1.Kyle Lowry, guard, Toronto Raptors
Bandied about as bait ahead of the trade deadline, it was surprising to see Lowry stick with the Raptors. Whether that’s the case this coming summer remains to be seen. What we know is that he’s still a top-flight point guard in the NBA. The six-time All-Star entered April’s action averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 assists on 39% shooting from distance. If he doesn’t re-sign with Toronto, some team will give Lowry roughly $30 million annually on a shorter-term deal. The only hiccup here is his advanced age of 35.
2.Mike Conley, guard, Utah Jazz
Vastly underrated throughout most of his career, Conley struggled in his first season with Utah. He’s turned it around in 2020-21, earning his first ever All-Star Game appearance. The veteran is shooting a resounding 42% from distance while running a team that boasts the best record in the Association. It won’t add up to the $34.5 million he making this season, but Conley should get another lucrative contract once NBA free agency opens this summer.
3. DeMar DeRozan, guard, San Antonio Spurs
NBA free agency rumors will link DeRozan to his hometown Lakers. That’s especially true if the Lakers and Spurs are able to work out a sign-and-trade. In reality, it could be the best for both sides. What we do know is that DeRozan continues to play at a high level. He’s still among the best wings in the game, averaging north of 20 points and seven assists on 49% shooting from the field. If DeRozan were to chase the bucks, a max contract wouldn’t be out of the equation.
4. Lonzo Ball, guard, New Orleans Pelicans (Restricted)
Ball was subjected to numerous rumors leading up to the NBA trade deadline. New Orleans opted to keep him despite the fact that the former No. 2 pick is going to demand north of $20 million annually as a restricted free agent. Whether he returns remains to be seen. The 23-year-old Ball has upped his game this season, averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists on 39% shooting from distance. Some team will pay for that type of upside moving forward.
5. Jarrett Allen, center, Cleveland Cavaliers (Restricted)
Potentially one of the most-underrated NBA free agents of the cycle, Allen was acquired from Brooklyn in the four-team James Harden blockbuster. He’s averaging a near double-double with Cleveland since that trade and is a career 61% shooter from the field. Add in plus-level defense and the ability to rim protect, and he could receive a lucrative offer on the restricted market.