The 2017 free agency period is full if big names and franchise players. With players like Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry, and others on the move, teams could be looking to make a big splash. But not every team has the cap room or the need for a marquee free agent. For those teams looking to add a small piece or some depth, there is still plenty of talent for them to choose from. Let’s look at five underrated free agents and which teams they could help the most.
5. George Hill
Who he is: George Hill has bounced around a bit in his career, but he is by no means a journeyman. Hill has proved that he can be a starting guard on any team in this league and can contribute in different facets of the game. He is unspectacular in most of his work but will provide a steady hand running the offense. He shoots the ball well and is not a liability on defense. He will likely be teams’ first option at point guard if Paul and Lowry decide to stay put.
Where he fits: The Pelicans could use a point guard to help get their two stars involved. The Knicks and Mavs are always looking for somebody to run their backcourt. The Spurs would be another landing spot if Patty Mills does not return, though Hill will cost more.
How much he is worth: Probably not Mike Conley numbers from last year (Five years, $153 million), But he should be in the ballpark. Four years $80-$90+million is not out of the question.
4. J.J. Redick
Who he is: Redick is one of the best three-point shooters in the league but was underutilized as a Clipper. If he goes to a team that relies on him more for scoring, he could see his scoring average shoot up. He is one of the best at a premier skill in today’s NBA and should find plenty of suitors this offseason. He is not a primary scorer on a contending team, but Redick can be a solid complementary scorer who will change a team’s attack.
Where he fits: He would help the Cavs, but they probably cannot afford him. The Thunder would be another good landing spot if they can find the money. The Rockets will likely be in the market if Redick wants to play for a contender. He could go to the Lakers or 76ers in hopes of being an integral part of a team on the come-up.
How much he is worth: Not Bradley Beal numbers (Five years, $128 Million) but probably closer to Evan Turner or Allen Crabbe (four years, around $70 million)
3. Otto Porter
Who he is: Porter is a prototypical 3-and-D wing who really figured out his shot last year. He was a big part of the Wizards’ success and he can contribute immediately to whatever team signs him. He is not an isolation scorer, but he can work well within the flow of the offense. Additionally, if he can cement himself as a lockdown defender in the league, he should be a valuable asset to a contending team.
Where he fits: Houston could use his defense, and the Grizzlies and Raptors could use his scoring. Porter really has a place on any team in this league, it all depends on who wants to pay him.
How much he is worth: Porter could really get paid. Maybe not Nicolas Batum paid (five years, $120) but definitely Harrison Barnes or Chandler Parsons paid (four years, $94 million)
2. Danilo Gallinari
Who he is: Gallinari is another strong three-point shooter who makes up for his lack of defensive ability with outstanding shooting numbers. Gallinari alone will not be carrying any team to a championship himself, but as a third or fourth banana he can space the floor and really add to a team’s offensive attack.
Where he fits: His shooting fits with any team in the league, but a team should be pretty solid defensively before taking a shot at Gallinari. The Pacers, Pelicans, Thunder or Grizzlies should be in play. The Jazz also may need a small forward replacement sooner than they hope.
How much he is worth: Probably in the same range as Porter, maybe a little less because he does not play defense. Look in the four years, $70 million-plus range.
1. Kelly Olynyk
Who he is: Olynyk has been a fringe starter for most of his career but put in the right situation and he could see himself as a major contributor. He plays hard and can shoot the three. He does not rebound very well or score in isolation, but he finds ways to score and will get plenty of offers.
Where he fits: The Suns, the Blazers or the Hornets could look for some more front court scoring. If Olynyk could be had for cheap he would work well with the Heat or part of a rebuild in Los Angeles.
How much he is worth: Should not get Ryan Anderson numbers (four years, $80 million) but if Joakim Noah is making $18 million a year, anything is possible for Olynyk.