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.
None. No players classified as small forwards have consistently established themselves as All-Star level talents.
- Miles Bridges – Charlotte Hornets (restricted): Bridges is knocking on the door of the All-Star tier. He’s not there yet, but that won’t be enough to keep him from getting a huge new contract. The Hornets have to be careful here. Mess around too much in negotiations and Bridges could sign an offer sheet with a cap space team and really force Charlotte’s hands.
- T.J. Warren – Indiana Pacers (unrestricted): It’s basically been two years since we’ve seen Warren play. Since his dominating play in the bubble, Warren has appeared in just four NBA games. It’s a healthy respect for what he’s done as a scoring 3/4 that puts him this high on this list. He could be a great candidate for a contender to sign on a team-friendly bounce-back deal.
- Nicolas Batum – LA Clippers (unrestricted): Batum is opting out of his deal so that he can sign for more money and add a couple of years too. He’s had a career resurgence with the Clippers. Look for Batum to stay in LA, but other contenders will try hard to get him to at least listen to their pitch.
- Jae’Sean Tate – Houston Rockets (restricted – team option): It’s unlikely Tate makes it to free agency this year. The Rockets will very likely pick up their team option for him. They can still make him a restricted free agent in 2023, so there’s no reason for Houston to act earlier than necessary on a new deal. If he does, some smart team should craft an offer sheet for Tate, because he can really play.
- Caleb Martin – Miami Heat (restricted): Martin had a breakout season while on a Two-Way deal for most of it. He’s one of the better wing options that’s “available”. We use “available” because it’s highly likely Miami will do what they can to keep him. Only a silly offer sheet will get the Heat to blink.
- Cody Martin – Charlotte Hornets (restricted): Like his twin brother, Cody Martin has also come a long way in his development. He’s not quite the shooter his brother is, but he’s close. Both are two of the better 3&D options on the market. Unlike the Heat, the Hornets tend to get overly frugal and sometimes that causes them to let players slip away. Keep an eye on this Martin twin.
- Jalen McDaniels – Charlotte Hornets (restricted – team option): The Hornets will probably pick up this option and then deal with McDaniels’ free agency next year. The smart move would be to decline the option and keep control of his free agency via the restricted path this summer. McDaniels offers a nice blend of size and skill at either forward spot. And, yes, the Hornets once had both Martin twins and McDaniels.
- Danuel House Jr. – Utah Jazz (unrestricted): House had some trouble finding a landing spot after the Rockets tired of him and moved on. His antics in the bubble didn’t help House any in that respect. But he found his footing in Utah. Given the paucity of available small forward talent this summer, House could get a nice one or two-year payday.
- Oshae Brissett – Indiana Pacers (restricted – team option): The Pacers should pick up this option. Brissett has been a nice find for them. He always plays really hard and has shown some ability to shoot. Brissett is undersized to slide up to the four, so he’s a true small forward, which limits his options to some extent.
- Derrick Jones Jr. – Chicago Bulls (unrestricted): Jones really struggled after leaving Miami for Portland a couple of years ago. He got back to his around-the-rim ways to some extent in Chicago. But Jones needs to recapture that Heat magic and re-find his game if he wants more than the minimum.
- Andre Iguodala – Golden State Warriors (unrestricted): It’s out of respect for all Iguodala has accomplished that he even ranks this high. He’s the very definition of a part-time player now. If Iguodala plays a 19th season, it will be with the Warriors and no one else.
- Juan Toscano-Anderson – Golden State Warriors (restricted): Toscano-Anderson was one of Golden State’s finds when they spent a couple of years wandering the NBA wilderness. If Toscano-Anderson could only shoot it more consistently, he’d be at least five slots higher on this list. As it is, he’s probably looking at another minimum, prove-it deal.
- Jordan Nwora – Milwaukee Bucks (restricted): Every once and a while you just get a feeling a player could do more with a bigger opportunity. Nwora feels like one of those guys. He can really score and he’s a good rebounder for a wing. His efficiency has been all over the place, but so has his role. Call this one a hunch on a guy who could break out next year in the right situation.
Fringe Tier (unranked and presented in alphabetical order)
- Isaac Bonga – Toronto Raptors (unrestricted)
- Ignas Brazdeikis – Orlando Magic (restricted – Two-Way)
- Justin Champagnie – Toronto Raptors (restricted – Two-Way)
- Gary Clark – New Orleans Pelicans (restricted – Two-Way)
- Kessler Edwards – Brooklyn Nets (restricted – team option)
- C.J. Elleby – Portland Trail Blazers (restricted)
- Melvin Frazier Jr. – Oklahoma City Thunder (unrestricted – Two-Way)
- Sam Hauser – Boston Celtics (restricted – team option)
- Malcolm Hill – Chicago Bulls (restricted – Two-Way)
- Josh Jackson – Sacramento Kings (unrestricted)
- Stanley Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers (unrestricted – team option)
- Kevin Knox – Atlanta Hawks (restricted)
- Arnoldas Kulboka – Charlotte Hornets (restricted – Two-Way)
- Anthony Lamb – Houston Rockets (restricted – Two-Way)
- Jake Layman – Minnesota Timberwolves (unrestricted)
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – Atlanta Hawks (unrestricted)
- Yves Pons – Memphis Grizzlies (restricted – Two-Way)
- Davon Reed – Denver Nuggets (restricted – Two-Way)
- Matt Ryan – Boston Celtics (restricted – Two-Way)
- Admiral Schofield – Orlando Magic (restricted – Two-Way)
- Ishmail Wainright – Phoenix Suns (restricted)
- Yuta Watanabe – Toronto Raptors (unrestricted)
- Joe Wieskamp – San Antonio Spurs (restricted)
- Robert Woodard II – San Antonio Spurs (unrestricted – Two-Way)