2014 NBA Free Agents: Players Who Will Make a Huge Impact Next Season

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IApril 30, 2014

Fans reach for New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) as he walks off the court following their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, March 31, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The Knicks won 92-83. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

While it hasn't officially started just yet, the 2014 offseason will be a wild one.

With multiple players like Carmelo Anthony and Lance Stephenson entering the open market, free agency has the potential to be an epic one.

As for teams with potential needs at those positions, no expense will be spared to sign max contracts to bring the immense talent to the franchise. Though a team might not be able to form a Big Three like the Miami Heat did years ago, adding just one of the great players on the market could help a playoff team.

Before the free-agency period officially begins, here's a look at some of the best on the market who will make an immediate impact for their team next season.


Carmelo Anthony

Well, this one's kind of obvious, but he also can't be left out of the discussion.

Though Anthony wasn't able to navigate his way to the postseason with the New York Knicks, his next destination will likely already have established stars around him. Apparently Oscar Robertson believes that team should be the Houston Rockets, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:

His great size for the small forward position and phenomenal shooting ability makes him a good fit for any team, but he clearly needs others around him to succeed.

While the team underachieved, 'Melo still averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. That type of production translates to any franchise, but on a more loaded roster he would see more open looks on the court.

After a down year with the Knicks, Anthony could stick with the team and ride out his career in New York. Regardless of where he lands, the 29-year-old will be an immediate difference-maker for the team.


Lance Stephenson

Let's just be honest, Lance Stephenson's time has just about run its course with the Indiana Pacers.

Following an epic meltdown to close out the season, the point guard of the No. 1 seed had a meltdown of his own with Evan Turner, as SportsCenter confirms on Twitter:

The same player who most fans believe was snubbed out of an All-Star spot now finds himself on a team that can't put away the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks.

Despite his struggles in the playoffs along with the rest of his team, Stephenson will still be one of the hottest commodities on the market.

Expect Stephenson to land with a team where he can thrive and take control of the team. With clashing personalities in Indiana and an established superstar like Paul George, Stephenson's talents as both a scorer and distributor will help his next team after growing as a player with the Pacers.


Luol Deng

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 14: Luol Deng #9 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game against the Golden State Warriors on March 14, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using th
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Yet another player who can make an immediate impression on a playoff contender, Luol Deng is an extremely capable scorer who will bring life to a new franchise.

Despite being on two teams in the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers that experienced adversity this season, Deng shined in both cities while averaging 16 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

With that type of production, Deng will be a great second or third option for whichever team he ultimately signs with this offseason. The former Duke star has the potential to thrive in nearly any system, and his defense makes him a perfect fit for any team with championship aspirations.

At 29 years old, Deng is still at the top of his game and can contribute for any team. Look for him to attract plenty of attention on the open market and eventually land with a franchise he can end his career with after spending the better part of 10 seasons with the Chicago Bulls.


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