NBA Free Agents Who Could Help a Playoff Team

Jamal Crawford #11 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The NBA will return to a Disney World bubble in Orlando on July 30th for eight final regular season games and the playoffs.

Teams can add free agents to their rosters from June 23rd to June 30th. You always see roster movement over the final weeks of the regular season. This year there are way more variables to consider when making your NBA picks. This makes depth extremely important.

The league expanded team rosters from 15 to 17 players for flexibility and COVID-19 left too many questions to answer. The games will be played as part of a tight schedule and teams might end up losing someone to quarantine. Don’t forget about potential muscle injuries and ankle sprains after the long layoff. This makes every roster spot more valuable.

As explained by Marc Stein of the New York Times: “To be eligible to sign a rest-of-season contract, players must have held an NBA or G- League contract this season … or were NOT under contract this season with a professional team outside of the United States, league sources say.”

With that in mind, many intriguing players are eligible to get signed.

Jamal Crawford #11 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford hasn’t played since scoring 51 points in the 2018-19 regular season finale with the Suns. In that April 9th, 2019 game against the Mavericks, he became the oldest player (39 years, 20 days) with a 50-point game in the NBA. Crawford surpassed Michael Jordan (38 years, 315 days). MJ did it on December 29th, 2001.

Crawford is also the first player ever to score 50 points for four different teams. The 40-year-old guard has always been a prolific scorer. He’s averaged 14.6 points in 29.4 minutes over 1,326 career games. Crawford won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award three times. Teams looking for scoring off the bench should definitely sign Crawford.

Gerald Green #14 of the Houston Rockets. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

Gerald Green

Gerald Green was presumed to be out for the rest of the season with a broken foot. This led the Rockets to include him in the four-team trade that brought Robert Covington to Houston in February. Green ended up with the Nuggets but they waived him after the trade. If his foot is healed by now, any team except the Rockets can sign him (the Rockets can’t after trading him in the same season).

Green would fit in a team’s second unit. Last season, he averaged 9.2 points and shot 40.0 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point range in 20.2 minutes over 73 games.

The Pacers lost Jeremy Lamb for the rest of the season with a knee injury and the Jazz (+4000 to win the NBA Championship at BetOnline) will be without Bojan Bogdanovic in Orlando, as he recently had wrist surgery. These two teams should really look into Green to fill their voids. He can be an impact scorer, defend multiple positions and shoot well from beyond the arc.

Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Washington Wizards. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Isaiah Thomas

Injuries derailed Isaiah Thomas’ career. Last year he barely played with the Nuggets but this season he showed flashes of his old self with the Wizards. Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 23.1 minutes over 40 games (37 starts) but he was part of the trade that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers and they released him.

Thomas is no longer in his prime but he still belongs in the NBA. Some of the teams heading into the Orlando bubble could use someone like him off the bench. At 31 years old, Thomas still has some fuel left in the tank and he can be a valuable backup point guard and help a team make a deep playoff run.

Nick Young #6 of the Golden State Warriors. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images/AFP

Nick Young

Nick Young played just four games for the Nuggets last season, averaging 2.3 points in 9.3 minutes. Many thought that he was going to retire but on May 26th he tweeted: “NBA I JUST WANT ONE MORE YEAR.

In the 2017-18 season, he won the NBA Championship with the Warriors as a rotational piece. Overall, he played well, doing his part. He averaged 7.4 points and shot 41.2 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from distance. Young played 17.4 minutes over 80 games (eight starts).

The 35-year-old guard can still provide a spark off the bench and help many teams with his shooting. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a spot on some roster soon.