NBA Free agency started at 6 p.m. ET on June 30th.
By July 3, just four days later, over 60 contracts and 10 contract extensions were already signed (via Marc Stein).
MORE: Free agency tracker – Live updates on news, signings and trades
Despite the frenzied start, Kevin Durant’s trade request has essentially forced free agency to come to a standstill. Teams and players are now waiting to see what Brooklyn does as it will have a seismic effect on the rest of the league.
Durant has single-handedly shifted the thinking when it comes to free agency this offseason and it’s why several excellent and possibly team-altering players that remain unsigned.
Here’s a look at the top 10 remaining unsigned free agents.
10 best available free agents still unsigned
1. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers, unrestricted
Don’t get your hopes up about a possibly third pairing of Harden and Durant.
Based on multiple reports, Harden is expected to re-sign with the Sixers. And while Harden does remain unsigned, he did reportedly meet with Philadelphia’s front office in the Hamptons over the July 4 holiday weekend to talk about a new contract.
Free agent star James Harden is meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers today in the Hamptons to begin negotiating his new multiyear deal, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 2, 2022
According to NBA Insider Shams Charania, Harden and the Sixers will likely agree on a new a two- or three-year deal.
“This deal is hopefully going to be structured to allow him to get back to the marketplace next summer.”
— Stadium (@Stadium) June 30, 2022
2. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, restricted
Ayton’s free agency remains a mystery.
It seems like the Suns don’t want to bring him back but why hasn’t any other team offered the 23-year-old big man a deal?
Is it because of Durant’s request? Is it because Ayton is a restricted free agent? Or is there no actual market for Ayton?
MORE: How easy would a Suns trade for Nets’ Kevin Durant be?
Now Ayton could accept Phoenix’s one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. It will be interesting to see if he decides to take that route, especially if other teams continue to show no reported interest.
3. Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets, restricted
The Hornets are expected to revoke Bridges’ qualifying offer following his arrest for felony domestic violence, making him an unrestricted free agent.
MORE: Miles Bridges’ partner shares details of domestic abuse on Instagram
4. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers, restricted
There are four main reasons why Sexton remains unsigned:
- Cavs re-signed Ricky Rubio
- Cavs signed Raul Neto
- Sexton is a restricted free-agent
- Sexton is coming back from a significant knee injury
5. T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers, unrestricted
Similar to Sexton, Warren has essentially been injured since the bubble in 2020. Injury concerns may be a reason he remains unsigned.
But Warren could also just be waiting to see what happens with Durant before he signs with a team. See how things shake out first and then make his move.
6. Montrezl Harrell, Charlotte Hornets, unrestricted
Like Warren, Harrell could also be waiting to see what happens with Durant before deciding where to sign next season.
But also, a felony drug charge (marijuana) could also be a reason for why Harrell remains unsigned. Teams may just be waiting to see how it all plays out as there’s definitely a market for Harrell’s hustling play.
7. Caleb Martin, Miami Heat, restricted
Martin’s twin brother, Cody, got his new deal with the Hornets so what’s taking Caleb so long?
This one may be on Miami. The Heat are a reported preferred destination for Durant and Miami could just be seeing if they could actually acquire the superstar forward before re-signing Martin.
Martin however, could also sign a deal elsewhere and see if the Heat match. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Timberwolves had interest in Martin at the start of free agency.
8. Dennis Schröder, Houston Rockets, unrestricted
Schröder could be another player that’s looking to see where Durant gets traded to before making a decision on his playing future.
He’s never become the next Rajon Rondo but Schröder is a solid point guard (13.5 points and 4.6 assists last season) and will definitely end up signing somewhere in the coming weeks.
9. Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers, unrestricted
To be honest, Anthony may not a top free agent. He’s in the twilight of his career and this very well could be his last season coming up.
But Anthony is a notable name and he played well in a reserve role with the Lakers last season. In 26 minutes a game, Anthony averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three.
He could be yet another player that’s waiting to see what happens with Durant. But Anthony may also be considering a return to his former team — the New York Knicks.
“If Carmelo wanted to come back and have his final year in the NBA here [with the Knicks], that was on the table, and I haven’t heard anything about it being off the table.”
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) July 1, 2022
10. Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards, unrestricted
OK, calling Bryant a top unsigned free agent may seem like an overstatement. But again, there were over 60 contracts and 10 contract extensions signed in just four days.
Bryant however, is a serviceable big man and returned from a 2020 knee injury last season to play in 27 games. In that limited run, Bryant averaged 7.4 points, four rebounds in 16.3 minutes a game.
According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, the Lakers and Celtics are reportedly interested in signing Bryant.
Yahoo Sources: Free agent center Thomas Bryant is receiving significant interest from contending teams including Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. He’s expected to make a decision later this morning.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 1, 2022
Before getting injured at the start of the 2020-21 season, Bryant averaged 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while starting for the Wizards during the 2019-20 season.