The big names have fallen. LeBron James is a Cavalier again and Carmelo Anthony is staying in New York. The domino’s have largely come down following the biggest names staking their claim to territory in the 2014 NBA free agency period, but there is still some dust that needs to settle.
The top remaining NBA free agents aren’t likely to make or break many teams, but they could still play a key role in a title run, depending on where they land. Each day brings another chance for some of these guys to latch on with a legit contender.
Let’s break down the top five NBA free agents still on the open market before they get snatched up:
1. Eric Bledsoe, G, Phoenix Suns (Restricted Free Agent)
Bledsoe is without a doubt the most talented and tempting free agent out there right now. He’s only a restricted free agent, though, so odds are the Suns will match any offer than isn’t insane. However, if it’s way over the top, Bledsoe could still be pried out of the desert. He has great size and athleticism for the lead point position, but also is a terrific scorer and can play the two. The Bucks and Pistons are just two teams that have shown serious interest, but the list of suitors interested in Bledsoe isn’t short.
2. Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit Pistons (Restricted Free Agent)
Monroe is easily the best big man that could be available to other suitors outside of Detroit, but the odds are he’s not going anywhere. The Pistons love the talent they have in him and Andre Drummond and will be much more likely to ship off Josh Smith before letting Monroe leave. Look for him to sign a long-term deal and stick in Michigan.
3. Lance Stephenson, G/F, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Stephenson is a blossoming star, as he brings elite versatility and athleticism to the table. He’s a bit of a headcase, but he can be a lock down defender and can help the flow of an offense. Returning to the Pacers is probably the most likely scenario, but he could either follow major money elsewhere or take a hefty deal to sign on with another contender. The Hornets are the leading non-contender at the moment, but expecting Lance back in Indy is a safe bet.
4. Evan Turner, SF, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Turner lacks elite athleticism and isn’t the most fluid player, while he also isn’t overly efficient. With that said, he does offer solid range and versatility, and also rebounds well for a three. He can still be an effective starter and could be a very good role player off the bench in the right situation. Indiana clearly wasn’t the right place for him last year, so he’ll look to find a better gig elsewhere. He’s still young and has some upside. The Timberwolves are one team that has been rumored to have some interest, while a team needing SF help like the Clippers could also be an option.
5. Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Wade is listed last here because no one really believes he’s leaving Miami. The Heat locked up Chris Bosh and brought in Luol Deng, so the Heat can actually re-form a lesser Big Three with James gone. Wade’s knees are shaky and he’s aging, but he’s still a fantastic scorer and creator when healthy. There were some whispers that he could latch on with his hometown Chicago Bulls, but he’s going to get overpaid to stay in South Beach. If healthy, he and the Heat could still be a strong playoff contender.