NBA free agency: Top small forwards on the market

NBA free agency: Top small forwards on the market

DeMar DeRozan can still get it done. Will he be back in Chicago? (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A lot of money will be spent on small forwards this summer, as the position has become one of the most important in the league. You’ll find all kinds of different types, too: scoring wings with playmaking chops, star defenders, 3-and-D guys, athletic anomalies, you name it.

While some are expected to stay with their current teams, there is some real potential in this group for some jersey-changing — if teams with considerable cap space are up for it.

This year's top free agents: point guards | shooting guards

Status: unrestricted free agent
2023-24 salary: $28,600,000
2023-24 digits: 24 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists

The Chicago Bulls have adored their time with DeRozan and are keen to let the good times roll, with the former All-Star reportedly being offered a two-year deal worth in the area of $80 million to keep him in the Windy City.

DeRozan, who will turn 35 in August, is no spring chicken, nor does he fit what the Bulls need, which is a thorough rebuild after years of ineptitude. That said, he's still got a wicked game built on footwork, strength, ball-handling and the ability to knock down 500 mid-range jumpers a season.

While it would be far more interesting to see DeRozan playing for a contender, being handed $40 million per year, while having the green light to shoot, is an extremely attractive offer.

Status: unrestricted free agent (player option)
2023-24 salary: $18,642,857
2023-24 digits: 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists

When the New York Knicks traded for Anunoby in late December, it wasn't just to make a deep run in this year's postseason. They want to keep him long term and will make him their No. 1 priority this offseason.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, they'll have competition. As one of the best two-way wings in the NBA, Anunoby is bound to receive attention from many corners of the league, likely forcing New York to pay a premium to retain him.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old will be entering his prime years, so it makes sense the next four years will be his most valuable. While not an All-Star, at least not yet, his influence is of one.

Status: unrestricted free agent
2023-24 salary: $43,219,440
2023-24 digits: 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists

"Isn't Thompson a two-guard?" you might wonder. He used to be. But injuries and increasing age have taken a step, particularly on defense, which has led him to play the three in recent years.

The former All-Star's circumstance will also present its own set of challenges for a new deal, which isn't likely to be for many years.

Whether he stays in Golden State remains to be seen, but regardless of where he ends up, it's difficult to envision him getting more than a two-year deal unless the dollar amount is kept low — as in under $20 million-$25 million per year.

Status: unrestricted free agent
2023-24 salary: $7,921,300
2023-24 digits: 21 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists

Any team taking on Bridges will have to navigate his reputation off the court and decide if it's worth being associated with a player who pleaded no contest in a domestic violence case.

Bridges is a physically strong wing who can score in bunches, play multiple positions and finish next to strong playmakers.

His aforementioned situation makes it difficult to project which salary bracket he'll find himself in, as well as how much competition there will be for his services.

Status: unrestricted free agent
2023-24 salary: $2,019,706
2023-24 digits: 15.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists

The lanky 6-foot-7 forward found new life after coming to Philadelphia, where he proved he could play a significant role on a winning team.

Oubre isn't the best shooter, so his fit on any team is very much dependent on the star quality around him, but he's unquestionably better in a third or fourth scoring role, as opposed to being at the top of the food chain.

He's going to have a decent market, unlike last year when he sat around and had to settle for much less than he anticipated. Somewhere in the non-tax mid-level exception area seems like a decent compromise.

Saddiq Bey, Atlanta Hawks
Status: restricted free agent

A combo forward with floor-stretching capabilities who will probably lose some money due to an ill-timed ACL tear in his left knee.

Simone Fontecchio, Detroit Pistons
Status: restricted free agent

Detroit installed him as a rotation piece (30.3 minutes per game) due to his size and shooting touch. Others can compete for his services, but the Pistons have the inside track on the 6-10 combo forward.

Royce O'Neale, Phoenix Suns
Status: unrestricted free agent

A do-it-all wing for the Suns whom they can't afford to lose. O'Neale's defense, 3-point shooting and positional fluidity allow Phoenix to play a broad variance of lineups.

Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans
Status: unrestricted free agent

Marshall broke into the Pelicans' rotation and never left. He has a big motor and has developed as a shooter in recent years. Contenders should give him a look if they have part of their non-tax MLE available.

Sam Hauser, Boston Celtics
Status: restricted free agent (if option is declined)

Boston can decide to pick up his option and kick the can down the road when they won't have matching rights, or they can decline his option to gain matching rights this year.

Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers
Status: restricted free agent

A defensive-minded wing with developing 3-point range who could benefit from a change in scenery. The Cavs, however, have matching rights.


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