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NBA

Top 5 NBA free agents: Shooting Guards

It’s a top tier shooting guard class of free agents this offseason, but several of them are set to stay put. Here’s a look at the top players available.

Update:

We included James Harden in our list of top five point guards so we’re leaving him off this one, though he’s still one of the best guards in general in the free agency. There’s still plenty of other shooting guards that will be available in the free agency starting this Thursday, despite the fact that it looks like several will return to their current teams. There is depth and options. Here’s a look at the top five shooting guards that will be available in the market.

Zach LaVine - UFA - Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine did not sign a four-year, $105 million contract extension last year, and it turned out well for him. Last season, he averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game and made 38.9% of his threes and 47.6% from downtown. The Bulls have the ability to pay LaVine more than any other suitor - a five-year, $212 million deal. He is an unrestricted free agent though, so it’s up to him whether or not he stays. There could also be other teams like the Spurs or Pistons willing to give him a four-year $164 million deal. It’s also possible the Bulls come to a different agreement, but it’s looking likely that LaVine will stay in Chicago, as they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep him there. One thing to keep in mind is LaVine’s leg injury, having torn his ACL in 2017 and had the surgery to fix it in May.

Bradley Beal - PO - Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal’s player option is worth $36.4 million for the 2022-23 season. It’s expected that he will opt out of the contract and instead re-sign with the Wizards on a “supermax” five-year contract worth around $248 million. That would bump up the yearly salary to around $42.7 million. If the Wizards agree to that, they will have no budget left to spend on other free agents beyond mid-level exceptions for quite some time to come. Beal at his peak is a third-team All-NBA player and an elite scorer. He’s been with the Wizards throughout his entire career and the smart and likely move is for him to take the money and stay put.

Anfernee Simons - RFA - Portland Trail Blazers

Anfernee Simons had a breakout 2021-22 season, having posted the largest improvement in points per game from last year to this year in the NBA. He finished this season with an average 22.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game on 45.7% shooting from the field, 41.7% from three-point range, and 85.3% from the charity stripe. The Trail Blazers own Simons’ Bird rights and will make the final decision on whether or not he stays in Portland. The Blazers actually made moves earlier in the year in order to keep Simons, trading away CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, and Robert Covington. It seems Simons is in Portland to stay, for now.

Collin Sexton - RFA - Cleveland Cavaliers

When Collin Sexton is healthy, he puts up incredible numbers from beyond the arc, but unfortunately for him, he’s coming off of a bad knee injury. He was out the nearly the entire 2021-22 season with a torn meniscus, playing in just 11 games. The Cavaliers have extended the qualifying offer to Sexton, meaning they can match any other interested teams’ offer. At just 23 years old, he’s likely to gain the attention of teams looking to rebuild. Though Sexton is a decent scorer and three-point shooter, but his limitations as a passer and his lack of skills on defense put a damper on what he could be offered.

Malik Monk - UFA - LA Lakers

Malik Monk is just 24 years old and is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. In the last two seasons, he shot 40.1% and 39.1% from beyond the three-point arc, plus improved to 56.8% from inside the arc last season. He does tend to struggle on defense, which could limit him to midlevel exception offers only. For the Lakers, that’s really their only option if they wish to keep him. But rumors say Monk will be looking for more. Though Monk had previously stated he would take less money to stay in LA, conflicting reports suggest he may have changed his tune.

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