After a hectic few days, the 2022 NBA free agent period has slowed down. However, there are many quality veterans who will be looking to secure a contract with contenders, particularly those who have recently lost key players.
Here are the best places to sign top-free agents after you’ve already predicted where players like Deandre Ayton, Collin Sexton, and Dennis Schroder will end up.
Hassan Whiteside: Los Angeles Clippers
Whiteside was a league leader in rebounding, and blocked shots and has since become one of the best backup centers in the NBA.
Whiteside, who was a reserve for Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz last year, still managed to put up 8.2 points and 7.6 rebounds as well as 1.6 blocks. He shot 65.2 percent in 17.9 minutes.
Whiteside was eighth among all players who took four or more shots at the rim. He held opponents to 53.1 percent shooting. This rate was lower than the 53.1 percent that Myles Turner, Kristaps porzingis, Joel Embiid, and Anthony Davis recorded.
After Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year contract with the New York Knicks, the Clippers should be looking for a backup center for Ivica Zubac.
Whiteside would be able to serve as a rebounder/rim protector for a few minutes and not have to play an offensive role on a team that includes Kawhi Leonard and Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Norman Powell.
Whiteside signed minimum contracts last two years. It is crucial that Whiteside sign another veteran contract for the Clippers. They already have $191.8 million in committed payroll and are expected to be the most successful team in NBA history.
Austin Rivers: Minnesota Timberwolves
Rudy Gobert was traded to the Wolves, who now have the most impressive frontcourt in the NBA. However, they also lost the backcourt.
In the trade, Patrick Beverley was shipped to the Utah Jazz along with Malik Beasley. Josh Okogie, a free agent, left for the Phoenix Suns. Although the Wolves have signed Bryn Forbes, a sniper, they could still use another ball-handler or defender to make up the loss of Okogie and Beverley.
Rivers, who is just 29 years old, will be entering his 11th NBA season. Rivers has played in 60 playoff games, which is more than any other player. He would be a great addition to the team’s already thin bench after Gobert’s trade.
Rivers’ strength lies in his versatility. Rivers can play either a guard or a scorer depending on the situation. He also plays solid defense. He also made 37.0 percent of his catch and shoot three-pointers as a Denver Nuggets player last season.
Rivers can be a starter if D’Angelo Russell is unable to make it, which he did 18 times for the Nuggets last year. After his time with Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and James Harden, Rivers is used to sharing the court with stars. He’d be a great addition to Wolf’s locker room if they were to pursue titles in the future.
Minnesota’s Gobert trade was a huge success, but it also means that they will likely need Rivers as a second guard in their rotation.
Carmelo Anthony: Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony, 38 years old, has shown that he is still a reliable floor-spacer who can also be an offensive threat from the bench.
Anthony averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds last season, as well as 1.0 assists, career-highs of 0.8 blocks, and also hit 37.5 percent (37.5%) of his threes. Los Angeles needed Anthony’s outside shooting. Anthony still had a positive impact on the team in his 19th season, with a plus-2.0 swing rating (64th percentile) according to Cleaning the Glass.
Anthony should make it his priority to either stay with the Lakers or have a good time with the New York Knicks, as each year could be his last.
Ian Begley, SNY’s reporter, reported that Carmelo would be able to return and… spend his last year in the NBA.
The Lakers make a better basketball team than New York, no matter how tempting it may be to go back. Anthony can be offered a larger role by the Lakers, as Obi Toppin and Julius Randle are already playing power forward.
Anthony is just 307 points behind Shaquille Olson for eighth place and 1,711 points away from 30,000 career points. He will need to play a similar role as he did this season if he hopes to move up (Wilt Chamberlain still has 3,130 points in seventh).
Anthony will get to spend at least one year more with LeBron James while he is in Los Angeles. The Lakers could be a contender again if Joe Harris and Kyrie Irving are available from the Brooklyn Nets.
DeMarcus Cousins – Phoenix Suns
The Suns should grab the opportunity to sign Cousins, especially after losing JaVale McGee to the Dallas Mavericks in free agency.
The 31-year-old proved that he can still play last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets, and continues to be an offensive hub and a force on the glass.
Cousins averaged 21.6 points, 13.5 boards, 3.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per 36 minutes in 48 games last year. While he shot 55.4 percent from the inside, he also had a good three-point shooting percentage (30.3%)
Cousins could be an offensive option for the Suns, who have already signed center Bismack Biyombo as their defensive force at center. Cousins may not be able to play more than 20 minutes per night because of injuries he sustained over the last four years, but there is enough talent on the Sun’s roster that Cousins would not need to fill a major role.
Phoenix would have the four-time All-Star to give them the depth they might need at the center position.
T.J. Warren: Memphis Grizzlies
Bubble T.J. Warren remains the vision that NBA teams should strive for, even though the veteran forward missed nearly two seasons due to a stress fracture in one of his feet.
A team that is patient when he returns to the court and could use rotation wings? The Grizzlies.
Memphis is a talented team with enough talent to allow Warren to take his time getting back in shape. Kyle Anderson’s departure in free agency could mean Warren can be an important backup at both the forward and defensive positions.
Warren’s last healthy season saw him average 19.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals, and shot 53.6 percent overall, and 40.3 percent at three. Warren could be a starter for the Grizzlies if Jaren Jackson Jr., the starting power forward, has recently had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
Warren could also be offered a substantial portion or all of the $10.5 million allowances by the Grizzlies. Memphis, with its cap space, rapidly disappearing across the league, would offer Warren the best combination of winning, money, and role.