THE 2016 offseason was a glorious time to be a free agent in the NBA. The salary cap took a record leap, increasing by over 20% to $113 million+. The rise in cap led to a bunch of questionable contracts being signed and as a result, big paydays are harder to come by in the present. If the players on this list were free agents in 2016, they would have likely received similar contracts. But they weren’t. Instead, they are still left twiddling their thumbs hoping that someone, anyone comes forward with a decent offer. That big payday might not be on its way, but that doesn’t mean these guys doesn’t deserve to be signed. Pronto.
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Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
A lot of the signs this season pointed to Marcus Smart being unhappy once free agency began. Chasing an offer north of $10 million a season the market has dried up for Smart, an amazing defender who might go down as one of the worst three-point shooters in the history of the league. In the modern NBA where there is so much emphasis on the deep ball, teams are understandably sceptical about paying Smart. His upside as a defender is great, but it doesn’t seem like his shooting problems are going away anytime soon. Don’t expect him to keep pouting due to the fact he isn’t getting a fat cheque for much longer. The Boston Celtics have always planned on resigning him on a cheaper deal. Smart will likely be forced to swallow his pride and accept the $6 million dollar, one-year qualifying offer in 2018-19. Better luck next offseason Marcus.
Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers
THERE is a lot to like about Montrezl Harrell. More minutes on the court is what Harrell will covet next season and so far, no team wants to give them to him. Of course, being a restricted free agent the popular belief is that he will return to the Clippers and to be honest it might be the best thing for his development too. He isn’t going to get the high dollars he may have wanted, but staying put still makes sense. For Harrell to live up to his hype a larger role is required and with DeAndre Jordan gone now, there could be a path to sustained success for Harrell in LA. Don’t think the acquisition of Marcin Gortat changes that for a minute.
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets
IT’S fair to say I didn’t think Clint Capela would be unsigned on July 13th. Then again, I didn’t think Capela would turn down the Rockets original five-year, $85 million deal either. He is probably regretting that decision right now as an extension between the Rockets and Capela hasn’t yet been agreed to. It still seems like Houston holds all the cards and being a restricted free agent any potential offer can be matched by their front office. A tempting offer isn’t out there, even if Twitter wants to keep linking Capela and the Lakers so it seems like he’s staying put. My guess is this get’s resolved, potentially by the time you’re even reading this article. If I was guessing I’d assume Capela gets a deal for roughly three years at $60 million.
Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers
ONLY one short year ago Rodney Hood was a promising wing on the Utah Jazz. However, a tumultuous 12 months has really hurt his free agency ceiling and no one appears to be interested in him. He earned a handful of DNP’s during the late parts of the seasons and in the playoffs. Hood struggled ever since landing in Cleveland with the ball-dominant youngster caught up in LeBron’s shadow. It doesn’t mean that Hood is ruined goods, in fact quite the opposite. It could just mean he hasn’t been given the right opportunities or scenarios to excel it yet. The Pelicans have expressed some forms of interest recently, but nothing concrete has emerged. Barring anything crazy though, Hood seems destined to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, perhaps on the qualifying offer, before retesting the waters in a year.
Image from yardbarker.com
Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
RUMOURS are surfacing that Jabari Parker is going to be a Chicago Bull, which would be an interesting fit. You have to wonder what type of player Parker can be as injuries have ruined his development through four part-time seasons. If he can stay on the court then there’s no reason to think he won’t become a consistent 20+ point scorer and he is surely worth a gamble. Tight salary caps mean that Parker isn’t getting the interest he probably deserves. Time will tell if the team that pays him made the right decision or not. Regardless of who it is (between you and me the Nets should call his agent), they don’t seem likely to be forking out a big bag of cash.
Banner from bostonherald.com