Top centers available right now

Youth and upside headline the free-agent center class of 2021 in the NBA, but not so much in terms of proven star talent.

Regardless, at least one player is set to receive a hefty payday in Jarrett Allen, who should command a long-term contract at an annual average value of over $15 million thanks to his production thus far in his career and his yet-to-reach potential.

After Allen, however, things get dicey for teams needing centers, as Richaun Holmes is our second-ranked free-agent big man this offseason, and he’s mostly a role player with good rebounding and finishing skills but lacking in special qualities.

Serge Ibaka checks in at No. 3, and he’s coming off an injury-riddled campaign and season-ending back surgery, a scary combination for a player with so many miles on his body.

At No. 4 is another big-name veteran on the heels of a disappointing season in Andre Drummond, who ended his 2020-21 with the Lakers receiving a DNP-CD as Los Angeles was eliminated.

As you can tell, there are some decent names in the free-agent center class of 2021, but outside of one player, no one who’s about to get a big-time contract.

Below, check out our full rankings for the top free-agent centers available in 2021.


Jarrett Allen / Restricted free agent / Last team: Cleveland

Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers

An absolute force on both ends of the floor. Not the perfect modern big man due to lack of floor-spacing but he’s such an elite dive threat out of the pick-and-roll that he creates space for teammates that way. Top shot-blocker and rebounder, too. 2020/21 stats: 12.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 61.8 FG%, 31.6 3P% Career earnings: $10,034,582 Agent:Derrick Powell

Richaun Holmes / Last team: Sacramento

Richaun Holmes

High-level frontcourt athlete who is an excellent finisher out of the pick-and-roll. Good touch around the basket and uses athleticism well to protect the paint. 2020/21 stats: 14.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 63.7 FG%, 18.3 3P% Career earnings: $14,943,252 Agent:Brian Jungreis

Story continues

Serge Ibaka / Player option / Last team: LA Clippers

Serge Ibaka

Injury concerns and mileage could concern potentially interested teams this offseason, though he’s still a solid floor-spacing, shot-blocking big man when healthy. 2020/21 stats: 11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 51.0 FG%, 33.9 3P% Career earnings: $129,123,661 Agent:Jim Tanner

Andre Drummond / Last team: LA Lakers

Andre Drummond

Another Laker who will want to burn the tape of his postseason run. Received a DNP-CD in the team’s last game of the playoffs. Elite rebounder and solid scorer around the rim but his actual impact on outcomes leaves a lot to be desired. 2020/21 stats: 14.9 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 49.3 FG% Career earnings: $137,830,480 Agent:Jeff Schwartz

Montrezl Harrell / Player option / Last team: LA Lakers

Montrezl Harrell

High-energy big man who is a top finisher near the rim thanks to athleticism. Great threat out of the pick-and-roll. Lack of size and poor coordination make him a subpar defender. 2020/21 stats: 13.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 62.2 FG% Career earnings: $24,774,382 Agent:Rich Paul

Mitchell Robinson / Team option / Last team: New York

Mitchell Robinson

One of the best shot-blockers in basketball and a solid rebounder. Has improved defensively in that he no longer chases as many blocks and puts himself in bad positions. Mostly just a catch-and-finish player on offense. 2020/21 stats: 8.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 0.5 apg, 65.3 FG% Career earnings: $4,709,013 Agent:Thaddeus Foucher

Enes Kanter / Last team: Portland

Enes Kanter

A double-double machine comfortable as a starter or coming off the bench. His issues arise come playoff time when opponents pick-and-roll him off the floor due to poor movement skills on defense. 2020/21 stats: 11.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 60.4 FG%, 25.0 3P% Career earnings: $99,812,533 Agent:Mark Bartelstein

Nerlens Noel / Last team: New York

Nerlens Noel

Big man who thrives as a paint-protector, is capable of switching onto ball-handlers and who plays with loads of energy. 2020/21 stats: 5.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, 61.4 FG% Career earnings: $27,157,625 Agent:George Langberg

Robin Lopez / Last team: Washington

Robin Lopez

The hook-shot king of the NBA, he’s extremely accurate when teams let him get the ball to his right hand and over his left shoulder. Capable of doing some rim-protecting, too. 2020/21 stats: 9.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 63.3 FG%, 27.8 3P% Career earnings: $89,540,945 Agent:Darren ‘Mats’ Matsubara

Daniel Theis / Last team: Chicago

Daniel Theis

Shot-blocking, outside-shooting big man, though he needs to improve at the latter skill to become an even more reliable player. Plays with good energy and toughness. 2020/21 stats: 9.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 54.1 FG%, 32.2 3P% Career earnings: $12,193,857 Agent:Aaron Mintz

Tristan Thompson / Last team: Boston

Excellent rebounder, especially on offense where he gets his team multiple extra possessions. Not much of a defender off of switches, though he is physical and strong enough to battle down low with paint-bound centers, and his scoring solely comes from being spoon-fed easy looks. 2020/21 stats: 7.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 51.8 FG% Career earnings: $108,696,603 Agent: Rich Paul

Dwight Howard / Last team: Philadelphia

Now bought into his role as a reserve center and more of a team-first player, he’s been one of the more effective backup centers in basketball. Remains a good shot-blocker and rebounder. 2020/21 stats: 7.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 58.7 FG%, 25.0 3P% Career earnings: $243,196,658 Agent: Charles Briscoe

Cody Zeller / Last team: Charlotte

Experienced big man who might be best-suited as a full-time backup these days. Soft hands and can finish with the right or left around the rim. Solid screen-setter. 2020/21 stats: 9.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 55.9 FG%, 14.3 3P% Career earnings: $73,410,113 Agent: Sam Goldfeder

Khem Birch / Last team: Toronto

High-energy big man with shot-blocking and rebounding chops. Good finisher around the basket, though no range on his offense. 2020/21 stats: 7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 49.7 FG%, 25.0 3P% Career earnings: $8,205,356 Agent: Austin Brown

Frank Kaminsky / Last team: Phoenix

Frank Kaminsky

Reserve-level big man who can be plugged into a lineup and asked to do some scoring. Good shooter and ball-handler for a center, though provides very little defensively. 2020/21 stats: 6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 47.1 FG%, 36.5 3P% Career earnings: $18,322,107 Agent:Bill Duffy

Alex Len / Last team: Washington

Energetic center with solid size whose game is limited to dunks and rebounds. 2020/21 stats: 6.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.8 apg, 61.5 FG%, 32.0 3P% Career earnings: $32,441,628 Agent: Michael Lelchitski

Willy Hernangomez / Last team: New Orleans

Solid big man with soft touch around the basket and finishing ability with either hand. Can even provide some baskets out of post-ups, though better out of the pick-and-roll. 2020/21 stats: 7.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 56.3 FG%, 10.0 3P% Career earnings: $7,721,130 Agent: Guillermo Bermejo

DeMarcus Cousins / Last team: LA Clippers

When given playing time, can still provide some scoring, rebounding and playmaking, though nowhere near at the levels of his pre-injury self. 2020/21 stats: 8.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 42.6 FG%, 34.8 3P% Career earnings: $89,939,347 Agent: Jeff Schwartz

Gorgui Dieng / Last team: San Antonio

Floor-spacing center who can swat away shots defensively. Likes to shoot it from the corners and reliable from there. 2020/21 stats: 6.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 52.1 FG%, 42.9 3P% Career earnings: $69,689,390 Agent: Thaddeus Foucher

Kevon Looney / Player option / Last team: Golden State

Kevon Looney

Quietly one of the best defensive big men in the league when forced to switch onto ball-handlers. Solid and steady, just don’t expect big numbers out of him. 2020/21 stats: 4.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 54.8 FG%, 23.5 3P% Career earnings: $14,638,904 Agent:Aaron Goodwin

Willie Cauley-Stein / Last team: Dallas

Center who does the majority of his damage as a screen-setter and rolling to the rim for high-flying dunks. Should be a better rebounder and paint protector with his physical gifts. 2020/21 stats: 5.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.7 apg, 63.2 FG%, 9.1 3P% Career earnings: $21,627,957 Agent: Adie von Gontard

Hassan Whiteside / Last team: Sacramento

Elite shot-blocker and rebounder but his lack of focus and effort, as well as his propensity for seeking out his own stats, greatly hamper his actual impact. 2020/21 stats: 8.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 56.3 FG% Career earnings: $102,988,.751 Agent: Sean Kennedy

Dewayne Dedmon / Last team: Miami

A decent rebounder and shot-blocker who finishes plays at a high rate around the basket. Has shown a three-point shot in the past, though it’s been years since he’s been reliable from beyond the arc. 2020/21 stats: 7.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.8 apg, 70.8 FG%, 20.0 3P% Career earnings: $34,899,193 Agent: Michael Silverman

Bismack Biyombo / Last team: Charlotte

Bad hands around the rim and no jumper to speak of, but a good shot-blocker and decent rebounder. 2020/21 stats: 5.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 58.7 FG% Career earnings: $87,424,093 Agent: BJ Armstrong

JaVale McGee / Last team: Denver

JaVale McGee

Good finisher in the paint thanks to his freakish wingspan and still-solid athleticism. Can swat away shots defensively with aplomb. 2020/21 stats: 7.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.8 apg, 51.1 FG%, 20.8 3P% Career earnings: $66,337,737 Agent:BJ Armstrong

Moritz Wagner / Last team: Orlando

Crafty scoring big man with some outside shooting touch, though struggles as a rebounder and isn’t consistent with his jumper. 2020/21 stats: 6.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 45.4 FG%, 34.1 3P% Career earnings: $6,211,675 Agent: Jason Glushon

Isaiah Hartenstein / Player option / Last team: Cleveland

Center with great size and length who can finish around the rim, but has a limited individual offensive game. 2020/21 stats: 5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg, 55.0 FG%, 33.3 3P% Career earnings: $2,459,028 Agent: Mike Naiditch

Boban Marjanovic / Last team: Dallas

Second-tallest player in the league with great hands down low and elite finishing ability in the paint. Not an every-night player due to defensive limitations in the modern NBA. 2020/21 stats: 4.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 50.8 FG%, 12.5 3P% Career earnings: $29,200,000 Agent: Jeff Schwartz

Tony Bradley / Restricted free agent / Last team: Oklahoma City

Solid third-string center who can provide impactful minutes here and there, though hasn’t developed to the point where he’s an every-night player. 2020/21 stats: 7.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 66.5 FG% Career earnings: $8,598,860 Agent: John Spencer

Meyers Leonard / Last team: Miami

Floor-spacing center with slow feet, making him a poor defender on switches, and equally unexplosive leaping ability, causing him to struggle on the glass and protecting the paint. 2020/21 stats: 3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 42.9 FG%, 42.9 3P% Career earnings: $60,142,479 Agent: Aaron Mintz

Mike Muscala / Last team: Oklahoma City

A floor-spacer at the 5 who doesn’t provide much outside of decent three-point shooting. 2020/21 stats: 9.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 44.6 FG%, 37.0 3P% Career earnings: $17,252,553 Agent: Sean Kennedy

Luke Kornet / Last team: Boston

Fits into the floor-spacing, shot-blocking big man archetype, but isn’t elite at either role. 2020/21 stats: 3.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.8 apg, 43.6 FG%, 25.4 3P% Career earnings: $6,196,510 Agent: Jim Tanner

Harry Giles / Last team: Portland

Formerly an elite prospect, injuries have really set back his development. Still a fairly athletic big man with some explosion as a paint finisher. 2020/21 stats: 2.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 43.3 FG%, 34.8 3P% Career earnings: $8,265,804 Agent: Jeff Schwartz

Ed Davis / Last team: Minnesota

Valued locker room voice throughout his career, but one who’s lost a step athletically and no longer can provide nightly impact. 2020/21 stats: 2.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 43.2 FG% Career earnings: $44,545,534 Agent: Aaron Mintz

Udonis Haslem / Last team: Miami

Udonis Haslem

In the very (very) late stages of his career, but still considered a top team leader and a trustworthy locker room voice. 2020/21 stats: Four points and one rebound in one game. Career earnings: $66,355,962 Agent:Mitch Nathan

Tacko Fall / Restricted free agent / Last team: Boston

Tallest player in the league who has only gotten spot minutes throughout his career. Elite presence down low as far as deterring shot attempts, but very slow-footed and gets winded quickly. 2020/21 stats: 2.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.2 apg, 72.4 FG% Career earnings: $733,492 Agent: Justin Haynes







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