2021 NBA Free Agency: Top Players and Latest Salary-Cap Info for Each Team
This summer, the NBA will be ready to return to some semblance of normalcy after another unorthodox season. As of today, the playoffs are just three weeks away, and the play-in tournament starts on Tuesday, May 18.
Soon, the conference brackets will be set, leaving the teams on the outside looking in to prepare a course of action for this year's free agency. The playoffs will be more competitive than many fans may have expected, but next season will be even more interesting because the teams will have to contend with another shortened offseason.
However, many teams don't have the available cap space to make a big splash in a free-agent market devoid of high-profile superstars. The New York Knicks will be able to create enough to become a plausible destination, especially after a strong season. Still, the latest crop of unrestricted free agents won't be as appealing as some expected if Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul decide to opt-in to their respective contracts.
The NBA draft and upcoming free agency won't start until Monday, Aug. 2, but it's not too early to take a look at the top players available and the projected cap space for every team.
Top Players Eligible for Free Agency
DeMar DeRozan, SG, San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan has been one of the few bright spots on a young Spurs team that will continue to rebuild next year. The 6'6" guard is a great finisher at the basket and one of the few exceptional mid-range shooters left in the league. Even more, he has improved as a playmaker, averaging 7.4 assists per game. DeRozan has played well enough this season to receive a big max deal, and he has even proved he can be a leader.
Mike Conley, PG, Utah Jazz
Mike Conley would be a solid option for any team looking for a veteran point guard. The 33-year-old is a decent three-point shooter, averaging 40.7 percent from behind the arc. He can also score well in the paint, run the offense and contribute well on the defense. Although Conley is currently dealing with a hamstring injury, this offseason will be the last time he will be able to demand a blockbuster deal.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Miami Heat
Victor Oladipo has had a tough few years since he forced LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games series in the first round of the 2018 NBA playoffs. Ever since, a string of injuries has hampered his chances of cementing himself as a consistent all-star. The 28-year-old recently reaggravated his quad injury, and he has already been traded twice this year. However, the Heat guard is still young, and he has a lot of potential for teams looking for a capable scorer.
Other Notable Unrestricted Free Agents
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors
Andre Drummond, C, Los Angeles Lakers
Dennis Schroder, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
Paul Millsap, PF, Denver Nuggets
Derrick Rose, PG, New York Knicks
Richaun Holmes, PF, Sacramento Kings
Tim Hardaway Jr, SG, Dallas Mavericks
Evan Fournier, SG, Boston Celtics
Kelly Oubre Jr., SF, Golden State Warriors
Lou Williams, SG, Atlanta Hawks
Many of the most touted names like Jayson Tatum or Donovan Mitchell have already signed max contracts. But John Collins, Jarrett Allen, Lonzo Ball, Lauri Markkanen and Duncan Robinson are all restricted free agents to keep an eye on this summer.
There are also a host of unrestricted free agents who could be a suitable addition to teams looking to bolster their lineups next season. If the Lakers can salvage their playoff push this year, it will be interesting to see where Drummond and Schroder will land. Similarly, The Knick's resurgence in the East could make Rose a hot commodity as his leadership and scoring have helped the team tremendously. Meanwhile, Fournier and Williams could feasibly make the jump to an organization hoping to compete for a championship.
Lowry has to be one of the biggest names among the point guards who will be available this summer, but it's hard to tell where he will end up. The 35-year-old may have possibly signed his last max contract with the Raptors, and this seems like the end of his tenure in Toronto. Nevertheless, he could still steady playmaking and playoff experience will entice someone to sign him.
Projected Salary-Cap Space for Each Team
New York Knicks: $711,771
Washington Wizards: $-7,894,803
Indiana Pacers: $-9,079,757
Los Angeles Lakers: $-9,491,317
Memphis Grizzlies: $-11,088,167
Phoenix Suns: $-12,414,121
Portland Trail Blazers: $-14,724,135
Denver Nuggets: $-15,032,670
Philadelphia 76ers: $-16,745,671
Cleveland Cavaliers: $-16,831,704
Minnesota Timberwolves: $-18,850,717
Utah Jazz: $-20,870,545
Boston Celtics: $-22,128,603
Sacramento Kings: $-26,087,225
Detroit Pistons: $-27,414,486
Milwaukee Bucks: $-32,983,667
San Antonio Spurs: $-34,803,238
Dallas Mavericks: $-35,349,751
Los Angeles Clippers: $-36,411,248
Charlotte Hornets: $-36,678,582
Oklahoma City Thunder: $-37,293,665
Golden State Warriors: $-51,385,789
Brooklyn Nets: $-55,824,236
Chicago Bulls: $-59,888,605
Atlanta Hawks: $-60,358,493
Toronto Raptors: $-63,393,498
New Orleans Pelicans: $-65,338,898
Houston Rockets: $-71,936,461
Orlando Magic: $-72,513,700
Miami Heat: $-102,797,761