2015 NBA Free Agent Rankings

Last update: Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff.

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    Unrestricted free agent= UFA
    Restricted Free Agent= RFA
    Player Option= PO
    Team Option= TO

  1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, SF, PO
    LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, and if the rules would let him, he would be paid $50 million a season. James isn’t going anywhere and is likely to sign a 4-5 year max contract this offseason with the Cavaliers.

  2. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, C, UFA
    Gasol might just be the best center in the NBA. He is an elite offensive and defensive big man, and is an MVP candidate this season. Look for a lot of teams to go after Gasol, but it is hard to see him walking from Memphis, as the organization will give him a 4-5 year max contract.

  3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, PF, UFA
    From what Aldridge has said, it looks like he will re-sign with Portland. He has no reason to go, as the Trail Blazers can and will pay him $100+ million and he is the No. 1 player on a potential contender. Aldridge is one of the best big men in the NBA and will sign a max contract with Portland.

  4. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, PF, PO
    If Cleveland cannot win a championship, to me, Love is gone. He just isn’t a fit in a three-star system, especially as the third option. Regardless, there will be a number of teams willing to give him a max contract and a bigger role (Knicks, Lakers?).

  5. Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, C, UFA
    Tim Duncan at almost 40 is still one of the better players in the NBA and an elite offensive-rebounding-defensive big man. For him this offseason, there are only 2 options: retiring or re-signing with the Spurs at a discount. I think he signs.

  6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, SG, PO
    Because of his health and age, despite his elite numbers, Wade cannot be an 82=game franchise player. Like Tim Duncan in San Antonio, it’s impossible seeing Wade in a different uniform. He will play on his current contract or sign another discount contract from Pat Riley.

  7. Rajon Rondo, Dallas Mavericks, PG, UFA
    Rajon Rondo isn’t a max player, but he is very close to that level. Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis are free agents and more important to the Mavericks, I see Rondo likely signing with another team (Knicks, Lakers?).

  8. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, G/F, RFA
    It is no secret that the Bulls are going to re-sign Butler and that he will get the second contract max, valued at about $16 million per season.

  9. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, SF, RFA
    There is no chance that Leonard goes anywhere, and like Jimmy Butler, Leonard will likely sign the second contract max with his team.

  10. Al Jefferson, Charlotte Hornets, C, PO
    Jefferson is an elite offensive big man, one of the best in the NBA, who is also an excellent rebounder. He isn’t a defender though, plus he is in his 30s and hasn’t won in the NBA. Regardless, it’s likely the Hornets will re-sign their franchise player to a near-max contract.

  11. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons, PF/C, UFA
    Monroe is one of the best young big men in the NBA. He is an excellent scorer, rebounder and distributor, but as Detroit wouldn’t give him the money he wanted when he was a RFA, the team will likely have to pay more than his value this offseason to keep him. However, I think the Pistons will pay the price.

  12. Monta Ellis, Dallas Mavericks, SG, PO
    Ellis is arguably the best combo guard in the NBA and is the key to the Mavericks’ offense. It is likely that they will have to choose him or Rondo, and although Rondo is the better player, Ellis is more important. I expect Ellis to become a free agent and sign a much bigger contract with Dallas than the bargain contract that he is playing on.

  13. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, PF, UFA
    Millsap signed for 2 years and about $18 million, and the Hawks got two All-Star seasons from him, making it one of the biggest bargain contracts I can remember. There is no chance Atlanta will let him go; the only question is how much the organization will pay him. It will be at least $12 million a season.

  14. Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns, G, PO
    Dragic will become a free agent this offseason looking for a big contract. As there are a lot of trade rumors for him, I doubt the Suns re-sign him. It sounds like he will be with the Rockets or Lakers.

  15. Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks, PG, RFA
    Knight should be an NBA All-Star this season and has become the Bucks’ franchise player. Milwaukee will sign him close to the same contract that Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard will get elsewhere.

  16. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, C, UFA
    Jordan is arguably the most athletic player in the NBA and is an elite rebounder and shot-blocker. But I doubt this franchise center would be the same type of player if he wasn’t on the Clippers as they use his skills perfectly. The Clippers will re-sign him, likely to a max contract.

  17. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, F, RFA
    Green could be the Defensive Player of the Year this season and is an excellent – and versatile – two-way player. As he is a restricted free agent, the Warriors can match any contract, but as they have so much money invested in their players, they could have trouble keeping him. However, Golden State will find a way to sign him; he is too important to the franchise.

  18. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers, C, PO
    Hibbert isn’t consistent, but he is one of the best defenders in the NBA and can be the leader of an elite defense. Hibbert is also a strong scorer and rebounder, plus has rebounded from a very difficult season. He isn’t a max player, and he shouldn’t get another max contract, but he is a franchise center and should be paid like one. It is very likely Hibbert becomes a free agent, and the Pacers should re-sign him.

  19. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, C, PO
    On talent, Lopez would be eigth in these rankings, as he is one of the best offensive big men in the NBA and a strong defender. He just cannot stay healthy though. Lopez will become a free agent, but he won’t be paid like a max player and he won’t be signing with Brooklyn. I can see half the teams in the NBA being interested in him.

  20. Luol Deng, Miami Heat, SF, PO
    As a Chicagoan, I am a big fan of Luol Deng and I would love him on the Bulls again, but that isn’t going to happen, at least next season. It is likely Deng stays where he is next season, probably on the same contract.

  21. Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder, PG, RFA
    Reggie Jackson showed when Russell Westbrook was injured that he is a franchise point guard. Although Jackson has played well as a sixth man for years, he should be a starter and will be paid a lot of money this offseason, although not by the Thunder.

  22. Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks, C, UFA
    Chandler is aging, but he is still a franchise center. I cannot see Marc Cuban letting Chandler sign with another team twice.

  23. Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz, C, RFA
    Somehow Kanter is just 22 and is having his best season, but are the Jazz going to pay him? With big contracts given to Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, is Utah going to spend $10+ million on another big man when Rudy Gobert is on the bench making a fraction of what it will cost to re-sign Kanter? I see someone paying Kanter a lot more than what the Jazz want to this offseason.

  24. Omer Asik, New Orleans Pelicans, C, UFA
    The Pelicans will be giving Anthony Davis a max contract this offseason, but they should sign his frontcourt partner, too. Davis and Asik are one of the best rebounding and defensive big man duos in the NBA. Affording Asik is really the only issue, but I see him a Pelican next season.

  25. Thaddeus Young, Minnesota Timberwolves, F, PO
    Young can play the three and four, but is best as a small-ball power forward. There is a strong chance that he is traded this season, and it is very likely that he becomes a free agent looking for a bigger payday. Young isn’t long for Minnesota, but he would be an excellent fit on a number of playoff teams.

  26. Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers, C, UFA
    LaMarcus Aldridge will be getting $100 million this offseason from the Trail Blazers, and they will likely be giving Damian Lillard an $80 million max contract too. Can Portland afford to pay Lopez the $10+ million it will take to keep him? I see the Trail Blazers keeping him, as he is vital to the team, however it will probably cost them the next player on this list.

  27. Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers, SG, UFA
    Wesley Matthews is one of the better two-way shooting guards in the NBA as well as one of the best three-point shooters. If the Trail Blazers can, they should sign him, but I just don’t think they can. Signing four players to big-money contracts in one offseason just isn’t likely for Portland.

  28. Aaron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets, SG, PO
    Afflalo could be traded this season, but he is likely to become a free agent no matter what team he is playing for. Afflalo isn’t having as big of a season as he just had, but he is an excellent two-way player and one of the better shooting guards in the NBA. Oklahoma City would be a perfect fit for him.

  29. David West, Indiana Pacers, PF, PO
    West would be foolish to say no to the money owed to him next year, and with Paul George playing next season, I see West on the Pacers for at least one more season.

  30. Jeff Green, Memphis Grizzlies, F, PO
    Jeff Green is an excellent offensive player who fills a need for the Grizzlies as a go-to perimeter scorer, but he is likely to become a free agent. With Marc Gasol likely getting a max contract this offseason from Memphis and Mike Conley about to become a free agent, I doubt the Grizzlies will pay Green this offseason.

  31. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, PF, RFA
    Thompson said no to a lot of money from the Cavaliers in the offseason, and although he will be lucky to get the same (about $50 million) deal this offseason, they need Thompson and will pay him kindly, more so if Love doesn’t sign.

  32. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, G, UFA
    Ginobili will re-sign with the Spurs at a discount or retire. No more needs to be said, but if I had to guess, I would say he signs another contract.

  33. Josh Smith, Houston Rockets, PF, UFA
    Smith is playing well for Houston and is very close to Dwight Howard, so the organization is the likeliest team to sign Smith, but will he be looking for too much money? Smith will be getting a lot of money from the Pistons for years, so the Rockets will probably sign him for a discount.

  34. Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic, F, RFA
    Harris is a big part of his team’s core, as he, Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic are the foundation of the Magic. There is no chance Orlando lets him go anywhere, the only question is how much the organization will pay the scoring forward.

  35. Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland Cavaliers, C, TO
    Mozgov is perfect for the Cavaliers and has a bargain contract for next season; Cleveland will keep him.

  36. Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers, C, TO
    There is no chance that the Lakers keep Hill for $9 million next season. They are looking for as much cap space as they can, so Hill will be signing with another team.

  37. Kosta Koufas, Memphis Grizzlies, C, UFA
    Koufas is the best second-unit five in the NBA and will be looking for a starting job and a better payday. Memphis won’t be signing him and Marc Gasol, so Koufas will sign with another team.

  38. Brandon Wright, Phoenix Suns, C, UFA
    Wright is one of the best bench centers in the NBA, and as the Suns just traded for him and have Miles Plumlee available for trade, it is likely they re-sign Wright.

  39. Louis Williams, Toronto Raptors, PG, UFA
    Williams is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, so the Raptors should, and probably will, re-sign him.

  40. Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors, PF, UFA
    Amir Johnson is an excellent fit with the Raptors and is starting on one of the best teams in the NBA. I still think Toronto can do better at the four however and should find someone better. Johnson can still be an elite third big man, and the Raptors are likely going to re-sign him.

  41. DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks, SF, UFA
    Carroll is the one Hawks starter who won’t be in the All-Star Game, but he is still a vital player. There is little chance that Carroll isn’t re-signed by Atlanta.

  42. Ed Davis, Los Angeles Lakers, PF, PO
    Davis is making only $1 million this season, however his talent and numbers say he should be making $6-8 million. Davis will become a free agent who has little chance of re-signing with the Lakers.

  43. Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans, SG, PO
    On talent, Gordon is in the teens, but with inconsistency and injury problems, no team can trust him. However, that means little, as there is no chance he becomes a free agent. His contract is for $15 million next season.

  44. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Philadelphia 76ers, F, UFA
    LRMAM (that isn’t Mbah a Moute’s nickname, but I won’t spell it again) is an excellent defender, and a strong rebounder and scorer, who could be a very big piece on a contender, but I expect him to re-sign with the 76ers. Why? He is valued, gives veteran mentoring to a young team, his fellow countryman Joel Embiid is there and they are likely to pay.

  45. Jeremy Lin, Los Angeles Lakers, PG, UFA
    One thing I know about Lin is that he won’t be with the Lakers next season. Expect him to sign a multi-season contract to be a team’s second point guard and sixth man, and yes, the Knicks are an option.

  46. J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers, SG, PO
    Smith seems to be a strong fit with the Cavaliers, and no team is likely to give him more money than what he will make next season, so he is likely with the Cavaliers for at least one more season.

  47. Carlos Boozer, Los Angeles Lakers, PF, UFA
    Boozer isn’t going to be with the Lakers next season. He will probably sign a small multi-season contract with a contender to bring scoring off the bench (Mavericks?).

  48. Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets, PF/C, UFA
    Garnett won’t be with Brooklyn next season; he will retire or sign a one-season contract with a contender.

  49. Paul Pierce, Washington Wizards, G/F, PO
    Pierce is likely to play on his current contract next year, so expect him to have one more season with the Wizards and then retire. Basically, he has two more shots a title with an excellent Washington team.

  50. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks, PF, UFA
    Stoudemire could become a free agent in the next couple of weeks as he could come to an agreement where the Knicks buy his contract so that he can sign with a playoff team. He’s a free agent in the offseason though, so expect the same thing again soon. Stoudemire will probably sign a 1-year contract with a contender.

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