clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 15 best NBA free agents still available after a Day 1 frenzy

New, comments

Plenty of names went off the board on Friday, but there's still some great finds for teams if they look.

More than 25 free agents agreed to contracts on Friday, the opening day of NBA free agency, and the money was predictably wild. Timofey Mozgov is going to get $64 million over four years. Dwight Howard will pull in $70 million over three seasons. Matthew Dellavedova is about to get $64 million over four!

What we're left with is a free agent board that is still deep, but a top 20 that is heavily picked over. The top free agent remains, but behind him there are some quick jumps in talent until you start getting into the real role players.

The numbers in parenthesis is where Tom Ziller had them in his free agent rankings. We didn't include LeBron James, ranked second overall, since he has already said he will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers after winning a championship. Signing a contract, whenever that happens, is just a formality.

Again, this is after just one day of free agency. This is who your favorite team has left to pursue.

Note: A number of these players signed on Day 2, which we're noting as they happen.

1. Kevin Durant (1)

It may the summer of Durant, but so many moves happened on July 1 that it was almost easy to forget that he was also a free agent if not for the constant updates on the status of his meetings. Perhaps it's because Durant seems more and more likely to head back to Oklahoma City, a scenario that was likely even before a Western Conference Finals run and an NBA Draft day trade that Durant surely gave his blessing for.

At a four-hour meeting with the Los Angeles ClippersESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Durant was "blown away" with their presentation. While that's nice and there's probably truth in the report, it's time to start taking prop bets on what phrase Durant will use to describe his meetings on Saturday. Durant was "flabbergasted" by the Celtics and "stunned into a silence that awkwardly lasted for hours" by the Heat, most likely. Of course they went well. What else are team sources going to say?

2. Al Horford (5)

What's going on with Horford? Apparently, Atlanta hasn't offered him a max contract yet ... but they are attempting to shed contracts to potentially hang on to the big man. The Hawks already agreed to a three year, $70 million deal with Dwight Howard, and they still have Paul Millsap, so they're covered if Horford does walk. But if the team can bring in Horford, Millsap could be expendable.

Other teams in play for Horford are the Wizards, the Celtics, the Rockets and a "mystery team," according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

3. Dwyane Wade (7)

Wade's bluffing, right? He's got to be bluffing, even as Wade threatens to take meetings with the four other suitors who are currently trying to court him. After all, it's understandable that Wade was pissed off when Miami's initial offer to him came in at $10 million per year. Wade believes that he deserves a full payday after three straight seasons taking a discount so Miami could bring in other free agents. But Wade doesn't seem ready to forgive and forget just yet.

4. Dirk Nowitzki (10)

Dallas couldn't have had a worse opening day of free agency. They lost on all top three targets -- Hassan Whiteside, Mike Conley and Nicolas Batum -- while letting Chandler Parsons walk away for nothing. Now they're left with random pieces and the everlasting Nowitzki. If there was ever a time for Nowitzki to leave and pursue one more championship, this would be it. But his enduring loyalty, even in these dire times, might not let him leave.

5. Harrison Barnes (14)

Barnes was supposed to be the poster child of how much money would be paid out to players of questionable worth, but as money flew around him on Friday, there were only whispers from Barnes' camp. It makes sense -- he's a restricted free agent and there's no point in offering him a deal until the NBA's moratorium is lifted on July 7 and teams' three-day period to match begins. Even with his relative silence so far, Barnes is still on track for a big pay day.

6. Bismack Biyombo (17)

Do you believe in in our Canadian Lord and Raptors Savior, Bismack Biyombo? Popular opinion seems to be growing that more teams don't trust his fantastic playoff performance, a stretch of games that is a clear outlier from the rest of Biyombo's career. Still, Biyombo's a really good player for the right price, and he's only 23 years old. UPDATE: He'll sign with the ... Magic? OK.

7. Pau Gasol (18)

Gasol is a chameleon in a sense. His name was linked to half a dozen teams on Friday, and you could see him fitting into any of them. His defense is a mixed bag at this point, but his offense is as sharp as ever.

8. Marvin Williams (19)

Williams is a legitimate stretch four, and that skill is going to earn him a good bit of money. There simply aren't enough players who can do that. UPDATE: He turned down more money to stay in Charlotte.

9. Festus Ezeli (20)

Ezeli is the other restricted free agent on the Warriors who could, and maybe should, be headed out of Golden State. There's no doubt Ezeli lost some money during the playoffs, where he couldn't even stay on the floor, but he's clearly better than those outings suggest. The big question is how healthy was he, and how healthy he will be by late October.

10. Dion Waiters (24)

Waiters is another restricted free agent, and it's very likely he's headed out of Oklahoma City after an NBA Draft night trade that netted the Thunder Victor Oladipo.

11. Eric Gordon (25)

Gordon has never been an unrestricted free agent and despite his chronic injury problems, the scoring guard is still going to get money this summer. In this economy, who isn't getting paid?

12. Ryan Anderson (26)

Does Anderson get more than Marvin Williams? He does less overall, but Anderson's better at the one skill that makes him valuable, shooting. UPDATE: Yup, he will, in Houston.

13. Allen Crabbe (28)

Portland insists they'll match any restricted free agent offers for the 3-and-D wing, but someone will probably test them anyway.

14. Courtney Lee (31)

For being such a quality role player, Lee really has bounced around the league a lot. You could do much worse, though.

15. Luol Deng (32)

Ah, an old veteran to round this list out. UPDATE: Not anymore!

Next five: J.R. Smith, Rajon Rondo, Arron Afflalo (now taken), Amir Johnson, Tyler Johnson