Technically, most of this year’s top free agents remain unsigned. Until the moratorium in place at the start of the 2022/23 league year lifts at 11:01 am Central time on July 6, most of them are ineligible to sign their new contracts.
However, within the last 40-ish hours, 40 of the players from our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents have taken themselves off the market by reaching contract agreements with teams around the league.
[RELATED: 2022 NBA Free Agent Tracker]
While those are just tentative agreements and could still fall apart, that usually doesn’t happen more than once or twice in a given offseason, so it’s safe to pencil those deals in for the time being and assume those free agents are off the board.
So who does that leave? As of Saturday morning, here are the top free agents from our top-50 list (which was last updated on Tuesday) who have yet to agree to new deals:
- James Harden, G, Sixers
- Deandre Ayton, C, Suns (RFA)
- Miles Bridges, F, Hornets (RFA)
- Collin Sexton, G, Cavaliers (RFA)
- Cody Martin, F, Hornets (RFA)
- Caleb Martin, F, Heat (RFA)
- Dennis Schröder, G, Rockets
- Montrezl Harrell, C, Hornets
- Jordan Nwora, F, Bucks (RFA)
- T.J. Warren, F, Pacers
Four of our top nine free agents remain on the board, but there are a couple caveats worth considering here. Harden, for instance, is widely expected to remain with the Sixers — it’s just a matter of the two sides figuring out how many years and dollars he’ll get. The two sides are reportedly meeting this weekend to negotiate his new contract.
Bridges’ on-court contributions made him one of our top free agents of this offseason when we published our initial list, but if we were re-ranking the available players today, he would plummet. After being arrested following allegations of felony domestic violence, Bridges was formally charged on Friday, per the Los Angeles Police Department (story via ESPN), and his NBA future is very much up in the air.
Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer wrote on Friday that a long-term deal for Bridges, which appeared to be a formality a few days ago, now appears very unlikely. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link) has sources who believe the Hornets will pull their $7.9MM qualifying offer to Bridges, making him an unrestricted free agent. The 24-year-old is toxic right now, and for good reason.
Of the eight other players listed above, four are restricted free agents, which will reduce their leverage to negotiate favorable multiyear terms, at least to some extent. However, Ayton, in particular, still seems like a good bet to land a lucrative long-term contract.
His situation may be tied to the Kevin Durant trade market — if the Suns can acquire Durant, Ayton could be a key part of the outgoing package in a sign-and-trade, either to Brooklyn or a third team. The Jazz and Pacers are among the teams that have been linked to the former No. 1 overall pick.
It remains unclear which teams might try to force the Cavaliers‘ hand on Sexton. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), Cleveland still has about $15MM in breathing room below the luxury tax line. It’s possible the club will be able to bring back Sexton and stay out of the tax if no rival suitors with cap room are prepared to pursue the 23-year-old guard.
Harrell has his own legal issues to deal with, though the marijuana charges he’s facing will presumably be viewed by teams as far less troublesome as Bridges’ charges.
Warren, meanwhile, is a bit of a wild card. On merit alone, he would’ve ranked much higher on our initial list, but the fact that he has essentially missed two full seasons due to injuries made me wary of placing him too high — it seems as though his lengthy layoff may be giving potential suitors pause as well.
The following free agents were noted in the honorable mention section of our top-50 list and aren’t yet spoken for:
- LaMarcus Aldridge, F/C, Nets
- Carmelo Anthony, F, Lakers
- Bismack Biyombo, C, Suns
- Avery Bradley, G, Lakers
- Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards
- Facundo Campazzo, G, Nuggets
- DeMarcus Cousins, C, Nuggets
- Goran Dragic, G, Nets
- Dwight Howard, C, Lakers
- Serge Ibaka, F/C, Bucks
- Jeremy Lamb, G/F, Kings
- Markieff Morris, F, Heat
- Austin Rivers, G, Nuggets
- Tristan Thompson, C, Bulls
- Hassan Whiteside, C, Jazz
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