If you’re an NBA GM most things revolve around whether you’re buying low and selling high. Some of the decisions are deliberated for years and some decisions are knee-jerk reactions to a development in the marketplace. Along with the NBA Draft we get a two week happening in which 30 competing agendas all play out in concert — half of it rooted in pre-determinism and the other half rooted in random chance. Some of the GMs are good and some are quite terrible and that’s before you get to the owners!
Still, for all that variance and all the power brokers that plow their way through whatever structure the league attempts to take, everything can be boiled down to getting the most value for your salary cap buck.
What these ranks attempt to do is give GMs (or fans at home) a cheat sheet for the big event. They can target players based on overall rank of the acquisition … independent of how efficiently the player is using salary cap dollars
The efficiency of those dollars spent … also in the context of the overall value they bring (Cash-to-Value Ranks) … After all league minimum players are cheap but outside the best case scenarios they don’t move the needle so we have to always keep overall value at the forefront of our thinking.
If folks are doing it right they are going to find the players that I lay out at the top of both of those lists.
This list has been the home of big-time plays such as Joe Ingles in 2017, Joe Harris and Fred VanVleet in 2018, in 2019 Richaun Holmes was the big win we had seen coming for way too many years. Two years ago Jerami Grant was my top Cash-to-Value rank and predictably blew up. In that season De’Anthony Melton was one of the league’s best players in terms of net rating and it wasn’t a fluke – he was awesome all season lon gand in the postseason … and a casualty of NBA politics in crowded Memphis — since then he has continued to ball out most recently deep into the playoffs with Philly. TWO years ago it was our second ranked cash-to-value wing Max Strus knocking in big shots all season long and in the ECF for literal pennies, and this year he followed that up with another postseason of big plays … alongside other alumni of these ranks, Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent. Two years ago we had third ranked Frontcourt-Non-Five Jarred Vanderbilt getting loose, which he did, and Isaiah Hartenstein as the 10th ranked cash-to-value big when he didn’t even get picked up in free agency (and 1st overall last year). Since then he has established himself as capable of playing bigger playoff minutes. Last year we pick-pocketed Malik Monk, correctly hit the gas on Jalen Brunson, and speaking of third ranked wing target Caleb Martin we boat raced everybody there. We also had Kyle Anderson, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker right after him.
ABOUT THE CASH–TO–VALUE RANKS
The purpose of the Cash-to-Value ranks is to give decision-makers around the league, fans and anybody in the basketball space an idea of how to extract the most value possible in each of their free agent decisions.
We typically exclude elite players from the top slot in Cash-to-Value ranks even if they’re dominant even if an argument can be made on their behalf (they’re still ranked that way in the overall ranks). This year there is nobody who actually fits that description, a very down year in terms of high-end free agency.
Pile up enough of these winners and you can have the cash and credibility to go after the top tier players in the league.
So who has the top spot this year?
Some years it’s easy to pick just a single player and in others I might take two players, but this year some of the best values just had extremely visible high end performances in the playoffs. There is also a cluster of great targets that don’t have quite the high end trajectory — paired with league minimum costs — that we typically feature in this space. So I’m going to go with a pretty broad group here for targets that I think best represent these ranks.
The top values this year who rose to the top of the SportsEthos Cash-to-Value Ranks are Austin Reaves, Bruce Brown, Jalen McDaniels and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
If we had to pick one player who truly fits the spirit of these ranks, trying to get something very big for a very low cost that’s going to be Alexander-Walker, who is also a restricted free agent.
If I had to add another player in this spirit, who won’t be available because he has a team option, it would be Kessler Edwards, but let’s just set that one aside since Monte McNair isn’t stupid.
Enough talking about what we were going to be talking about so let’s get into it!
The concept is this — you’re looking to get the best players at the cheapest costs. If you do that effectively, you have more money to spend elsewhere.
These ranks lean into that pretty strongly. However, you can’t win in the NBA without getting above average and elite players. The key is spending up to get the right players and for the purpose of these rankings, above average players get plenty of love in their cash-to-value rank, depending on how much they cost of course. As mentioned above the cash value ranks are going to significantly reward players who are both cheap and high-end, most likely giving them the top cash-to-value ranks.
VETERANS VS. UPSIDE
These ranks will give older veterans that can still contribute a bit more value than a pure cash-to-value rank might represent. Teams aren’t lining up to sign them and deals may vary, but in terms of winning it all a quality old vet that’s willing to play at or close to the minimum represents a better play than some younger upside guys.
If you just want to know who the best players are you can sort by the overall rank column. This rank will include some elements of upside, which is unavoidable when assessing overall free agency value. However, short-term production and win-now scenarios are going to show up in the overall ranks. For example, James Harden is not going to do well in the Cash-to-Value ranks, but in terms of overall rank he’ll have higher marks.
POSITIONAL GROUPINGS AND APPROACH
I did something new last year and went with four different groupings. Ballhandlers and Small Guards, Wings, (newly named) Frontcourt Non-Fives and Bigs.
Ballhandlers are legitimate point guards or can play on the ball (excluding point centers and FNFs that run the point).
Wings are either asked to be outstanding shooters or they’re being asked to lock the perimeter down, or both. They’re valued in their ability to switch and otherwise facilitate offense.
A key difference between Wings and FNFs is that you’re not generally seeing Wings play the four slot. This (FNFs) group is often a rangy 6’8″ to 6’10” being asked to defend 2-4 or 3-5 (well or not is another story). They’ve become much more important as teams employ five-out looks, and elite ballhandlers and offensive initiators have grown in size and versatility. With so many different player types landing in this group one commonality is that they’re being asked to play 3-5 in tons of small lineups as the league goes small, but they’re just simply not able to command the paint. As has been the case with the league at large, they’re firing away from deep.
Bigs are the aforementioned muscle you need to control the paint and shooting is a bonus.
Sometimes we’ll split these guys out into their own category but this year nobody meets the definition.
SYMBOLS AND ANNOTATIONS
A QUICK WORD ON THIS FREE AGENT CLASS
As usual, there are no shortage of targets for smart teams. Give it up for the dumb teams y’all! Without much high-end talent out there, this is a great year to save your powder and just aggressively target players high in the Cash-to-Value ranks. Chances are 1/3 of the league is gonna throw themselves at bad money and your favorite team is going to get better by simply watching them do that, and then after that it’s time to clean up.
All the previous years’ ranks for your perusal.
BALLHANDLERS AND SMALL GUARD
It’s a little bit annoying to me that Austin Reaves is my top cash value play let alone my top overall free agent ballhandler. There are no shortage of reasons for this. I’m going to have to argue against Kyrie Irving and James Harden Truthers one way or another pretty much any season, but to have to do that with even Reaves backers viewing him solely as an intangibles guy is doubly annoying.
And I’d really love to stick Bruce Brown in the top spot if anything because he has paid us off so much throughout the years, but the answer is the answer and the answer here is Reaves. This, even after he just went berserk in the playoffs and the loudest megaphones in the land all collectively said this dude is going to get paid.
And yet… He’s still going to be undervalued … and yet he’s still going to be a better free agent acquisition then either Irving or Harden, who have long and distinguished histories of being deep sea anchors for their teams. You can get all the way TFO with your talk that these two are somehow unassailable as top acquisitions in their class. They’re simply not.
If you need to go to the on court stuff just go to the defense and that’s all you need to see. But if you want to get into the toxicity or the inefficiency as they bend the offense inflexibly, be my guest.
Reaves is Billy Hoyle reincarnate, just without the massive blind spot in between the ears. The shooting stroke and efficiency of motion, in addition to at minimum average athleticism, paired with a lethal mindset, and now with way more than enough film and results for anything to be questionable… The only thing we’re looking at here is the market’s unwillingness to evaluate him at his real level of play.
Whether you want to go with stereotypes, the slow and low path to where he got to now, anything you want to assign to playing well in the shadows next to LeBron Inc., or simply looking like a less excitable version of Mr. Hoyle… there are a lot of reasons the market won’t take all the way off. Of course, there are going to be people willing to pay and I think he’s gonna get a pretty good number… But at least half of the interested parties are going to be scared that they are buying into a fluke or that it’s not marketable either upstairs or to the fans… They’re simply not going to be able to pay what he is worth.
And when you throw everything together that he does well he profiles like a top 75 player in this league. I’m not saying if he’s your third best player that you’re winning an NBA championship, but in that role he wouldn’t be the reason that you lost it. And the same holds true for Bruce Brown, which should be obvious after the playoffs. Donte DiVincenzo gets a higher rank than Irving and Harden because he is making winning plays deeper in the playoffs than those guys are and impacting the team he plays for in relative proportion at a much lower cost to the cap. He’s also younger… and securing a serviceable playoff piece on the cheap like this is how you afford higher-end players, driving the value here.
I think it’s been tough to play in Chicago the past few years if your name’s not Zach Lavine, Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan or two seasons ago Lonzo Ball. Coby White has slowly cleaned up the young player stuff and at 23 years old with his combination of polish and lower height athleticism, somebody has a shot here to possibly grab a future third or fourth best player on the cheap. Check out the cluster of Theo Pinson, Jaylen Nowell, Ayo Dosunmu and Dennis Smith Jr. if you’re looking for bargain pop.
$/VALUE OVERALL NAME COST AGE EXP TYPE COMMENTS 1 1 Austin Reaves $$$ 25 1 yrs rfa Reaves has the ability to put defenders on their heels, get to the hoop, step back and hit high leverage threes, make the right place, defend and he's doing it all while looking considerably less effective than he actually is. Factor in all of the LeBron and Los Angeles stuff where he has had to fit in and play off to the side of the world's biggest spotlight, this is a pretty good time to grab a starter who can easily be the third best player on a championship team. You just wish that he kept all of the big plays to himself so he could've come at a cost of one dollar sign and not three. 2 2 Bruce Brown $$$ 26 4 yrs ufa 1 Brown was predictably good and he's going to get paid as mentioned in the writeup above, and it won't be enough for the value he brings but the margin won't be as crazy as it has been. Enjoy. 3 3 Donte DiVincenzo $$+ 26 4 yrs ufa 1 DiVincenzo finally got his footing back after a significant injury and returned to being the player that can handle high leverage minutes and make plays. He's not going to lead a squad but getting somebody who can handle more than 25 minutes per game deep into the playoffs at this cost is how winning rosters are constructed. 4 5 Coby White $$+ 23 3 yrs rfa Coby White has quietly gotten tougher and better in a big media market and it's a variety of reasons but jumping ahead to the main point… He has a premium name but he might come at a nice discount for an aggressive team, though the year's old news that Lonzo Ball is cooked might apply some pressure on Chicago to start closing ranks. 5 7 Dennis Schroder $$+ 29 9 yrs ufa Schroder's competitiveness and experience stood out during the postseason and his athleticism was still a notch above average. He might finally get paid and remove the margin here but he probably has 2 to 3 years of being able to be a low end contributor deeper into the playoffs. 6 9 Gabe Vincent $$+ 27 3 yrs ufa Were the Heat slow playing Vincent throughout the regular season or was his knee pretty much goo? How he got going during the playoffs was pretty amazing after they were times it seems like he would need to sit for some serious time. How much he pushed his knee to places it shouldn't go during the playoffs is a key question. Vincent has been highly ranked in these places for a while and he just had a highly visible, successful playoff run… So well I don't think the market can catch up to how valuable he is the timing isn't great for a great deal, unless everybody falls asleep again which happens all the time so who knows, maybe you can get an NBA Finals key contributor for like $12 million per year. 7 10 Jordan Clarkson $$+ 31 8 yrs ufa 1 Clarkson probably starts taking a serious dive in efficiency in the next year or two but his frame and athleticism probably hold up during that span. He's a likely candidate to be overpaid with so much guard talent to turn to. 8 11 Theo Pinson $ 27 4 yrs ufa Pinson has intangibles for days and a deeply under the radar all-around game that hasn't been given a chance to blossom. I'm not saying we have a very good chance of seeing it this season but he's a no-brainer pick up for backup point guard on any number of teams that are looking to nail down a position of need at the lowest cost imaginable. 9 12 Jaylen Nowell $ 23 3 yrs ufa Nowell lost his stroke last season and it chopped a pretty big leg out from underneath him and overall confidence and fit toppled what should've been a nice little break out for him. Minnesota had all sorts of issues so I'm happy to give him another chance at 23 years old for a bounce back 10 13 Ayo Dosunmu $ 23 1 yrs rfa Dosunmu had some nice moments but didn't get to play on the ball, which moved him away from what he does best and his confidence was slowly eroded. This is the perfect time for a smart team to swoop in, develop him and get him back on the ball to see if he can leverage his athleticism on offense that way and continue to develop into an above average defender with upside. 11 14 Dennis Smith Jr. $ 25 5 yrs ufa DSJ has some sizable injury risk but he did everything that could've been expected of him and more last season, with a consistency that bodes well for him at 25 years old. If you're looking for a back up point guard with some pop and an extremely discounted rate, unless you have better options it's a fine way to spend some cash. 12 15 Talen Horton-Tucker $+ 22 3 yrs ufa 1 THT has the name recognition and is only 22 years old so after some decent games mixed in with the typical inconsistent experience, it wouldn't be surprising if somebody lurched at a bigger number for him. What's more likely is it's a small but not nothing team friendly deals at a lower number for three years. There is a nice little tear of solid bargain basement players to turn to that I'd have a head of him. While he has an array of moves I just don't know if he will ever get enough separation to offset questionable athleticism. 13 4 Kyrie Irving $$$$+ 31 11 yrs ufa Everything we've predicted regarding Kyrie has been true and it's not even worth talking about. Yes, he's a basketball savant that doesn't cash in on that talent to make his teammates better and that's just the good news. Bottom line… He's valuable because if somebody can get through to him the sky is the limit. Maybe pharmaceutical mushrooms or something I don't know. Unless I knew he had some major philosophical change going on there's no way in hell I'd spend that money on him. 14 8 Fred VanVleet $$$$ 29 6 yrs ufa 1 VanVleet has serious injury concerns and about to hit 30 it's buyer beware. Factor in some offensive challenges with tempo and questions about whether he can continue to play at a high-level at his size if the athleticism goes… And then what he's likely going to cost… And it's a hard pass 15 16 Josh Richardson $$ 29 7 yrs ufa Richardson started getting out over his skis a little bit and it's not something you really want out of a player at his age and his ability level. Otherwise, he's a quality veteran target provided the money doesn't drift north because of his vet status and barely young 29 year old age. 16 17 Tre Jones $+ 23 2 yrs rfa Jones has certainly shown that he belongs but whether he can be a solid 26 mpg guard that pushes a quality team forward is a fair question. If you had a need at the back up position and you wanted to take a swing at some upside for a really low cost, I could see making the play but at a deep position I'm not sure if I was in any other situation if I would be aggressive here. 17 18 D'Angelo Russell $$$+ 27 7 yrs ufa The name has been bigger than the game forever and still the market is probably going to be pretty rich for him. At 27 years old he has the stats, the name and a lot of people will try to excuse everything that happened in the playoffs. Can't defend and though he's been humbled and the effect of any BBIQ improvements can't catch up to expected decreases in athleticism. 18 19 Shake Milton $+ 26 4 yrs ufa Lost in the Tyrese Maxey experience, Milton is still a pretty explosive player who has put enough good film down to be worth a very hard look as your favorite team's backup point guard. 19 6 James Harden $$$$+ 33 13 yrs ufa 1 It's Harden and Kyrie battling for biggest most impactful bossed here among the ballhandlers. Everything about Harden sucks when it comes to the cost and the value. Everything he does well screws with the tempo of his team, leading to a spiral of low traction even when things are going good. Defensively he's a laughingstock, just like Kyrie. The toxicity requires some major guard rails that he does not think apply to him, just like Kyrie. Unlike Kyrie, who still has his fastball, nobody's afraid of James Harden beating them anymore. In fact, that's the game plan. 21 22 Terence Davis $ 26 3 yrs ufa Best suited as a change up to your bench rotation, with some chance that if he could reel it in in that he could be a nice backup on a decent team. 22 23 Duane Washington Jr. $ 23 1 yrs rfa 4 Washington had some nice games last season and has a nice combination of versatility and athleticism that absolutely belongs as a back up in the NBA. He has a decent shot of working his way up to being a 25 mpg player. 23 24 Raul Neto $ 31 7 yrs ufa 24 25 Caris LeVert $ 28 6 yrs ufa 25 26 Frank Ntilikina $ 24 5 yrs ufa 26 20 Russell Westbrook $$$ 34 14 yrs ufa There shouldn't really be any questions about what Russell Westbrook is or what he brings. There will be, but there shouldn't be. A random number generator tilted more toward bad than good at his cost just isn't good business and that's before you really dig into the basketball stuff. 27 27 Victor Oladipo $ 31 9 yrs ufa 1 28 28 Saben Lee $ 23 2 yrs rfa 4 29 29 Javonte Green $ 29 3 yrs ufa 30 30 Kendrick Nunn $ 27 2 yrs ufa 31 31 Theo Maledon $ 22 2 yrs rfa 4 32 32 Aaron Holiday $ 26 4 yrs ufa 33 33 Hamidou Diallo $ 24 4 yrs ufa 34 34 Ish Smith $ 34 12 yrs ufa 35 35 Derrick Rose $ 34 13 yrs ufa 2 36 36 Patrick Beverley $ 34 10 yrs ufa 37 37 Seth Curry $ 32 8 yrs ufa 38 38 Reggie Jackson $ 33 11 yrs ufa 39 39 Keon Ellis $ 23 0 yrs rfa 4 40 40 Mac McClung $ 24 1 yrs rfa 4 41 41 Wesley Matthews $ 36 13 yrs ufa 42 42 Cory Joseph $ 31 11 yrs ufa 43 43 AJ Green $ 23 0 yrs rfa 4 44 44 David Duke Jr. $ 23 1 yrs rfa 45 45 Goran Dragic $ 37 14 yrs ufa 46 46 Matthew Dellavedova $ 32 8 yrs ufa 47 47 D.J. Augustin $ 35 14 yrs ufa $/VALUE OVERALL NAME COST AGE EXP TYPE COMMENTS
The top three guys in the OVERALL wing ranks are only interesting to me in that I’m fading Khris Middleton against perceived value and was tempted to put Herb Jones over Jerami Grant.
The next two names on the list are way more interesting. Whereas one could go for Middleton at 31 years old after not being able to get back out on the floor last year, I’d be very tempted to trust my gut with Kessler Edwards and Nickeil Alexander-Walker over him.
Ultimately Edwards needs to round out his offensive game to keep within distance of Middleton. But if it clicks at all he has high-end, two-way upside given his athleticism … and promising overall grasp of the game at his age and experience level. This is a clear-cut case of a player that if they had a bigger name they’d have jumped to the front of the line really quick.
Sacramento slow-played him and should’ve gone to him more in the playoffs, but at least they’re the ones that actually found the diamond in the rough. Things are still clogged there so it could be another low and slow season but for all the talk about splashy wing and perimeter defender acquisitions they’re already sitting on the guy they need to develop.
NAW really showed out in the playoffs and some aggressive team should get out there and make a “make me move offer.” Defensively he has great upside and the offensive consistency, shooting and overall feel aren’t light years away… They’re right around the corner.
I’m not sure what Lonnie Walker is going to cost but I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s still less than he’s worth after some highly visible big playoff games. Between Josh Hart, Josh Okogie, Walker, Damion Lee, and even further down the list with Keita Bates-Diop, Terry Taylor, Oshae Brissett and Malik Beasley… You can really go bargain-hunting and come back with serviceable value.
$/VALUE OVERALL NAME COST AGE EXP TYPE COMMENTS 1 1 Jerami Grant $$$$ 29 8 yrs ufa I'm tempted to put Herb Jones ahead of him and that's more of a statement about Jones than it is about Grant. But keeping this about Grant, he can still defend at a very high-level and has above average offensive ability, can fit in and though he will be expensive he will live up to the value of this deal. 2 2 Herbert Jones - 24 1 yrs rfa 2 Jones isn't going anywhere as New Orleans has the team option but I wanted to rank him anyway. Last season was bumpy with injuries and New Orleans is kind of a mess with the players ahead of him, but nothing I saw made me think he's anything other than an elite defensive player with plenty of likelihood that he is going to grow offensively. 3 4 Kessler Edwards - 22 1 yrs rfa 2 Talk about snap on his fastball. Edwards is lightning quick, plenty strong, good elevation, workable shot and at 22 years old in 3 to 4 years when his game has rounded out he is going to be heading into Caleb Martin territory if he can get a tight handle. 4 5 Nickeil Alexander-Walker $$ 24 3 yrs rfa NAW's defense and solid offensive play in the playoffs should be enough to get good NBA GM's sharpening the knives, getting ready to make a 'make me move' offer. Shooting and smart usage are going to be the determinants of how high he flies but at this low of a price you're winning the minute you ink the contract. 5 6 Kelly Oubre Jr. $$$+ 27 7 yrs ufa The name is going to be bigger than the game for the foreseeable future even as he enters his prime. There are injury concerns and how he fits in with higher-end talent, but even if he continues to play well the best case scenario is playing this upcoming deal to a draw. 6 3 Khris Middleton $$$$+ 31 10 yrs ufa 1 I'm concerned about his knee and at 31 years old the best Middleton days are behind us. Efficiency is going to go down and utility as a defender is going to dip right along with it. He still has plenty of skill to be a near All-Star level player and that puts in a head of a Wings group with little high and talent but it's not the way I would wanna spend my money 7 8 Josh Okogie $+ 24 4 yrs ufa The thing I really like about Josh Okogie is that he has continued to improve despite some pretty annoying circumstances. He can certainly defend and his high-end athleticism probably sticks around for at least four more years. He developed some to the basket moves that are promising and could end up being a Josh Hart like player offensively but with even more upside defensively. 8 9 Lonnie Walker IV $$ 24 4 yrs ufa It was weird when the market was soft on Lonnie Walker last year and then he simply did what we expected him to do in the playoffs, which was perform. I think he finally gets out of bargain basement deals but who knows, we thought that would happen last year. He's a quality to guard with at least average defensive qualities with good experience at 24 years of age. 9 7 Josh Hart $$+ 28 5 yrs ufa 1 Everybody should love Josh Hart and maybe this means the market will pay him off but injury issues are pretty big here and we'll have to see if he gets a deal commesurate with the value he had in the playoffs. Given the injury risk that will likely be a small overpay if that happens. If the market is soft he's somebody to target. 10 11 Damion Lee $+ 30 5 yrs ufa Lee has made himself into a quality reserve who can step up and start in a pinch and though he's not unassailable, there's a decent chance that he's not gonna fold in that situation. 11 13 Keita Bates-Diop $ 27 4 yrs ufa KBD was on the radar as a rookie due to his athleticism and after disappearing he was able to get back on the radar with some solid play in San Antonio. I'd rather use him to patch a hole in my roster then spend money on Gary Trent or Dillon Brooks. 12 10 Gary Trent Jr. $$$+ 24 4 yrs ufa 1 Trent makes a lot of tough shots that I'm not sure he can keep making as he attempts to drift toward top scoring option for his teams, and he will likely be one after he gets paid big on this next deal. I worry about him needing to squeeze every bit of athleticism out of trying to make all these tough shots, and that athleticism waning, mostly because he's a little bit deficient in that area to start with. 13 14 Naji Marshall $ 25 2 yrs rfa 2 14 15 Terry Taylor $ 23 1 yrs rfa 4 15 12 Max Strus $$ 27 3 yrs ufa This is where we stop driving the Max Strus bus and thank you for the profits good sir. After another solid postseason minus some outlier games that I'm certainly not going to pile on him for, he's finally going to get paid a decent number and his knee issues and already questionable lateral movement are going to head the wrong direction pretty quick here 16 16 Oshae Brissett $ 24 3 yrs ufa 17 17 Malik Beasley $$ 26 6 yrs ufa 2 18 18 Alec Burks $$ 31 11 yrs ufa 2 19 20 Romeo Langford $ 23 3 yrs rfa 20 21 Troy Brown Jr. $ 23 4 yrs ufa 21 22 Terrence Ross $ 32 10 yrs ufa 22 23 Justin Holiday $ 34 9 yrs ufa 23 24 Juan Toscano-Anderson $ 30 3 yrs ufa 24 25 Svi Mykhailiuk $ 26 4 yrs ufa 25 19 Dillon Brooks $$$ 27 5 yrs ufa Brooks being put on the second all defensive team was laughable. His eminently beatable off the dribble and the optics/fake toughness just don't matter. 26 26 Will Barton $ 32 10 yrs ufa 27 27 Isaiah Livers $ 24 1 yrs rfa 2 28 28 Lamar Stevens $ 25 2 yrs rfa 2 29 29 Lindy Waters III $ 25 1 yrs rfa 2 30 30 Louis King $ 24 3 yrs rfa 4 31 31 T.J. Warren $ 29 7 yrs ufa 32 32 Dalano Banton $ 23 1 yrs rfa 33 33 Ty Jerome $ 25 3 yrs rfa 4 34 34 Julian Champagnie $ 21 0 yrs rfa 4 35 35 Danny Green $ 35 13 yrs ufa $/VALUE OVERALL NAME COST AGE EXP TYPE COMMENTS
NBA GMs have some opportunity here but it’s a pretty mixed bag for the group as a whole. The only upside shot I really like is Jalen McDaniels, who landed with Daryl Morey and got hidden a little bit last year down the stretch … after also being hidden in Charlotte purgatory. I can pick a part at his game but he has shot well from the foul line and had flashes of other shooting success, with plenty of athleticism to create the upside potential.
And then at the top of this group’s overall ranks there are a quartet of quality players with Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes trending downward and Cam Johnson and Kyle Kuzma dueling for the top slot. I really like what Kuzma has done and it was really close between he and Johnson, but Johnson has the elite level shooting that can unlock a lot more value without having to handle the ball so much, and then defensively he has the edge by a decent amount.
There is some decent value hanging out at basement bargain prices, with Kenyon Martin and Ish Wainwright the most interesting names on the list for me. Martin is just 22 years old and has had enough good games to make him an obvious target. And then Wainwright just has a physical profile you don’t see much and I like his chances of putting that to good use.
$/VALUE OVERALL NAME COST AGE EXP TYPE COMMENTS 1 5 Jalen McDaniels $$- 25 3 yrs ufa As covered above, there are elements of a shooting that are promising along with the versatility. If he can put together some more offensive tools and gain about 10 more pounds of muscle he will be cooking with gas 2 1 Cameron Johnson $$$$ 27 3 yrs rfa Elite shooter, can move his feet defensively and rebound. Probably adds some dribble drive elements to his game over time. Rocksolid at whatever price 3 2 Kyle Kuzma $$$$ 27 5 yrs ufa 1 Kuzma continues to get tougher on the basketball court. Defensive issues aren't nearly as glaring and the ratio of smart plays to bad plays continues to get better. 4 6 Rui Hachimura $$ 25 3 yrs rfa