The first wave of free agent signings is one and done. LeBron James is back in his hometown while Carmelo Anthony is staying in New York. The Miami Heat managed to convince 2 of the Big 3 to stay and quickly reloaded to ensure a competitive team. While most of the money has dried up with teams already set, there are still impact free agents without a team, players who can help swing a team’s fortunes. Here are the top free agents still available:
1) Eric Bledsoe (guard)— Bledsoe is currently a restricted free agent with the Phoenix Suns. This means that the Suns can easily match any offer of another team. Problem is, nobody has come knocking on Bledsoe’s door and the Suns have no incentive to give him the megabucks since he was injured and played only 43 games last season. Bledsoe is a do-it-all guard who averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in 2013-2014 and has such a versatile skill-set that he is called the “mini-LeBron.” Bledsoe has been demanding a max contract of $84 million over 5 years while the Suns are only willing to offer a 4-year, $48 million deal. Obviously, they are worlds apart and it’s been reported that the relationship between Bledsoe and the Suns have soured.
2) Ray Allen (guard) – Despite his age (39), Allen can still be a valuable contributor to any team especially a contending one. He is one of the most accurate 3-point and free throw shooters in history and is an accomplished veteran with tons of championship experience under his belt. Currently, Allen is mulling retirement and still has not announced whether he will still play.
3) Shawn Marion (forward)— During his prime, Marion was arguably the best defender in the NBA. He could guard 4 positions and was valued for this. “The Matrix” has signified his intention to join a championship contender during the twilight of his career and it looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers are the frontrunners. The Indiana Pacers are also making a play at Marion. If Kevin Love is traded to the Cavs, chances are Marion will take less money to join this super team.
4)Jordan Crawford (guard)— Instant offense. That is what Crawford brings to the table. He is a gunner plain and simple but his lack of consistency is troubling to some teams. He can tally 25 points in one game and go cold the next. He also has the tendency to take hurried shots. Still, he can be a dependable back-up for both guard positions and has the athleticism to thrive in the league.
5) Andray Blatche (center) – Yes, he is now a naturalized Filipino playing for Gilas Pilipinas but I’m sure he hasn’t given up on his NBA dream. Blatche has the skills to have a big impact on the league but teams have been wary of him due to alleged “attitude problems.”