Who are the best NBA free agents of 2022?

Here are the best NBA players who could be free agents this summer originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

the 2022 NBA Playoffs are still in the middle of the second round, which means we’re not even halfway through the playoffs yet.

But the offseason is looming. And what an offseason it could be.

Not only the 2022 NBA Draft boast multiple contenders to be the overall No. 1 pick, but this summer’s free agent class is also expected to be stacked.

From superstars with player options to high-profile restricted free agents and more, here’s a look at the top players who could be available on July 1:

After Kyrie Irving drama. After one of the most bizarre seasons we’ll ever see from an NBA player, Irving must make a decision on a $36.5 million player option. Irving said he has no intention of leaving Brooklynand he can opt for a new agreement with the Nets to a maximum of five years, $246 million. But, from injuries to sabbaticals and being denied a vaccine, the 30-year-old point guard hasn’t exactly proven to be the most reliable player during his Nets tenure. So the big question here is what commitment is Brooklyn comfortable making if Irving steps down?

Zach LaVine is set for a huge salary increase. The two-time All-Star just signed a four-year, $78 million deal. Now he’s eligible for a five-year, $212 million deal with Chicago, which would more than double his average annual salary. And he deserves every penny. LaVine, 27, was one of four players to score more than 24 points per game while shooting at least 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3 in 2021-22. the bulls should put in the offer as soon as the free agency opens.

What year are we in the Bradley Beal won’t-he-leave-the DC saga? In-season speculation was much quieter in 2021-22 as the Wizards got off to a good start and Beal eventually underwent season-ending wrist surgery. But here we are again. If Beal, 29, turns down his $36.4 million player option, he would be eligible for a five-year, $248 million deal with Washington or a four-year, $179 million contract elsewhere. Beal, who indicated that he was inclined to re-sign in March, has 69 million reasons to stay in the nation’s capital. He could always make his way along the line if necessary.

During his introductory press conference as a Sixer, James Harden mentioned he would take a $47.4 million option. boy do it Sixers Hopefully he stays true to his word. Harden, 32, hasn’t been able to recapture the MVP form he showed as recently as last season. He’s still a fantastic enabler, but he’s no longer the deadly threat he once was. After recording at least 25 points in his first four games with Philadelphia, Harden has only reached that mark three times since. Are the hamstrings holding him back or is it just who Harden is now? If it’s the latter, the beard isn’t even close to being worth the $270 million five-year maximum. You would think that Daryl Morey and Co. would want another year of proof before having to negotiate a new deal.

5. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, restricted

the suns not locking up Deandre Ayton for a long-term extension before the October deadline was a stunner. by Phoenix reported refusal to offer Ayton, the five-year high of $172.5 million, helped the 23-year-old center become the first overall pick since Anthony Bennett not to sign a rookie extension (h/t athletics). Ayton continued to prove he deserved the most with his game this season as Phoenix appears on the way to another trip to the Finals. Yes, the Suns roster is getting expensive, but is owner Robert Sarver really going to cut corners on a title contender?

The Hornets reportedly offered Miles Bridges a four-year, $60 million extension, and the former No. 12 overall pick said he might have accepted the deal. if it wasn’t for his agent, Rich Paul, who talks him out of it. Well, Paul was right to believe in Bridges. The athletic forward has made a substantial jump in 2021-22, increasing his points-per-game average from 12.7 to 20.2 with shooting spreads of 49.1/33.1/80.2. Whether in Charlotte or elsewhere, the 24-year-old Bridges will earn more than $15 million a year under his next contract. In fact, some NBA executives believe he could land a deal worth $25 million or more a year, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

7. Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers, restricted

Anfernee Simons might have had the best contract year in the entire league. With Damian Lillard limited to 29 games, it was Simons’ show for most of the season – and he didn’t disappoint. Simons, 22, increased his points-per-game average from last season by nearly 10 points, from 7.8 to 17.3. He also did it effectively, shooting 44.3% from the field, 40.5% from 3 and 88.8% from the line. It would be surprising if Simons wasn’t back in Portland alongside Lillard in the backcourt next season.

8. Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, unrestricted

Jalen Brunson earned around $6 million during his four-year NBA career. He could win more than triple in the next season alone. The former second-round pick is enjoying a career year with the Mavericks. He had 16.3 points and 4.8 assists in 31.9 minutes per game (all career highs) with impressive shooting spreads of 50.2/37.3/84.0 in the regular season. And Brunson improved his play even more in the playoffs, averaging more than 23 points per game. Dallas would have didn’t even offer Brunson the four-year, $55 million extension he was entitled to before this season. Now it will take a lot more than that to keep the 25-year-old in a Mavs uniform.

9. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers, restricted

Collin Sexton was Cleveland’s best player last season, scoring 24.3 points per game on 47.5/37.1/81.5 shooting ranges. But just 11 games into his 2021-22 campaign, the lightning-fast keeper went down with a season-ending torn meniscus. While Sexton was sidelined, Darius Garland solidified himself as the face of the franchise as Cleveland enjoyed its first winning season since 2017-18. So where does that leave the 23-year-old Sexton? Does Cleveland consider him enough of a fit next to Garland in the long-term backcourt to give him a big deal? Even after his injury, Sexton’s talent is worth betting on. It just remains to be seen if the Cavs will be the team to make that bet.

10. TJ Warren, Indiana Pacers, unrestricted

Do you remember the burst of the TJ Warren bubble? Warren exploded for 53 points in his first game in the 2020 Orlando bubble and averaged over 26 points in 10 games overall. Unfortunately, it has been difficult for the swingman ever since. He appeared in just four games last season before undergoing season-ending foot surgery to repair a stress fracture and was also sidelined for the entire 2021-22 season. Warren is still on the right side of 30 and he had a solid showing in 2019-20, when he tallied 19.8 points per game on 53.6/40.3/81.9 separate shooting. If he’s healthy, he should have plenty of suitors.

Other notable players who could hit free agency:

Delon WrightAtlanta Hawks, unrestricted

Bruce BrownBrooklyn Nets, unrestricted

Nic ClaxtonBrooklyn Nets, Restricted

André DrummondBrooklyn Nets, unrestricted

Patty MillsBrooklyn Nets, $6.2 million player option

Montrezl HarrellCharlotte Hornets, unrestricted

Ricky RubioCleveland Cavaliers, unrestricted

DeMarcus CousinsDenver Nuggets, unrestricted

Marvin Bagley IIIDetroit Pistons, restricted

Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriorsunlimited

Gary Payton IIGolden State Warriors, unrestricted

Dennis SchroderHouston Rockets, unrestricted

John WallHouston Rockets, $47.4 million player option

Jalen SmithIndiana Pacers, unrestricted

Nice-Batum, Los Angeles Clippers$3.3 million player option

Isaiah HartensteinLos Angeles Clippers, unrestricted

carmelo anthony, Los Angeles Lakersunlimited

Monk MalikLos Angeles Lakers, unrestricted

Russell WestbrookLos Angeles Lakers, $47.1 million player option

Victor Oladipo, miami heatunlimited

P.J. TuckerMiami Heat, $7.4 million player option

Kyle AndersonMemphis Grizzlies, unrestricted

Tyus JonesMemphis Grizzlies, unrestricted

Pat ConnaughtonMilwaukee Bucks, $5.7 million player option

Bobby PortisMilwaukee Bucks, $4.6 million player option

Taurus PrinceMinnesota Timberwolves, unrestricted

Michael Robinson, New York Knicksunlimited

Mo BambaOrlando Magic, restricted

Gary HarrisOrlando Magic, unlimited

Jusuf NurkicPortland Trail Blazers, unrestricted

Donte Di Vincenzo, Sacramento Kingslimit

Lonnie Walker IVSan Antonio Spurs, restricted

chris butcherToronto Raptors, unrestricted

Joe InglesUtah Jazz, unrestricted

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