Checking in with NBA’s Best Remaining Free Agents

Technically, most of this year’s top free agents remain unsigned. Until the moratorium in effect at the start of the 2022/23 competition year at 11:01 am Central time on July 6, most of them will not be eligible to sign their new contracts.

However, in the past 40 hours, 40 of the players from our list of the 50 Best Free Players of 2022 have taken themselves off the market by signing contracts with teams from across the league.

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

While these are only tentative deals and can still fall apart, that usually doesn’t happen more than once or twice in any given off-season, so it’s safe to lock in those deals for now and assume those free agents from the be plate.

So who leaves that behind? As of Saturday morning, here are the best free agents from our top 50 list (last updated on Tuesday) yet to agree to new deals:

  1. James HardenG, Sixers
  2. Deandre AytonC, Suns (RFA)
  3. Miles BridgesF, Hornets (RFA)
  4. Collin SextonG, Cavaliers (RFA)
  5. Cody MartinF, Hornets (RFA)
  6. Caleb MartinF, Heat (RFA)
  7. Dennis SchroederG, Missiles
  8. Montrezl HarrellC, Hornets
  9. Jordan NworaF, Bokken (RFA)
  10. TJ WarrenF, Pacers

Four of our top nine free agents remain on the board, but there are a few caveats worth considering. For example, Van Harden is generally expected to join the sixers – it’s just a matter of the two sides figuring out how many years and dollars he gets. The two sides are reportedly meeting this weekend to negotiate his new contract.

Bridges’ contributions on the field made him one of our top free agents this season when we published our first list, but if we rearranged the available players today, he would plummet. After being arrested over domestic violence allegations, Bridges was formally charged Friday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (story via ESPN), and his NBA future is up in the air.

Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer wrote on Friday that a long-term deal for Bridges, which seemed like a mere formality a few days ago, now seems highly unlikely. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link) has sources that believe that the hornets will pull their qualifying offer of $7.9 million to Bridges, making him an unlimited free agent. The 24-year-old is currently toxic, and for good reason.

Of the eight other players mentioned above, four are limited free agents, which will reduce their leverage to negotiate favorable multi-year 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 related to the Kevin Durant trading market — if the Sun tanning Durant, Ayton could be an important 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 associated with the former No. 1 overall pick.

It remains unclear which teams could attempt the cavaliershand on Sexton. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), Cleveland still has about $15MM of breathing room under the luxury tax limit. It’s possible the club could bring Sexton back and stay off the load if no rival cap-space suitors are willing to chase the 23-year-old guard.

Harrell has legal issues of his own, although the marijuana charges he faces are likely to be viewed by teams as much less troublesome than Bridges’s charges.

Warren, meanwhile, is a bit of a wild card. On merit alone, he would have been much higher on our first list, but the fact that he’s essentially missed two full seasons due to injuries made me wary of putting him too high – it seems his long-standing resignation potential offers suitors pause as well.

The following free agents have been honored with our top-50 list and have not yet been discussed:

  • LaMarcus AldridgeF/C, Nets
  • Carmelo AnthonyF, Lakers
  • Bismack BiyomboC, Suns
  • Avery BradleyG, Lakers
  • Thomas BryantC, Wizards
  • Facundo CampazzoG, Nuggets
  • DeMarcus CousinsC, Nuggets
  • Goran DragicG, Nets
  • Dwight HowardC, Lakers
  • Serge IbakaF/C, Bucks
  • Jeremy LambG/V, Kings
  • Markieff MorrisF, Heat
  • Austin RiversG, Nuggets
  • Tristan ThompsonC, Bulls
  • Hassan WhitesideC, Jazz

Here are our full lists of free agents by position/type and by team.

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