Top 10 Free Agents 2019

Now less than one week away from the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14th, we are fast approaching 2019 NBA free agency.  On July 1st free agents from around the NBA will be able to sign new contracts and there is some top level talent looking to take their talents to a new city.  Here are some of the top player potentially available for the Mavericks to take this team back to the playoffs.

Top 10 2019 Free Agents

RFA – Restricted Free Agent
UFA – Unrestricted Free Agent
PO – Player Option
TO – Team Option
Career Earnings – Money earned by NBA salary through the 2018-2019 season, does not include 2019 Option amount.

 

Honorable Mention

There is a lot of really good up for talent this coming summer.  These guys may not be in the top 10 but any team that is able to sign any of these honorable mentions will well on their way to a great offseason.

Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Malcolm Brogdon, DeMarcus Cousins, D’Angelo Russell.

 

10. Julius Randle, New Orleans Pelicans

Randle

Type Age  2018 Salary   2019 Option   Career Earnings 
PO 23  $8.6 M  $9 M  $22 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 73 30.6 52% 34% 73% 8.7 3.1 0.7 0.6 2.8 21.4
Career 311 28.5 50% 31% 72% 8.9 2.7 0.6 0.5 2.4 15.4

The 7th overall pick in 2014, Julius Randle has grown to be a handful for opposing defenders.  Randle is quick, athletic, and can handle the ball from end to end.  He has a good enough mid-range jump shot to make big guys come out and challenge him, then he hits them with a pump fake or crossover and takes them right to the rim.  Nearly 77% of his shots this season are taken from 10 feet or closer.  He is like a Zion Williamson who can’t dunk from the free throw line.

A big part of Randle being the 10th ranked free-agent and 2nd ranked Power Forward is the fact that he is only 23 years old, has proven he can produce, and has a ton of potential.  He is even from Dallas, he played at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano in 2013.  Playing for the New Orleans Pelicans this season he has erased any doubt that he is worth more than the $9 million player option he has for next season.  I think it is time for someone to give Randle a long-term deal and if it was the Mavericks who did it, I wouldn’t be mad at it.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS GmSc
3/15 POR 42 59% 29% 27% 11 6 2 3 7 45 31.4
11/19 SAS 25 69% 0% 100% 14 10 1 0 0 21 29.3
11/24 WAS 39 63% 33% 80% 15 7 1 0 2 29 28.6
12/3 LAC 39 63% 75% 57% 8 4 0 0 0 37 28.2
2/14 OKC 39 52% 67% 75% 11 6 1 1 4 33 27.1
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

9. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Vucevic

Type Age  2018 Salary  2019 Option  Career Earnings
UFA 28  $ 13.3 M N/A  $       56.5 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 80 31.4 52% 36% 79% 12 3.8 1 1.1 2 20.8
Career 536 30 50% 33% 74% 10.1 2.4 0.9 0.9 1.8 15.7

The casual NBA fan probably does not know about or thin much of Nikola Vucevic and the reason for that is that he plays for the Orlando Magic.  He is a really good scorer, rebounder, and passer but has been wasting 6 years in Orlando after being traded from Philadelphia as part of the Andrew Bynum deal that started the 76ers tanking process.  I would love to see what Vucevic could do with a team around him, the best player he has played with is probably Victor Oladipo, and that was in his first few years before the became the player he is today.

Vucevic is a legitimate 3 point shooter, great rebounder, can score in the low post and then defend on the other end.  To start the year I thought that the Mavericks may be able to a good deal on Vucevic because of the situation in Orlando.  But Vucevic had such a great year that Orlando had to keep him to pursue a playoff push.

He is put up big scoring totals while being extremely efficient, finished as the league’s 8th leading rebounder, 4th among Centers in assists per game with a good assist to turnover ratio, and is a solid rim protector at 7’0″ 260 pounds with 1.1 blocks per game.

I am not sure the Magic are going to come at Vucevic with a big offer as they are building around a core of Aaron Gordon (PF) who they just gave a big contract to, Mo Bamba (C) who they used a top pick on in 2018, and Jonathan Isaac (F) the #6 pick in 2017.  With all 3 of their core players being in the frontcourt I find it unlikely they will want to invest major resources in Vucevic since they are so far away from being contenders.  This seems like a great opportunity for the Mavs to swoop in and lock up a legitimate starting center for the next 3-4 years while he is in his prime.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
12/28 TOR 33 71% 0 0% 75% 19 8 2 1 30 36.3
10/20 PHI 38 67% 4 100% 100% 13 12 2 0 27 33.6
11/25 LAL 36 50% 3 38% 100% 15 7 2 3 31 31.5
3/3 CLE 36 81% 0 100% 13 6 2 2 28 30.9
11/18 NYK 32 67% 2 67% 100% 10 9 0 2 28 30
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

8. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

Kemba

Type Age  2018 Salary  2019 Option  Career Earnings 
UFA 29 $12 M N/A $58.7 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 82 34.9 43% 36% 84% 4.4 5.9 1.2 0.4 2.6 25.6
Career 605 34.1 42% 36% 84% 3.8 5.5 1.3 0.4 2.2 19.8

Kemba Walker is one of the best point guards in the NBA, especially on offense where he is just too quick and too tough that its unfair.  He has a devastating mix of lighting quick crossovers, step back jumpers, and acrobatic finishes that make even the best defenders look pathetic.

We know he is a big time clutch player from his unbelievable run at UConn to win 11 straight games and the National Championship in 2011.  He showed he still has the ability to go next level by his 60 point performance on November 17, 2018 in a loss against the 76ers.

Kemba had an incredible 2018-2019 season where he was 11th in the entire NBA in points per game and 3rd in total points scored thanks to him playing all 82 games.  Those 82 games were Kemba playing his heart out every night for a Hornets team who second best player is…umm…Jeremy Lamb? Batum? Tony Parker? He has only been in the league for 7 seasons but he is already the all-time leading scorer in Charlotte Hornets history.

I, for one, hope that Kemba takes this chance to get out of Charlotte and head somewhere that he can can have a real chance to compete and advance in the playoffs where he is at his best.  He has been highly rumored to be a Dallas Mavericks primary target this offseason. A trio of Doncic/Porzingis/Kemba would be a dominant offensive group that would be a ton of fun to watch for MFFLs worldwide.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL TO PTS GmSc
11/17 PHI 45 62% 6 43% 100% 7 4 4 9 60 43.7
12/29 WAS 36 62% 6 67% 63% 4 4 1 1 47 37
3/11 HOU 40 70% 6 100% 86% 10 7 0 4 40 35.8
2/2 CHI 37 44% 4 44% 93% 6 10 1 0 37 33.5
3/23 BOS 35 44% 6 46% 100% 11 9 2 2 36 32.9
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

7. Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia 76ers

Butler

Type Age  2018 Salary   2019 Option Career Earnings  
PO 29 $20.4 M $19.8 M $77.8 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 65 33.6 46% 35% 86% 5.3 4 1.9 0.6 1.5 18.7
Career 523 32.9 45% 34% 84% 4.9 3.5 1.6 0.5 1.5 16.7

Jimmy Butler will undoubtedly decline his 2019 option and look for a huge max deal this summer. Although Philly is right now seen as a temporary landing spot, it makes a lot of sense for Butler to start building a long-lasting rapport with their 2 young stars.  One of the game’s best two-way players and still in his prime, on paper Butler seems like a great fit next to Embiid and Simmons.

The 76ers have now also brought in another 1-year rental and upcoming free agent looking for big money this offseason, Tobias Harris.  Philadelphia is certainly all in for this season, currently fighting for their life against Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors and if don’t advance in the playoffs and the all the pieces don’t appear to fit, they may have some tough decisions to make this summer.

Butler is a 4x All-Star, 2x All NBA, 4x All Defense, and 2015 Most Improved Player.  There is no doubting Butler’s hard work, will to win, and effort but I do doubt that he is a great fit for the Mavericks.  The way Butler handled the Timberwolves situation by butting heads with the teams two young stars, Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and turning the team into a reality TV show gives me cause for concern.  Maybe it wasn’t his fault, and maybe he was treated unfairly but having him around Luka and Porzingis scares me.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
10/19 CLE 36 83% 1 100% 100% 7 3 4 2 33 37
12/7 DET 39 48% 1 17% 92% 6 6 3 1 38 35.2
11/25 BRK 37 55% 5 83% 100% 12 2 4 0 34 34
10/29 LAL 37 60% 6 86% 100% 6 4 1 2 32 29.8
1/17 IND 35 59% 1 50% 100% 5 8 3 0 27 29.2
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

6. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Middleton

Type Age  2018 Salary  2019 Option  Career Earnings 
PO 27 $13 M $13 M $59.5 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 77 31.1 44% 38% 84% 6 4.3 1 0.1 2.3 18.3
Career 455 31.7 45% 39% 87% 4.4 3.2 1.3 0.2 1.9 15.7

Khris Middleton is the second-best player on the best team in the entire NBA, the 60-22 Milwaukee Bucks.  With elite 3-point shooting and the ability to create his own shot and shots for others, Middleton is a very good offensive player.  He may not have eye popping steal or block numbers but he is 6’8″, long arms, and and plays 35 minutes per game on the team with the best Defensive Rating in the NBA.

This 7 year-vet, second round pick out of Texas A&M, can forget about that $13 million player option this summer, he is about to get paid!

Similarly to Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler, Middleton is eligible to make $32.7 million next season for a max contract.  It is hard to say whether or not Middleton is worth a max contract for the Dallas Mavericks but he seems like he would be a great fit alongside Luka and Porzingis.  He would feast off of open 3’s with Luka manipulating defenses, the same type of shots he sees right now next to Giannis in Milwaukee.  He may not be the sexiest name in free agency but if Middleton could contribute to the Mavs the same way he helps the Bucks, signing him could be a big win for Dallas this summer.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FGM FG% 3PM 3P% FT% REB AST STL PTS GmSc
3/28 LAC 33 16 64% 4 57% 100% 9 5 1 39 32.7
12/29 BRK 35 11 73% 4 67% 100% 4 7 1 29 29.2
10/22 NYK 35 11 79% 7 88% 50% 7 2 1 30 25.5
11/16 CHI 33 9 60% 2 33% 100% 10 8 2 23 23.5
2/23 MIN 33 10 56% 4 40% 100% 7 3 0 28 22.6
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

5. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Type Age  2018 Salary 2019 Option  Career Earnings
PO 26 $20.1 M $21.3 M $94.7 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 67 33 49% 40% 87% 5 6.9 1.5 0.5 2.6 23.8
Career 508 33.8 47% 39% 88% 3.6 5.7 1.3 0.3 2.6 22.2

2012 Rookie of the Year, 6x All-Star, NBA Champion, Kyrie Irving has racked up some impressive achievements in his first 7 years in the league, including what may be the biggest shot in NBA Finals history  He has some of the sickest handles EVER and finishes off the glass like few others even think about.  An absolute assassin that can get buckets any way he wants or can set up teammates for easy scores.  This guy is an absolute game-changer.

Remember, he has never signed a contract with Boston, he was traded after telling Cavs management that he wanted out after they lost in the 2017 NBA Finals.  The Celtics are a winning organization loaded with young assets and a top tier head coach but it appears that this may be the end of Kyrie’s run in Boston.  As with every big free agent, there are rumors he wants to try to be the one to bring championship basketball back to New York, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
11/16 TOR 39 69% 3 50% 67% 2 11 3 1 43 39
1/18 MEM 36 67% 4 67% 67% 7 11 0 1 38 34.4
2/23 CHI 41 58% 3 50% 100% 5 10 1 1 37 33.2
11/5 DEN 34 77% 4 67% 100% 5 5 3 1 31 30.6
11/8 PHO 43 46% 6 46% 100% 7 6 3 1 39 30.4
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

4. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Klay

Type Age  2018 Salary   2019 Option  Career Earnings
UFA 29  $19 M  N/A $78.8 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 78 34 47% 40% 82% 3.8 2.4 1.1 0.6 1.5 21.5
Career 615 33.1 46% 42% 85% 3.5 2.3 0.9 0.5 1.7 19.5

Klay Thompson is head and shoulders above any other shooting guard in free agency, he is the best scorer and defender available at his position.  He does not need the ball in his hands a lot to make an impact as we saw with his RIDICULOUS 60 points in 29 minutes with only 11 dribbles in a 2016 regular season game.

Klay is in his prime at 29 years old, played 6 full seasons, and is already 18th all-time in made 3s with 1,751.  If it wasn’t for Steph Curry there is a very real chance we would all be calling Klay Thompson the best shooter of all-time.  He has made the most number of 3s in a season by anyone other than Steph Curry and hes been doing it shooting 42% over his entire career.

It would not seem right to break up the Splash Brothers, but if Klay wants to try his hand at being a team’s top scorer we would welcome him in Dallas with open arms, and an open checkbook.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
10/29 CHI 27 62% 14 58% 100% 4 0 2 0 52 39.3
1/21 LAL 27 85% 10 91% 3 2 0 1 44 37
3/8 DEN 35 59% 9 82% 80% 3 4 2 1 39 33
1/8 NYK 34 62% 7 44% 2 0 2 2 43 32.9
2/27 MIA 37 61% 7 47% 100% 2 1 3 0 36 29.4
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

 

3. Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks

Porzingis

Type Age  2018 Salary   2019 Option   Career Earnings 
RFA 24  $5.7 M N/A  $18.7 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2017-18 48 32.4 44% 40% 79% 6.6 1.2 0.8 2.4 1.9 22.7
Career 186 31 44% 36% 80% 7.1 1.3 0.7 2 1.8 17.8

Porzingis has been extremely productive in his two and a half years in the NBA.  He is an elite shot blocker, elite shooter, and can create his own shot.  He is not the best rebounder for his size, but his offensive versatilit and shot blocking allow the Mavericks to pair him with a big body rebounder without clogging up the lane on offense.

He has shown to be a fierce competitor and someone driven to improve his game and he has shown big leaps in each of his first few seasons.

It is pretty easy to see why Porzingis did not want to be a Knick anymore.  He finally decided he does not want to spend his life playing for an ungrateful fanbase that boo’ed him on draft night.  Seeing these fans hold up their Carmelo Anthony jerseys in pride while boo’ing Porzingis is cringe-worthy. Then in June of 2017, Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson turned sour on Porzingis real fast and publicly had him on the trade market.  Now the Knicks soon fired Jackson for his mind-boggling decisions but the fact remains that the New York Knicks franchise under Owner James Dolan is volatile, dysfunctional, and not Championship caliber.  Porzingis will be hoping that the Knicks can either sign or draft top level talent, something they have shown to be poor at aside from drafting Porzingis (give Phil Jackson credit), recently by passing on Dennis Smith Jr for Frank Ntilikina in the 2017 draft.

Hopefully now Porzingis will call Dallas home and we will be able to watch WonderBoy and the Unicorn go into battle together for years to come.

I am sure the Mavericks are confident they can retain Porzingis if they were willing to mortgage the future by give up Dennis Smith Jr and future first round picks to obtain him.  The Mavs have a lot to offer Porzingis.  Of course there is the opportunity to play with the brightest young star in the game, Luka Dončić.  We also have other very promising young talent in Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and the opportunity to spend time NBA legend and his basketball idol, Dirk Nowitzki.  Now that Porzingis is a Dallas Maverick they will be able to offer him the 5yr/$158M super-max deal rather than the 4 yr/$117M that any other team can offer.  As a restricted free agent the Mavs could either just match any teams offer or just choose to offer him the 5 year super-max themselves.

2017-2018 Top Games
Date Opp FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS GmSc
11/5 IND 63% 2 50% 89% 8 1 0 6 1 40 34.3
12/12 LAL 54% 5 63% 80% 11 1 1 5 3 37 29.5
11/3 PHO 59% 1 50% 77% 7 0 1 3 2 37 29.2
11/11 SAC 52% 4 67% 89% 5 2 0 2 0 34 27.2
12/30 NOP 50% 1 20% 88% 7 3 2 2 0 30 25

 

Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

2. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Durants

Type Age  2018 Salary  2019 Option  Career Earnings 
PO 30 $30 M $31.5 M $190.2 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 78 34.6 52% 35% 89% 6.4 5.9 0.7 1.1 2.9 26
Career 849 36.9 49% 38% 88% 7.1 4.1 1.1 1.1 3.1 27

I am sure many of you are surprised to see the back-to-back Finals MVP second on any list.  Kevin Durant is as good of a scorer as any player in NBA history.  He is the rarest combination of height, length, athleticism, and skill that renders defenders obsolete.  He is a 2x Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 2014 NBA MVP, 8x All-NBA, All-Star, 2x All-Star Game MVP, 4x NBA Scoring Champ, and 2008 Rookie of the Year.  Any team that signs Durant immediately becomes a team that wants to compete for an NBA Championship immediately.

I am one of the many NBA fans that were disappointed in KD’s decision to leave Oklahoma City to go to Golden State after the Warriors had just come back from 3-1 deficit to beat Durant and the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in 2016.  I was looking forward to the Warriors and Thunder, KD vs Steph, to be a great rivalry in the Western Conference for years but Durant deprived me of that by jumping ship and joining the team that just knocked him out of the WCF.  Now that is just me being a selfish NBA fan, I understand Durant has the right to make whatever decision he wants.  I’m no fool, if Durant decided he wanted to come play with Luka and Porzingis in Dallas I would be jumping for joy! Will he shock the world again and leave Golden State to blaze a new path?

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
11/29 TOR 43 58% 4 57% 92% 11 6 0 0 51 42.2
11/26 ORL 40 49% 4 40% 100% 6 9 2 2 49 38.2
10/26 NYK 36 71% 5 56% 100% 9 5 0 0 41 34.6
11/24 SAC 40 50% 2 25% 94% 13 7 0 2 44 33
12/23 LAC 38 53% 3 43% 80% 12 5 1 3 35 32.9
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

Kawhi

Type Age  2018 Salary  2019 Option  Career Earnings 
PO 27 $23.1 M $21.3 M $84.5 M
Season and Career Stats
Season G MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2018-19 60 34 50% 37% 85% 7.3 3.3 1.8 0.4 2 26.6
Career 467 30.8 50% 38% 85% 6.3 2.4 1.8 0.7 1.5 17.7

Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard’s numbers this year were very similar.  Durant scores slightly more than Kawhi with similar shooting percentages, he has more blocks per game , and more assists per game; Kawhi on the other hand has a slight edge in turnovers, rebounds, and steals.  Both players are elite Superstars that once on your team makes you an instant title contender.  A major factor in Kawhi Leonard being ranked above KD here is the fact that Kawhi is one of the best defenders this league has ever seen while still being an elite scorer.  Not to mention, if both are given max contracts, which is fully expected, Durant will cost about $6 million more per year than Kawhi simply because of Durant’s 10+ year NBA tenure versus Kawhi’s 8 years.  For more information on max contracts check out Everything You Need to Know About Mavs Free Agency.

Kawhi Leonard is an NBA Champion, Finals MVP, and 2x Defensive Player of the Year.  Everyone was wondering Leonard he would be the same player without Popovich and after taking nearly an entire year off from playing in the NBA. There is no doubt after this season with the Toronto Raptors that Kawhi has not lost a step. He is still the clutch, defensively dominant NBA superstar that the Raptors were hoping for as they finished as the 2nd best team in the league at 58-24 and have the star studded Philadelphia 76ers on the ropes in the Eastern Conference Semi’s.

I love the way Kawhi goes about his business on the court.  He is the silent assassin who is always fully engaged offensively and defensively, always plays hard, and knows how to work within a team concept.  He is the best perimeter defender in the league, he and Marcus Smart are probably the only NBA defenders I have seen turn an NBA game into a High School game by bullying the opposing ball handler to the point where they can’t even bring the ball up the floor.  To go along with that he can give you 27 points per game while being efficient from 3, at the rim, and at the free throw line.

We have “Cool Hand Luka” now lets get “The Claw,” grab the reigns of “The Unicorn” and soar to the top of the West.

2018-2019 Top Games
Date Opp MP FG% 3P 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK PTS GmSc
1/13 WAS 45 52% 3 50% 89% 11 5 3 2 41 35.7
1/1 UTA 35 73% 0 0% 77% 6 1 0 0 45 34.1
3/1 POR 34 64% 2 50% 100% 3 5 3 0 38 33.2
12/21 CLE 32 75% 2 50% 92% 6 1 1 0 37 33.1
1/8 ATL 35 61% 3 50% 86% 4 6 6 1 31 33.1
Highlight Videos

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

 

Other Free Agent Articles

Everything You Need to Know About Mavs Free Agency – detailed information on Mavs future contracts, cap space, and restricted free agents.

Top 10 Free Agent Centers

Top 10 Free Agent Power Forwards

Top 10 Free Agent Small Forwards

Top 10 Free Agent Shooting Guards

Top 10 Free Agent Point Guards

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