NBA free agency: Jimmy Butler leads the shooting-guard market
The best free agents on the market: Centers | Power forwards | Small forwards
This year’s crop of free-agent two guards is heavy at the top with stars, but features quality depth. There is a good mix of all-around talents and also specialists. Several of the free-agent off guards are able to play up as small forwards, with a handful able to handle the defensive assignments for either backcourt position. If teams can wait it out the first wave or two of free agency, there are quality bargains to be found.
Here are the top potential free-agent shooting guards on the market, with the negotiating period opening at 6 p.m. ET Sunday:
1. Jimmy Butler
Butler headlines this class as the most versatile shooting guard available. He’s able to play either wing spot and can also function as a team’s primary ball-handler. While he’s not the lockdown defender he once was, Butler is still in the upper third of the league as a defensive player. Philadelphia has the benefit of being the only team that can offer him a full five-year, max deal. His age and injury history could be deciding factors for Butler.
Fits with: 76ers, Rockets, Heat, Lakers, Nets, Knicks
2. Klay Thompson
Thompson suffered a torn ACL in the NBA Finals that is expected to keep him out for most, if not all, of the 2020 season. Thompson should make a full recovery. Golden State has shown a willingness to stick with their pre-injury plan of signing Thompson to a max deal. Expect him to be back with the Warriors.
Fits with: Warriors
3. Jeremy Lamb
Lamb had a career year just in time for free agency. He was a starter for the first time and delivered with career-best numbers across the board for the Charlotte Hornets. Lamb is seen as a fit for just about any team. He can start or come off the bench and can play either wing position. Don’t be surprised if Lamb is one of those guys who gets a shockingly big offer this summer.
Fits with: Hornets, Lakers, Knicks
4. J.J. Redick
Even at his age, Redick remains a solid player. While his 3-point percentage slipped under 40 percent for the first time in five years, he actually averaged a career-high 18.1 points. Redick’s role as a shooter fits on every NBA team. He’s likely to stay in Philadelphia where he’s found a home, but other teams will try to get him to change his mind.
Fits with: 76ers, Lakers, Nets, Knicks
5. Rodney Hood
Hood remains an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He shows signs of being a breakout wing scorer one moment and then is an injury-prone, inconsistent player the next. Hood seems to have settled into the role of bench scorer/spot starter. That adds to his value. With his ability to play both wing positions, he’ll have plenty of suitors. Portland would like to keep him, but tax concerns could take them out of the running.
Fits with: Lakers, Pacers, Trail Blazers.
6. Danny Green
Put Green firmly in the Redick camp of aging vets who remain productive. Green’s a far better defender than Redick, but not nearly the shooter Redick is. He’s another guy in this class who can defend both wing positions, but he also has the ability to guard the bigger, slower point guards as well. That adds some value that offsets his declining offensive game.
Fits with: Raptors, Lakers, Knicks
7. Terrence Ross
Ross became a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for the surprising Orlando Magic. His shooting and energy helped turn games on a regular basis for Orlando. He’s an ideal backup for those reasons and can fit with any team. The Magic would love to have Ross back, but will only extend so far to re-sign him. If another team throws him a big offer, it could steal him away to bolster its reserve group.
Fits with: Magic, Lakers, 76ers
8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
In the span of two seasons, Caldwell-Pope went from rising star to overpaid afterthought. He had some struggles with the Lakers, but still improved his offensive game. He remains a good defender, even if that got lost in the context of some terrible team defense in Los Angeles. KCP remains young enough that some team could get a player with some upside for a reasonable price.
Fits with: Lakers, 76ers, Pacers
9. Wayne Ellington
For 10 seasons, Ellington has been a knockdown shooter. Like Redick, he’s got a role with any team because of his ability to shoot the ball. He doesn’t do much else, so his value is likely limited to contending teams because older wing shooters are a luxury for bad teams. Ellington will find a role with a playoff team and hit shots as he’s always done.
Fits with: Lakers, Pistons, 76ers
10. Austin Rivers
Rivers is a guy who came in with a lot of hype, never lived up to it and has been trying to overcome that ever since. Being overpaid for the last few years hasn’t helped that reputation either. But he’s a quality player who can back up both guard spots. For a team with limited flexibility, Rivers can fill two roles as a third guard off the bench. That makes him valuable around the league.
Fits with: Rockets, 76ers, Lakers
Other notable free agents: Reggie Bullock, Justin Holiday, Wesley Matthews, Rodney McGruder (RFA), David Nwaba
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