With the NBA season set to return next month, teams are looking to bolster the backend of their rosters with a variety of veteran players remaining unsigned.
The Los Angeles Lakers just signed J.R. Smith earlier today after starting shooting guard Avery Bradley announced he was sitting out the rest of the season due to concerns regarding the coronavirus. Smith played alongside LeBron James in Cleveland during their championship run in 2016, and will look to provide much needed three-point shooting for Los Angeles.
Although J.R. hasn’t played at all this season, he has released footage of his workouts on social media this offseason, and will likely carve out a solid bench role alongside Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. With this signing, the Lakers are probably not in the running for another free agent piece, but there are still a bunch of high profile names out there that could help teams with championship aspirations take the next step.
Best Available Option
The ultimate homerun option, center DeMarcus Cousins remains one of the most polarizing talents in basketball, as he’s been as dominant as anyone in the game when he’s healthy.
The Lakers released him back in February after he was slated to miss the majority of the season due to a torn ACL suffered last summer. However, now that he’s been medically cleared, a team with nothing to lose will likely make a move for the 29-year-old former all-star, as he still has the potential to get you a double-double each and every night.
He is the one true wildcard in this unremarkable free agent class, and could be a diamond in the rough for teams in need of a scoring big man.
Scoring Threats — Two Former Rockets
Gerald Green and Ryan Anderson are two other names that could help a variety of teams this summer, as they’re both high-volume three-point scorers who can get hot at any moment.
Anderson has seen his shooting fall off tremendously in recent years, as he made only 22% of his 3-point attempts dating back to 2018. However, Anderson still possesses interesting traits as a seven-foot stretch forward who can draw shot-blockers away from the paint in critical moments. He could be a solid emergency option for teams with limited front-court scoring options.
On the other hand, Green is a guy who can score in bunches and get hot at any moment, as he has the ability to reignite his team when the offense goes stagnant. He can create his own shot whenever he wants, and possesses elite athletic traits suitable for playoff basketball. Green is also a reliable wing defender and can help guard some of the league’s best forwards.
Both these players are only good for about 10-15 minutes a night, but could provide a potential spark off the bench for teams in the market for shooting.
Name to Look Out For
Formerly one of the biggest names in basketball, Joe Johnson, also known as Iso Joe, could be a sneaky pickup for teams in need of playmaking and scoring.
Back in his day, Johnson was considered the best one-on-one scorer in basketball, as he had the uncanny ability to get a bucket whenever his team needed him. Johnson was known for his mid-range game — a lost art in today’s basketball — as his pull up jumper used to be damn near unguardable.
Although he hasn’t played since 2018, Johnson has made his intentions of returning to the court clear this summer, and would love the opportunity to win a ring for the first time in his career.
At the ripe age of 39, it remains to be seen whether or not Joe has anything left in the tank, but basketball fans nationwide would love to see the veteran get one more crack at a playoff run, as he’s been one of the most underrated players of this generation.