The 2022 free agency started just 10 days ago and has already made waves in the market. Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker renewed with a four-year, 224 million contract, as did Karl-Anthony Towns with Minnesota. Ja Morant agreed to terms on a four-year, 226 million rookie contract extension and Nikola Jokic signed the largest contract in NBA history.
Meanwhile, this year’s most explosive free agents such as James Harden, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine and Kyrie Irving have been re-signed by their respective teams, although the latter is not assured of staying with Brooklyn. So, which players remain as free agents who can shake up the NBA?
The Phoenix Suns, the best team in the NBA Regular Season, did not reach an agreement this season to extend his rookie contract, so his contract expired at the end of the season. However, he is a restricted free agent, which means they could match any offer from another franchise and retain the Bahamian player. San Antonio, Detroit and Orlando are possible destinations for DeAndre Ayton if he does not re-sign with the Suns.
The American forward was one of the revelations of last season. He averaged 20.2 points per game and seven rebounds per game, raising his level and his contract dramatically. However, an allegation of domestic violence by his still-partner, Mychelle Johnson, made it extremely difficult to tie the player to any franchise. The American, who would have had no shortage of suitors, may well have ruined his professional playing career.
The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard has proven in the past few years that he is a reliable player and his stats back that up. In the 2020/21 season he averaged 24.3 points per game while dishing out over 4 assists per game, and in the 2021/22 season he could only play 11 games due to a knee injury that caused him to miss almost the entire season. The long-term layoff and the bad relations he had within the Cleveland locker room keep him away from a renewal, although he is a restricted player and the franchise will have the final say.
The German point guard has already made a name for himself in the NBA world and his move into free agency may be short-lived. In his last season he averaged 13.5 points per game for the two teams he played for: Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. However, his reputation has fallen over the years and since his departure from Oklahoma he has not settled with any franchise. Detroit are one of the teams that could be interested in acquiring his services.
The 38-year-old veteran forward is always a guarantee of selflessness and scoring. The successful player is without a team after a great individual season with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 13.3 points per game in an average of 26 minutes. Despite his age, his physical level is extraordinary and he is ready to start a new adventure. There was speculation of a possible return to the New York Knicks.
Another hot name on the NBA market is Harrell. The player, who also had a very good season with 13.1 points per game in Washington and Charlotte, played a big role in both franchises and his reputation was at an all-time high. However, just three weeks ago, the power forward was caught with a kilo of marijuana, and along with two other felony drug possession charges, he could face between one and five years in prison, which also makes it difficult for him to sign with a team.
The 31-year-old veteran center has seen his career plummet in recent seasons, going from averaging 25.2 points per game in 2017 with the Pelicans to 8.9 this year with the Nuggets. His minutes have also been drastically reduced, but his toughness and strength with rebounds make him one of the best free agents.