Though 2019s Free Agency class is loaded with star players, eleven teams have the majority of the cap space. Of the remaining 19 teams, 13 are over the cap and will only have use of the mid level exception. The other six will have under 20 million to spend. Though a lot of focus will be on where Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard will end up, fans of teams over the cap will see every move their front office makes being just as important. Over a two part series you’ll find a list of free agents that teams with limited budgets can bring in to make an impact.
Unrestricted Free Agent
2018 / 19 season – 13 points 5 rebounds
This may be the most controversial entry on this list, Carmelo Anthony was waived by the Rockets after 10 lackluster games this season. Though many scribes think the league has passed him by, if a team needs instant offense and shot creation in the half court, Melo is your man. Though he may not have the drive game he once did, he can still exploit mismatches in the mid-range. He isn’t a great passer or a passable defender anymore, but he can shoot over smaller players and hit threes.
If a team was to take a chance on him it would only be at the vet minimum. He has made over 250 million in his career so would be happy only earning the league minimum. At around two and a half million this isn’t a massive long-shot for prospective teams.
Unrestricted Free Agent
2018/19 Season – five points, five rebounds
After five years playing for the Wizards and twelves years overall in the league, Marcin Gortat was waived by the LA Clippers this past season before the Playoffs. Traded to the Clippers in exchange for Austin Rivers, Gortat was only used sparingly this year. A traditional center in every sense of the word, Gortat never developed a three point shot. An excellent defensive rebounder, he is still one of the best screeners in the NBA.
Though Gortat’s at rim finishing has flagged recently, he still has value as a backup big. He won’t show up in the box-score like he used to, but he does the dirty work required from your big man. Still a strong defender in the post, he can deter opponents at the rim without fouling. Gortat has also made plenty of money in his career, so would likely accept a deal at the veterans minimum.
Unrestricted Free Agent – Brooklyn have his Bird Rights
2018/19 season four points two assists
Jared Dudley is one of the most respected veterans in the NBA. Having played for six teams in his twelve years in the league, Dudley is an excellent defender capable of defending bigger players. After trash talking Ben Simmons in this years playoff series, Dudley played the role of enforcer on the court for the Nets. An excellent three point shooter, he has only shot below 35% once in his career.
Dudley is another player that doesn’t impact the box score massively, but his + 3.0 net rating this season for the Nets shows he still makes his team better. At 33 he still has a few good years left, his presence in the locker room and three and d play make him a strong pickup for any team. A multi-year deal worth around five million a year would be good value for a team that needs help on the wings.
Unrestricted Free Agent – Detroit Pistons have his bird rights.
2018/19 season – eight points two rebounds three assists.
Journeymen Point Guard Ish Smith has been a real late bloomer for the Detroit Pistons. Since going undrafted in 2010, Smith bounced around multiple teams before getting a three year deal in the Motor city. He has proven himself as a backup point guard for the Pistons and now has a passable three point shot. Hitting 38% of his corner threes with the Pistons, Smith has a well rounded offensive game for a point guard. An excellent passer, he rebounds his position well and is a popular guy in the locker room. Even though he is thirty, due to his journeyman career he doesn’t have a lot of miles on the clock. The Pistons may require a better defender and decline to bring him back. This would provide another team an option on a point guard with recent playoff experience.
Unrestricted Free Agent
2018/19 Season – twelves points five rebounds
Gone are the days of Jeff Green commanding large salaries. A known commodity in the league now, he has given great value on his last two contracts. Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers last year he proved a reliable option, starting games as they made the NBA Finals. This year Green was one of the Washington Wizards most consistent players, averaging twelve points and five rebounds while playing 77 games. He had career highs in two point shooting and free throw shooting, both marks were good enough for top 20 in the league. Green also finished at the rim at a career high of 74%, per Cleaning the Glass this ranked him in the 90th percentile for Power Forwards.
He is 33 years but has also only missed 34 games in the last seven years. Green is at the point in his career where he would like some security as far as length of contract goes. A three year deal at around four or five million a year would provide good value for both team and player.