During the summer months when hoops fans long for any entertainment they can get their hands on, here is a list of names you should be paying attention to. Chances are your favorite team could benefit from signing one (or more) of these free agents.
DeMarcus Cousins (URFA)- In the 2021-22 season, Cousins spent time with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets. Averaging 14.9 minutes per game for the year, the 11-year center shot 46% from the field, and 30.3% from beyond the arc. However, during his five playoff appearances with Denver, Cousins thrived. He put up 10.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in just 11.4 minutes of action per contest. Furthermore, he accomplished these splits at a ridiculous 74.4 true shooting percentage. Contending teams should be looking to pick up Cousins in the coming future for a veteran 6’10” big, who still has plenty left in his career.
Collin Sexton (RFA)- Sexton is a restricted free agent from the Cleveland Cavaliers, but is reportedly unhappy with the current offer they’ve given him. The former 8th overall draft choice in 2018 has proven he can be a star in the league. At just 23 years of age, Sexton has shot 45.8% from the field and 37.8% from 3 for his career. Although he’s coming off a torn meniscus that sidelined him for the vast majority of the 2021-22 season, Collin Sexton has been fully cleared and can instantly impact winning for any NBA team. Playing off the ball, he has established himself as an efficient and capable scorer, while also being a terrific defender. During the 60 games he played in the 2020-21 season, Sexton averaged 24.3 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds a game.
Carmelo Anthony (URFA)- NBA legend Carmelo Anthony’s resume speaks for himself. One of the greatest scorers of all time, Melo can provide offense from all three levels. With 19 years of NBA experience, Carmelo knows exactly what his role is and how he can impact winning. In the 2021-22 season with the Lakers, he played 26.0 minutes a night and posted 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1 assist. Obviously, Melo isn’t the same Melo as he was in 2012, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still provide a scoring punch off the bench for a championship-contending team.
Blake Grif in (URFA)- Six-time All-Star Blake Griffin is still on the market as a free agent. Griffin, a former first overall pick in 2009, has had to change his role over the last few seasons. However, Blake Griffin is another example of a guy who knows how to win at this level. Getting himself in the correct situation could benefit both himself and a team poised for a deep playoff run. In 56 games last year with the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Montrezl Harrell (URFA)- Montrezl Harrell is an unrestricted free agent after playing last season with the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets. Harrell posted an impressive 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game on a terrific 68% true shooting. The 28-year-old still has plenty of great basketball ahead of him, and any team who signs him is getting a forward that not only scores and rebounds, but also plays great defense.
Rajon Rondo (URFA)- He hasn’t earned the nickname “playoff Rondo” for no reason. During the 2019-20 championship run with the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 assists in the playoffs and even elevated his 3-point shooting from 32.8% in the regular season to 40%. With 17 years of NBA experience under his belt, Rajon Rondo is widely regarded as having one of the highest basketball IQ’s in the game. At 36 years old, teams know exactly what they’re getting from Rondo. A point guard that can create offense for others around him, while mentoring young guards through the lens of his incredible basketball eyes.
Dennis Schroder (URFA)- One of the most coveted free agents available on the market is 28-year-old Dennis Schroder. This past season, the German point guard spent time with the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. In a combined 64 games played, with the majority of them being played in Boston, Schroder averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 assists a game, in 28.7 minutes a night. Dennis Schroder still has many more productive years left, especially with a playoff-contending team searching for a guard to come off the bench.
Sharife Cooper (URFA)- Cooper was a rookie this past year with the Atlanta Hawks, but spent most of his time with the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate. In 22 games with the Skyhawks, Cooper was phenomenal. He averaged 17.1 points, 6,4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds while playing 29.9 minutes a game. Sharife Cooper is an extremely talented young prospect and could be an absolute steal for a team willing to take a “chance” on him.
Lou Williams (URFA)- Widely considered one of the greatest bench scorers in NBA history, Lou Williams is once again on the market. The 17-year veteran can provide leadership and a spark off the bench to any team in the league. In the Hawks’ 2020-21 playoff run where they made the Eastern Conference Finals, Williams shot 43% from 3 and made timely shots throughout the entire postseason. He’s a professional scorer that can also help young guards with their development.
Dennis Smith Jr. (URFA)- Dennis Smith Jr. is still only 24 years old. The former 9th overall pick in 2017 deserves another shot in the league. He’s a ridiculous athlete that averaged 15.2 points per game his rookie year in Dallas. Smith Jr. has dealt with injuries throughout his career but thankfully seems to be healthy for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Most recently, Dennis was working out in front of multiple scouts and front office personnel to prove that he is ready to go next year.
Isaiah Thomas (URFA)- Despite dealing with harsh and undeserved criticism for the majority of his NBA career, Isaiah Thomas has consistently produced for multiple teams. The 33-year-old veteran most recently played for the Charlotte Hornets and put up averages of 8.3 points and 1.4 assists on 39.7% from 3 and 93.3% from the free throw line. Thomas logged 12.9 minutes per game and displayed his elite skillset and shot-making ability. He’s been slept on his entire life and will pleasantly surprise whichever team decides to sign him.
Dwight Howard (URFA)- Dwight Howard has had his name in the headlines recently, and not for basketball. Even though Howard has shown he can still positively impact an NBA game, it seems as though he may be considering a career in…pro wrestling. The 36-year-old unrestricted free agent is somebody to keep an eye on this summer, especially because teams could still use his basketball services.