The 2017 NBA free-agent class has a lot of great players who are unlikely to change teams, some diamonds in the rough and a whole lot of calculated-risk options. The best players are almost certainly going to re-sign with their teams, but then, we thought the same thing about Kevin Durant last year. The lesson here is that there are always surprises.
If the draft is about improving your future, free agency is about teams getting better immediately. Here’s a look at the top 30 free agents available this summer, based on talent, production and value, factoring age, injury and expected price. Because of that last variable, expected price, some big names aren’t on here, like Derrick Rose or Jeff Teague. Both of those players are expected to demand huge deals with big question marks at advanced ages. That stuff matters.
Potential fits are all based on on-court fit, and assume that the team would create the requisite cap room to acquire them, which simply may not be possible in some cases. Fits are based on conceptual ideas and not on reports or sourced information of interest.
Potential fits: Golden State, Oklahoma City
The second-best player in the NBA. A dominant combo forward who is one of the best shooters and scorers the game has ever seen. A fierce competitor at 7 feet tall with a tight handle, exceptional athleticism and unbelievable touch. He has become a top-flight defender and rebounder and a gifted play-maker to boot. You are not getting him, he’s re-signing with the Warriors. But if for any reason his people call you and say he’s even slightly interested, you do whatever necessary to clear cap space and acquire him. He’ll probably be the best player in the league within the next three seasons.