Early NBA free agency rankings: LeBron James leads list of top 30 players who could potentially hit market

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1 LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers SF
Player option
There are no indications that LeBron James wants to leave Los Angeles (and decline his $51 million player option for next season), but if he desires a change of scenery he’ll immediately become the top free agent on the market. Still the face of the NBA, James will turn 40 years old next season but is still performing at an All-NBA level, and he would immediately turn almost any team into a championship contender.
2 Paul George Los Angeles Clippers SF
Player option
After the Clippers locked up Kawhi Leonard, an extension for Paul George was expected to be the next order of business. Here we are with the season almost finished, and the fact that no deal has been reached has raised some alarm bells. George is one of the best two-way players in the league, with the size and skill set to fit into any roster. If he hits the market, the offers will be robust.
3 Tyrese Maxey Philadelphia 76ers PG
Restricted
Tyrese Maxey was given the reins in Philadelphia after James Harden’s departure, and boy did he grab onto them. The restricted free agent could receive a max contract offer this offseason, which could be significantly larger if he manages to make one of the All-NBA teams.
4 Jrue Holiday Boston Celtics PG
Player option
Jrue Holiday will most likely stick with the Celtics, whether that’s exercising his $39 million option or negotiating a new, long-term deal. Arguably the best defensive guard in the league (not to mention a 45% 3-point shooter this season), teams would flock to Holiday’s doorstep if he decides Boston isn’t where he wants to be.
5 James Harden Los Angeles Clippers PG
Unrestricted
The market for James Harden will be fascinating to watch. On one hand, he’s burned bridges at his last three franchises prior to joining the Clippers. On the other hand, he’s proven that he’s willing to adapt his game to playing with stars — an intriguing quality for any contending team that might be interested. Despite the off-court drama, Harden is still one of the top guards in the NBA.
6 Pascal Siakam Indiana Pacers PF
Unrestricted
It seems to be a fait accompli that Pascal Siakam will re-up with the Pacers this summer, since they almost certainly wouldn’t have traded for him if there wasn’t some sort of wink-wink agreement in place. If there’s a shocking turn of events, Siakam would be an attractive option for any team looking for length, scoring, versatility and championship experience.
7 OG Anunoby New York Knicks SF
Player option
We always knew OG Anunoby was a very good player, but his impact with the Knicks has shown just how much of a missing piece he can be. Unfortunately for other teams, all signs point toward the versatile forward re-upping in New York.
8 DeMar DeRozan Chicago Bulls SF
Unrestricted
Somewhat surprisingly, DeMar DeRozan remained in Chicago at the trade deadline, which means he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. His lack of 3-point shooting is his lone offensive weakness, as he’s still able to put up over 20 points per game with relative ease. It will be interesting to see what kind of contract he’s offered, and if he’s willing to take a pay cut to join a championship contender.
9 Tobias Harris Philadelphia 76ers PF
Unrestricted
Tobias Harris has failed to live up to the dollar amount of his contract with Philadelphia, but he’s still an excellent third or fourth offensive option for a contending team. Whether that team is the Sixers remains to be seen, but he could thrive in a situation where the expectations are a bit more realistic in terms of both salary and role.
10 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Denver Nuggets SG
Player option
It’s nearly impossible to foresee a situation in which Denver parts ways with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an integral part to arguably the best five-man unit in basketball. If he somehow gets pried loose, KCP will have a line of contenders out the door.
11 Immanuel Quickley Toronto Raptors PG
Restricted
Let’s assume that the Raptors wouldn’t have traded for Immanuel Quickley had they not planned on matching any offers for him this offseason, but technically he could be available for the right price. The 24-year-old has thrived as a starting point guard in Toronto, nearly tripling his assist average.
12 D’Angelo Russell Los Angeles Lakers PG
Unrestricted
After his name was bandied about in countless trade rumors for the past few seasons, D’Angelo Russell couldn’t have asked for a better walk year, shooting a career-high from 3-point range on significant volume. Russell’s market will be interesting to gauge, as his scoring has never been a question, but his defensive shortcomings have caused him to be played off the court consistently in the postseason.
13 Malik Monk Sacramento Kings SG
Unrestricted
Malik Monk built off of last season’s success to become one of the frontrunners for Sixth Man of the Year, thanks to his microwave scoring and vastly improved playmaking. You can be certain that he’s going to command more than the $10 million he made this season, whether it comes from the Kings or someone else.
14 Grayson Allen Phoenix Suns SG
Unrestricted
An afterthought in the Damian Lillard trade last fall, Grayson Allen quickly became essential to the Suns offense as a floor-spacer, leading the NBA in 3-point percentage on six attempts per game. He’s cemented himself as a premier role player, and he should be paid accordingly this summer.
15 Bruce Brown Toronto Raptors SG
Team option
The team option on the second year of Bruce Brown’s contract stood out when he signed with the Indiana Pacers, and it’s even more interesting now that he’s with the rebuilding Raptors. If they decide that price is too steep and let him walk, Brown has already shown how valuable he can be to a championship team. Toronto may also choose to exercise the option, then look to trade Brown either in the summer or during next season to recoup some assets.
Unrestricted
A 40% 3-point shooter with defensive versatility will always be a hot commodity. It seems like Gary Trent Jr.’s time in Toronto may be coming to an end given their direction, and there are plenty of teams he can help around the league.
17 Buddy Hield Philadelphia 76ers SF
Unrestricted
Buddy Hield seems to be fitting in well in Philadelphia, but he’ll still have a decision to make this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Everyone in the league wants shooting, and Hield is one of the best in the business. He won’t have a shortage of offers.
18 Tyus Jones Washington Wizards PG
Unrestricted
One of the league’s top backup point guards, Tyus Jones got a chance to start regularly in Washington this season and he didn’t disappoint, curating a ridiculous a seven-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting a career-high from 3-point range. Whether it’s enough for another team to view him as a high-priced starter remains to be seen, but he’s going to have plenty of suitors either way.
19 Miles Bridges Charlotte Hornets PF
Unrestricted
The decision to sign Miles Bridges this summer wouldn’t come without criticism, but his production on the court for Charlotte has been undeniable — over 20 points per game for the second straight season.
20 Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors SG
Unrestricted
Having spent all 13 of his NBA seasons with the Warriors, it’s almost impossible to imagine Klay Thompson in a different uniform. But that’s a real possibility given his post-injury decline and Golden State’s current situation. Despite clearly not being at the same All-Star level, Thompson still has the ability to get scorching hot, and commands the attention of defenses even when he’s not hitting shots.
21 Nicolas Claxton Brooklyn Nets C
Unrestricted
Nic Claxton continued his progression as the Nets’ starting center this season, averaging a double-double to go along with two blocks per game. His timeline fits Brooklyn’s, but if the two sides can’t agree on terms, Claxton should draw a lot of interest throughout the league.
22 Malik Beasley Milwaukee Bucks SG
Unrestricted
Malik Beasley bounced back nicely from a subpar 2022-23 season, landing among the league leaders in 3-point percentage for a contending Bucks team. He likely earned himself some money with his performance, whether it comes from Milwaukee or elsewhere.
23 Patrick Williams Chicago Bulls PF
Restricted
Patrick Williams hasn’t exactly gotten the opportunity to spread his wings offensively, especially with the emergence of Coby White this season — yet another ball-dominant Bulls scorer. That being said, Williams shot 40% from 3-point range for the third straight season while playing solid defense, just a tantalizing enough combination to elicit a big offer sheet for the former No. 4 overall pick.
24 Isaiah Hartenstein New York Knicks C
Unrestricted
One of the best backup centers in the NBA, Isaiah Hartenstein proved he can also be an effective starter, only increasing his value heading into unrestricted free agency. In addition to his rebounding and finishing around the basket, Hartenstein is one of the best passing big men in the league.
25 Isaac Okoro Cleveland Cavaliers SF
Restricted
Despite being bumped from the Cavs’ starting lineup (when everyone’s healthy), Isaac Okoro turned in his best season yet, shooting nearly 40% from 3-point range — by far a career-high. Combine that with his usual brand of lock-down defense, and you have the type of wing that many teams covet.
26 Jonas Valanciunas New Orleans Pelicans C
Unrestricted
Jonas Valanciunas’ fit has been awkward in New Orleans with Zion Williamson healthy for most of the season, and his production has dipped accordingly. Traditional centers aren’t exactly in demand, but Valanciunas is still one of the league’s best rebounders and low-post scorers.
27 De’Anthony Melton Philadelphia 76ers SG
Unrestricted
Few players can do what De’Anthony Melton does on the defensive side of the ball while still being an above average 3-point shooter and capable facilitator. The 76ers were well below .500 without Melton on the court this season, so they might not want to watch him walk out the door this summer.
28 Caleb Martin Miami Heat SF
Player option
Caleb Martin hasn’t been the revelation that we saw in last year’s Eastern Conference playoffs, but he’s a vital glue guy and defender on a gritty Heat team. He’ll likely decline his $7 million player option and test the free-agency waters, where he should receive a substantial pay raise.
29 Nicolas Batum Philadelphia 76ers PF
Unrestricted
Though it doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, Nicolas Batum once again proved how important he can be to winning basketball as one of the few reliable 76ers outside of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. He’s the prototypical glue guy and, while he probably won’t command big money, he’ll be quite attractive to basically every contender.
30 Lonzo Ball Chicago Bulls PG

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