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Who are the best free agents still on the market?
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UPDATE: Marcus Smart officially re-signed with the Celtics on July 19
David Aldridge: Obviously, the restricted free agents with nowhere to go -- Clint Capela and Marcus Smart, to name the top two -- are the prime names remaining. But it seems unlikely anyone will be able to pry them from their incumbent teams. Among the unrestricted free agents, while there are a lot of vets still out there, like Al Jefferson, Michael Beasley and Nick Young, I like David Nwaba, the forward that the Bulls made a UFA to facilitate the Jabari Parker deal. Nwaba is a big time effort guy who could play in anyone’s rotation without needing to call any plays for him, and he won’t bust your budget, either. I think Patrick McCaw also has some real potential, and the fact he came back to play in the Finals was a great sign he’s okay physically after that scary fall at the end of the regular season.
Steve Aschburner: Give me Clint Capela, Marcus Smart or Rodney Hood, probably in that order. Each of them is technically a free agent but only of the “restricted” variety, which actually isn’t all that free. Money got spent fast, limiting their chances of landing fat offer sheets, so their most recent teams have the leverage. Here’s another guy who ought to have a more vibrant market: Montrezl Harrell, the 24-year-old backup big man who -- per 36 minutes -- averaged 23.3 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Clippers last season
Tas Melas: Clint Capela. He is absolutely one of the best in the game defensively, especially in today’s switching NBA. It’s wild to think that a player who was reportedly offered four years and $85 million only a few days ago is still available. And, much love for the old school Marcus Smart. No one knows his position, but every team would want to figure it out.
Shaun Powell: You can start with Clint Capela, who figured heavily in Houston's rotation last season and is just touching his prime, but is $20 million-plus peer season too rich for a team giving heavy paychecks to James Harden and Chris Paul? Then there's Marcus Smart, who surely feels burned by (a) the market this summer, and (b) the lack of urgency by the Celtics to lavish him with big money. Boston wants Smart of course but also must keep the payroll flexible enough to extend Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum in the coming years. As with Capela, you can't pay everyone.
1. Clint Capela (restricted) -- The third most important player on the second best team in the league. You have to think the Rockets and Capela will work something out, but it's starting to get late.
2. Marcus Smart (restricted) -- It's tough to determine the value of a guard who can't shoot but makes "winning plays," and maybe Smart has more value in Boston than he does elsewhere. He still looks like a candidate to accept the one-year qualifying offer.
3. Montrezl Harrell (restricted) -- Another athletic big man who played really well off the bench for the Clippers last season.
Finding an unrestricted free agent that can play more than a small role off the bench is difficult at this point. Michael Beasley and Nick Young offer the most talent, but both can be erratic and each is a liability on defense.
Sekou Smith: Clint Capela is at the top of my list. After watching Capela do work in the Western Conference playoffs last season (outplaying Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in successive series), it became clear to me just how dynamic and how great a fit Capela was with both James Harden and Chris Paul. His ability as both a rim-protector and position defender bolstered my opinion of Capela, who prior to last season would not have been on my short list of elite NBA big men. Next on my list is Jamal Crawford. Yes, Jamal Crawford. He's a game-changer as a sixth man, even this deep into his career. He might not be the defender Marcus Smart is, but he's instant offense off your bench and as his peers around the league voted him last month, the best teammate anyone could ask for. Smart rounds out the top three on my list.