LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With the NBA Playoffs winding down, let’s take a look at the top unrestricted NBA free agents for 2016.
All of these players have no obligations to their former team, and are free to sign wherever they choose.
Note: a “restricted” free agent is very different. Restricted free agents can be signed to an offer sheet by another team, but his current team has the right to match the offer and retain the player no matter what, as long as they sign the offer sheet within 3 days.
Top restricted free agents: Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Jordan Clarkson
Players with player options: DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki
Durant is without a doubt the top prize of free agency 2016. The superstar is hitting free agency for the first time in his career, and won’t have to look far for suitors.
Oklahoma City is going to do their best to keep their top talent, but it is certainly no guarentee Durant stays with the team.
Defeating the Spurs in the playoffs certainly helps OKC’c chances of keeping Durant, but the Wizards, Lakers, Warriors, Celtics are all going to try to land the former NBA MVP.
Don’t be surprised if Durant signs a 1-year deal, just to see where his partner-in-crime, Russell Westbrook, elects to go when he hits the free agency market in 2017.
After averaging a double-double for the second consecutive season while also leading the NBA in blocks per game, Hassan Whiteside is going to cash in a hefty pay check come free agency.
The former 2nd round pick of the Sacramento Kings has had back to back breakout seasons, and has emerged as one of the top centers in the league.
His help defense is unmatched by anyone in the NBA, and if he can develop more of an offensive prowess, he has a chance to be the best center in the NBA.
The Heat would be foolish to let Whiteside walk, but several teams are going to be interested in the big man’s services.
Conley missed a large part of the 2015-16 season with an injury, but has proven himself to be one of the most reliable point guards in the NBA.
In 56 games, Conley averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in 2016.
Conley would be a valuable addition to any team that needs a point guard. The Spurs have been rumored to be looking at Conley, and he would be a perfect fit for their pass-first offense.
The Hawks center is not the flashiest player in the NBA, but is certainly one of the most consistent.
Horford has put together back-t0-back all-star seasons for the Hawks, averaging 15.2 points per game and over 7 rebounds a game as well.
Horford is similair to Tim Duncan in that he is not going to “wow” you with any special moves.
Instead, Horford will put on a clinic of how to play fundamental basketball, and before you know it, he has 15 points and 10 rebounds. The big man has extended his range to beyond the three point line, and also averaged about one 3ptm per game this past season.
One of the most versatile players in the NBA, Nicolas Batum comes with his share of injury concerns as well.
Batum missed at least 10 games in each of the past two seasons, but also has the ability to put up a triple-double every now and then.
Batum averaged 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game during last season’s campaign, and was a major reason the Hornets were able to reach the NBA Playoffs.
The small forward made $11.8 million last season, and will likely be seeking a long-term contract worth around that same amount per year this offseason.
Rondo signed a 1-year deal with the Sacramento Kings to revive his NBA career and did just that. Although the Kings did not win many games, Rondo proved he could be a servicable point guard in the NBA yet again, averaging a career-high 11.7 assists per game, which also led the NBA.
Rondo is now a viable option for a contending team in need of a point guard, a far cry from the Rajon Rondo we saw on Dallas in 2014-15.