NBA free agency 2021: 9 best remaining free agents right now


NBA free agency got off to a furious start from the moment the moratorium window opened on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. Within minutes, Lonzo Ball was going to the Chicago Bulls, Kyle Lowry was going to the Miami Heat, Mike Conley Jr. was back in Utah, and Chris Paul had up to $120 million more in his bank account.

The second day of free agency didn’t provide nearly as many fireworks, but it did give us Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Bulls’ polarizing sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan. The highlights of day three included John Collins’ $125 million extension with the Atlanta Hawks, and the completion of Spencer Dinwiddie’s sign-and-trade to the Washington Wizards. We’re tracking every signing here.

Who is still available on the free agent market? Glad you asked. Here are the nine best players available in free agency right now. We will update this list as players come off the board.

1. Kawhi Leonard

Leonard was the best free agent in this year’s class, and the only top-10 player available on the open market. The two-time Finals MVP is now 30 years old, and he’s recovering from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL suffered in the second round of the playoffs for the Los Angeles Clippers. A return to LA feels like it will happen at any moment, but we still don’t know if Leonard wants a long-term deal or another short-term contract that would allow him to hit the open market again soon if the Clippers’ title dreams don’t become a reality.

2. Dennis Schröder

Schröder is probably not having a great time right now after reportedly turning down an $80 million contract extension from the Lakers (he was reportedly seeking $100-$120 million). We know he won’t be back in LA after the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook and added some more depth to their backcourt headlined by Malik Monk and Wayne Ellington.

The rest of the big name point guards are off the board, so Schröder should be next to go. It will be fascinating to see if he takes the most money possible, or a short deal to rehab his value next offseason.

3. Danny Green

Green just turned 34 years old and is still one of the league’s more reliable 3-and-D wings. He’s coming off a nice season with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he hit 40.5 percent of his threes on 6.3 attempts per game. He also posted a steal rate above 2.3 percent for the second straight year.

Last we heard, Green and Sixers remained far apart, and other teams were circling. Green started all 69 games he played in for a Philadelphia team that entered the Eastern Conference playoffs with the top seed. He’s the sort of role player who can make a difference on a contender with his experience, shooting, and wing defense.

4. Kelly Oubre

Oubre hoped to cash in on a big contract after a season with the Golden State Warriors, but he’s not seeing the money he was looking for just yet. The 25-year-old has great size for a wing at 6’7 with a 7’2 wingspan, and is coming off a season where he averaged 15.4 points and six rebounds per game. Those feel like nice numbers for a young player, but Oubre also finished with nearly as many turnovers (70) and assists (73) last season on a team with Stephen Curry.

Oubre’s value often feels tied to his shooting. He shot 1-for-21 from three in Dec. and ended the year with a 31.6 percent mark from behind the arc. He is one of the higher upside candidates left on the market.

5. Reggie Jackson

Jackson is coming off a stellar playoff run with the Clippers that saw him reaffirm his place as a valuable combo guard after being bought out by the Pistons just ahead of the bubble. Jackson was a critical piece in LA’s run to the Western Conference Finals, averaging 17.8 points per game throughout the playoffs. The 31-year-old made a big leap as a shooter — he hit 40.8 percent of his threes on 7.5 attempts per game in the postseason — and showed strong rim attacking ability off the bounce.

This feels like another return to LA, but it’s possible a team with cap space can steal him away.

6. Josh Hart

Hart is another wing in the 3-and-D mold who came over to the Pelicans in the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers. He was a nice piece next to Zion Williamson in New Orleans, but his shooting fell off a bit with a 32.6 percent mark from deep. Hart tore a ligament in his thumb in April and missed the rest of the season. He is a restricted free agent, so New Orleans could match any deal.

7. Lauri Markkanen

Markkanen initially looked like a cornerstone of the Bulls’ rebuild, but he failed to make meaningful improvements through his first four years in the league. The 7-foot big man finally lived up to his reputation as a shooter last season, making 40.2 percent of his triples from behind the arc on 5.8 attempts per game. He struggles defensively and can’t create his own shot, but a team with a high-level facilitator (Markkanen never played with one in Chicago) might be able to unlock some of the upside once seen in the former No. 7 overall draft pick.

He’s also a restricted free agent, meaning the Bulls have the right to match any deal.

8. Lou Williams

Williams is a proven bucket-getter who has three Sixth Man of the Year awards on his mantle. He was traded from the Clippers to the Hawks midseason and came off the bench for Atlanta’s Eastern Conference Finals team. The 6’1 guard will turn 35 years old ahead of the season, but should still find a role as a scorer off the bench.

9. Andre Iguodala

Iguodala will turn 38 years old in January, but his veteran savvy and perimeter defense could still help a contender in the playoffs. This feels like a battle between the Lakers and Warriors.

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