Opinion

2018 NBA Free Agency: Top 5 Remaining Free Agents

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This offseason has been crazy. Plain and simple. LeBron went to the Lakers on a four-year, $154 million deal and DeMarcus Cousins shocked everyone, deciding to join the Golden State Warriors on a one-year, $5.3 million deal. But, in the midst of all the madness, there are still a few very impactful players that haven’t been signed.

1. Rodney Hood (RFA)

Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/ NBAE via Getty Images)

Rodney Hood was coming out of a bad situation in Utah, looking for a new start, and then he was traded to Cleveland. He found himself not getting many minutes, but proved that he can play hard against Golden State in the few finals minutes he did get.

Hood is the prototypical NBA 3 and D wing. He can put the ball on the deck on offense with his lateral quickness, hit the spot up three, and is an above average defensive player due to his length at 6’6″ with a 6’10” wingspan. If I were a GM, I’d be chomping at the bit to get this guy. He shot 38% from 3 last season, great for today’s NBA, and again, he plays DEFENSE!

Hood would be a great fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves. His defensive prowess and three-point shooting ability would greatly help a Minnesota team that was awful defensively with Tom Thibodeau at the helm. Hood could come in and help out Jimmy Butler on the wing while also hitting threes for one of the the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA last season.

2. Wayne Ellington (UFA)

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Wayne Ellington signed a two-year, $12 million contract in 2016 with the Miami Heat. Ellington showed value as a sniper from outside shooting a solid 39% from beyond the arc. He was an instrumental part of the Heat’s playoff run last season, generating a lot of offense for an offensively limited team. He wasn’t great defensively, but he was good enough to warrant a 0 defensive +/- on the year.

Ellington would fit extremely well with a team like the 76ers. Any team can use shooting, but after losing Marco Belinelli and still poised to make a playoff run this season, they could sign the veteran shooting guard to a short deal. That offense would be great with Ellington and JJ Redick set up in the corners, Ben Simmons/Markelle Fultz pick and roll with Joel Embiid; perfection for today’s NBA.

3. Jabari Parker (RFA)

Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Jabari Parker era in Milwaukee has been a weird one. His first season, he tore his ACL which is a tough injury to come back from (see Derrick Rose). But then he tore it again. Despite both of the injuries, he still manages to play a solid role offensively, but it seems like he’s playing scared every night, understandably. He has a decent outside shot and can get to the rim and score, but struggles massively on the defensive end of the floor.

Jabari Parker would fit well with any young team just looking for talent. Team fit wise, I think he would fit seamlessly with Sacramento; a young team with a core. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield in the backcourt with Parker, Marvin Bagley and Willie Cauley-Stein in the frontcourt would be a fun, young, athletic lineup that could compete.

4. Marcus Smart (RFA)

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Marcus Smart is another sort of injury prone player with upside and raw talent. Everyone talks about his defense, which is 100% warranted. He’s fantastic, but he really improved offensively this season. His scoring/shooting still needs work, but Smart is a “Smart” player. See what I did there? But seriously, he is a very high IQ player on both ends and was a vital part of their success over the last few seasons.

Marcus Smart is such a Celtics guy, but we’re here to see new guys in new cities, so I think Smart is a PERFECT fit in Denver. He would come off the bench, which he’s comfortable with. After adding Michael Porter Jr. in the draft, the one spot they lack is that backup point guard. He can be a consistent defender and ball handler for the young Nuggets, and he and Nikola Jokic could work well together.

5. Clint Capela (RFA)

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Clint Capela is currently unhappy with Houston’s offers (per Kelly Iko of www.rocketswire.com) and has been talking with other teams about potential deals. Capela was an instrumental piece in the Houston Rockets’ incredible 2018 run. He was one of the best defensive bigs in the entire NBA, and he did enough offensively to complement James Harden and Chris Paul, who did the rest of the heavy lifting.

Capela can play with any contending team, and can play meaningful minutes. He fits well with great passers who can set him up because of his limited offensive skillset. Capela could go to Boston and light it up. Boston has one of the best defensive systems in the league, and if you add a seven footer with super long arms to that, it can change the game. He’s a Rudy Gobert type player in the way he can change the entire game defensively. Utah is solid defensively because you have to take jumpers against them when you could normally get away with a drive to the hole. In Boston, they have scoring everywhere in the lineup but center, and if you slide Capela in place of Baynes, next to Horford, it might be a team that could challenge Golden State.

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