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NBA free agency news has been booming since it began on August 2 at 3PM EST, and plenty of guys have either been on the move or inked contracts to stay loyal to their current team. DeMar DeRozan joined Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic on the Bulls, Chris Paul will still be a member of the Suns by the time he is 40 years old, and Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to sign two $200-plus million deals. While a lot of players have cemented their status before the start of this upcoming season come October, there are plenty of names both big and small that have yet to reach a final landing spot. Below, I’ll break down the top 10 free agents whose statuses are still up in the air thus far.
1. Kawhi Leonard – LAC, UFA
Kawhi is by far the biggest name yet to officially be locked in somewhere, and not a single person would be surprised if he made us wait as part of his bizarre ways that he so frequently demonstrates. Because he’s an unrestricted free agent, his current team in the Los Angeles Clippers will not have the chance to match another team’s offer. This seems like almost too much power for someone like Kawhi Leonard, and while we fully expect him to stay a Clipper, remember that this is a guy who left Toronto the season after winning a championship there to join the Clips. As far as fantasy goes, he’ll be a stud no matter what jersey he is wearing, but he’ll likely be facing load management wherever that is as well, so proceed with caution.
2. John Collins – ATL, RFA
The last report on John Collins was that he and the Hawks were not close to an agreement, and this situation has been about as back and forth as they come. Collins was a bit below expectations during the regular season but had some electrifying plays against Joel Embiid and the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on his way to 15.1 points, 10.0 boards and one triple per game in those seven contests. Some recency bias may be in effect here, but this should help Collins make a few extra bucks regardless of where he lands. Atlanta has the power here as they can match any offer that another team makes, but given recent reports, seeing him in another city would not be extravagantly shocking.
3. Spencer Dinwiddie – BKN, UFA
Dinwiddie was supposedly expecting a five-year deal worth around $125 million to stay in Brooklyn, but given that he’s a borderline top-4 player on the Nets alone, this is not feasible for Brooklyn. It was reported on Monday that he was nearing a deal with the Washington Wizards, so unless something drastic happens, he will play as Bradley Beal’s sidekick in the nation’s capital. He’s coming off of a partially torn ACL, but given his ample time off and his opportunity with the Wiz, Dinwiddie probably won’t fall past the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.
4. Kelly Oubre – GWS, UFA
Oubre had a historically atrocious start to his first season with the Warriors but picked it up later to average 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals on the year, but we all know he is capable of much more. The last report regarding Oubre stated that he was unhappy with some of coach Steve Kerr’s comments, one of them regarding a possible move to the bench to start the 2021-2022 season. He’s a starting caliber player on most teams, and it may be in his and Golden State’s best interest to part ways. We fantasy hoopers prefer another landing spot too, of course.
5. Dennis Schroder – LAL, UFA
Dennis Schroder started at point guard for the Lakers this last season, and while he had a solid regular season, he was a liability on the offensive end and was one of the reasons for the early playoff exit for the defending champions. The Bulls and Knicks have shown some interest in Schroder, but with the former recently landing Lonzo Ball in a sign-and-trade deal, it looks like the Knicks or the Lakers will likely be where Schroder ends up. Should he stay in Los Angeles, his role will be quite different given the arrival of Russell Westbrook, and it doesn’t help that the Lakers also signed Kendrick Nunn on Tuesday as well. On the Knicks side, Derrick Rose resigned in New York on a 3-year, $43 million deal, but if they want to keep Rose in a backup role, maybe Schroder could get the start. If this is the case, the two are likely to split time running the point, so it could be a potential headache for fantasy purposes.
6. Danny Green – PHI, UFA
Even though Green won’t score score a ton these days, he’s a great three-and-D guy and could bring a veteran leadership to wherever he ends up. Aside from the 76ers, the Bulls, Celtics, Pelicans and Bucks have all shown interest in the 34-year-old. The Pelicans would be a nice spot for him as they just got rid of their two guards in Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe, and with newcomer Devonte’ Graham likely to start at point guard, he could slide into the starting shooting guard spot where he generally is. He could bring some triples and defensive goodies to your fantasy team no matter where he ends up, but he’s only worth drafting very late, if at all, if he’s in the starting lineup on a shallow team.
7. Lauri Markkanen – CHI, RFA
Despite a career-worst season this past year with just 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in just under 26 minutes per game, Markkanen’s relevancy in the league is still very existent. The Bulls have made some big moves already by adding DeMar Derozan and Lonzo Ball, but they are currently very guard-heavy and could use Markkanen’s presence at the power forward and center slots. While it makes sense to keep him on paper, the Bulls may not have the cash to do so, and a change of scenery may be what he needs to bounce back. Markkanen is likely to fall in fantasy drafts due to his subpar performance in 2020-2021, but he looks like a prime bounce-back candidate unless he lands on an ultra-stacked team.
8. Reggie Jackson – LAC, UFA
Reggie Jackson has a truly remarkable story, as he was going nowhere fast before his incredible playoff run with the Clippers that proved he can still contribute to a great team. He likely earned some money due to this run in which he averaged 17.8 points and 3.1 made triples per game on 48.4% shooting, and while he won’t play this well all of the time, he’s at the very least a seasoned backup point guard. The Celtics are said to have interest in Jackson, where he would likely back up Marcus Smart. The Clippers would probably love to keep him and the feeling is mutual, with Jackson even telling his teammates “thank you for saving me” after falling to Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals.
9. Victor Oladipo – MIA, UFA
Oladipo is an interesting case as he is coming off of surgery to repair a partially torn tendon in his right quad, a procedure that will keep him out until at least mid-December. Teams will not be chasing after Oladipo right now, but with the Heat adding Kyle Lowry and keeping Jimmy Butler for the long run, his time with the Heat may be limited. Unless your league has a couple of IR spots and/or he lands in a perfect spot, he probably isn’t worth picking up until he has a more certain return date – while it was originally mid-December, it could be as late as February.
10. Enes Kanter – POR, UFA
Kanter most recently backed up Jusuf Nurkic at the center spot in Portland, but given the recent addition of Cody Zeller, Kanter will likely be stuck riding the pine or changing teams yet again. He still produces and averaged a double-double while playing all 72 games last year, but whether he provides fantasy value or not really depends on where he ends up. If he’s the backup man somewhere, which is likely, he should still be able to give you a consistent source of boards and an uptick in percentages if nothing else.