Ranking of the 30 Best NBA Free Agents in 2022

Top 30 NBA Free Agents in 2022 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The 2022 NBA free period may not be defined by player movement, but there is certainly a lot of talent, especially in the backcourt. Of the 30 free agents presented in this ranking, 13 are guards.

Free Agency kicks off on June 30, starting at 6:00 PM ET. Teams will be able to negotiate deals with free agents at that time, but won’t be able to make those deals official until July 6.

PO = Player option | RFA = Limited Free Agent

1. Kyrie IrvingBrooklyn nets (PO)

Irving has indicated that he wants to re-sign with the Nets and continue playing alongside him Kevin Durant† The contract length and value will be interesting to see after a tumultuous season for the Nets, including Irving’s stretch as a part-time player after he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

2. Bradley BealWashington Wizards (PO)

Beal is another star guard free agent expect a re-up with his current team† Beal can opt out of the final year of his contract and is eligible for a five-year contract of up to $245 million with the Wizards. Washington is the only team that can offer him such a deal.

3. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (PO)

Harden has had an uneven stint in Philadelphia so far, but if he decides to turn down his player option and become a free agent, the Sixers have little choice but to pay him what he wants. The Sixers can’t afford to lower their ceiling with Joel Embiid after sending Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first round picks for Harden on the trade deadline.

4. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

LaVine is the top player guaranteed to get his unlimited free agency on August 2nd. He helped the Bulls to their first playoff berth since 2017, racking up back-to-back All-Star rosters over the past two seasons. A max contract is probably in order for the 27-year-old.

5. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (RFA)

The Suns had the chance to sign Ayton for a rookie scale extension before this season started, but the two sides could not agree on the terms. Whether the Suns go deep into the luxury tax for Ayton to keep their core together in the long run is one of the bigger storylines of the 2022 outdoor season.

6. Jalen BrunsonDallas Mavericks

There is no other player in the playoffs who has earned more for himself than Jalen Brunson. He carried the Mavericks’ charge through most of their first-lap win at the Jazz when Luka Doncic sustained a calf strain. Brunson is now a critical part of the Mavs’ success and he won’t come cheap in bargaining time.

7. Miles BridgesCharlotte Hornets (RFA)

Bridges’ breakthrough year didn’t earn him the Most Improved Player award, but it will certainly help his wallet. The Hornets will be able to match any offer sheet Bridges can find on the open market and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they let him run. Big wings that can score and play with the ball are invaluable and Bridges has proven himself this season.

8. Anfernee SimonsPortland Trailblazers (RFA)

With CJ McCollum gone, Simons is the Blazers’ best backcourt partner for Damian Lillard† Whether or not Lillard is long for Portland, the Blazers would love to have Simons signed as a core piece going forward.

9. Collin SextonCleveland Cavaliers (RFA)

Depending on what happens to Ayton, Sexton may be the best restricted free agent likely to change teams this off-season. His injury allowed Darius Garland to take full control of the attack and while the Cavs need to add more talent, a small scoring guard isn’t really a necessity for them. A sign-and-trade for Sexton, similar to how the Bulls acquired Lonzo Ball, could be a way for Cleveland to fill a few needs and put Sexton in a better situation.

10. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trailblazers

Nurkic is a good player, a bona fide starter who can provide value on the post, on the glass and as a passer. His defense and perimeter shooting have kept him from ascending as one of the best big men in the league, but he will still have plenty of suitors this summer.

11. Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets

Brown was one of the few sources of stability for the Nets all year. He’s a guard, but he plays the game more like a game-making big man, setting up screens and doing short rolls when defenses send help to Durant or Irving. He’s also a great defender on a team that needs good defenders, so there’s a good chance Brown will get a nice reward this summer.

12. Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers

Monk was probably the only successful 2021 off-season signing by the Lakers, but is he getting too expensive for them now? He averaged 13.8 points in his career as he shot 47.3% from the floor and 39.1% on threes. The Lakers need marksmanship and athleticism, but they could be priced at Monk unless they want to go even further in the load for a team that didn’t make it through the postseason this year.

13. John Wall, Houston Rockets (PO)

Wall has only played 40 games in the past three seasons and has a $47 million player option. If he opts out or takes a buyout from the Rockets, he has plenty of opportunities to contribute elsewhere. Wall with a salary of $9 million is probably a lot tastier for teams than Wall with $47 million.

14. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers (PO)

Westbrook has the same $47 million player option as Wall, and after an objectively poor debut season in LA, the Lakers may trade him in to reshuffle their roster. If he agrees, it will be difficult for the Lakers to find a trading partner. If he opts out, he can find a new team and role that better suits his skills.

15. Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks (PO)

Portis took slightly less money than expected last summer after helping the Bucks win a title as an important reserve. He was solid again this season so getting out wouldn’t be the worst idea financially. Whether the Bucks would pay a lot to keep him remains to be seen.

16. Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee Bucks

17. JaMychal Green, Denver Nuggets (PO)

18. Joe Ingles, Portland Trail Blazers

19. PJ Tucker, Miami Heat (PO)

20. Donte DiVincenzo, Sacramento Kings (RFA)

21. Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat

22. JaVale McGee, Phoenix Suns

23. Montrezl Harrell, Charlotte Hornets

24. Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies

25. Andre Drummond, Brooklyn Nets

26. Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls

27. Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets (RFA)

28. Goran Dragic, Brooklyn Nets

29. Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons (RFA)

30. Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards

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