NBA Free Agency 2024: 10 best free agents still available

NBA free agency has moved fast.

The one true difference maker, Paul George, has moved to the East Coast and made Philadelphia a threat. Klay Thompson left the Warriors — that still just feels strange — and brought Dallas shooting and championship experience. James Harden stayed right where he waswhile Oklahoma City landed Isaiah Hartenstein (and Alex Caruso in a trade).

Whose left? Here are the top 10 free agents still available as of the evening of July 2.

(Note: LeBron James is not included in this list because he’s a free agent in name only, he’s not leaving the Lakers. The only question is whether GM Rob Pelinka make a trade for a player good enough to get LeBron to take a discount, or do they have to max him out?)

DeMar DeRozan

The trade of Alex Caruso sealed it for DeRozan — he wants to win but he doesn’t see a path to that in Chicago (ignore the fact that was the case for a couple of years and just go with it). DeRozan is a midrange assassin who averaged 24 points a game last season and was strong in the clutch, he’s not a great defender but he is an All-Star level player and clearly the best player still available.

There reportedly is mutual interest between DeRozan and the Miami Heat, but the Lakers have also had discussions with DeRozan about bringing him back to his roots in Southern California. This could come down to who will figure out a sign-and-trade to pay more than the midlevel exception and — more importantly for the 34-year-old — years. (LeBron James reportedly would take a discount on his salary to free up room for DeRozan to come to Los Angeles.

Buddy Hield

Every team can use a sharpshooter and Hield is the best one on the board and averaged 12.1 points a game shooting 38.6% from 3 last season, although his stint in Philly was not what either side hoped. Hield is playing for the Bahamas in Olympic qualifying — doing so without an NBA contract is rare and a risk (if he is injured) — and scored 24 points in their opening win.

Hield has been strongly linked to the Warriors in a sign-and-trade that Klay Thompson is gone, that seems where things are headed. The Kings are also known to have an interest.

Tyus Jones

There are many teams that could use a low turnover floor general (but too many of them go for the flash instead). Jones could help a lot of teams, he averaged 12 points and 7.3 assists a game last season for the lowly Wizards.

Jones hoped to get starter-level money, but that seems to have dried up. The Wizards are looking at sign-and-trade options that could get Jones to a playoff team on more than mid-level exception money.

Caleb Martin

Just more than a year ago Martin should have won the Eastern Conference Finals MVP (Jimmy Butler did). This season the athletic 3&D wing averaged 10 points a game shooting 34.9% from 3, plus he is a good on-ball defender. There are reports that the Heat wants to keep him. However, the Heat are just about $3 million under the second tax apron, and that’s not enough to re-sign Martin without other moves (the Heat are looking at a DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade, so more may be coming).

Gary Trent Jr.

Another sharpshooter for a team looking for a floor spacer — he averaged 13.7 points a game last season for the Raptors hitting 39.3% from beyond the arc. What holds teams back is his defense (or lack of it) but Trent Jr. could help a lot of teams. Trent Jr. could be coming to grips with the reality that he’s not going to make the $18.6 million last season and may not even get the full mid-level exception ($12.8 million).

Part of the challenge for Trent Jr. is this was a relatively deep class of shooting guards and many of them — Klay Thompson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Malik Monk, De’Anthony Melton, to name a few — but Trent Jr. should be at the front of the line now.

Malik Beasley

Another shooter who is still available (remember that when your team gets to December and it’s clear you don’t have enough shooting). He bounced back from his rough season with the Lakers to remind everyone playing the Bucks what a marksman he is, shooting 41.3% from 3 while scoring 11.3 points a game. He’s not a great defender but he provides an important skill About the only thing we know is he’s not headed back to Milwaukee. There had been some early interest from the Rockets but things had been quieter of late. Some team is going to get a steal.

Miles Bridges

This is too low a ranking in terms of pure talent, he should be second or third on this list — he scored 21 points a game last season in Charlotte, is a physical wing who is a beast in transition and has developed a 3-point shot (34.9% last season). Bring him in and there will be questions from some media and fans about a domestic violence case in his past (he served probation and was suspended by the league; charges were dropped in a later case).

Charlotte made an offer to Bridges, who was seeking more money, and there were rumors about interest from cap space teams like Orlando and Utah. The latest interest is from the Clippers in a potential sign-and-trade, that talk is real, although the sides apparently have a ways to go.

Isaac Okoro

A reserve wing who never developed as Cleveland hoped but is a solid rotational player. Okoro can defend multiple positions and his offensive game has improved, he averaged 9.4 points a game and he shot 39.1% from 3 last season. The Pistons have been rumored to have interest.

Sadiq Bey

Wing is a position of need around the league and Bey can come in and provide defense plus a little scoring off the bounce. He’s also strong on the glass. The problem is he is coming off an ACL injury and will miss the first part of the season, and may not be himself for all of it. With the injury, news is a little quiet on the Bey front, but he will end up on a roster at some point this season.

Markell Fultz

While nobody was looking at the former No. 1 pick, he developed into a solid rotational point guard in Orlando who averaged 7.8 points a game last season. Things have been relatively quiet with Fultz but as teams get to needing a reliable backup point guard, he will get calls.

Just missing this list: Precious Achiuwa, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dario Saric, Alec Burks, Taurean Prince.

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