Spotrac’s Free Agent by Position Series
2022 NBA free agency is right around the corner. This isn’t considered to be a blockbuster free agent class, but there are several impact players available. In these rankings, we took a similar approach to the one many teams use when it comes to ranking available players. Each position was broken down into tiers. The tiers are:
- All-Star: These aren’t all necessarily All-Stars, but they have the ability to be an All-Star
- Starters: These players are either starters or they produce at a starter-level of impact
- Rotation: These are solid players that should be in a team’s regular season rotation
- Fringe: These are players at the end of the bench or Two-Way players largely in the G League
Players were then ranked within their tiers. All potential free agents have been ranked, including those with pending options.
- James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers (unrestricted – player option): Yes, Harden’s play has slipped some, but he’s still the best player in this class. He’s still good for 25 points and 10 assists most nights. Is that worth a full five-year, max deal, given his injuries and slipping play? Probably not. But a shorter max deal with the Sixers should get it done.
- Zach LaVine – Chicago Bulls (unrestricted): LaVine became an All-Star, and had he stayed healthy, he may have pushed for All-NBA too. He’s one of the elite offensive guards in the NBA. After some buzz about leaving, LaVine will likely be back in Chicago on a max deal.
- Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards (unrestricted – player option): Beal and LaVine are really 2 and 2A. The difference is that Beal is bit older and he’s got a lengthier injury history. But when healthy, Beal is a dynamic scoring guard and a better playmaker than most realize. Much like Harden and LaVine, he’s probably going to stay home on a new max deal.
- Anfernee Simons – Portland Trail Blazers (restricted): Simons broke out after C.J. McCollum was traded. That breakout has been bubbling just under the surface for a while. Some will say it was just more opportunity, but Simons maintained his efficiency as his role grew. That suggests he was simply ready for those increased opportunities to come his way. Portland will keep him as a key player in their retooling of the roster this summer.
- Collin Sexton – Cleveland Cavaliers (restricted): Had Sexton not missed most of last season, he might be ahead of Simons. He’s a really good and efficient scorer. Sexton has also proven he can be productive both on and off-ball. Coming off the knee injury, and his restricted status, likely keeps his value down some, but he’ll still do alright for himself in free agency.
- Lu Dort – Oklahoma City Thunder (restricted – team option): Dort is a terrific defender. His offensive numbers, unlike those of Simons, suggest he’s been overused in a bigger than ideal role. But he’s still the kind of guy good teams want. The working assumption was that OKC would decline their option, make him restricted and hammer out a long-term deal. That seems a bit up in the air due to 2023 cap space planning. That could mean Dort’s option is picked up and the Thunder deal with his unrestricted free agency a year from now.
- Gary Harris – Orlando Magic (unrestricted): Harris kind of fell off the collective radar, as he was out of site, out of mind in Orlando. The good news? Harris seems to have rediscovered his shot. He’s still a pretty rugged defender. He’ll be a help to a contender as a starting two-guard or a high-usage bench wing.
- Bruce Brown Jr. – Brooklyn Nets (unrestricted): Brown became a key player for the Nets over the last two seasons. He’s a solid defender and he can do more offensively than most think. He’s a good passer and a solid fisher around the rim. If the 40% three-point shooting is real, Brown is worth the full Non-Taxpayer MLE and probably even more.
- Pat Connaughton – Milwaukee Bucks (unrestricted – player option): Connaughton has emerged as one of the more consistent wings in the NBA. He’s a terrific shooter who doesn’t need much time nor space to get his shot off. He’s equally effective as a starter or off the bench. Look for the Bucks to do what they can to keep one of their key rotation players.
- Malik Monk – Los Angeles Lakers (unrestricted): Monk’s career is fully back on track after a drug suspension a couple of years ago. He’s arguably the best shooter of this shooting guard group. Only his lack of size and defensive ability keeps him from being ranked higher. But if you need bench shooting, Monk is your guy.
- Victor Oladipo – Miami Heat (unrestricted): Oladipo has made it back from a series of knee injuries and surgeries that had him in-and-out for years. By the playoffs, Oladipo was giving Miami great minutes off the bench. He essentially rehabbed on the Heat’s dime last year. That could lead to a hometown discount of sorts to pay back Miami’s faith in him.
- Lonnie Walker IV – San Antonio Spurs (restricted): A year ago, Walker looked like a player on the verge of breaking out. Last season was a bit of a step back. He didn’t shoot as well, and he struggled to break through a crowded guard rotation with the Spurs. This one screams that a change of scenery and more playing time is needed. Someone may get a steal here.
- Donte DiVincenzo – Sacramento Kings (restricted): DiVincenzo is coming off a mostly lost year. He missed most of it with injury, and then he struggles some after being traded to the Kings. There are rumors he’s unhappy with Sacramento not playing or starting him more and keeping him from a bigger qualifying offer. That could open the door for DiVincenzo to move on.
- Wesley Matthews – Milwaukee Bucks (unrestricted): Matthews is kind of the epitome of a 3&D player at this point. He still defends pretty well and all he does on offense is shoot threes. He’s getting up there in age, but the Bucks probably bring him back for depth on the wing.
- Joe Ingles – Portland Trail Blazers (unrestricted): This one is sort of a shrug. Ingles will be 35 years old at the start of next season and probably won’t play until January or February after tearing his ACL last season. He might wait it out and pick his spot down the line, unless someone wants to pay him to rehab for half the year, and join as sort of a trade deadline “acquisition”.
- Austin Rivers – Denver Nuggets (unrestricted): Rivers has been solid for the Nuggets. He’s a dependable defender and he can do a little scoring and playmaking. Teams looking for combo-guard depth can do a lot worse than Rivers.
- Wayne Ellington – Los Angeles Lakers (unrestricted): This is the point where we hit the “one skill” players. Ellington is a shooter and not much more. If you need a rotation shooter on the cheap, he’s your guy.
- Bryn Forbes – Denver Nuggets (unrestricted): See above.19. Avery Bradley – Los Angeles Lakers (unrestricted): Bradley can still defend, but he doesn’t offer a whole lot else. A contender might snap him up as a fifth guard.
- Tomas Satoransky – Washington Wizards (unrestricted): Satoransky found his game again after re-joining Washington late in the season. But he’s reportedly headed back overseas to sign with Barcelona.
- Damion Lee – Golden State Warriors (unrestricted): Lee can shoot. He’s an active player on both ends. He’s one of those guys who is probably worth more to the Warriors than other teams, but on a minimum deal, you get a helpful bench shooter.
- Jaylen Nowell – Minnesota Timberwolves (restricted – team option): Nowell has flashed at times. He’s got a knack for scoring. The Wolves will probably pick up their option and keep hm around. Check back in next year and see if Nowell rises up the ranks when he’ll be unrestricted.
- Hamidou Diallo – Detroit Pistons (unrestricted – team option): Diallo never quite popped as the Pistons hoped for. They’ll probably decline his option in lieu of creating cap space. But Diallo will get another chance because he’s hyper-athletic, a good teammate and still only 24 years old.
- Jeremy Lamb – Sacramento Kings (unrestricted): Lamb showed he can still do some scoring. That will probably get him a shot with someone on a minimum deal.
- Josh Okogie – Minnesota Timberwolves (restricted): Okogie never quite broke through with the Wolves. He’s still got a nice blend of all-around skills, but Minnesota probably doesn’t issue a qualifying offer. That will give Okogie the opportunity to catch on elsewhere with a bigger role.
- Troy Brown Jr. – Chicago Bulls (restricted): See above. Brown is basically in the same spot as Okogie.
- Amir Coffey – Los Angeles Clippers (restricted): Coffey has flashed at times, but the Clippers have a pretty deep wing group with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back next season. Maybe he sticks around on a minimum deal, but Coffey could get non-tendered and find more opportunity elsewhere.
Fringe Tier (unranked and presented in alphabetical order)
- Kent Bazemore – Los Angeles Lakers (unrestricted)
- Keljin Blevins – Portland Trail Blazers (restricted – Two-Way)
- Jarrett Culver – Memphis Grizzlies (unrestricted)
- Carsen Edwards – Detroit Pistons (restricted – team option)
- Nate Hinton – Indiana Pacers (unrestricted – Two-Way)
- Rodney Hood – Los Angeles Clippers (unrestricted)
- Elijah Hughes – Portland Trail Blazers (restricted)
- David Johnson – Toronto Raptors (restricted – Two-Way)
- Mason Jones – Los Angeles Lakers (restricted – Two-Way)
- Scottie Lewis – Charlotte Hornets (restricted – Two-Way)
- Gabriel Lundberg – Phoenix Suns (restricted – Two-Way)
- Skylar Mays – Atlanta Hawks (restricted)
- Rodney McGruder – Detroit Pistons (unrestricted)
- Ben McLemore – Portland Trail Blazers (unrestricted)
- R.J. Nembhard – Cleveland Cavaliers (restricted – Two-Way)
- Theo Pinson – Dallas Mavericks (restricted – Two-Way)
- Trevelin Queen – Houston Rockets (restricted – Two-Way)
- Jayden Scrubb – Los Angeles Clippers (restricted – Two-Way)
- Tony Snell – New Orleans Pelicans (unrestricted)
- Lance Stephenson – Indiana Pacers (unrestricted)
- D.J. Stewart Jr. – San Antonio Spurs (unrestricted – Two-Way)
- Brodric Thomas – Boston Celtics (restricted – Two-Way)
- Matt Thomas – Chicago Bulls (restricted)
- Quinndary Weatherspoon – Golden State Warriors (restricted – Two-Way)