NBA Free Agency 2017: Breaking down the biggest needs, free-agent fits for each team

When NBA free agency kicks off at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday, the feeding frenzy for players will officially begin.

Thus far we’ve already seen a flurry of pre-free agency madness:
Chris Paul
is headed to the
Houston Rockets
,
Jimmy Butler
is now with the
Minnesota Timberwolves
and rumors have been flying about
Indiana Pacers
All-Star
Paul George
non-stop since he informed the team he would not re-sign with them in 2018.

Below is a list of every NBA team‘s free agency needs, along with some players who could fill those holes. 

Let the games begin.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Boston Celtics

  • Needs: Scoring wing, rebounding, big man 
  • Free agents who fit:
    Blake Griffin
    , Paul George,
    Gordon Hayward
    ,
    JaVale McGee
     

The C’s addressed a major need in the NBA Draft by selecting
Duke Blue Devils
‘s
Jayson Tatum
, a scoring wing who can create his own offense off the bounce. The team is also targeting Gordon Hayward in free agency, an All-Star who can do it all and has a polished game that would fit Boston well. The biggest upgrade needed is in the post, especially after seeing
Al Horford
struggle mightily as a rebounder in the postseason. Landing a physical big would do wonders to pack an extra punch in the post for the
Boston Celtics
to pair with Horford down low. Even JaVale McGee could fill a specific role in Boston.  

Toronto Raptors

  • Needs: Point guard, Shooting, Stretch Four
  • Free agents who fit:
    Kyle Lowry
    ,
    Serge Ibaka
    , J.J. Redick    

Interestingly enough, two of the potential three fits to fill Toronto’s needs were on the roster last season. Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry are free agents, and both are good fits to fill the team’s needs. If both remain in town, Toronto can upgrade its roster by adding outside shooting with a player like J.J. Redick. If both leave, however, Toronto will need both a point guard and stretch big man who can knock down shots from outside.  

New York Knicks

  • Needs: Point guard, 3-and-D player 
  • Free agents who fit:
    Tony Snell
    ,
    Andre Iguodala
    ,
    Patty Mills
     

Frank Ntilikina is the long-term answer for the
New York Knicks
, it seems, but the immediate answer is less murky. Can he become the Day-One starter? Maybe. But he’ll need someone to show him the ropes. Bringing in a guy who has been around the block like Patty Mills or even re-signing
Derrick Rose
both make sense for New York. Additionally, the Knicks could use a defensive overhaul. Tony Snell and Andre Iguodala could help New York, which already has its core of
Carmelo Anthony
and
Kristaps Porzingis
in place.
Thabo Sefolosha
could be a good fit, too, but his offense could give New York pause.  

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Needs: Shooting, ball-handling
  • Free agents who fit:
    Tyreke Evans
    , Kyle Lowry,
    Darren Collison
    , J.J. Redick 

The future in Philly lies in the hands of No. 1 overall pick
Markelle Fultz
, but the
Philadelphia 76ers
would be wise to surround him with veterans to ease him into his role. Tyreke Evans, Kyle Lowry, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison are all options who present different and unique benefits. I think Lowry would be the biggest coup. His game doesn’t resemble what Fultz brings, but he could be the best mentor of the four free agents mentioned. Adding a player of Redick’s caliber, too, would take a big load off Fultz’s scoring burden as a rookie.  

Brooklyn Nets

  • Needs: Shooting, talent
  • Free agents who fit:
    Dion Waiters
    ,
    Otto Porter
    Jr., Jonathan Simmons

The
Los Angeles Lakers
abrupty ended the
D’Angelo Russell
era in favor of Lonzo Ball, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet. Still just 21 years old, Russell is a playmaker who isn’t necessarily ball-dominant, which bodes well if the
Brooklyn Nets
want to add a playmaker off the ball. A player like sharpshooter Otto Porter or perhaps Dion Waiters would be big gets for the Nets. They won’t be good next season, but a Waiters-Russell core would be fun to watch, at least. 

— Kyle Boone  

CENTRAL DIVISION 

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Needs: 3-and-D, bench depth
  • Free agents who fit: Jodie Meeks,
    Patrick Patterson
    ,
    David West
    ,
    Omri Casspi
    , Brandon Jennings 

For the Cavs, this offseason is about one thing: getting ready for the
Golden State Warriors
.
LeBron James
played arguably the best basketball of his career in the Finals and it wasn’t nearly enough, largely because Cleveland was basically a D-League team with LeBron off the court. To that end, the Cavs need to do whatever they can this summer to bolster their bench —
Deron Williams
was a disaster in the playoffs,
Channing Frye
became unplayable and
Kyle Korver
is a free agent who the Cavs might not be able to afford. Targeting a capable forward (Cleveland reportedly had a deal for Cal’s Ivan Rabb fall through at the last minute during the draft) and a point guard are top priorities. Because of limited cap space, however, their options are pretty slim unless veterans are willing to take the minimum.  

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Needs: Shooting, bench scoring
  • Free agents who fit: Andre Iguodala, P.J. Tucker, Kyle Korver, C.J. Miles    

The
Milwaukee Bucks
took a huge step forward last season, led by the league’s Most Improved Player,
Giannis Antetokounmpo
. Milwaukee doesn’t want to do anything to mess with its young core of The Greek Freak,
Jabari Parker
,
Khris Middleton
and Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
, so they’ll look for ancillary pieces in the free-agent market, namely shooters to space the floor.
Thon Maker
and
Greg Monroe
create a nice two-headed monster at center, but the Bucks still need more pop off the bench.  

Indiana Pacers

  • Needs: Point guard, 3-point shooting, scoring (if Paul George is traded)
  • Free agents who fit: Jrue Holiday,
    Paul Millsap
    ,
    Danilo Gallinari
    ,
    George Hill
      

The Pacers are stuck between a rock and hard place, knowing Paul George won’t re-sign with them after the season, but also having little trade leverage. It’s in Indiana’s best interest to deal George, but they don’t want to get pennies on the dollar. Their offseason plan will become much clearer if they are able to swing a trade, but in any case the team will likely let
Jeff Teague
sign elsewhere and start building around young big man
Myles Turner
now that the rebuild appears imminent.  

Chicago Bulls

  • Needs: Small forward, shooting, defense
  • Free agents who fit: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,
    Jonathon Simmons
    ,
    Amir Johnson
    ,
    Jonas Jerebko
     

The
Chicago Bulls
are in an odd place, and much of their offseason strategy will depend on what they do with
Dwyane Wade
and
Rajon Rondo
. By trading Jimmy Butler, the Bulls have clearly signaled that a full rebuild is on the way — that’s not something Wade or Rondo is interested in at this point in their careers — so Wade and Rondo are certainly buyout candidates. Chicago’s young core of
Kris Dunn
,
Zach LaVine
and Lauri Markkanen is promising, and at this point the Bulls are just looking for solid pieces who fit Fred Hoiberg’s system to help bring the young players along.  

Detroit Pistons

  • Needs: Shooting, perimeter defense, bench depth
  • Free agents who fit: Justin Holiday, P.J. Tucker,
    DeWayne Dedmon
    , Nick Young    

The
Detroit Pistons
had a disappointing season as Stan Van Gundy continues to search for consistency in his lineup. With the exception of restricted free agent
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
, the Pistons are committed to most of their core through at least next season, so offseason moves will likely be of the minor variety, barring a big trade. Detroit hopes rookie
Luke Kennard
will add the shooting it desperately needs, but Van Gundy has said the team’s main focus will be guards this offseason. 

— Colin Ward-Henninger

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Washington Wizards

  • Needs: Bench help, forward, point guard 
  • Free agents who fit: Blake Griffin, Patty Mills, Shaun Livingston 

The
Washington Wizards
were excellent last season. They almost got a shot at Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals, but there was one consistency for them throughout that season that helped doom their playoff run: Their bench was a disaster.
Washington Huskies
‘s bench defense was an issue for most of the regular season and by the playoffs they couldn’t put anybody on the floor without getting ran off of it. In the second round, if Wall ever came off the court, it was basically a free run for the Celtics. So a solid backup point guard like Patty Mills or
Shaun Livingston
is a must.

However, Washington shouldn’t stop there if it wants to make the most of the talent it has. Wall has been recruiting Paul George for 2018, but to get him any earlier would require a trade. The Wizards can still go after a big name, and someone that would fit in well with what they do is Blake Griffin. Adding Griffin would make Washington an immediate contender in the East and the Wizards should at least be trying to get their foot in the door on those types of conversations.

The Wizards don’t need much, but a solid summer would do wonders in their hopes of making it to their first conference finals since the 70s.

Atlanta Hawks

  • Needs: Shooting, shooting guard, small forward, youth 
  • Free agents who fit: Omri Casspi, Dion Waiters 

The
Atlanta Hawks
showed last year that they can’t continue to be a 3-point shooting team without shooters. They can fire as many 3s as they want, but if the shots aren’t falling then it’s just going to lead to bad offense. Atlanta will need to take a look at its wing with Kyle Korver gone,
Kent Bazemore
not turning out the way they wanted and the future of Tim Hardaway, Jr. in doubt. The Hawks can still salvage an OK team next season depending on what happens with Paul Millsap, but if their wing players can’t shoot then, there’s no point.

This means going after guys like Omri Casspi or Dion Waiters — someone that won’t break the bank in free agency and can shoot the ball. Casspi is the better fit offensively, but Waiters has grown into more than just a gunner the last few seasons. Waiters provides a defensive presence that the Hawks want from all their wings so he might be the best option for them.

However, if Paul Millsap leaves in free agency then it might be time to tear down the roster. The Hawks already cleared out
Dwight Howard
just to get rid of him. This is a team on the verge of tanking or mediocrity. If they go the rebuilding route then it doesn’t matter if their wings can shoot or not. Go out and sign youth that can develop later on and build a new era of Hawks basketball. This means giving up on the playoff streak, but sometimes a tear down is necessary to continue progress.

Miami Heat

  • Needs: Big name, shooting, forward 
  • Free agents who fit: Gordon Hayward, Otto Porter Jr., J.J. Redick 

The
Miami Heat
are going to swing hard in free agency, and that’s exactly what they should be doing. They already have a decent collection of young assets like
Josh Richardson
and
Justise Winslow
. They proved last season that, no matter how hard they try, an Erik Spoelstra-coached team is incapable of tanking. This leaves Miami stuck in the position of needing to add high-level talent in free agency to avoid falling into mediocrity. If the Heat do swing on those types of players then they’ll need to go after shooters and forwards to try and round out the roster.

Miami already has a meeting with Gordon Hayward, but if they miss on him then going after an Otto Porter-type player that can grow with the team wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. J.J. Redick is out there as well, but he might be a little outside Miami’s price range considering his age. However, if they’re willing to pony up for him then they’d be adding an incredible shooter to their backcourt. 

The Heat are swinging for the fences this offseason and they really need to hit on someone that can move the needle for them. If they go out and sign bit players then they’re just going to be potentially a more mediocre version of last year’s team.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Needs: Bench help, point guard, small forward 
  • Free agents who fit: 
    Shelvin Mack
    , Thabo Sefolosha, Omri Casspi 

Charlotte has a roster that looks good, but last season it didn’t win games, so clearly there was something wrong. Despite a positive point differential, the
Charlotte Hornets
fell well short of the playoffs and entered the offseason with more questions than answers. Their starting unit is sound and they recently traded for Dwight Howard. Right now they should be trying to shore up their bench, which struggled last year, especially at the point guard position. It also wouldn’t hurt to add some shooting or defensive-minded wings as well.

This leaves players like Shelvin Mack, Thabo Sefelosha and Omri Casspi as great fits. They aren’t going to break the bank on a free agent this summer, but someone that can come in off the bench and just provide solid minutes is what they’ll be looking for. Players that can come in and not let everything fall apart as soon as they hit the floor. This little bit of consistency will work wonders for a team that was lacking in that area last season. 

If the Hornets can hit on their free-agent selections then they might find themselves back in the playoffs after a disappointing finish to last season.

Orlando Magic

  • Needs: Shooters, more shooters 
  • Free agents who fit: Omri Casspi,
    Shabazz Muhammad
    , Justin Holiday 

The
Orlando Magic
have no reason for any high-level free agents to come to Orlando. So since they aren’t going to compete for high-level free agents, they either need to overpay a solid player to come play for a bad team or take a risk on someone. If they’re going to go the overpaying route, there are worse players they can go after than Omri Casspi. He’s a good shooter and provides a dire need for the Magic. The Magic can’t afford to go another offseason ignoring the 3-point line. It’s been their biggest weakness ever since Dwight Howard five years ago. That needs to change.

Once the Magic address shooting, they’ll still have to fill out a roster. They’ll likely sign inexpensive players while they try to evaluate what they have, but there’s a few younger guys out there worth taking a risk on. Shabazz Muhammad is young (soon to be 25 years old) and a decent scorer. He’s unlikely to become more than what he already is, but if Orlando can get him on a decent contract then he might be worth the risk.
Justin Holiday
falls into a similar category. Holiday is 27 without much more room to grow, but he’s a consistently good player.

Orlando can choose to play it safe and that might be the best option, but there are players out there that are worth taking a risk on if the contract doesn’t break the bank. That’s the position the Magic are in right now.

— Chris Barnewall

SOUTHWEST DIVISION

San Antonio Spurs

  • Needs: Point guard, depth in the frontcourt, rim protector 
  • Free agents who fit: Kyle Lowry, Patty Mills,
    Vince Carter
    , Andre Iguodala,
    JaMychal Green
    , Dewayne Dedmon 

With
Tony Parker
out until January, and past his prime even when healthy, the
San Antonio Spurs
need to bring in a point guard, and will likely be in pursuit of Kyle Lowry after Chris Paul took his talents to Houston. Additionally, they could look at George Hill, or just decide to bring Patty Mills back and let him run the show. With
LaMarcus Aldridge
unhappy,
Pau Gasol
no longer the player he once was, and both
David Lee
and Dewayne Dedmon free agents, the Spurs figure to look for some frontcourt help. JaMychal Green would be a really interesting option, but they might not have the money depending on their other moves. Vince Carter and Andre Iguodala would also be some interesting veteran options.   

Houston Rockets

  • Needs: Depth on the wing, backup big 
  • Free agents who fit: C.J. Miles,
    Tim Hardaway Jr.
    , Kyle Korver, Dewayne Dedmon 

Well, you can cross point guard off the list. They won’t be looking for any help there after adding Chris Paul in a blockbuster trade Wednesday. Additionally, they’re expected to be in the hunt for Paul George, acquiring all sorts of unguaranteed contracts that could help swing a deal, and are also a potential destination if Carmelo Anthony gets bought out, so things could change very quickly in Houston. Regardless of what happens, however, the Rockets will be working around the margins, looking for more depth on the wing, as they dealt away
Lou Williams
and
Sam Dekker
to the
Los Angeles Clippers
. They’ll also need a backup big to play behind Clint Capela. There are a number of players the Rockets could look at this summer for both roles, including C.J. Miles, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kyle Korver on the wing, while Dewayne Dedmon could be an option as he fits their style of play.  

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Needs: Shooting, depth in the backcourt and on the wings, youth, health 
  • Free agents who fit: Patty Mills, Darren Collison, Tony Snell, Shaun Livingston, JaMychal Green 

This could be a franchise-altering summer for the
Memphis Grizzlies
. They have a number of decisions to make regarding veteran players on their squad, including
Zach Randolph
,
Tony Allen
and Vince Carter. Additionally, they’ll have to decide whether or not to re-sign JaMychal Green, which they should do, as he has turned himself into a really solid player. But regardless of whether or not they decide to run back Grit-N-Grind for another season, there are a few areas they’ll need help in. Namely those are shooting and depth — in both the backcourt and on the wings. Stealing away Patty Mills from the Spurs would give them a nice backup point guard behind
Mike Conley
, while also addressing some of their shooting needs. Additionally, they could look at Darren Collison there. Tony Snell would be a nice fit out on the wing, though he may be too expensive. Shaun Livingston would be an interesting option as well and they would have no trouble integrating him into their system and culture.   

Dallas Mavericks

  • Needs: Big man who can space the floor, depth on the wing, Nerlens Noel 
  • Free agents who fit: 
    Nikola Mirotic
    ,
    Kelly Olynyk
    , Jonathon Simmons, Nerlens Noel 

They took care of their point guard need in the draft, taking Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 overall pick, so they figure to turn their free agency focus elsewhere. First, though, they have to take care of business in their own back yard, which means re-signing
Nerlens Noel
, who they just traded for a few months back. Assuming they keep Noel, which they’re expected to do, Dallas should also look at adding a big man who can space the floor as
Dirk Nowitzki
won’t be around much longer, and is probably only giving you around 25 minutes per game next season anyway. Nikola Mirotic or Kelly Olynyk are two options on that front, and with each of them being rather young, they could grow along with the team during the rebuild. Additionally, some depth on the wing would be helpful, and it might be worth taking a flier on Jonathon Simmons there.  

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Needs: Point guard, shooting, playmaking on the wing 
  • Free agents who fit: 
    Jrue Holiday
    , C.J. Miles, Tim Hardaway Jr. 

The main focus of the
New Orleans Pelicans
‘ free agency will be bringing back Jrue Holiday to run the point. After dealing for
DeMarcus Cousins
at the All-Star break last season, the Pelicans have one of the best frontcourts in the league, but they need a solid point guard to run the show. Additionally, the Pelicans could use some shooting to create the necessary spacing that allows Cousins and
Anthony Davis
to work together. C.J. Miles would be a nice fit here as a veteran and solid two-way player that can help address their spacing. Perhaps they could also look at someone like Tim Hardaway Jr. as another option to boost their offense off the bench.  

— Jack Maloney

NORTHWEST DIVISION

Utah Jazz

  • Needs: Playmaking (if Gordon Hayward leaves), point guard (if George Hill leaves), stretch 4
  • Free agents who fit: Patty Mills, Justin Holiday, Patrick Patterson 

It’s difficult to evaluate the
Utah Jazz
without knowing what will happen with Hayward, Hill and
Joe Ingles
, three absolutely crucial parts of the team. If Hayward comes back, Utah will not have cap room, meaning it can use exceptions to flesh out the roster. Those contracts generally buy you role players, not starters, but that’s OK — the Jazz’s starting five is good enough. If Hayward leaves, however, then the Jazz will all of a sudden have to re-evaluate their short- and long-term plans. He is irreplaceable.  

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Needs: Shooting, playmaking, two-way players 
  • Free agents who fit: Rudy Gay, Danilo Gallinari, C.J. Miles, Omri Casspi

Unfortunately, Oklahoma City has no cap room because it gave
Steven Adams
and
Victor Oladipo
contract extensions. The Adams one is fine, but it remains unclear if Oladipo will be a good fit next to
Russell Westbrook
. I’d love to see them trade
Enes Kanter
and at least explore the market for Oladipo, but as things stand, it should just go after anyone who can complement Westbrook and/or make the team less reliant on him. There’s also the matter of what the
Oklahoma City Thunder
will do with free agents
Taj Gibson
and
Andre Roberson
.  

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Needs: Two-way players, passers
  • Free agents who fit: Shaun Livingston,
    Brandon Rush
     

The trade for
Jusuf Nurkic
turned around what was going to be a disaster last season. Along with the dynamic duo of
Damian Lillard
and C.J. McCollum, Nurkic pushed them into the playoffs, but the rest of the team faltered. Defense was awful and the wings left a lot to be desired. Portland should look for a versatile and long defender at small forward and power forward. 

Denver Nuggets

  • Needs: Star power, defense of any kind 
  • Free agents who fit: Paul Millsap, Taj Gibson, Patrick Patterson  

They’re young and have some solid up-and-coming players like
Nikola Jokic
. But they couldn’t defend even the worst offenses and there’s a lot of age on the roster. They should upgrade the forward spots. Point guard also may be an area of need. Emmanual Mudiay hasn’t lived up to expectations. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Needs: Point guard (if
    Ricky Rubio
    is traded), shooting, stretch 4 
  • Free agents who fit: Kyle Lowry, George HIll, Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green  

Apparently Jimmy Butler is trying to convince Lowry to replace Rubio. That would be an upgrade, but it would be tricky for the Wolves to pull it off. The same goes for luring Paul Millsap to play next to
Karl-Anthony Towns
, though that possibility is fun to think about. Minnesota will all but certainly make the playoffs next season, and Tom Thibodeau must find two-way players who complement its core. 

— James Herbert

PACIFIC DIVISION

Golden State Warriors

  • Needs: Backup PG, wing, rim protector 
  • Free agents who fit: Patty Mills, Jonathon Simmons, Tony Snell, Justin Holiday, DeWayne Dedmon 

Golden State has a ton of free agents.
Kevin Durant
and
Stephen Curry
are locks to re-sign, but Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee,
Zaza Pachulia
and
Ian Clark
are all questions. Let’s start with the rim protection: It makes the most sense to bring back Pachulia and McGee, but if either one of those guys gets an offer the Warriors just can’t match given all their big contracts, the pickings could be slim within their price range. 

Nerlens Noel would be dynamite with this team, but he’s too expensive, as is a guy like Serge Ibaka. San Antonio’s DeWayne Dedmon is the guy to watch here. He could be a real value signing as a versatile big that can both protect the time and flourish inside Golden State’s team-oriented defense. 

As for a backup PG/wing, Golden State would love to being back Clark and chances are Iguodala will re-sign too, though as many as seven teams are reportedly interested in Iggy’s services. Mills would be a huge pickup to spell Curry, but he might well be too expensive. 

Snell, Simmons and Tucker all fit the Warriors’ mold of versatile defenders, Snell, a really good shooter with the length to flourish inside the Warriors’ high-switching defensive attack, is really intriguing as a 3-and-D guy, as is Holiday, who put himself on the NBA map with his first stint in Golden State and has since proven himself as a legit bench presence on both ends of the court. Simmons isn’t a great shooter, but he could well be turning into the best player of these three. And it’s not like Golden State doesn’t have enough shooting.

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Needs: PG, shooting guard, small forward
  • Free agents who fit: Kyle Lowry, C.J. Miles, Kyle Korver 

Getting Lou Williams,
Patrick Beverley
, Sam Dekker and
Montrezl Harrell
in the Chris Paul trade gives the Clippers, who will likely lose J.J. Redick as well, some much-needed depth. Williams is a better scorer than Redick but not the defender, and Beverley is the same kind of defensive pest as Paul, though not even close to same kind of player, obviously. 

If the Clippers could move the necessary money, Kyle Lowry stepping into Paul’s role makes sense on paper, but that would likely mean compromising some of that depth we just alluded to. If Blake Griffin re-signs, putting shooting around him and
DeAndre Jordan
makes sense, and Miles and Korver both fit that description. 

Griffin is the domino here. If he leaves, the Clippers are not going to be in a position to even be a fringe contender, so the move would likely be to go as young as possible rather than a guy like Korver or certainly Lowry at the price he’ll fetch.   

Sacramento Kings

  • Needs: Shooting, small forward, veteran presence 
  • Free agents who fit:  Otto Porter Jr., Shaun Livingston

Just an amazing draft for the
Sacramento Kings
, who got their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox and his potential backup in Frank Mason III. They also got Justin Jackson, an athletic shooting wing who projects as a
Rudy Gay
replacement with real upside. Oh, and they got
Harry Giles
, who, before his knee injuries, was probably in line to be the No. 1 pick in this draft. Giles is a wild card, but if he can develop past those injuries and tap into his enormous potential, man, the Kings really have something going. 

So now it’s about patience in Sacramento. They don’t need to go get a high-priced free agent who is ready to win big right now. But one that is still young and growing? That’s a different story, and Otto Porter definitely fits that role. He’s going to cost you, maybe even the max, but the Kings have plenty of cap space and Porter, who has turned into a lights-out shooter and is a real athlete on the wing, is just getting going as a potential All-Star. 

A veteran presence like Shaun Livingston, should he leave the Warriors, would make sense and a reasonable price to mentor Fox and Mason and plus gaps off the bench in the meantime.

Phoenix Suns

  • Needs: Shooting, center, rim protection 
  • Free agents who fit: Bojan Bogdanovic, DeWayne Dedmon

Phoenix has been talked about as a possible landing spot for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is reportedly looking for a way out of San Antonio, and the Clippers floated an offer to send DeAndre Jordan to the desert. Making a trade is probably the best way for them to get the kind of impact big they want, but for now, Josh Jackson falling to them at No. 4 in the draft looks pretty good. If his shot continues to improve, he’s the perfect modern player, an athletic wing that can guard multiple positions with unlimited energy. 

The
Phoenix Suns
will continue to build around Devon Booker as a combo guard in the mold of Steph Curry and
Kyrie Irving
, although at this point a much lesser version, obviously. Dedmon again offers great value as a rim protector and defensive specialist if the Suns can’t land an established player down there, and Bogdanovic still has a lot of good years in front of him and is a terrific shooter. 

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Needs: Shooting/playmaking, power forward, defense everywhere 
  • Free agents who fit: JaMychal Green, Taj Gibson, Justin Holiday, Dion Waiters 

The Lakers’ main goal is maintain cap flexibility for next summer, when they’ll almost certainly make a run at LeBron James, among other big-name free agents. If they can move pieces this year to trade for Paul George, that addresses every need on their roster in one shot, but it would still be about signing young payers that can grow and won’t clog the books for next summer. 

JaMychal Green is a huge value play here. He got his chance to start last year for
Memphis Tigers
, and proved to be a quality defender that can literally guard any position on the court. And he can shoot — 38 percent from three. Gibson is just a ballplayer; still a good defender and rebounder and will flat-out help you win games on any kind of team — young and on the rise or ready to win now. The Lakers could be both of those teams over the next few years. 

Dion Waiters is also intriguing. He’s a better defender than people realize, and he can definitely create offense for himself, which is something the Lakers will need in the half-court until Lonzo Ball is ready to be that guy (he may never be a guy you can go to for self-creation, to be honest). 

Holiday’s name keeps popping up, and for good reason. He won’t cost you a ton and he can help in a lot of gaps. He can shoot, defend, and he plays hard. Imagining the Lakers with stars in the fold again over the next few years, Holiday would be a nice role player on a team like that. 

— Brad Botkin

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