interesting. It seems extremely unlikely he’ll remain in Miami beyond 2015-16, so he might as well opt out if he can get a long-term, lucrative deal now. He’s no longer an All-World defender, but he’s smart and is a proper No. 3 scorer. It might be time for him to be a top reserve.

    UPDATE: Deng surprised folks by opting in for one more year.

  • 37. Jared Dudley

    Unrestricted; Early Termination Option ($4.3 million)

    Declined to exercise ETO, traded to Wizards

    Dudley had a bounce-back season for Milwaukee, and his combination of strong wing defense and able deep shooting should make him a relatively hot commodity around the mid-level. Most teams would bring him off of the bench, but if smallball gains an even stronger foothold, he could find himself a starter. The asterisk here is that with Jabari Parker coming back, Dudley might not be in the Bucks’ plans, especially if they pay through the nose to keep Middleton.

  • 38. Kosta Koufos


    Signed with the Kings (4 years, $33 million)

    The third big man every good team wants. The question is whether Koufos and his agent think the center is starter-quality and whether some team will buy that argument. If so, he’ll get too expensive for Memphis and find himself in new environs. His free agency should be especially interesting given all of the trade rumors surrounding him over the years.

  • 39. Arron Afflalo

    Unrestricted; Player option ($7.8 million)

    Signed with the Knicks (2 years, $16 million)

    Over time, Afflalo has simultaneously became overrated as a defender (he’s alright) and underrated offensively (he’s a fine shooter at volume and sure-handed). He was cast perfectly as a back-up for Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum before Matthews’ injury. He’s another great candidate to be a top reserve.

  • 40. Patrick Beverley


    Re-signed with the Rockets (4 years, $25 million)

    His value is all about defense. Luckily for him, point guard defense is one of the league’s most essential skills. The concern is over his injury history, the bad karma his quasi-dirty play carries and his lack of much offensive usefulness.

  • 41. David West

    Unrestricted; Player option ($12.6 million)

    Signed with the Spurs (1 year, $1.4 million)

    West is quickly nearing the end of his productive career, but he still gives you veteran leadership, some nifty mid-range and post production and an air of defensive toughness.

  • 42. Paul Pierce

    Unrestricted; Player option ($5.5 million)

    Signed with the Clippers (3 years, $10.5 million)

    Pierce hit some huge shots in the playoffs, and he’s the soul of the Wizards. He’s also ancient, and his best spot — as a stretch four — is rife with defensive problems. He’s still a fine rotation player, but he really ought to be coming off of the bench if the supporting cast isn’t elite defensively. Pierce plans to opt out and will likely choose between a new deal with Washington and a reunion with Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.

  • 43. Brandan Wright


    Signed with the Grizzlies (3 years, $18 million)

    Wright is a new-school center who blocks shots and dunks everything. He’s a JV version of Tyson Chandler, more or less. As we’ve learned from Chandler, this type of center needs a virtuoso point guard and a coach who believes in defense first. That said, he’s likely to be a steal for the umpteenth consecutive season.

  • 44. Jeff Green

    Unrestricted; Player option ($9.2 million)

    Picked up his player option

    None of us know how to rank Jeff Green at anything.

  • 45. Corey Brewer

    Unrestricted; Player option ($4.9 million)

    Re-signed with the Rockets (3 years, $24 million)

    A mortal lock to end up playing for George Karl in Sacramento. A really bad shooter (like Josh Smith bad), but he has some of the quickest defensive hands of his generation. Needs badly to play on a team that flies, like the Rockets.

  • 46. Al-Farouq Aminu

    Unrestricted; Player option ($1.1 million)

    Signed with the Blazers (4 years, $30 million)

    Defense matters. This is a good thing for Al-Farouq Aminu, because he’s actually allergic to the ball.

  • 47. Omer Asik


    Re-signed with the Pelicans (5 years, $60 million)

    It’s time to start asking whether Asik is even a good team defender. He looked great in Chicago, but so does everyone. Houston’s defense improved a bunch this season despite Asik’s flight and Dwight Howard being injured, while New Orleans’ defense was not great with Asik and Anthony Davis up front. I’m newly skeptical of Asik’s NBA usefulness.

  • 48. Josh Smith


    He’s still one of the most interesting, infuriating players to watch. With the right coach, he could have a marvelous third act to his career. He just needs a muffler on his offense and a persistent motor on defense.

  • 49. Amir Johnson


    Signed with the Celtics (2 years, $24 million)

    Johnson is a player who did actually reach his potential. It’s just that his potential was well off from what we had thought it’d be. He’s a low-usage offensive player who can do some interesting things defensively while being undersized. As with most free agents in this range, he ought to be a top reserve, not a starter. (And especially not a starter next to a low-scoring center.)

  • 50. Enes Kanter


    Reverse Ben Wallace. A brilliant post scorer who couldn’t stop traffic with a red light, a cop car or a barricade. You remember Yi Jianlian’s epic workout against a La-Z-Boy? That was actually Enes Kanter disguised as a chair.

  • 51. J.R. Smith

    Player option — $6.4 million

    Cleveland basically has to keep him now. A streaky shooter, a fine athlete, a credible defender against the right opponent and an absolute goofball who is near the top of the "most likely to be suspended for something ridiculously stupid" rankings every year.

  • 52. Jordan Hill

    Team option — $9 million

    The Lakers are going to decline this option by setting it on fire in front of Hill’s locker. Hill can actually be quite useful, perhaps even as a starter. But he was severely miscast under Byron Scott in L.A., and he badly needs a stern coach who will put him spots to succeed. Mike D’Antoni actually did a fair job of this.

  • 53. Rajon Rondo

    Signed with the Kings (1 year, $9.5 million)

    I’m afraid it’s time to give up belief that Rajon Rondo is anything resembling a top-flight point guard. Unless he completely rebuilds his jumper and gets his free throw stroke back — certainly possible — he’s a Brevin Knight without the defense out there.

  • 54. Manu Ginobili

    Re-signed with the Spurs (contract TBD)

    A living legend good for a few stunning plays a week and a big game here and there.

  • 55. Gerald Henderson

    Player option — $6 million

    Picked up his player option, traded to Blazers

    You might think Henderson belongs higher, but he’s a rather infrequent deep shooter (less than two per game) and not very good when he does fire away (33 percent last season). There are better 3-and-D options.

  • 56. Dorell Wright

    Need a shooter? Here’s a shooter!

  • 57. Matthew Dellavedova


    Finals heroics aside, he’s a rather limited but tough and hard-working backup point guard. You could do much worse. You could also do better.

  • 58. Bismack Biyombo


    Signed with the Raptors (2 years, $6 million)

    At least he’s still young … we think.

  • 59. Marco Belinelli

    Signed with the Kings (3 years, $19 million)

    Let it be said that plenty of shooters are available this summer. Belinelli could be a bargain.

  • 60. Mike Dunleavy

    Re-signed with the Bulls (3 years, $15 million)

    Lil’ Dun is a really able bench scorer and a veteran unafraid of agitating opposing stars with elbows, trips and occasionally fists.

  • 61. Marreese Speights

    Team option — $3.8 million

    Option picked up by Warriors

    Speights was a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate, so the Warriors will likely keep this deal on the books. He’s turned into a nice pick-and-pop option and a bit of a microwave scorer.

  • 62. Leandro Barbosa

    Still got it!

  • 63. Wayne Ellington

    A really affordable gunner who will look a lot better with decent teammates around him. A potential starter on the right team.

  • 64. Andre Miller

    The Professor has another 20 years in him. Hopefully all with George Karl.

  • 65. Darrell Arthur

    No one has any idea what to make of him. Stop lying if you think you do.

  • 66. Jason Terry

    His resurgence in Houston is one of the more improbable things we saw in 2015. That will get him another contract. I’d be afraid if my team gave him that contract.

  • 67. Mirza Teletovic


    Teletovic has one important skill (firing up threes) that makes him worth an investment from the right team. (He’ll also turn 30 before opening night.)

  • 68. Kyle Singler


    Re-signed with the Thunder (5 years, $25 million)

    An interesting prospect still, but his only NBA skill at this point is deep shooting. Not a passer or finisher inside, and only a mediocre defender.

  • 69. Gerald Green


  • 70. Norris Cole


    Surprisingly competent in NoLa. Two-time NBA champion.

  • 71. Austin Rivers

    The entire market for Austin Rivers is his dad’s team. So yeah. It’d be hilarious, though, if another squad got into a fake bidding war just to see how high Doc would go.

  • 72. Cory Joseph


    Signed with the Raptors (4 years, $30 million)

    Joseph is anachronistic in that he doesn’t shoot many threes and has a really excellent field goal percentage. Like Patty Mills, his game is styled in the Tony Parker fashion. He could be a steal for the right team.

  • 73. Kevin Garnett

    It’d be really weird if a team other than Minnesota bid on his services.

  • 74. Pero Antic


    Returned overseas

    His shot abandoning him isn’t good for his value.

  • 75. Omri Casspi

    Re-signed with the Kings (2 years, $6 million)

    Surprisingly good under George Karl late in the season. Willing to run and has a smooth jumper. He’s also one of the few to crack through DeMarcus Cousins’ tough personal shell.

  • 76. Kevin Seraphin

    A pretty solid backup big who can score a decent amount and do it efficiently.

  • 77. Brandon Bass

    Signed with the Lakers (contract TBD)

    You know what you’re getting. Solid, unspectacular.

  • 78. Mo Williams

    He’s still viable in the NBA!

  • 79. Nick Calathes


    Decent backup point guard, but not a shooter, scorer or finisher.

  • 80. Gigi Datome


    He could be a great shooter in the NBA, or he could be the latest great European shooter who struggles to adjust. We have too little data to know.

  • 81. Kyle O’Quinn


    Signed with the Knicks (4 years, $16 million)

    I am intrigued by O’Quinn and think that if you can steal from Orlando and you have an opening for a third big, you should go for it. Interesting skill set.

  • 82. C.J. Watson

    Signed with the Magic (3 years, $15 million)

    The prototypical backup point guard. He’s lower than others because there’s not much potential for upside here. You know what you’re getting.

  • 83. Beno Udrih

    Player option — $2.2 million

    Picked up player option
  • 84. Tyler Hansbrough

    Draws a suspicious amount of free throws for someone who seems to dribble aimlessly into people.

  • 85. Thomas Robinson

    Signed minimum contract with Nets

    He can rebound!

  • 86. Aron Baynes


    Signed with the Pistons (3 years, $20 million)

    A fourth big man, provided he’s recovered from Blake Griffin devouring his soul.

  • 87. Jonas Jerebko

    Re-signed with the Celtics (2 years, $10 million)

  • 88. Glen Davis

    If Vines were pay-worthy stats, he’d be a max guy.

  • 89. Jeremy Lin

    So inefficient. The turnovers just tank his value in my opinion.

  • 90. Richard Jefferson

  • 91. Aaron Brooks

  • 92. Andrea Bargnani

    This year’s favorite to sign for the minimum with the Spurs and become a vital cog.

  • 93. Chase Budinger

  • 94. Gary Neal

    Signed with the Wizards (1 year, $2.1 million)
  • 95. Cole Aldrich

  • 96. Joel Freeland


  • 97. Alexis Ajinca

    Re-signed with the Pelicans (4 years, $20 million)

  • 98. K.J. McDaniels


    The data is not good.

  • 99. Marcus Thornton

  • 100. Jameer Nelson

    Player option — $2.9 million

    In full disclosure, I had to look up what team he finished the season on.

  • 101. Derrick Williams


    Signed with the Knicks (2 years, $10 million)

    My thoughts on Derrick Williams’ NBA future would be longer than this entire free agent rankings piece.

  • 102. Steve Blake

    Player option — $2.2 million

    Picked up his player option, traded to Nets

  • 103. Reggie Evans

  • 104. Amare Stoudemire

    He’s not un-useful.

  • 105. Luis Scola

  • 106. Quincy Acy


    A young Earl Barron.

  • 107. Henry Sims


  • 108. Lavoy Allen

    Re-signed with Pacers (3 years, $12 million)

  • 109. Jason Smith

  • 110. Rasual Butler

  • 111. Shane Larkin

    Signed with the Nets (2 years, $3 million)

    If you think Knicksness is a communicable disease he suffered from him this season, he might be worth a flyer.

  • 112. Will Barton


    Struggling to find his one NBA skill.

  • 113. Drew Gooden


  • 114. Donald Sloan

  • 115. Alan Anderson

    Player option — $1.3 million

    Holy heck, Alan Anderson is already 32!

  • 116. Jeff Taylor


  • 117. Ish Smith

  • 118. Jeremy Evans

    Signed with the Mavericks (2 years, minimum)
  • 119. Alexey Shved


    Shved’s per-minute scoring is outrageous. Alas, he has never shot 40 percent in a season.

  • 120. Ryan Hollins

    He tipped that ball, Memphis. I will never forget.

  • 121. Michael Beasley

    Team option — $1.3 million

    He can be a superstar in China or Alan Anderson in the NBA.

  • 122. J.J. Barea

    Re-signed with the Mavericks (2 years, $5.6 million)
  • 123. Chuck Hayes

  • 124. Chris Copeland


    An obviously complicated case here.

  • 125. Tayshaun Prince

  • 126. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

  • 127. Travis Wear


  • 128. Carlos Boozer

    He looks like toast, but he could actually be much better than the others in this zone.

  • 129. Justin Hamilton


    This is the dude from the Heat, FYI.

  • 130. Justin Holiday


  • 131. Charlie Villanueva

  • 132. Bernard James


  • 133. Kirk Hinrich

    Player option — $2.9 million

    Picked up his player option

    I would say the Bulls should do everything they can to force Hinrich to opt out, but this is the Bulls.

  • 134. Raymond Felton

    Player option — $4 million

    Picked up his player option

  • 135. Cartier Martin

    Player option — $1.3 million

  • 136. Jason Richardson

  • 137. Wesley Johnson

    I seriously don’t understand why teams still act like they are interested in Wes for anything more than a roster filler role.

  • 138. Shawne Williams

  • 139. Greg Smith

  • 140. Danny Granger

    Picked up player option, traded to Pistons

    Renaissance Potential Meter is floating around 10 percent.

  • 141. Jimmer Fredette


  • 142. Matt Bonner

  • 143. Alonzo Gee

  • 144. Brandon Rush

    Player option — $1.3 million

    Huge sleeper potential.

  • 145. Ronnie Price

  • 146. Luke Babbitt

  • 147. Kendrick Perkins

  • 148. Ekpe Udoh

    Sign him for his book club. Any minutes are a bonus!

  • 149. Jeff Ayres

  • 150. Arinze Onuaku


  • 151. Jeff Withey


  • 152. Shayne Whittington


  • 153. Ognjen Kuzmic


  • 154. James Jones

  • 155. Jason Maxiell

  • 156. Elton Brand

  • 157. John Jenkins

  • 158. Mike Miller

    Player option — $2.9 million

    Picked up his player option

  • 159. Jerome Jordan


  • 160. Shawn Marion

    He’s retiring right on time.

  • 161. Jorge Gutierrez


  • 162. John Lucas III

  • 163. Vander Blue


  • 164. Glen Robinson III


  • 165. Robbie Hummel


    A young Lou Amundson!

  • 166. Lou Amundson

  • 167. Lance Thomas

  • 168. Will Bynum

  • 169. Garrett Temple

    Player option — $1.1 million

    Picked up his player option.

  • 170. Nazr Mohammed

  • 171. Joel Anthony

  • 172. Dahntay Jones

  • 173. Willie Green

  • 174. Hedo Turkoglu

    Why yes, there are a lot of 2014-15 L.A. Clippers reserves down here!

  • 175. Landry Fields

  • 176. Ian Clark


  • 177. Greg Stiemsma

  • 178. Joe Ingles


  • 179. Earl Barron

    I’m so sorry, Earl Barron. But hey, you’ve been in the NBA off and on for 11 years and you have a ring. Everything else is gravy.


AuthorTom Ziller

EditorsMike Prada, Paul Flannery

DeveloperGraham MacAree