Kawhi Leonard tops list of best NBA free agents available
NBA free agency begins today at 6:00 p.m. ET, and quite a few marquee players have hit the open market over the past few days.
Let’s look at the top 5 players available this offseason.
5. Dennis Schroder
The 27-year-old point guard is unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Lakers after the team traded for Russell Westbrook. Schroder did not have the best postseason performance in his one-year stint in L.A., as he only averaged 14.3 points, 2.8 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game and shot 40% from the field.
However, in the regular season he averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game and shot 43.7% from the floor. Schroder can be extremely valuable for a team looking for offense and shooting from their point guard position, whether it be as a starter or coming off the bench.
🚨 Dennis Schroeder Thread 🚨— Rit Holtzman (@BenRitholtz_NBA) August 2, 2021
As the big names seem to be coming off the board one by one, and we near the free agency period, Schroeder may be the only upgrade at PG remaining. I took a look at his 1 game vs NYK to analyze the player and how he might fit.
1) Dude’s got SPEED. pic.twitter.com/8SOVYF98o6
4. Kyle Lowry
One of the biggest names in the trade rumors last season is now officially a free agent. There seems to be no doubt that he will be leaving Toronto. Even though he is 35 years old, there is still a huge market for the veteran point guard after watching what Chris Paul just did for Phoenix.
Last season, Lowry averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game in a down season for the Raptors. There are several contenders that will be extremely interested in having these numbers at their point guard position. The main candidates are the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and New Orleans Pelicans.
3. Chris Paul
Paul just declined his $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season. However, that doesn't mean he's on his way out of Phoenix. Paul was only two games away from his first NBA title last year, and that is his only goal at this stage of his hall of fame career.
The Suns have a young nucleus of talent and could easily return to the NBA Finals with just another piece or two added through free agency. If anything, Paul declining his player option may have just been to adjust the team’s salary cap to allow them to go after another impact player.
"We’re going to process this and figure this out. I think everything else will take care of itself."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) August 1, 2021
"I'm confident that we will be able to have a conversation hopefully in the coming days that will make everyone happy."
Monday: Chris Paul, #Suns GM James Jones talk future,💰. pic.twitter.com/Du20nCfe8U
2. DeMar DeRozan
The 31-year-old former All-Star guard is still a hot commodity for teams around the league. Just last season, DeRozan averaged 21.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game for a struggling Spurs squad.
There are several contenders that would love to have his talent at the shooting guard position, especially with his improved passing and playmaking skills from his previous score-first mentality. The biggest question is how much of a pay cut is DeRozan willing to take to join a contender? Given his desire to win a title before the end of his career, the Compton native would likely take the right pay cut to join his hometown Lakers.
1. Kawhi Leonard
This one is obvious as Leonard is still an MVP-caliber player when he is healthy. His injury in the postseason really derailed the Clippers' title hopes last year, but they still plan to move forward with their nucleus of Leonard and Paul George.
Leonard did turn down his $36 million dollar player option to become a free agent, but this is likely to restructure a longer deal with the Clippers. However, if a deal cannot be reached, we could see a massive bidding war for the superstar.