The upcoming NBA free agents 2022 class isn’t exactly stacked with young talents. If anything, we’re mostly seeing veterans and former All-Stars who could either force their way out of their teams or sign a big extension and give up on contending for a championship.
Most NBA players hitting free agency often favor money. But with more veterans trying to chase a ring and join a contender, this season could be slightly different. Needless to say, that will also depend on how much money said player would have to give up.
Upcoming NBA free agents 2022
The list of NBA free agents 2022 is somewhat underwhelming. But that doesn’t mean that some of the biggest names in the game couldn’t switch teams via sign-and-trade or just walk away from a big payday. Here, we take a look at the 10 best NBA free agents after this season.
10. John Wall
John Wall didn’t play a single minute last season despite being fully healthy. He’s been a rare sight on the court since signing a massive contract extension with the Washington Wizards, and that contract will be considered one of the worst deals in major sports history.
It’s unclear and unlikely that Wall will go back to his All-Star level after such a long layoff. But he could still be a solid contributor to a contending team even if it’s coming off the bench. That, assuming he’s willing to decline his $42,782,880 player option for next season. If not, he’s looking at a buyout.
9. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony was one of the few bright spots on the Los Angeles Lakers last season. While he’s no longer the All-Star, dominant scorer he once was, he proved that he can still be efficient in a limited role and that he’s willing to come off the bench.
While we wouldn’t rule out another year with the Lakers to pursue a ring with LeBron James, Anthony could gauge some interest around the league. He’d add another scoring punch off the bench at a big discount, and he’d get the chance to retire as a champion.
8. Mo Bamba
It’s safe to say that Mo Bamba hasn’t been nearly half as good as NBA scouts thought he’d be. But he showed glimpses of that dominant defense last season and he’s still pretty young. Also, it’s not like the Orlando Magic ever put him in a position to succeed.
Bamba will be a restricted free agent and unlikely to draw a big payday, so the Magic could still match an offer and bring him back. But if they decide to roll with Chet Holmgren with the first-overall pick, then they might just let him go.
7. Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo is one of the most intriguing upcoming NBA free agents 2022. He proved that he can still be a solid two-way contributor, yet Erik Spoelstra won’t let him out of the doghouse. If anything, his days with the Miami Heat are numbered.
Oladipo’s health will always be a concern. But he could sign a short-term deal to prove his worth and that he can stay healthy. He can start or come off the bench, can play at both guard spots, and is a versatile, switchable defender. He’d be a great pickup depending on his asking price.
6. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook needs to redeem himself before it’s too late. But he may not have the chance to do so with the Lakers, which could be a blessing in disguise for him. He wasn’t a good fit with their roster and should be as interested in leaving as they are in getting his salary off their books.
There’s no way Westbrook will turn down that $41,358,814 player option he has for next season. The Lakers will either have to attach a first-round pick in a trade, discuss a buyout, or even waive him. So, where will he play next season? That’s the real question.
5. Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton doesn’t feel valued by the Phoenix Suns and who could blame him? He played 17 minutes in a Game 7 of a playoff series and the team lowballed him with a contract extension. He’ll be a restricted free agent but his chances of coming back are quite slim.
Old-school big men are a dying breed in this league, but Ayton is too good, too young, and too much of a physical specimen to pass on. The Suns could match any offer for him and work on a sign-and-trade, or just let him walk away for free.
4. Bradley Beal
For years, people have wondered when Bradley Beal will decide that enough is enough. The Washington Wizards have failed to compete over and over and he’s pretty much wasting his prime in the nation’s capital. But hey, who would turn down $35,073,168? Not you, not me, and definitely not him.
But Beal will continue to be at the center of multiple trade rumors next season. He was reportedly pretty close to being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers last season before getting hurt. So, if the Wizards struggle early in the season, he might well switch sides once and for all.
3. Zach LaVine
The Chicago Bulls sure hope that Zach LaVine agrees to sign a max contract extension with them. They can offer him the most money and perhaps the biggest offensive role among all of his suitors. However, the word around the league is that he’s not so sure about his future in the Windy City anymore.
LaVine has made great strides as a scorer, leader, and ball-handler. He can score from all three levels, is young, and is one of the most athletic players in the league. His defense continues to be questionable and so is his ability to win at the highest level, but he’s still due for a massive payday this summer.
2. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is as unpredictable as they come. He’s said that he wants to stay with the Brooklyn Nets, but he also said that about the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Moreover, the team isn’t so sure about signing him to a max contract extension, and it’s hard to blame them at this point.
Irving has a player option for next season worth $34,122,650. But if the Nets refuse to sign him to a max contract, some fear he could opt out of that final year out of spite. That could also lead to Kevin Durant‘s departure, and while it sounds slightly far-fetched, Irving has proven that money isn’t his biggest motivation.
1. James Harden
James Harden has a player option worth $42,782,880 next season and is also eligible to sign a max contract extension. Judging by what he’s shown over the past couple of years, that would be a massive mistake, as he’s no longer the dominant scorer he once was.
Harden could choose to take less money and help the Sixers build a competitive team. But he’s never cared about anything other than him and having a good time. Daryl Morey has a tough call to make, but Harden is his guy so he’s most likely going to cave into his financial demands.