With the NBA Trade Deadline approaching, we have already had major transactions from around the league. With James Harden being sent to the Brooklyn Nets early this season, we have also received buzz around the idea of Bradley Beal being traded from the Washington Wizards. The main contenders are valiantly scanning the league in an attempt to help solve their championship puzzle, but time and time again, it doesn’t work out that way.
Instead, some teams will find themselves investing in buyouts around the league. This year, rumors are surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers’ Andre Drummond and his future in the NBA. After that, however, front offices will look towards who is available on the open market.
While there won’t be any major contributors remaining in free agency, there are some talents who could fill a role either temporarily or long-term.
5. C Kyle O’Quinn
He won’t be an All-Star, but O’Quinn was a solid contributor when he has had the opportunity to play. He has met and surpassed some of the expectations he came into the league with. After all, he was only drafted in the second round with the 49th overall pick.
Despite being a solid bench piece, O’Quinn was unable to find a spot in the league during the offseason. The 30-year old opted to sign overseas and is currently signed with the Fenerbahce men’s basketball team in Europe.
O’Quinn has played just 64 minutes across six games and has scored in 12-of-18 attempts to go with 15 rebounds. He should be trusted to re-enter the league and deliver just what you’d expect.
Potential Fits: New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers
4. G Emmanuel Mudiay
Unlike O’Quinn, Mudiay entered the league with some relatively high expectations. After being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the first round with their 7th overall pick in 2016, many expected Mudiay to slide right into the league and fit in as a solid point guard.
However, aside from being elected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, he hasn’t accomplished anything significant to this point. Mudiay, 25, still holds plenty of talent to be successful. He maintains the skills that could truly be harnessed to make him a contributor off the bench. He hasn’t found his comfort zone, but on the right roster, he could turn some heads.
Potential Fits: Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers
3. G Jamal Crawford
Crawford is informally listed as a retired player, but the 40-year old still hasn’t officially announced his retirement. He made a cameo appearance last season for the Brooklyn Nets, but hasn’t been heard from since.
He has never been considered elite, but Crawford can be counted on to come in and deliver what you expect of him. He can offer solid, yet limited minutes off the bench if needed. Based on common sense, Crawford would likely only sign with a contender. Still, there is a chance that the veteran takes the first opportunity that comes his way.
Potential Fits: Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks
2. G/F Kyle Korver
The future of Kyle Korver in the NBA is uncertain. The 39-year old last played during the 2019-20 season. He played just 58 games while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. His impact is certainly minimal at this point, but Korver shouldn’t have an issue sliding into a needed role for any team.
Korver is one of the better three-point shooters in NBA history, and while he isn’t the same player, he is still valuable to interested teams. To this point, Korver has not stated whether he has retired. In today’s NBA, is it really possible to have enough shooting talent?
Potential Fits: Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz
1. G Jeremy Lin
Social media is full of fans writing off Lin, but he still holds value in the current free agency market. Once regarded as ‘Linsanity’ with the New York Knicks, Lin possesses the necessary skills to be a solid contributor off the bench.
He has shown a desire to return to the league and is currently playing with the Warriors’ G League team. To this point, he is averaging 20 points and six assists per game while shooting 50% from the field. No one is expecting Lin to come back to the main stage and deliver those types of numbers, but he is a veteran who has no problem elevating those around him on the court.
Potential Fits: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat