Who's left now? A guide to the nearly dried-up 2019 NBA free-agency market
We are three weeks removed from our last “Who’s left in 2019 NBA free agency?” missive, when much of the market had dried up in the opening 24 hours, leaving only a handful of difference-markers at each position. Those numbers have further dwindled, now that all but one of the players we last profiled have been signed.
[Free agency updates: Keep track of the moves, rumors, cap space and more]
Little salary cap room remains, and most cap exceptions have been spent, leaving minimum contracts to fill out the few roster spots left. That is what teams can offer players still capable of contributing to a rotation, so it may come down to location, opportunity and the possibility of contributing to a contender for the following guys.
The 30-year-old journeyman point guard played just 51 seconds of the Finals en route to winning a ring with the Toronto Raptors. We may regard that as evidence of either his incapability to impact a playoff race at this point in his career or his failure to assimilate into the rotation in the brief time he was with the champions. What we do know is that Lin remains a capable pick-and-roll ball-handler and a positive force in NBA locker rooms, averaging 9.6 points and 3.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game last season, mostly off the bench for the Raptors and Atlanta Hawks.
The former ninth overall pick has enjoyed a career resurgence after nearly playing his way out of the NBA. In 94 games for the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks over the past two seasons, he has averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists in 20.3 minutes per game, shooting roughly league average from 3-point range. He can help teams as a score-first point guard who can regularly pop off for double digits.
The 33-year-old resurrected his career to become a core member of a Golden State Warriors team that won three titles in four years. His contribution to their latest Finals run was lesser than the previous four, and he was waived to make room for a roster reconstruction. His steady hand, length and wherewithal around the basket still make him a rotational talent in the NBA, although his experience with the Warriors may make him more valuable to a team in need of veteran stewardship.
Also under consideration: Jerryd Bayless; Jamal Crawford; Raymond Felton; Jerian Grant; Devin Harris; Shelvin Mack; Chasson Randle
He played 11 games last season before charging the Cleveland Cavaliers with tanking and requesting a trade that was never granted, due to a lack of interest around the league. When last we saw him contributing to a contender in earnest, Smith cost the Cavs a shot at a Finals lead by dribbling out the clock on a tie game. All that said, Smith ranks 13th all-time in career 3-point field goals, and his 37.3 percent mark from distance outclasses a handful of those above him. He can shoot and play defense — when engaged, which is always the question with him.
Shumpert played the defensive yin to Smith’s offensive yang on Cleveland’s 2016 title team. He left for the Sacramento Kings last season, when he played well enough to warrant trade interest from a Houston Rockets team in desperate need of wing depth. That translated to a semi-regular role in the playoffs, where he was a hit-or-miss option off the bench. He seemed better fit for the upstart Kings, who revered him as a defense-first veteran influencer with championship experience.
Again hampered by injuries, Sefolosha played fewer minutes this past season than in any other besides his rookie year. In between was a decade of success as a respected 3-and-D wing whose career was altered by police brutality. He will not be returning to the Utah Jazz for reasons that may have little to do with on-court production. The Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be interested in his services, which would indicate that shallow playoff teams still believe he can fill a bench role.
Also under consideration: Carmelo Anthony; Vince Carter; Jonas Jerebko; Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot; Wayne Selden; Jonathon Simmons; Sindarius Thornwell
We were robbed of dueling sibling rivalries in the conference finals, when a left foot injury robbed us of seeing the Gasol brothers meet head-to-head in the East as the Currys did out West. Pau played just three games for the Milwaukee Bucks after missing much of his first half of the season on the San Antonio Spurs with a right foot injury. That should give any team pause about committing big minutes to Gasol, but he is reportedly insistent on his ability to contribute in 2019-20, and that more than merits consideration of his experience as a heady future Hall of Famer.
[Update: Gasol agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.]
Freed from the expectations of a hefty contract with the New York Knicks, the former Defensive Player of the Year proved he could still contribute as a minimum-salaried rim protector in half a season off the bench for the Memphis Grizzlies. Noah averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game at his latest stop, which is more than most roster-filling bigs with less commanding resumes.
Once a 2014 FIBA World Cup darling, Faried earned his waiver from the Brooklyn Nets after being salary dumped in a trade from the Denver Nuggets last summer. He proved his hardworking style of play still yielded regular-season results in a brief stint with the Rockets, averaging 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 24.4 minutes over 25 appearances. The issues that led to his fall from USA Basketball grace — being a traditional power forward in the stretch four era — left him out of the playoff rotation, although he did show a glimmer of floor spacing where there was none.
Also under consideration: Nene Hilario; Dwight Howard; Damion Lee; Jon Leuer; Greg Monroe; Zaza Pachulia; Lance Thomas
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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
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