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The top-75 NBA free agents in 2023, ranked

Let’s rank the top free agents in the NBA.

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Young NBA superstars don’t hit free agency like they used to, but championships can still be won or lost with signings in the offseason. This summer’s free agent crop is headlined by several big-name veterans expected to hit the open market, and includes plenty intriguing talents available at a variety of price points.

When we did this list a year ago, Jalen Brunson was ranked No. 7, Nicolas Claxton was No. 21, Kevon Looney was No. 30, Malik Monk was No. 32, and Caleb Martin was ranked No. 37. Each player ended up having a big impact for teams that made the NBA Playoffs.

Before the offseason gets in full swing, we decide to rank the top-75 NBA free agents for the summer of 2023. We’ll have more information on next season’s salary cap numbers, the teams expected to have cap space, and the players who could be the next year’s breakout signings after the table.

NBA free agency rankings for 2023

Rank Player Position Previous team Type
Rank Player Position Previous team Type
1 James Harden G Philadelphia 76ers Player option
2 Kyrie Irving G Dallas Mavericks Unrestricted
3 Khris Middleton F Milwaukee Bucks Player option
4 Draymond Green F/C Golden State Warriors Player option
5 Kristaps Porzingis C Washington Wizards Player option
6 Kyle Kuzma F Washington Wizards Player option
7 Fred VanVleet G Toronto Raptors Player option
8 Brook Lopez C Milwaukee Bucks Unrestricted
9 Jerami Grant F Portland Trail Blazers Unrestricted
10 Austin Reaves G Los Angeles Lakers Restricted
11 Cameron Johnson F Brooklyn Nets Restricted
12 Harrison Barnes F Sacramento Kings Unrestricted
13 Nikola Vucevic C Chicago Bulls Unrestricted
14 Jakob Poeltl C Toronto Raptors Unrestricted
15 Christian Wood C Dallas Mavericks Unrestricted
16 Bruce Brown G Denver Nuggets Player option
17 Gary Trent Jr. G Toronto Raptors Player option
18 Gabe Vincent G Miami Heat Unrestricted
19 Russell Westbrook G Los Angeles Clippers Unrestricted
20 Josh Hart G/F New York Knicks Player option
21 Naz Reid C Minnesota Timberwolves Unrestricted
22 P.J. Washington F Charlotte Hornets Restricted
23 Jordan Clarkson G Utah Jazz Player option
24 D'Angelo Russell G Los Angeles Lakers Unrestricted
25 Max Strus G Miami Heat Unrestricted
26 Dillon Brooks F Memphis Grizzlies Unrestricted
27 Grant Williams F Boston Celtics Restricted
28 Rui Hachimura F Los Angeles Lakers Restricted
29 Talen Horton-Tucker G Utah Jazz Unrestricted
30 Coby White G Chicago Bulls Restricted
31 KJ Martin F Houston Rockets Unrestricted
32 Donte DiVincenzo G Golden State Warriors Player option
33 Lonnie Walker G Los Angeles Lakers Unrestricted
34 Jalen McDaniels F Philadelphia 76ers Unrestricted
35 Tre Jones G San Antonio Spurs Restricted
36 Georges Niang F Philadelphia 76ers Unrestricted
37 Dwight Powell C Dallas Mavericks Unrestricted
38 Caris LeVert G Cleveland Cavaliers Unrestricted
39 Kelly Oubre F Charlotte Hornets Unrestricted
40 Dennis Schroder G Los Angeles Lakers Unrestricted
41 Torrey Craig F Phoenix Suns Unrestricted
42 Alec Burks G Detriot Pistons Team Option
43 Mason Plumlee C Los Angeles Clippers Unrestricted
44 Malik Beasley G Los Angeles Lakers Team option
45 Paul Reed F Philadelphia 76ers Unrestricted
46 Josh Richardson G New Orleans Pelicans Unrestricted
47 Shake Milton G Philadelphia 76ers Unrestricted
48 Matisse Thybulle F Portland Trail Blazers Restricted
49 Josh Okogie F Phoenix Suns Unrestricted
50 Yuta Watanabe F Brooklyn Nets Unrestricted
51 Jae Crowder F Milwaukee Bucks Restricted
52 Ayo Dosunmu G Chicago Bulls Restricted
53 Seth Curry G Brooklyn Nets Unrestricted
54 Trey Lyles F/C Sacramento Kings Unrestricted
55 Keita Bates-Diop F San Antonio Spurs Unrestricted
56 Thomas Bryant C Denver Nuggets Unrestricted
57 Patrick Beverley G Chicago Bulls Unrestricted
58 Dennis Smith G Charlotte Hornets Unrestricted
59 Jevon Carter G Milwaukee Bucks Player option
60 Joe Ingles F Milwaukee Bucks Unrestricted
61 Dario Saric F/C Oklahoma City Thunder Unrestricted
62 Jeff Green F Denver Nuggets Unrestricted
63 Andre Drummond C Chicago Bulls Player option
64 Jock Landale C Phoenix Suns Unrestricted
65 Moritz Wagner F/C Orlando Magic Unrestricted
66 Damion Lee G Phoenix Suns Unrestricted
67 Kevin Love F/C Miami Heat Unrestricted
68 Troy Brown G Los Angeles Lakers Unrestricted
69 Jaxson Hayes C New Orleans Pelicans Unrestricted
70 Jaylen Nowell G Minnesota Timberwolves Unrestricted
71 Derrick Rose G New York Knicks Unrestricted
72 Cam Reddish F Portland Trail Blazers Unrestricted
73 Reggie Jackson G Denver Nuggets Unrestricted
74 Nickeil Alexander-Walker G Minnesota Timberwolves Unrestricted
75 Terrence Ross G Phoenix Suns Unrestricted

Let’s break down some of the most important questions and biggest storylines in free agency this year.

What’s the NBA salary cap and luxury tax lines this year?

The salary cap is projected to be $134 million, and the luxury tax is projected to be $162 million for the 2023-24 season, per The Athletic.

What NBA teams are projected to have salary cap space this summer?

Salary cap space can be fluid in the NBA because of decisions on team/player options and non-guaranteed contracts. For now, only eight teams in the league are projected to have cap space this summer. Remember: a team can go over the cap to re-sign its own free agents, but needs to use cap space or exceptions to sign free agents from other teams. Here are the teams that can open up cap space without a trade this summer, via numbers from Hoops Hype and The Athletic.

  • Houston Rockets: ~$60 million
  • San Antonio Spurs: ~$40-48 million
  • Utah Jazz: ~$30-45 million
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: $28-35 million
  • Charlotte Hornets: ~$27-37 million
  • Detroit Pistons: ~$27-30 million
  • Indiana Pacers: $27 million
  • Orlando Magic: ~$20-58 million

What’s the market for James Harden?

James Harden is our No. 1 free agent on the market entering the summer with the veteran guard expected to turn down his player option for next season. There has been smoke all year that Harden could return to the Houston Rockets this summer, but some are now speculating it’s a leverage play to get more money out of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Harden turns 34 years old this summer. He’s no longer one of the best players in the NBA as he was at his peak, but he’s still capable of All-Star level play. The Sixers can talk themselves into being a contender in the Eastern Conference if they bring back Harden. Without him, it’s hard to see how they can maintain their status as one of the best teams in the league.

The big question heading into the summer is how real Houston’s interest in Harden really is. The Rockets have enough cap space to give Harden a max contract this offseason, but does that really make sense for them? The Rockets finished 22-60 last season, and have one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Houston showed it’s serious about improving when it fired head coach Stephen Silas for Ime Udoka earlier this offseason, but Harden’s age still doesn’t match with the timeline on the rest of the roster.

The Rockets’ young core is led by Jalen Green (21 years old), Jabari Smith Jr. (20), Alperen Sengun (20), and Tari Eason (22). The Rockets also own the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, with Overtime Elite point guard Amen Thompson being talked about as the most likely pick. The Rockets certainly need a point guard this summer. Do they really need a veteran like Harden though?

The Rockets can offer Harden a four-year max deal worth $201.7 million. The 76ers can offer him a four-year max of $210 million. Philadelphia hasn’t appeared willing to offer Harden the max to this point. Will they do it, or risk losing him to Houston? Is Houston’s interest even real?

Harden can still dial it up for a great performance as he proved with two 40+ point gems in the Sixers’ second round series against the Boston Celtics. Of course, he ended that series with two duds that were ‘classic playoff Harden’ in how underwhelming he was. Even if Harden is no longer close to an MVP candidate, his free agency decision will still leave ripple effects around the league.

How will Wizards’ front office change impact Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma?

The Washington Wizards are starting a new era. The franchise named former Clippers executive Michael Winger as their new president, and he’s hired former Hawks GM Travis Schlenk and the Thunder’s Will Dawkins to beef up the front office.

Everything we thought we knew about the Wizards’ near-term and long-term plans is now irrelevant. That makes the impending free agency of Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma even more fascinating. Washington’s old brass repeatedly said it wanted to keep its core together despite a 35-47 finish. What will do the new braintrust want to do with the roster?

Both Porzingis and Kuzma are 27 years old. The 7’3 Porzingis is coming off one of his best NBA seasons, where he averaged 23.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 38.5 percent from three on 5.5 attempts per game. Kuzma averaged a career-best 21.2 points per game this offseason, and offers rare shot-creation ability for a 6’9 forward.

While it’s hard to know anything about the Wizards’ intentions right now, it would make sense to retain Porzingis and Kuzma this offseason just to “protect the asset” whether or not each is in the team’s long-term plans. We have the pair of Wizards rated as the two best free agents on this list who are still in their 20s. The Wizards are going to have to pay up to keep them.

3 NBA Finals role players who could cash in

Nothing helps a boost free agent’s value like a strong run in the NBA Playoffs. This is especially the case for players who showing out on the biggest stage in basketball, the NBA Finals. While Heat wing Caleb Martin will have to wait until next season to cash in on his playoff breakout, three other players in the Finals are set for a payday this summer:

  • Bruce Brown, G, Denver Nuggets: Brown is our No. 16 because of his defensive toughness, spot-up shooting, and ability to fit next to high-usage offensive stars. Brown said no one wanted him as a free agent last offseason, but he’s been a critical piece for the Nuggets on this Finals run acting as the connective tissue between Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. He’s the type of player who could help any team.
  • Gabe Vincent, G, Miami Heat: Vincent has gone from an undrafted free agent on a two-way contract to one of the Heat’s best players. He entered the league as a microwave scorer, but has turned himself into a high-level 3-and-D point guard who isn’t afraid to take and make big shots. Still only 26 years old, Vincent checks a lot of boxes for teams who need role players who can space the floor and offer some shot creation without being a defensive liability.
  • Max Strus, G, Miami Heat: Strus was cut by the Bulls and Celtics as an undrafted free agent before latching on with the Heat. The 6’6 wing is a volume three-point shooter who can fire quick catch-and-shoot attempts from deep while knocking them down at a 37 percent clip for his career. Strus has improved as a pull-up shooter this season, and has shown he has enough size and strength to hold his own defensively.

Draymond Green’s departure could officially end the Warriors dynasty

Green has a player option for $27.5 million next season. While he’s unlikely to approach that annual salary if he signs with another team, it’s possible the 33-year-old could opt out of his deal with the Warriors and seek a long-term deal elsewhere.

The Warriors likely have to cut money elsewhere if they’re going to bring back Green long-term. Jordan Poole regressed after signing a big contract extension that kicks in next season, but at this point it’s hard to find the team that would take him. The beef between Green and Poole started with the preseason punch heard around the world. The exit of GM Bob Myers and the Warriors’ early exit in the second round of the playoffs probably didn’t help matters.

The guess here is that Green returns with the Warriors one way or another. The clock on the Warriors dynasty is ticking, but the foundation of the team deserves at least one more run together.

There are shooters galore in this free agency class

It’s a good time to be a volume three-point shooter in the NBA. In today’s era, it’s not enough to shoot a high percentage on threes — a team has to take a ton of them for that to even matter. How much has the game changed over the last 10 years? In 2014, the Rockets led the league by taking 26.6 three-point attempts per game. This season, that number would have finished dead last.

No one needs to hear about James Harden and Kyrie Irving’s shooting ability. Instead, here are some under-the-radar shooters who could help a new team’s stars pop by spacing the floor and hitting shots.

  • No. 15 Christian Wood is a stretch-five who shot 37.6 percent from three this year on eight attempts per 100 possessions.
  • No. 17 Gary Trent Jr. shot 36.9 percent from three on 11.5 attempts per 100 possessions
  • No. 21 Naz Reid is a stretch-five who shot 34.6 percent from three this year on 8.2 attempts per 100 possessions.
  • No. 30 Coby White shot 37.2 percent from three on 9.7 attempts per 100 possessions
  • No. 36 Georges Niang shot 40.1 percent from three on 12.6 attempts per 100 possessions
  • No. 44 Malik Beasley shot 35.3 percent from three on 14.3 attempts per 100 possessions
  • No. 50 Yuta Wantanabe shot 44.4 percent from three on 7.1 attempts per 100 possessions
  • No. 66 Damion Lee shot 44.5 percent from three on eight attempts per 100 possession

When does 2023 NBA free agency start?

Free agents can’t officially sign contracts until July 6, but negotiations (and leaks) still start happening on June 30.

Who are your favorite sleeper free agents?

Let us know in the comments below.


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