NBA Free Agency 2022: Predicting Where the Top 12 Remaining Free Agents Will Land
NBA free agency is one of the most exciting times of the year. Whether it be stars signing with new teams, important role players helping a contending team, or youngsters getting signed for money they deserve, NBA free agency might be the best out of any sport.
Let's check out the top 12 remaining free agents and where they will land.
2022 NBA Free Agency Remaining Players
Collin Sexton - Cleveland Cavaliers
The number of teams that can accommodate the kind of salary that Sexton is asking for next season is dwindling. A report from Spotrac.com stated that only the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers could fit a large salary onto their books now, and neither of them has any incentive to sign Sexton.
Still rehabbing off a lost year to injury, what is likely to happen for the restricted free agent is that Sexton's team and Cleveland come to some agreement on a moderate salary for a reduced number of years. As a restricted free agent, Cleveland can match any team's offer, but none have come in at this point.
LaMarcus Aldridge - Brooklyn Nets
After Aldridge decided to make a comeback in the NBA following a scary heart incident, he was a stabilizing force off the bench for the Brooklyn Nets despite all the turmoil and circus that followed the team throughout the year. At 12.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in just 22 minutes per night, he was an excellent addition to that team. With just Royce O'Neale and Day'Ron Sharpe listed on the Nets roster as frontcourt depth, I expect Brooklyn to make Aldridge an offer to return.
Carmelo Anthony - Los Angeles Lakers
In a truly lost season for the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony was one of the few bright spots as a potent scorer and rebounder off the bench. Anthony has accepted that role and LeBron James seemed very happy to have his presence on the bench for Los Angeles last season.
As it looks more and more likely that the Lakers will have to run it back with LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, LeBron will want as many of "his guys" on the team as he can get. Even at 38 years old, Anthony can put up 15 points per night when needed.
Eric Bledsoe - Denver Nuggets
We expect Jamal Murray to be fully healthy in 2022-2023 after missing all of last season with an ACL injury. But Will Barton was shipped out of town and was replaced by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the backups at guards for Denver are Bones Hyland and Bruce Brown. To provide some depth to that group, I could see the Nuggets bringing in defensive-minded Bledsoe to the squad, especially if Michael Porter, Jr. is not fully healthy and KCP needs to bump up to small forward.
Avery Bradley - Detroit Pistons
For just the second time since 2015-2016, Bradley played more than 60 games, coming in at 62 in 2021-2022 (including 45 starts). His three-and-D nature proved to be very helpful for the Lakers, who lacked both of those things. He shot 39% from three and was a very capable perimeter defender. The Pistons have their backcourt of the future with Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Killian Hayes, but Cunningham and Ivey are question marks from behind the three points line and big men Marvin Bagley and Isaiah Stewart will give them nothing in that department.
Miles Bridges - Charlotte Hornets
Let's be clear on Bridges. Even though he is a restricted free agent, and the Charlotte Hornets can match any offer he receives, the most likely scenario is that he is not on a team for 2022-2023. His legal troubles for an alleged domestic violence incident could cause him a chance to sign with anyone for the upcoming season. But if he is cleared of the charges and the NBA doesn't suspend him, expect him back in Charlotte on a HIGHLY discounted salary than what he showed he is worth on the court this last season (20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per night). Such a disappointing fall for a player who showed such promise.
DeMarcus Cousins - Milwaukee Bucks
Cousins did have one stint with the Bucks last season that lasted just 17 games. But he was able to produce 19 points and 12 rebounds per-36 minutes with that team and was an anchor down low and on the glass when Brook Lopez was recovering from a back injury. As it stands now, Bobby Portis will back up both Giannis and Brook Lopez, so the Bucks could be looking for some more front-court depth as they try to reclaim the title they lost to the Warriors this past season. Cousins won't demand more than the veteran minimum and should easily pay off that salary even in just 12-15 minutes per night.
Blake Griffin - Philadelphia 76ers
Similar to the Nets he played for last season and the Milwaukee Bucks and a potential DeMarcus Cousins signing, the 76ers could really use some help behind Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid. They do have newly-signed P.J. Tucker, but besides him and Paul Reed, there is just not much there to give Harris and Embiid any breathers this upcoming season. Griffin is another player who has accepted that his path to playing time now comes off the bench and he can still contribute in that role. Despite playing just 17 minutes per night last year, he averaged 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per contest.
Montrezl Harrell - Los Angeles Clippers
Harrell to the LA Clippers would be another player making a second trip with a team for the 2022-2023 season. The Clippers lost Isaiah Hartenstein to a deal with the New York Knicks, so only Robert Covington is on the roster to back up both front-court spots. Harrell is a tenacious rebounder and capable scorer whether starting or coming off the bench. For his career, Harrell averages 21.5 points and nine rebounds per-36 minutes. He is also a guaranteed 60% shooter from the floor (62% for his career).
Dwight Howard - Los Angeles Lakers
Howard played very well in his second stint with the Lakers last year, so why not run it back again? He also knew his place on the team, kept his head down, and did his job. That's the player LeBron wants as he hears the final years of his career. Howard can also be called upon to start in a pinch - something that is always a real possibility when you roster Anthony Davis as your center. Even at 36 years old, Howard gave the Lakers six points and six rebounds per night in just 16 minutes on the floor every game.
Jeremy Lamb - Dallas Mavericks
I guess the Mavericks could count on Tim Hardaway Jr. for 82 healthy games next season, but he has missed at least 11 games every year since 2017 and he was out for a full half-season last year as well. Lamb, who has only started eight total games the past two seasons, has learned that he has potential as an instant scorer off the bench and that has tremendous value to many contending teams. Moving out of the wasteland of Indiana and Sacramento, Lamb could be motivated to thrive in Dallas while never having to be the first or second option in the offense.
Hassan Whiteside - Utah Jazz
This one might be a bit of a longshot, but the Jazz currently lists Jarred Vanderbilt and Walker Kessler as their starting frontcourt following the Rudy Gobert trade to Minnesota. I can't imagine Donovan Mitchell will stand for that, so Utah could bring in a former rebounding champ and shot-blocking specialist who, like Gobert, isn't going to demand the ball be in his hands all the time. Whiteside played less than 19 minutes per night last year but still managed to give them 8.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.