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2018 Free Agent Rankings: Cs

Friday, June 29, 2018


The top-10 point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards have already been ranked. Today, we close out the series, by examining the top-10 centers set to enter the free agent market in July.

 

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1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (team option):
Jokic recorded ten triple-doubles this past season and has a total of 16 since the start of 2016-17. The only three players with more trip-dubs over this stretch are Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James. The Nuggets have reportedly declined Jokic's option for the 2018-19 season in order to offer him a max deal. Jokic is expected to sign a five-year, $146.5M maximum contract to stay in Denver.


2. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans:
It will be fascinating to see what type of offers Cousins has to choose from next month. Based on talent alone, he’s as deserving of a max contract as any center in the NBA. However, he’s coming off a debilitating Achilles injury that has been career-crippling for other players. The most likely scenario is a return to the Pelicans, as New Orleans wouldn’t be able to replace him if he left via free agency.

 

3. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets (restricted):
Capela was incredibly efficient and effective for the Rockets last season. He led the NBA in field goal percentage (.652), ranked second in blocks (1.9), and eighth in rebounding (10.8). Capela will likely receive max offers this summer, but it would be surprising if Houston decided not to match. He is too valuable to the organization to let walk away. The Rockets were 42-3 when Capela, James Harden, and Chris Paul played together during the regular season and 23-14 when they didn’t.


4. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (player option):
Prior to 2017-18, Jordan had led the NBA in field goal percentage each of the five previous seasons, a feat matched only by Shaquille O'Neal (1997-02) and Wilt Chamberlain (1964-69). However, Jordan finished second in FG percentage this past season, and also finished second in rebounding. He has played 750 games for the Clippers, the most in franchise history. Whether or not he plays another game as a Clipper may depend on whether or not he exercises his $24.1 million player option.

 

5. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers (restricted):
Nurk was frustratingly inconsistent for much of the regular season, but saved his best ball for the final month. Over the final 19 games of the 2017-18 campaign, Nurkic averaged 15.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks, while shooting 57.5% from the field. Still just 23 years of age, he has yet to enter his prime. How much might a team be willing to gamble that he can take his game to another level?


6. Brook Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers:
After the trade that sent him from BK to L.A., Lopez had to adjust from being the focal point of the Nets offense in Brooklyn, to almost an afterthought for the Lakers in Los Angeles. After averaging 15.6 field goal attempts in 29.6 minutes per game during his final season in Brooklyn, BroLo attempted just 10.7 shots in 23.4 minutes in Los Angeles. Lopez will look to secure a more suitable situation this summer, which could lead to a bounce-back campaign in 2018-19.


7. Enes Kanter, New York Knicks (player option):
Kanter has said he will wait until Friday night before deciding whether or not to opt into the final year of his contract. However, it is extremely unlikely he’d be able to find a team willing to come anywhere close to matching the $18.6 million he’ll earn if he opts in. He averaged 14.1 points (on 59.2 percent shooting) and 11.0 rebounds, but was a sieve on the defensive end.


8. Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks:
Noel was a restricted free agent last summer but settled for a one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer with Dallas, hoping he’d be able to prove himself in 2017-18 and cash in this summer. Instead, Noel's stock has plummeted after a disastrous season. He missed three months due to a thumb injury and then was suspended for the final five games of the season due to a drug violation. When he was able to play, he was mostly inconsistent and/or in coach Rick Carlisle’s doghouse. However, Noel has shown flashes of promising upside over his first few years in the league.

 

9. Alex Len, Phoenix Suns:
Len was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but has yet to fulfill his potential over the first five years of his career. He’s appeared in 293 games over the last four seasons and has averaged 8.0 points (on 48.8 percent shooting), 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. With the Suns drafting center Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Len’s days in Phoenix have likely come to an end.

 

10. Kyle O'Quinn, New York Knicks (Player Option):
O'Quinn has reportedly declined his $4.2 million player option for the 2018-19 season and will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent next month. He averaged just 18 minutes a night last season, but was still able to average 7.1 points, 6.1 boards, 2.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.5 steals. There have been rumors that the Warriors might be interested in adding him to their stacked roster.


Best of the Rest:
* Aron Baynes, Boston Celtics
* Amir Johnson, Philadelphia 76ers
* Greg Monroe, Boston Celtics
* Zaza Pachulia, Golden State Warriors
* Brandan Wright, Houston Rockets
* Jahlil Okafor, Brooklyn Nets
* JaVale McGee, Golden State Warriors

 




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