As we hope that the NBA is able to weather the storm for its planned return, we should also be intrigued about the upcoming ‘transaction window’ that will begin this June 23rd. In it, teams will be allowed to sign free agents that were under an NBA or G-League contract within the last two seasons. It should prove to be a vital process as it will allow teams to fill out the holes in their roster, especially ones who are headed for a playoff run.
The list of free agents has a great deal of talent from top to bottom, and any team, regardless of tier, should be taking an extra look at the available players.
Here are five that should find a new home in the next week or so:
Ideal destination: Los Angeles Lakers
DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Lakers in the past off-season but was never able to play a game as he tore his ACL prior to the 2019-20 campaign. He then got waived in February to make way for other free agent signings.
Now that Boogie has had extra time to heal, though, he might have a bigger list of suitors. He’s a stretch big man that can do a bit of everything when he’s healthy, and such an imposing presence on offense is what the Lakers need for their second unit. They lack depth in that category, something that can be costly against other title contenders.
Ideal destination: Utah Jazz / Oklahoma City Thunder
Jamal Crawford being jobless has been one of the biggest NBA mysteries this season. The 20-year veteran is an ageless wonder and is proven to be a walking bucket. Did teams forgot that he dropped 50 points just a year ago?
The insane range and quick-trigger offense can be a boost to any team right now, but his best fit could be the Utah Jazz, who just lost sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic to a wrist injury. Crawford will provide scoring help and extra spacing for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and he might develop Jordan Clarkson too, who, in some ways, is showcasing Jamal Crawford-esque qualities whenever he’s on.
Ideal destination: Dallas Mavericks or Boston Celtics
It’s been rough to see Isaiah Thomas fall of a cliff following a magical 2016-17 season, when he consistently lit up defenses and led the league in fourth quarter scoring. He’s yet to fully recover from that hip injury.
That said, I.T. is still able to boast his scoring ability in solid spurts, which is valuable in postseason play. Prior to getting traded and waived during the trade deadline, he was averaging 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in only 23.1 minutes of play for the Washington Wizards.
The Mavs are among the teams that I see to be a good fit as the scoring hierarchy of scoring gets murky after Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry have each given a handful of great performances but they can’t seem to stay consistent. Adding I.T. for offensive depth could be helpful.
Ideal destination: Oklahoma City Thunder
Joe Johnson hasn’t played all season as he was left unsigned after getting cut by the Detroit Pistons prior to opening day. Make no mistake about it, though, the 19-year veteran still as smooth and lutch as they come.
Shooting is a top priority these days, and in the free agent pool, Joe Cool is among the best – he and Crawford are 1A and 1B.
Johnson’s special knack for late-game heroics is an all-time weapon too. He’s tied with Michael Jordan and Paul Pierce for having the most 2-point game-winning buzzer beaters in NBA history. That’s quite a company to be in.
The Thunder are 28th in the league in threes, and you can’t survive a playoff series being like that these days. Someone like Joe is the perfect addition.
Ideal destination: New Orleans Pelicans / Utah Jazz
There’s one good, short phrase to describe Iman Shumpert right now: Jack of all trades, master of nothing. That’s simply Shump and I mean that in the most positive way possible.
He can provide a decent chunk of everything – defense, mid-range offense, outside shooting, facilitating, you name it – and it should prove to be attractive among any team looking to make a playoff run, especially since Shump is boasting deep postseason and championship experience from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Pelicans’ bottom-ranked defense can be a good fit. He can help boost the terrible perimeter defense and help generate energy in hustle plays, which can allow more leeway for Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, and in turn, give them more time to focus on offense.
Other good free agents that are worth a look: