1.הפיטורים של פישר והמוניטין של ג'קסון
הפיטורין של דרק פישר באו בהפתעה מחלטת לכל מי שנמצא מחוץ לעניינים בניקס. ההחלטה כנראה נעשתה לפני כן אבל פורסמה לאחר ההפסד לנאגטס ביום ראשון, ההפסד החמישי הרצוף והתשיעי מעשרת המשחקים האחרונים. ההפסד הושיב את הניקס עם רקורד של 31-23, 5 משחקים מאחורי הפיסטונס למקום השמיני והאחרון בפלייאוף המזרחי.
לא משנה כמה פיל ג'קסון אוהב ומחבב את דרק פישר, הכישלון לעשות את הפלייאוף ייכנס לספרים ככישלון של פיל, ואנשים בעיר יתחילו להשתולל על בזבוז עוד 12 מיליון על זן מאסטר ללא מושג.
לא משנה כמה ברוק לופז השתפר ואיזה קנון הוא פורזינגס, ושכרמלו אנטוני יכול להפוך למלך האסיסטים של הליגה. אם אין פלייאוף – פיל ג'קסון נכשל בגדול.
תגובתו של פישר?
"This is a very talented team with strong character and I am confident they will succeed," Fisher said in a statement Monday. "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but have learned an immense amount from this experience and hope to grow from it."
היי. הם חתמו איתו חוזה על 25 מיליון ל-5 שנים ב-2014. זו השנה השלישית שישלמו לו 5 מיליון, וישנן עוד שנתיים של 5 מיליון לשנה אפילו אם הוא לא יזיז את התחת. מי שכר אותו? צדקתם! פיל ג'קסון , אותו אדם שפיטר אותו. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!
אני לא רואה כל רע בסידור כזה לפוינט גארד לשעבר, כי יש לפישר שנתיים וחצי להפוך לעוזר מאמן של מישהו – אפילו של תום איזו במישיגן-סטייט – ולחפש עבודה עד סיום החוזה. אולי אפילו נשיא ה-CBA? לך תדע. כריזמה ושכל יש לו
כיצד פיל יסביר את הפאשלה לדולן? הוא לא צריך כנראה להסביר מאומה. אלף, לבעל הניקס לא איכפת מהניקס, ובית, לדולן הכל יורד ממס הכנסה…
ג'קסון נשאל אם לפיאסקו עם מאט בארנס יש קשר לפיטורים. "איש לא מאושר ממה שקרה. זה היה דבר מביך מאד לניו יורק ניקס, אבל לא היה לו כל קשר לפיטורי פישר". רגע. מה 'מביך' לניקס כשמאמנה לשעבר משחק משחקי מיטה עם אשתו לשעבר – מהממת ביותר אגב, וזאת מילה מה-EXPERT – של מאט בארנס? מה עניין שמיטה להר סיני? אבל לך תדע. אולי בתורת הזן דברים כאלה מוסברים.
קורט רמביס יהיה עוזר המאמן עד סיום העונה, דבר ה-מ-ב-ט-י-ח שהניקס לא יעשו את הפלייאוף. עוד טעות קולוסאלית של הזן מאסטר, שאמר ש-"רמביס בא מה-SYSTEM. הוא איש 'הבפנים' שלי. הוא היה עוזר המאמן של ג'קסון בלייקרס, והוא יודע ומכיר 'משולשים'. אבל הוא יושב גם על רקורד של 145-56 בלייקרס ובמינסוטה, משם פוטר ב-2011.
קורט רמביס היה סנטר שלא היה לו הרבה מושג כשחקן – ממש קופי של ג'קסון בניקס כשתפקיד שניהם היה לתרום את גופם עבור הכוכבים. אבל כמו עם לוק וולטון המעט דביל, לשניהם אין מבע פנים והם לא עושים דבר מלבד לשבת על הספסל עם חיוך מסויים המנסה לומר 'אני יודע מה שאתם לא יודעים'.
קורט רמביס הוא – לדעתי כמובן – חסר מושג בדיוק כמו לוק וולטון. בטיים-אאוטים שניהם לא מוציאים הגה אלא נותנים לעוזרי המאמנים לדבר כי להם אין מושג מה טוב ומה לא טוב. ללוק היה מזל שהיתה לו קבוצה כמו גולדן סטייט לאמן, אותה הדרך הטובה ביותר לאמן היא לנקות את הכדור ולתת אותו לשחקנים שישחקו. ללוק היה מזל בג"ס, אבל אם לוק היה במינסוטה במקום קורטיס, גם הוא היה מפוטר לאלתר.
כל אלה שהזכירו את שמו של לוק וולטון כמאמן הלייקרס (או הניקס) – אין להם מושג על מה הם מדברים. הם אפילו לא רפי הבנה. עלי ללכת למילון/ניבון עברי למצוא רמה מתחת 'רפי הבנה' כי כל אלה המאמינים שקורט רמביס – או לוק וולטון – הם מאמנים טובים הם נטולי הבנה ורגש לחלוטין. למעשה, אם לוק הופך מאמן הלייקרס, אני משנה את שנת הרלוונטיות מ-2020 ל-2022.
סנטרים לא יכולים להיות מאמנים. עד שמחשבה מגיעה למוחם התרגיל כבר עבר. לא היה אף סנטר שהצליח כמאמן: ביל ראסל? למרות אליפות שלקח כמאמן/שחקן, מי לא היה לוקח אליפות עם הקבוצה ההיא? בגדול הוא נכשל כמאמן. קרים עבדול ג'אבר? ניסה כעוזר מאמן וניכשל. חאכים אול'ג'ואן? ניסה לאמן את דווייט האווארד ומה יצא? האווארד גרוע יותר משהיה כשנפל לידיו של חאכים. פטריק יואינג מנסה ומנסה כעוזר מאמן, ולא מצליח לקבל אפילו ראיון למשרה ראשית. דייב קאונס החזיק מעמד כמאמן בסלטיקס רק שנה אחת, ואז ניכשל בשלוש שנותיו בהורנטס.
תומי היינסון, דון נלסון, רודי ט'ומג'נוביץ', פיל ג'קסון, לארי בירד, דייב דבושר ג'רי סלואן – כולם היו פורוורדים.
תגידו שרמביס גם היה פורוורד. אבל הוא היה למעשה נושא כליו של קרים ולא זז יותר מ-90 סנטימטרים מהסל גם אם חייו היו תלויים בזה. לוק? היה מין סנטר, והיה מין פורוורד. בקיצור, הוא "היה ולא היה". בדיוק כפי שהוא 'אימן' את הווריורס. חכו שיתנו לו קבוצה מקרטעת כמו הניקס, או קבוצת צעירים כמו הלייקרס, ואז הוא יהפוך לנושא הבדיחות הגדול ביותר בתולות ה-NBA עם קריקטורות שכבר מצטיירות במוחי.
2.ג'ורג' קרל הבא בתור
סקרמנטו קינגס החליטו לפטר את ג'ורג' קרל, אבל בגלל גילו, עברו, המוניטין (המעט מזוייף) שלו, ומחלת הסרטן שהתקיפה את צווארו (אבל אחרי רדיאיישיון וכימו טרפי הוא נקי מסיבים סרטניים לפי הידיעות מסקרמנטו), הם החליטו לחכות עד האול סטאר וויקאנד לפני שיקבל את הפיתקה הוורודה.
ג'ורג' החליף את טיירון קורבין בפברואר של העונה שעברה. הוא לא השיג הרבה – 19-11 מאמצע פברואר עד סוף העונה – אבל טענו להגנתו שזאת "לא היתה הקבוצה שלו". הקינגס – עכשיו 'הקבוצה שלו' – התחילו את העונה עם 7-1, אבל לאט-לאט הקבוצה חזרה לרקורד מקובל של 23-23, כשהקינגס מוצאת את עצמה בתוך הריצה לפלייאוף עם סכויים משמעותיים לתפיסת מקום 7 או 8.
אבל אז באו 8 הפסדים מ-9 כשהקינגס מציגים קבוצה ללא הגנה. חסרת הגנה לחלוטין, וזאת אשמת המאמן ותו לא. הם הפסידו משחקים לנטס ולסלטיקס כשהיריבה קולעת 128 נקודות במשחקי בק-טו-בק. עד כמה שזכור לי עמרי כספי לא שיחק אז בגלל פציעה. אולי איתו דברים היו משופרים יותר.
הייתי כמעט בטוח שהוא יפוטר אמש אחרי ההפסד לקאבס (עמרי כספי היה בסדר גמור!) אבל עדיין אין הודעה כזאת.
מי שכר אותו בכלל? בעל הקבוצה ההודי ויואק רנדייב המאמין שהוא מומחה לכדורסל. המנכ"ל ד'אלסנדרו לא רצה את קרל, ועזב בסוף העונה. ולאדה דיבאץ' הגיע.
מה דיבאץ' רוצה או לא רוצה? הוא בינתיים לא מדבר אבל השחקנים – במעשיהם – מדברים עבורו: "תחת ג'ורג' קרל שום דבר טוב לא יקרה". היו נסיונות פיוס עם קאזינס, אבל הכל תפאורה. רודי גיי בכלל לא מדבר או מסתכל על מאמנו.
הפיטורין יוודעו לכולנו עד יום שני אם לא מהר יותר, ואם לא אני מדפיס את השורה הזאת ואוכל את הנייר.
3. עשרת ה-PLAYS הטובים של אתמול:
.ג'ורג' על כיצד הוא עבר את קובי
("הוא כבר מבוגר מדי")
5.כל השחקנים החופשיים הקיץ
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant is one of the three best players in the world at any given time, and he'd be the MVP favorite this season if Stephen Curry weren't putting up historic numbers on a historic team. As of Jan. 15, Durant is a couple made free throws away from the 50-40-90 club, with Larry Bird-like scoring and rebounding numbers. He looks fully recovered from the foot injuries that plagued his 2014-15 season, and he's the hottest non-LeBron free agent since Kobe Bryant in 2004.
His hometown Washington Wizards have kept space open for him, but it's unclear KD will even consider going to D.C. The Thunder remain the favorites to retain him, but every team with a pitch will line up with hopes that he sours on Oklahoma City and wants to try a title run from a different base. The Golden State Warriors have been mentioned as a dark horse candidate (good grief) and you can never count out Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. Needless to say, Durant is an instant game-changer and makes his team a title contender, whether he stays or goes.
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Player option ($24 million)
LeBron isn't going anywhere in all likelihood, but we include all potential free agents in our rankings just in case. LeBron is starting to show his age in small ways, but he's still a top-three player, the best of his generation and a guy who makes everyone around him better. To wit: There are a bunch of Cavaliers in this free agent ranking that sit much higher than they would if LeBron hadn't helped them play to their strengths in Cleveland.
The one free agency question regarding LeBron is whether he's ready to sign a long-term deal with Cleveland to insure against future injury, or remains content to do two-year deals with opt-out clauses to ensure he'll always make as much money as he can as the salary cap rises.
3. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Restricted ($4.4 million qualifying offer)
Drummond is the best restricted free agent of the class, and there's little mystery that the Pistons will issue a maximum offer as early as possible. Drummond and Pistons boss Stan Van Gundy telegraphed their decision to hold off on a max Early Bird extension last October, fashioning it as similar to what the San Antonio Spurs did with Kawhi Leonard to preserve the cap space to sign LaMarcus Aldridge. Of course, given that the Spurs are the Spurs and the Pistons are the Pistons, many of us have doubts as to whether that will work out quite as well.
Still, the Pistons are in control and they won't let Drummond go, despite some concerns he loafs a bit too much for SVG's taste. He's a top-flight center and will be a bargain even at the max contract level simply because his youth and lack of Rose Rule eligibility means his deal is limited to 25 percent of the cap. Drummond isn't going anywhere.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
4. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
Player option ($10 million)
DeRozan should absolutely opt out of his deal given his All-Star credentials and the rising salary cap. Given how shallow this free agent pool is at the top, he's a clear candidate for a max deal, whether in Toronto or from one of the franchises desperate for talent. It should be noted that DeRozan is from Los Angeles, so the Lakers will probably chase him hard. The Heat (if Dwyane Wade's tenure ends), Nets, Knicks, Hornets and Pelicans could try to get into the conversation, too. The Jazz and Nuggets would be interesting, but he's not going to the Jazz or Nuggets.
DeRozan is a throwback two-guard in the sense that he's not a three-point threat. He makes his dinner driving to the rim and taking mid-range jumpers. But he's so good at getting to the line and finishing around the bucket that he's a really valuable scorer. He needs talent around him, of course, but he's the type of player who can help push a team up a tier. The current Lakers with DeRozan instead of Kobe? They are at least in the playoff chase.
The Raptors under Masai Ujiri will say all of the right things about wanting to keep DeRozan, but it remains to be seen whether that max deal starting at $25 million will materialize. If not, the other teams have a shot at poaching him.
5. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
It's hard to imagine Conley decamping from Memphis after his rise to (semi-)prominence as a member of the Grizzlies' core. But the team has slipped from its perch in the West elite, and while Memphis will almost assuredly be back in the playoffs in 2016, the future isn't quite bright.
The good news is that Marc Gasol recommitted to the Grizzlies in 2015, so there's some assurance Memphis will remain competitive, which would seem to be important for Conley. But as Zach Randolph and Tony Allen age out, as Jeff Green and Courtney Lee hit free agency and as Dave Joerger's status teeters, the uncertainty is building. It might be time for Conley to consider other pastures.
If so, he'll be chased hard by teams looking for a point guard to send them over the top. It seems extremely unlikely Conley would sign off on being the savior for a depleted team like the Nets, but a franchise closer to relevance — the Knicks? — might be intriguing. Conley's hometown Pacers have a solid point guard in George Hill, but never dismiss the idea of Larry Bird making bold moves to improve his roster. Conley and Paul George would make for a hell of an offensive battery.
6. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Horford will turn 30 before free agency begins, but he doesn't have tons of mileage due to a longer college career and some injuries in the pros. He's a defensive maestro and a really solid offensive player that doesn't dominate in the lane, but makes everything easier for his teammates nonetheless. He's Tim Duncan light. (Like, really light, but still.)
Horford seems perfectly comfortable winning lots of games in Atlanta, but to be honest, the long-term viability of the roster is a question mark. Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver are in their 30s, Jeff Teague is good yet clearly not a top-tier point guard and his heir apparent Dennis Schroeder is still batting to win Mike Budenholzer's trust. Few lawns are greener than what Horford has in Atlanta, but wanderlust is natural, especially considering this will likely be Horford's last massive contract.
He replicates much of what Chris Bosh does, but I'm still convinced Miami will make a play for Al if Durant doesn't make the jump.
7. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Player option ($23.3 million)
Howard remains creaky with big red flags on his back, but he did play in 40 of Houston's first 50 games this season. And when he's on the court, he's usually a net positive, especially on defense. His offense is no longer really that necessary and it remains limited to deep post set-ups, some pick-and-roll action and putbacks. It's defense where his value lies, and that shone through in the 2015 playoffs as Dwight dominated entire games for the Rockets.
We'll see whether Howard opts out of that big contract early or sticks it out one more year. The smart bet, barring injury this season, would be to land one more long max deal in a good situation before transitioning into a career wind-down. But Howard has a history of being swayed by front office executives, and you can see Daryl Morey perhaps convincing him to stick around for one more run, with potentially a big offseason addition or a new coach. We'll see.
8. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Like Howard, Wade has been rather spry in 2015-16 after an injury-plagued 2014-15. Wade's a few years older, though, and plays a style less suited to long-term health. In other words, Wade still can't shoot from beyond 20 feet, and at some point his dribble-drive game will become unsustainable. That point isn't here yet, so Wade remains a top free agent target for teams looking for a high-scoring backcourt leader with great court vision and that sought-after aura of greatness.
It remains to be seen whether Wade will be willing to transition to a Ginobilian bench role. That would really open up his options outside of Miami, but that would likely come with a pay cut. Perhaps the Mavericks (always chasing Wade) could convince him to back up Wes Matthews or Matthews to come in behind Wade. That said, unless Pat Riley has to eject Wade to make room for Durant, Horford or another superstar, Miami seems like an overwhelming favorite to keep Flash.
9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Player option ($5.6 million)
Duncan isn't going anywhere and you get the sense that he dislikes paperwork, so he'll probably just pick up his option to save on ink. What's amazing is that at age 39, Duncan is not only a passable player, he's one of the top defenders in the NBA. Still! He's now the No. 5 option on offense at any given point, but opponents have immense trouble scoring on him. This isn't unwarranted praise, either: as of Jan. 17, Duncan is No. 1 in the NBA in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus. He turns 40 in April.
He's not in play for anyone but San Antonio as a free agent, but he's still incredibly valuable.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
10. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Player option ($8.7 million)
Like Duncan, Nowitzki is aging well, albeit with his impact coming on the other end of the floor. That's right: Dirk can still shoot the lights out with that unguardable fadeaway and brilliant face-up game. The power forward position is changing, but Nowitzki still fits in with the stretch-4s and footwork masters like LaMarcus Aldridge.
Nowitzki won't leave Dallas, and it's more likely than not that he quietly picks up his cheap (for the Mavs) option. The Mavericks remain relevant against all odds, and we'll see if Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban can cook up a plan to get enough pieces to make one last run with Dirk in 2016-17.
11. Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets
As it turns out, being traded to the moribund Hornets was the best thing that could have happened for Batum. His value in Portland waned, so the Blazers flipped him for youth. Meanwhile, he's fit in perfectly in Charlotte, doing everything the Hornets thought Lance Stephenson would do while also helping fill the defensive void left by injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The small forward market is fairly shallow in 2016 free agency, and Batum is the top option behind Durant and James. He would fit on most teams, so the market should be really, really open for him.
12. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Restricted ($7.5 million qualifying offer)
Beal continues to suffer injuries with concerning frequency, something that has prevented him from developing into a top-rate shooting guard. It's holding the Wizards back, too. That said, when he plays, he's damn good. Beal's scoring a shade under 20 points per game and hitting 40 percent of his threes. He has the potential to be a really good defender, and he's more than a shooter. Beal has enough boogie to get to the rim and he sees the floor pretty well.
If Durant doesn't leap to Washington, the Wizards will almost assuredly lock up Beal for whatever it takes. There are worse things than building around John Wall and Beal, even if the latter's price is premium. (It will be.) The question is whether there is real, non-bridgeable daylight between what the Wizards front office is willing to give Beal with or without Durant and what Beal is willing to take. If there is, we could have a Tristan Thompson-like standoff.
13. Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks
Player option ($16 million)
Parsons had offseason knee surgery and got off to a really slow start in 2015-16, but he's come around of late. He's a solid combo forward: he can shoot and run the floor, he's a passable defender and solid scorer. Parsons is probably the No. 3 option at best for a contender, but everyone needs a No. 3 option. That's not an insult! The question is whether the calculating Parsons is willing to acknowledge that the Mavericks are asset-strapped and might have a tough time landing two players better than Parsons in the next couple of years.
Parsons is about even with Matthews in terms of impact, Dirk is approaching the point of no return and Deron Williams is roughly a league average point guard. Dallas has a draft pick deficit and a record of striking out on big free agents. (We'll consider the DeAndre Jordan saga striking out on a foul tip.) If Parsons doesn't think Dallas can do it, does he opt out and try to convince Miami to pay him? (Would Parsons pay Miami to join the Heat?) Or would Parsons more cynically opt out to ensure he gets a bigger piece of the Mavericks' pie? Interesting decisions to be made.
14. Festus Ezeli, Golden State Warriors
Restricted ($3 million qualifying offer)
Ezeli is a starting NBA center who isn't starting because the Warriors still have Andrew Bogut. Here's the thing: Andrew Bogut is 31, has a long injury history and is pretty expensive. Ezeli is young and the Warriors have performed as well with Ezeli in the starting five as with Bogut. But Bogut has another year on his contract, and Golden State's roster is becoming mighty expensive. (See the next entry on this list.)
Do you pay Ezeli what the market will command (which is a lot, because starting centers are still prizes, even in a smaller, faster league)? Or do you count on the preservation of Bogut and the sustainability of the Warriors' lineup of doom, featuring Draymond Green at center? Golden State does also have Kevon Looney down in the D-League. He's only 6'9, but he's another potential center option down the line.
Regardless, someone is going to offer Ezeli lots of dough, and smartly so. The Warriors are going to have an interesting decision to make on whether to pay him.
15. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
Restricted ($5.2 million qualifying offer)
16. Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
Player option ($7.8 million)
Pau keeps ticking. He's been the Bulls' most effective big man this season despite being the oldest (35) by far. He would appear to have at least two more effective years ahead of him. Almost everyone is skeptical those years will be spent in Chicago. But where does Pau want to play out the end of his career? He has championships, he's done L.A., he lives in glamour in the offseason … what can you sell the man who has done it all?
The Spurs will probably get him, huh? Damn them.
17. Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans
Here's the thing with Eric Gordon: You can't commit too much because he's a walking injury risk, but he's so good when healthy that he sort of requires a big contract. He's the perfect No. 2 or 3 option for lots of teams, but he's going to want $20 million per season and probably a four-year deal. That's a big outlay for someone with his long medical chart, even in the high-cap NBA era. It only takes one team, though.
The weird thing is he's perfect for New Orleans on paper, but there seems to be little chance the Pelicans bring him back.
18. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Noah will miss the remainder of the season with shoulder surgery. I'm not sure that's a bad thing for his free agent value since he's been a bit of a disaster in Chicago under Fred Hoiberg. Noah's shooting stroke has completely abandoned him — he's contracted Rondoitis — and he looked consistently uncomfortable. Perhaps rest and recovery will fix what ails him.
Otherwise, he's still a top-level defender when healthy and one of the best-passing big men in the league. I maintain my assertion that he's the next Vlade Divac. He just needs to find the right home.
19. Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks
Bazemore has assumed the DeMarre Carroll role in Atlanta in every way, including jumping in line for a massive pay raise, quite possibly from another team. Bazemore is hitting 42 percent of his threes while taking four per game, and he's solid on defense, although not quite as strong as Carroll. Teams should primarily recruit him as a two-guard, where his decent size helps on defense and the boards, but he can play small forward just fine against most teams, too.
You wonder if the same teams will be chasing Gordon and Bazemore and where the preference will lie. Gordon is more traditional in many ways, but will also be more expensive due to higher career scoring averages. But isn't Bazemore a better bet, or does the potential for fluky stats weight him down?
That's my hedge in having Bazemore a few spots lower than Gordon. We know what Gordon is. Bazemore is more of an educated guess at this point.
20. Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic
Restricted ($3.3 million qualifying offer)
Fournier has been a pleasant surprise for Orlando this season, and at just age 23 he fits the Magic's youthful timeline. But there have been murmurs that the Frenchman isn't in the team's long-term plans. With a deep backcourt — Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Mario Hezonja — that's somewhat easy to understand. The question is whether the front office is interested at all in keeping Fournier. If not, it's time to trade him before the deadline to a team willing to pay him in the offseason. (The problem there is that if the Magic signal he's available, suitors might just decide to wait until July and assume Orlando won't match.)
Fournier would appear to be best served as a No. 3 option in a starting lineup or a top bench option. His defense and playmaking leave much to be desired, though he's a surprisingly good ballhawk. The league as a whole runs the risk of inflating his narrative based on his high-scoring nights.
21. Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
Restricted ($1.2 million qualifying offer)
Clarkson continues to impress on a really bad team. He's just plain solid. He doesn't do anything spectacular (not shoot, not defend, not pass) but he also doesn't do anything poorly. He's 23 and he's had pure, unadulterated trash around him in his NBA tenure. He's one of those prospects who'd probably look like a better shooter and defender if he had anyone around him playing worth a damn on a regular basis.
He's also miscast as a part-time point guard — he's a two-guard naturally, and really should only play there — and has been weighed down by the Kobe farewell tour and Byron Scott's bizarre tenure. If the Lakers are interested in building organically, paying Clarkson in the $12-15 million range per season to develop with D'Angelo Russell would be a nice plan. If L.A. would rather reserve that kind of dough for fully formed stars, some other team will make out with a nice prospect who has the potential to become the next Wes Matthews or, hell, Jimmy Butler. (The free agent rankings balance hope and reality precariously.)
22. Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland Cavaliers
If Mozgov had become a free agent in 2015, he probably would have gotten maxed out. Stalwart centers who impact the defense on every possession and score 20 every now and then get paid. But 2015-16 has been unkind to the big Russian as it's obvious the Cavaliers are more effective and dangerous with the smaller, quicker and more athletic Tristan Thompson at center. Of course now Mozgov is becoming a free agent.
He did have offseason surgery, which helps explain the slow start. And he's looked better of late. As such, he'll probably make a mint in the offseason. He's in the second tier of centers with Pau, Noah and the next guy on this list. But it would appear increasingly likely that it's not Cleveland that forks over all that money, depending on how the playoffs shake out. The Cavaliers are already in a world of financial hurt with Mozgov making $7 million. He's going to get more than double that on his next deal. For a team well into the luxury tax, that's a steep, steep price for your second-best center.
23. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside is the type of free agent that gets general managers fired. The extraordinary shot blocker has an atrocious reputation outside of his weakside rim defense and his ability to finish around the basket. Really, that's what precipitated his sabbatical from the NBA after being drafted in 2010: he could never figure out where to be on the court, or how to be involved in various offensive sets and defensive rotations. But he could always block shots.
Miami cracked the case by putting him in basic actions. And in fairness, Whiteside also learned a lot in his NBA and D-League stints and in China. But he's going to get paid off of the big numbers he puts up with the Heat, numbers that many feel are empty. At a mid-seven figure contract, he might be a steal. But he's going to be up in the eight figures easily, and there's just not a lot of upside at that salary for a guy like this.
24. Brandon Jennings, Detroit Pistons
Jennings has the potential to be a big target for teams looking for a starting point guard. He would not seem to have a future in Detroit beyond a sixth-man role, and everything we know about Jennings indicates he has much higher designs for his career, for better or worse. His camp will try to remind teams of how spectacular Jennings (and his Pistons) looked after the Josh Smith waiver in 2014-15 and before Jennings' knee injury. Will teams buy it? That will determine how high up the salary scale Jennings finds himself.
It would appear predestined that the Knicks finally land Jennings, a player they missed on in the 2009 draft. But the Nets seem like a contender for his services, and depending on how Deron Williams finishes the season, we could see Dallas get into the mix, as well. Jennings is the level of free agent a team like the Lakers probably ought to chase, but with D'Angelo Russell in place, that wouldn't make sense.
25. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans
It'll be a small miracle if the Pelicans don't flip Anderson by the deadline to ensure assets come back, even though in a perfect world Anderson and Anthony Davis would be New Orleans' starting frontline. Anderson is a prototypical stretch-4, a deft shooter who in the past has also effectively crashed the offensive boards. Offensive rebounding is out of vogue, so Ryno is much more one-dimensional. Still, that dimension is pretty key.
He's a defensive minus (on par with Kevin Love, to be honest), so he needs a co-star who can guard the rim and sub on to pick-and-roll threats. Indiana looks like a rather good fit on paper (presuming the Pacers keep a defender like Ian Mahinmi at center), but the Pistons are the dream spot here. Detroit should be able to afford Anderson despite his high price tag. That could help put the Pistons into the East's top tier, presuming they keep Drummond and one of the two key wings (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson) develops.
Toronto, Washington, Miami, Phoenix, Houston and Memphis all make sense, too. The market for Anderson could be huge!
26. Boban Marjanovic, San Antonio Spurs
Restricted ($1.5 million qualifying offer)
A novelty act garbage time human victory cigar at No. 26 in the free agent rankings? A 27-year-old rookie who isn't playing over former All-Stars still on the fringes of their primes?
Yes. Boban is actually good. He might be worthy of a top-10 spot on this list; consider this low ranking a compromise between my dreams and a certain sense of conservatism. As of Jan. 20, Boban has played at least 10 minutes in seven games. In those games, he's averaged 12-and-6 on almost 70 percent shooting in less than 16 minutes played. There isn't a single occasion in which he's gotten good minutes and not put up numbers. He can shoot, he can pass, he's strong but quick on his feet. He's actually good!
It's high time the league stops letting the Spurs keep good players and prospects for cheap. Danny Green stayed at a discount last season, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw are bargains. Make San Antonio pay dearly to keep Boban or make them release him in the wild.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
27. Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings
Rondo's rehab season with the Kings has gone spectacularly … with the glaring exception of his verbal attack on referee Bill Kennedy. Rondo still can't shoot worth a lick from the line or behind the arc, so he's still a point guard who creates his own spacing problems. But he's the most creative passer in the league, he's the Boogie whisperer and he's clearly a valuable player.
The bad news for Rondo is that due to past infractions (loafing in Boston, feuding in Dallas), his market will be fairly limited. The good news for Rondo is that the Kings will absolutely be interested in being held hostage by him, and so he'll almost assuredly get whatever he wants without having to take a single meeting outside of Sacramento.
28. Zaza Pachulia, Dallas Mavericks
Pachulia saved the Mavericks' season! Well, at the least, he saved Mavericks fans from getting a full dose of JaVale McGee this year. In all seriousness, Dallas was not supposed to survive the DeAndre Jordan saga, and yet the Mavericks look like a surefire playoff team with a fringe shot at the No. 4 seed. The Mavericks' success has as much to do with Wes Matthews' quick recovery, Dirk Nowitzki's continued excellence and the Carlisle-led Deron Williams revival, but Pachulia has played an out-sized role in keeping the defense respectable.
What drops Zaza so far down the list? He turns 32 in February and heavier centers don't age particularly gracefully. Pachulia has a big, strong frame and a nice record of health, but the odds just don't favor 270-pound guys in their mid-30s in a sport like this. If a team can grab him on a short deal, he's worth it for sure. Dallas probably ought to keep him if it doesn't make a splash with a different center.
29. Arron Afflalo, New York Knicks
Player option ($8 million)
The Knicks are in a strange position with one aging superstar and one young potential superstar, plus a bunch of role players roughly in their primes. Afflalo is one such player, and he's probably the fourth-best Knick at this point behind Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez. That's not necessarily great: we all saw how badly Portland fell off in 2014-15 when Afflalo replaced Wes Matthews before going down with an injury himself.
Afflalo was so underrated for so long that he became overrated just as he began to decline as a two-way weapon. He's still solid, and every good team needs solid players behind the stars. But Afflalo can't be your No. 2 scoring option at this point, and he isn't a backcourt defense unto himself. Pairing him with a sieve like Jose Calderon doesn't work in 2016. Teams will obviously keep that in mind as they weigh their interest in Afflalo, if he even opts out. (He'd probably make more if he opts out, but he's bounced around so much over the past few years that one more year of stability might be real attractive.)
30. Evan Turner, Boston Celtics
This may be controversial, but Evan Turner is not a horrible player. He's been sort of a punchline since leaving the Sixers, both because the Pacers imploded when he arrived (a coincidence) and because he's super anachronistic as a player. But he's interesting and useful in small doses. He's a pretty wonderful passer and rebounder at the two-guard position. He can't shoot, but he has accepted this limitation and doesn't shoot much! There's minor heroism in knowing one's limitations.
A question to ask about role players is whether they'd be good on a well-coached team with good top-level talent (like the Spurs, Warriors, Cavaliers, Hawks, Heat and Clippers). Would Turner be good on those teams? Yes, I think so! Ergo, I think Turner is pretty good for what Turner is.
31. Amir Johnson, Boston Celtics
Fully non-guaranteed contract ($12 million)
Johnson still has a strong impact defensively when on the court, but his body appears to be breaking down fast, so long-term deals are risky. He's also a fit issue on offense: you need a big post scorer or stretch big to get the most out of him.
32. Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies
The three-and-D wing remains a solid rotation player, though he really isn't going to be a good option as a starter on many teams, depending on the talent around him. His deep shooting is both less frequent and less accurate than you'd expect, but some of that could be a function of Memphis' anachronistic system.
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33. Matthew Dellavedova, Cleveland Cavaliers
Restricted ($1.4 million qualifying offer)
Delly is headed back to free agency, and he may end up in a similar situation as he fits best on Cleveland, which has gobs and gobs of money tied up. During Kyrie Irving's absence, Dellavedova proved himself to be an excellent supplemental shooter, and that alone could lure a team into paying a premium to pluck him away. Otherwise, a short cheap deal followed by unrestricted free agency in 2017 might be the ticket.
34. Bismack Biyombo, Toronto Raptors
Player option ($2.9 million)
Biyombo has replicated Amir Johnson's defensive presence to fair degree in Toronto, and he's really young (23). That offense is just not developing in any meaningful form, though. Teams looking for a role-playing defense-first big might consider throwing money at Biyombo instead of Whiteside.
35. Ian Mahinmi, Indiana Pacers
Or better yet, toss some dough Mahinmi's way. The Frenchman turns 30 at the start of new season (where does the time go, mon ami?) but his solid defense and mop-up offense has been a boon for the Pacers. Along with Amir Johnson, Biyombo and a teammate two spots lower on this list, Mahinmi will be a good candidate for the Kosta Koufos special right around or above the mid-level.
36. Ersan Ilyasova, Detroit Pistons
Non-guaranteed contract ($8.4 million, $400,000 is guaranteed)
Ilyasova's contract is an interesting conundrum for Detroit: the Pistons have to make a decision on July 1 whether to pay the $8.4 million he's owed or waive him and save $8 million in cap space. It's highly unlikely the Pistons will get a better stretch four for this price. The question is whether they have a shot at landing a much better one at a higher price. Still, Ilyasova's solid defense means he's not much of a downgrade from Ryan Anderson. Unless Kevin Love comes available, it might be wisest for Detroit to stick it out with Ilyasova.
37. Jordan Hill, Indiana Pacers
Here's the fourth role-playing big man who can expect interest in the $5-8 million range. Actually, Hill will be a nice bellwether for how crazy free agency will be. He scores a good deal better than Biyombo and Mahinmi, but he's not a shot blocker and his defense is overall less impactful. He should be quite available, too, as one expects Indiana to focus on Myles Turner and perhaps keep Mahinmi over Hill.
38. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
Good ol' Joe Johnson, finally freed from the shackles of his mammoth contract, could be a nice rotation player in the vein of Vince Carter in Dallas a few years back. Johnson can still create shots — not always good shots, but shots — and he has that laconic style that puts teammates at ease. In other words, he's a nice guy and a good teammate. You could do worse.
39. Allen Crabbe, Portland Trail Blazers
Restricted ($1.2 million qualifying offer)
Crabbe is a nice young microwave scorer who has fit in nicely in Portland's bombastic attack. His defense leaves plenty to be desired, but unlike a number of other gunners (including the next entry on this list), he doesn't come off as a loose cannon. If he can become a plus defender — a big ask — he can be a good starter in the NBA, which comes with it riches galore. Portland needs defense more than scoring, but Crabbe should be enough of a bargain to justify locking him up.
40. J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers
Non-guaranteed contract ($5.4 million, $2.2 million is guaranteed)
Unless things go sideways in Cleveland, the Cavaliers will likely keep Smith at the full $5.4 million. While the tax savings from waiving him would be substantial, the team would then be left in a position to replace him in a bull market, which would likely be even more costly. So chances are the sunk cost fallacy will keep Smith in Ohio.
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41. Deron Williams, Dallas Mavericks
Player option ($5.6 million)
Williams has had a decent rejuvenation in Dallas, but he has sufficiently scared off analysts and teams. His next contract will be as noncommittal as his last. He stands to earn a small raise and more security by testing out free agency (barring a Mavericks' collapse), but no one could fault him for picking up the option for short-term stability and ease of mind.
42. Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs
Non-guaranteed contract ($7 million, $3 million is guaranteed)
Unless the Spurs have another wild scheme up their sleeve, the team won't waive Diaw to save $4 million. He's been perhaps the second- or third-best reserve this season (behind Andre Iguodala and Tristan Thompson), and he's only 33. (That's young for a guy who was considered on his way out of the league a couple years ago.) He fits way better on the Spurs than anywhere else, though, which drives down his market.
43. Roy Hibbert, Los Angeles Lakers
You'd rather roll the dice on fixing Hibbert than on, say, JaVale McGee. But that's not a terribly encouraging statement, is it?
44. Nene, Washington Wizards
Bless Nene for a really nice career, but at this point the Brazilian big just isn't dependable. You can't slot him as anything more than a third big man unless you know the Basketball Gods will answer your prayers with an extended run of health. That said, when he's actually on the court, he's still productive.
45. Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics
Restricted ($3.3 million qualifying offer)
Sullinger is a solid producer, but when the dominant narrative about you every training camp is how out of shape you come in, that doesn't create positive energy around your free agency. But numbers are alluring and some team will toss an nice offer sheet Sullinger's way. It'll be interesting to see how Boston — with eyes on stars — approaches this.
46. Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City Thunder
Restricted ($6.8 million qualifying offer)
Some days I think the Thunder will acknowledge the cost they paid to get Waiters and will attempt to keep him on a $7-9 million annual deal. Some days I think they'll waive him before the next morning. It's tough to tell with Dion. A team with a strong, empowered coach and good-egg vets should absolutely take him for a whirl, though. The upside is obvious if you can peel back all those layers of onion.
47. Mirza Teletovic, Suns
This is your annual reminder that Teletovic is quite old (30) for a relative newcomer to the NBA. He's a damn nice shooter and third-option scorer, though. This is one player who might find himself on the trade block in the coming weeks due to Phoenix's slide into irrelevance. But whoever trades for him won't necessarily have a free agency advantage because Teletovic isn't Bird rights eligible.
48. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Player option ($2.9 million)
Manu will either pick up his option or retire. There is nothing inherently interesting about Ginobili's free agency. But seriously, let's hope he doesn't retire yet.
49. Derrick Williams, New York Knicks
Player option ($4.6 million)
Williams' issues are the same as they've ever been. He doesn't have a natural position, he's erratic and he's not a consistently good defender. He has moments where it clicks, but they are fleeting. But because of those moments and the raw materials, teams will absolutely continue to try their luck. He'd be a 50-20 guy in China, though.
50. Luol Deng, Miami Heat
Time has caught up with Deng, and he's not nearly as effective as he once was. Deng also recently suffered a horrific eye injury, and with Justise Winslow ready to jump in as a permanent starter, it's hard to see Deng remaining in Miami. He'll get a solid veteran contract, and hopefully he'll be able to stay healthy and be productive in a reserve role.
51. Al Jefferson, Hornets (Unrestricted): The drug suspension isn't nearly as big a deal as his cratering playing time and scoring in Year 3 in Charlotte.
52. Jamal Crawford, Clippers (Unrestricted): He remains a nice supplemental scorer off of the bench, but he's not a consistent enough deep shooter to be more than your No. 3 guard, and perhaps not even that.
53. Luis Scola, Raptors (Unrestricted): He can still do some work, but you don't want him playing tons of minutes unless you have solid defenders around him and some deep shooting.
54. David West, Spurs (Player option, $1.6 million): Similar to Jefferson and Scola in on-court impact, with lower peaks and the added benefit of being a locker room leader.
55. Dwight Powell, Mavericks (Restricted, $1.2 million qualifying offer): How about a young power forward who produces when he plays? Powell looks like a nice little prospect who at worst will be a solid bench option who can score, rebound and defend. He's young, though, so he could absolutely develop into more if given a shot.
56. Anthony Morrow, Thunder (Fully non-guaranteed contract, $3.5 million): A deadly shooter who can't defend well enough to play starter minutes. Oklahoma City will likely guarantee his deal.
57. Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets (Restricted, $3.3 million qualifying offer): If he were healthy, he could be near the top 25 on this list, and perhaps he deserves the benefit of the doubt. He's worth a mid-level type offer sheet at thenleast, but anything more is akin to betting on him being an elite reserve or a starter, and that's a dice roll. Nonetheless, he'll get paid.
58. Terrence Jones, Rockets (Restricted, $3.5 million qualifying offer): Jones is more productive than Motiejunas, but has a lower upside due to the lack of a consistent outside jumper. It's concerning that he's regressed significantly over the past two seasons, though injuries are to blame for 2014-15. He could be a really solid No. 3 big down the line, or he could be a superfluous roster piece. He'll still get paid.
59. Greivis Vasquez, Bucks (Unrestricted): It's still stunning that Milwaukee gave up a first-round pick for him, but he's a nice second-unit point guard who can change the pace via his quick, electric offense and turnstile defense.
60. Jerryd Bayless, Bucks (Unrestricted): Is his sudden shooting ability real? If so, he belongs much higher … but the fluke potential is high. Otherwise, he's only a decent playmaker, middling defender and reserve-level scorer. An average No. 2 point guard in most cities.
61. Shaun Livingston, Warriors (Non-guaranteed contract, $5.8 million with $3 million guaranteed): The Warriors will presumably keep Livingston under contract; the salary savings from cutting him would be minor, even should the team push the tax. Livingston's rep as a key piece on a historic team overstates his production and impact at this point.
62. Joffrey Lauvergne, Nuggets (Fully non-guaranteed contract, $1.7 million): He's only the third-most intriguing foreign center on his own team, but there's some real potential here. A whiff of a young Mahinmi. Irrelevant because Denver will guarantee him.
63. Jared Dudley, Wizards (Unrestricted): A sharpshooting smallball power forward, Dudley should find some interest above the mid-level if he finishes the season healthy and gets into great shape by July. He turns 31 this offseason, so a deal beyond two years is risky.
64. Jon Leuer, Suns (Unrestricted): Leuer is a solid offense-skewed stretch five who doesn't give you much defense or speed. Teams might be a bit scared off by the quality of his current team and the fact that he averages only two three-point attempts per game.
65. Jeff Green, Grizzlies (Unrestricted): I don't know, man.
66. Jeremy Lin, Hornets (Player option, $2.2 million): Lin's had a nice season and he's way outplaying a $2 million contract. But he isn't enough of a playmaker to be a real point guard, and he doesn't hit enough threes to be a modern shooting guard. His best role is as an attack-first combo guard off the bench.
67. Tyler Johnson, Heat (Restricted, $1.2 million qualifying offer): Young shooters who play with defensive energy are worth something in this league. But any team looking to pry him away from Miami by extending a fat little offer sheet has to be concerned that the Miami system is perfect for him, and he'll be exposed as a fringe NBA player in most other cities.
68. Meyers Leonard, Blazers (Restricted, $4.2 million qualifying offer): His minutes have increased 50 percent while his three-point shots per game have doubled. It's not going great: he's hitting about 34 percent of his triples. Considering how little he defends or offers anything else (one block every third game?!), he may not be worth much more than that qualifying offer. He is still really young though (23).
69. Mario Chalmers, Grizzlies (Unrestricted): Solid, unspectacular backup point guard. He'd be an MVP candidate for the Sixers.
70. Mo Harkless, Blazers (Restricted, $4 million qualifying offer): Harkless is this high because he's only 22 and the raw material is so alluring. But he's a low-rotation guy on a shallow, middling team, he doesn't shoot well and no one thing he does on the court stands out. Development is possible (look at Martell Webster) but not remotely guaranteed.
71. Ish Smith, Sixers (Unrestricted): Is Ish Smith a rotation player on more than 10 NBA teams? Of course in Philly he's a flat-out stud. If some team with a gaping hole at the point whiffs on Jennings, Rondo and the other attainable options and then panics, Ish could get himself a payday.
72. Austin Rivers, Clippers (Player option, $3.3 million): History suggests Austin Rivers is only a rotation player on one NBA team, but Ish Smith — or anyone else on this list — doesn't has a dad who's a GM and coach. So there.
73. Mo Williams, Cavaliers (Player option, $2.2 million): Last summer showed that there isn't a huge Mo Williams market out there, so he might help Cleveland by opting in. (That would really help if Dellavedova gets paid elsewhere.)
74. Jarrett Jack, Nets (Non-guaranteed contract, $6.3 million with $500,000 guaranteed): Interesting decision for Brooklyn. Only Jack allowed the Nets to be competent, but competence in 2016-17 is a longshot anyway, so why not save some money?
75. Ian Clark, Warriors (Restricted, $1.2 million qualifying offer): We're about to find out if playing 10 minutes per game of completely ordinary basketball on the best team ever gets a dude paid.
76. Aaron Brooks, Bulls (Unrestricted): An average backup shooting guard the size of a starting Big East point guard.
77. Gerald Henderson, Blazers (Unrestricted): It's a major red flag that Terry Stotts is playing Henderson only 15 minutes per game; either Stotts isn't sold on G.H.'s defense, or Stotts isn't concerned with his team's complete lack of defense. Also, how is Henderson only 28 years old?!
78. Josh Smith, Rockets (Unrestricted): Soon to be legally restricted from playing for any team but the Rockets.
79. Jason Thompson, Warriors (Non-guaranteed contract, $7 million with $2.7 million guaranteed): I, for one, did not anticipate J.T. becoming a garbage time All-Star at this point in his career. The Warriors could keep him under contract as a Mo Speights insurance policy.
80. Darrell Arthur, Nuggets (Player option, $2.9 million): Whoever gets Mario Chalmers might as well sign D.A. and try to recreate some Jayhawk magic. Nothing ventured …
81. Leandro Barbosa, Warriors (Unrestricted): Literally the only defensive liability on the Warriors is a diminutive 33-year-old two-guard. Who is still lightning fast, by the way.
82. Jonathan Simmons, Spurs (Fully non-guaranteed contract, $900,000): Simmons is electric and the efficiency metrics look lovely. But do you trust a 26-year-old rookie to do this anywhere but San Antonio? You could say the same about Boban, but Boban is 7'3. Aren't there a handful of potential Jonathan Simmonses in the D-League? Regardless, the Spurs will guarantee the contract and he'll outplay it again. Spurs gonna Spur.
83. Marvin Williams, Hornets (Unrestricted): Low box score productivity but he's a solid defender at 25 minutes per game, and hey, that's something.
84. Robert Covington, Sixers (Fully non-guaranteed contract, $1 million): Philadelphia will guarantee this Hinkie Special contract in a heartbeat. I'm concerned about Covington's NBA relevance outside of Philly, though. Sure, he takes a ton of threes, but not enough to overcome a sub-38 percent field goal percentage and no other production.
85. Marcus Thornton, Rockets (Unrestricted): Completely erratic. Could absolutely have a 50-point game this year. No defense, no passing, no shooting conscience. He's low-key had one of the weirdest careers of this generation.
86. Norris Cole, Pelicans (Unrestricted): He spent four years in college, but he's working on his fourth NBA season below 40 percent field goal percentage.This is his fourth straight season around 24 minutes. He's never averaged double-digit scoring or more than 3.5 assists per game. But hey, two rings.
87. Andrew Nicholson, Magic (Restricted, $3.4 million qualifying offer): I don't think it's going to happen for Andrew Nicholson in the NBA.
88. Marreese Speights, Warriors (Unrestricted): Wait, did I rank the Mo Speights insurance policy who never plays above Mo Speights himself? I sure did.
89. Lance Thomas, Knicks (Unrestricted): Shooting well this season in New York, and he's a strong defender. What keeps him this low is a lack of a strong track record. He's 27 but hasn't yet made 50 NBA three-pointers. He could be a nice steal if he reinforces his new-found shot.
90. Matt Barnes, Grizzlies (Unrestricted): When you thought the Matt Barnes A–hole Quotient could get no higher, the 2015-16 season happens.
91. David Lee, Celtics (Unrestricted): Toast.
92. O.J. Mayo, Bucks (Unrestricted): Even Contract Year O.J. Mayo stinks (relative to other NBA players) at this point.
93. Trevor Booker, Jazz (Unrestricted): Having a really awful season. Perhaps he can pick it back up. Could end up 20 spots higher.
94. Langston Galloway, Knicks (Restricted, $1.2 million qualifying offer): He's likely going to peak as a mid-tier reserve, based on what we've seen. His efficiency isn't great despite a small offensive role. He's only 24 so there's room to grow, but he needs to show it before we assume it's coming.
95. P.J. Tucker, Suns (Non-guaranteed contract, $5.3 million with $1.5 million guaranteed): A three-and-D player without much of the three on a team that hasn't offered any D for two years now.
96. Kevin Martin, Timberwolves (Player option, $7.4 million): His shot has fallen apart, and he isn't playing much for a bad team. He's not getting $7 million on the market, but is it worth opting out to make sure his career has some shot of continuing outside Minnesota? A trade could change the calculus.
97. Lance Stephenson, Clippers (Team option, $9.4 million): The Clippers can't decline that option fast enough. Pure basketball poison.
98. Chase Budinger, Pacers (Unrestricted): Indiana's system is perfect for him, yet he's a bit player at age 27. He could be a steal in free agency.
99. Ty Lawson, Rockets (Fully non-guaranteed contract, $13.2 million): I sincerely hope his life is getting back on track. Either way, he set that $13 million on fire when he changed his contract to smooth the trade to Houston.
100. Ryan Kelly, Lakers (Restricted, $2.2 million qualifying offer): One of the few NBA players shooting worse from behind the arc than Kobe this season.
Next 10: E'Twaun Moore, Gerald Green, Jason Terry, Jonas Jerebko, James Johnson, Solomon Hill, Kris Humphries, Kevin Seraphin, Miles Plumlee, Anderson Varejao.
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