Charlotte reportedly offered Miles Bridges a contract extension
worth $60 million over four years this past summer, which was
rejected. With Bridges exploding this season (averaging a
career-high 20.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists), the
Hornets' front office likely regrets not upping that offer, as the
stud power forward is now in line for a massive pay raise. He is
one of only five players in the NBA this season to have knocked
down at least 125 three-pointers while also averaging at least
20/7/3. The other five players are LeBron James, Luka Doncic,
Jayson Tatum and Karl-Anthony Towns.
2. Luguentz Dort — Oklahoma City Thunder — Team
Lu Dort established himself as one of the league's elite young
defenders early on in his career. This season, he has proven he is
also capable of putting up points on the offensive end. Before
undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery earlier this month, Dort
was averaging 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.5 made
three-pointers. Over his final eight games, he averaged more than
23 points a night. The Thunder front office has an interesting
decision to make. If OKC exercises its team option, Dort can become
an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023. However, he would
be eligible for a four-year extension worth up to $58 million in
that scenario. Dort would become a restricted free agent this July
if the option is declined.
3. Marvin Bagley III — Detroit Pistons —
A trade from Sacramento to Detroit has given Marvin Bagley a
much-needed opportunity to revive
his career. He has scored in double-digits in each of his last
seven games for the Pistons, and is averaging 16.0 points (on 56.7%
shooting), 7.3 rebounds and a steal during this current stretch.
According to Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com, "the most plausible
scenario — unless Bagley is completely sold on his long-term fit in
Detroit — is to sign a one-year qualifying offer to make him an
unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023."
4. Robert Covington — Los Angeles Clippers —
Robert Covington, who is now on his fifth team in the past four
years following the trade that sent him from Portland to Los
Angeles, has seen his production decline in recent seasons.
However, the 31-year-old RoCo is still capable of contributing on
both ends of the floor due to his 3-and-D skill set.
5. Jae'Sean Tate — Houston Rockets — Team
Undrafted in 2020, Jae'Sean Tate earned his way onto the NBA's
All-Rookie team last season by averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 boards,
2.5 dimes and 1.2 steals. Despite logging fewer minutes this
season, Tate has increased his scoring (12.3 PPG), rebounding (5.5
RPG) and assist (3.0 APG) averages. The Rockets can retain Tate for
the 2022-23 campaign by picking up a team option worth just $1.8
6. Nicolas Batum — Los Angeles Clippers — Player
It seems as though Nic Batum has been around forever, but he's
only 33 and has proven this season that he has plenty of treads
left on his tires. Although his stats don't jump off the page,
nearly everyone in the Clippers organization has raved about how
much Batum brings to the table — both on the court and inside the
locker room — as a respected leader. Los Angeles, playing without
its two superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, has greatly
exceeded expectations this season, and Batum, one of LA's most
valuable all-around players, is a significant reason why. He'll
have plenty of interested suitors this summer. Expect him to opt
out and cash in.
7. Chris Boucher — Toronto Raptors —
Chris Boucher is in the second season of a two-year, $13.5
million pact he signed in 2020. After averaging 13.6 points and 6.7
rebounds per game in 2020-21, his production and efficiency have
dipped in 2021-22. He shot 38.3% from downtown last season, but
that number has fallen below 29% this year, as his scoring average
has dropped to 9.1 points per contest. However, it's worth noting
that Raps are allowing just 105.3 points per 100 possessions with
Boucher on the floor, and that his Net Rating of plus-4.9 is tops
on the team, just ahead of Pascal Siakam (plus-4.5).
8. Thaddeus Young — Toronto Raptors —
Thad Young played well for Chicago in 2020-21 (averaging 12.1
points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in just 24 minutes a night),
but had spent most of this current season in and out of the Spurs'
rotation prior to being traded to Toronto in February. A consummate
professional who's well respected around the league, Young should
draw plenty of interest from contenders looking for a reliable vet
to bring off the bench.
9. Joe Ingles — Portland Trail Blazers —
Unfortunately, in late January, Joe Ingles suffered a torn ACL
in his left knee that ended his 2021-22 campaign. Over the past few
seasons, he has been one of the league's more efficient long-range
snipers (he averaged a career-high 12.1 points and 2.7 made
three-pointers per game in 2020-21); however, the Aussie swingman
will be 35 years old in October and working his way back from a
major injury to boot. On the bright side, Ingles' game was never
predicated on athleticism. He said last month he has "zero doubt"
he'll be playing in the NBA again.
10. T.J. Warren — Indiana Pacers —
T.J. Warren was a beast in the Orlando Bubble at the end of the
2019-20 season, when he averaged 31.0 points, 6.3 boards and 3.7
made treys. That said, he played just four games last season, and
hasn't set foot on an NBA court during the entire 2021-22 campaign.
He'll have to provide medicals to any team interested, but he's
still just 28 years old. Some team will likely roll the dice on a
one-year, make-good contract in hopes of Warren resurrecting his
Best of the Rest:
Otto Porter, Kyle Anderson, P.J. Tucker, Derrick Jones Jr.,
Carmelo Anthony, Hamidou Diallo (team option), Al-Farouq Aminu,
Andre Iguodala, Taurean Prince, Blake Griffin, Caleb Martin, Jeff
Green, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Cody Martin
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