The free agency buzz has simmered down after five days of hype-inducing signings. Championship teams got richer in talent, playoff contenders added necessary pieces, and subpar squads making desperate acquisitions that may or may not work.
Whichever it may be, the free agency period is just like every other year. After all the waves of excitement, it has left a long list of notable names still jobless again – for the time being, at least.
Let’s look at the key names in the pool, and break it down into tiers:
- Hassan Whiteside
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- Nicolas Batum
- Reggie Jackson
- Kyle Korver
- Marco Belinelli
- Glen Robinson III
- Frank Kaminsky
The first tier includes names that can be certainly useful with every contender, most subpar, and some lottery-bound teams.
Hassan Whiteside leads the list as he is a double-double machine and a shot blocker extraordinaire. Hustler Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, meanwhile, should be noted for his defense, especially since he was among the many solid forwards that the Toronto Raptors plugged last season to replace Kawhi Leonard. Nicolas Batum had a terrible 2019-20, but he has playoff experience and could still be effective if put in the right situation.
As for Reggie Jackson, Marco Bellinelli, Kyle Korver, and Glenn Robinson III, they can provide an offensive boost, particularly off the bench. They all have reliable shooting, and although Robinson III isn’t as good as the others, he’s the best athlete among the four.
- Courtney Lee
- Dion Waiters
- Emmanuel Mudiay
- Frank Jackson
- John Henson
- Shabazz Napier
- Wilson Chandler
- Skal Labissiere
Tier 2 features pretty serviceable players. No one can be really expected to stand out, but they’re good enough to contribute on certain areas and give quality minutes.
Courtney Lee is a ‘3 and D’ guy, John Henson is a long-armed rim protector, while Wilson Chandler and Dion Waiters can attack inside and out. Lee and Chandler have some experience, too.
Emmanuel Mudiay and Shabazz Napier are longtime point guards still in their 20s, and each averaged double-digit points and almost four assists in certain long stretches within the last two seasons. Frank Jackson, also a PG, has upside left as well as he is only 22 and was a heralded talent coming out of college. In two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, he has career averages of 7.2 PPG on 16.4 MPG.
Skal Labisserie can be a good addition on the paint. He’s a lanky 6’11 forward with a 7’2 wingspan, and has shown flashes of nice post offense.
- Yogi Ferrell
- J.R. Smith
- Taj Gibson
- Shaquille Harrison
- Kyle O’Quinn
- Noah Vonleh
- Jared Dudley
- Gary Payton II
The third and last tier can be a hard sell, and guys like Gary Payton II and Shaquille Harrison are likely to enter the 2020-21 campaign without an NBA home. Their best chance could be 10-day contracts during the season. JR Smith and Jared Dudley too, although one of them could be re-signed by the Los Angeles Lakers soon.
Still, it’s a list that has players offering experience and leadership on and/or off-the-court.
Yogi Ferrell is a speedy point guard that provides instant offense. He averaged a decent 10.6 PPG on 38.5%-shooting from three with the Dallas Mavericks from 2016 to 2018, which eventually got him a contract with the Sacramento Kings.
Taj Gibson is a bruising interior presence with a long playoff resume and an unquestionable effort on both ends of the floor. He’s still a good interior presence under reliever minutes. Kyle O’Quinn are Noah Vonleh are on that sphere on a much lesser degree, but they have good size for the big man positions, so they may get considerations soon.