NBA free agency’s fast start quickly lurched to a near standstill, as the basketball world braces for resolution on the heels of Kevin Durant’s reported trade request from the Brooklyn Nets.
Teams and players could officially commence signings on July 6, and we’ve kept track of all the reported and official free-agency moves, as well as the offseason trades consummated since the June 23 NBA Draft. It appears now we have at least a little breathing room with the league turning some of its attention to 2022 NBA Summer League.
Still, several talented free agents around the NBA find themselves looking for new contracts.
Here’s a quick look at seven of the top remaining 2022 NBA free agents, listed alphabetically (the list does not include Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, who was reportedly arrested for domestic violence on the eve of free agency):
LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets, unrestricted
2021-22 stats: 12.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.9 apg
You probably forgot about Aldridge because the 36-year-old didn’t play a second of Brooklyn’s brief 2022 postseason run. But the man can still go (not as fast as we’ve seen in the past), and he remains almost automatic in the post and in the mid-range. Aldridge shot 55% from the field last season, and he’s still hungry to capture his first title after 17 seasons.
Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers, unrestricted
2021-22 stats: 13.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.0 apg
We hear quite a bit about the need for teams to keep around veterans to teach young players the ropes similarly to the way Miami uses Udonis Haslem. It’s an added bonus when that vet can help teams win games, which is exactly what we’ve seen from Anthony in his last two stops. Over the last three seasons, the 38-year-old has shot 37.5% or better from 3-point range.
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, restricted
2021-22 stats: 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
Ayton’s immediate future appears to be somewhat complicated and put on hold by Durant’s reported preference to join the Suns in a trade. It’s expected the 23-year-old likely will remain unsigned until there’s resolution on the Durant front, and it appears several options involving multiple teams are on the table for the former No. 1 overall pick, who entered the 2021-22 season looking to secure a max deal.
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers, unrestricted
2021-22 stats: 22.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 10.3 apg
It’s expected Harden signs a new deal in Philadelphia for less money than the $47.3 million option for next season that he opted out of. Harden made the move to take less in what’s expected to be a shorter deal to give himself more flexibility as well as the team, which is working to improve a roster that already features 2022 Kia MVP runner-up Joel Embiid.
Montrezl Harrell, Charlotte Hornets, unrestricted
2021-22 stats: 13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.0 apg
It’s wild to think Harrell has played for three teams since 2020, when he won Kia Sixth Man of the Year with the LA Clippers because his play certainly hasn’t fallen off, not to mention the big man is just 28-years-old. Harrell’s future could be somewhat in doubt, as he’s facing a felony drug charge stemming from a traffic stop last month.
Dennis Schröder, Houston Rockets, unrestricted
2021-22 stats: 13.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg
Played 49 games for the Boston Celtics last season, before moving on to the Rockets in a trade. Schröder appears to be another player likely sitting in limbo until something happens with Durant. The speedy 28-year-old could be a fit for several teams looking to add depth in the backcourt. Given the youth movement currently taking place in Houston, it’s unlikely Schroder re-signs there.
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers, restricted
2021-22 stats: 16.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg
It’s likely Sexton is returning to Cleveland, as there appears to be a desire from both sides to get a deal done. The 23-year-old played just 11 games last season before suffering a torn meniscus that forced him to miss the rest of 2021-22. Sexton averaged 20-plus points in the two seasons prior to 2021-22. So, while Darius Garland has emerged as an All-Star, there’s still room for a scorer like Sexton.
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