Free Agency: Top 3 Small Forwards Available This Summer

Kevin Durant

Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

The summer of free agency is rapidly approaching and and many rumors and intriguing possibilities have surfaced. Free agency is the most exciting part of the off-season, both for the players and the fans. It is a time where big name superstars and role players find themselves in a new city, playing with a brand new organization.

Last summer, we saw former Oklahoma City small forward, Kevin Durant, bolt for the opportunity to play in the Bay Area alongside 2-time MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade decided that being extremely underpaid in the city he brought three championships to was enough, as we saw him relocate to Chicago to sign with the Bulls for one season. Dwight Howard had a homecoming and headed East to join the Atlanta Hawks.

Free agency is also where we see many big players with expiring contracts get rewarded for their high level play by their teams, who offer them newer and more luxurious contracts. The most notable players who re-signed or agreed to extensions with their teams are Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), and Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons). The Memphis Grizzlies’ Mike Conley came away with the biggest pay-day, as he re-signed with Memphis on a 5 year, $153 million deal.

Here, we explore the top three small forwards on the market this off-season, taking an in in depth look at their most recent seasons and what they have to offer.

Small Forwards:

Honorable Mentions: Otto Porter (Wizards), James Johnson (Heat), PJ Tucker (Suns), Rudy Gay (Kings) and Andre Iguodala (Warriors)

3) Danilo Gallinari

Image result for danilo gallinari

Age: 28 (29 by opening night)

Current Team: Denver Nuggets

Free Agent Status: Player Option

2016-2017 Earnings: $15,050,000

2016-2017 Season Statistics: 18.2 PPG, 2.2 APG, 5.2 RPG, 44.7 FG%, 38.8% 3P

 

Danilo Gallinari had a decent season in Denver last year. He failed to appear in 65 games for the third straight season, but in the 63 games he did appear in, he did a good job of putting points on the board for the Nuggets at a healthy 44.7% FG clip. Expect teams to seek out Gallinari for his deep-range shooting in the event that he opts out of his current contract. He should receive some sizable offers.

2) Gordon Hayward

Image result for gordon hayward

Age: 27

Current Team: Utah Jazz

Free Agent Status: Player Option

2016-2017 Earnings: $16,073,140

2016-2017 Season Statistics: 21.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 5.4 RPG, 44.1% FG, 39.8% 3P

 

Gordon Hayward will be one of the most sought-after players on the free agent market this off-season, as he is expected to opt out of his player option with the Utah Jazz. Hayward is a very versatile player, he is an excellent shooter with the ability to get to the rim. He is also a very good perimeter defender and was the best, in fact, for the third ranked defense in the Utah Jazz, partnered with the fact that Hayward is also an unselfish player who can distribute the ball.

Hayward is just entering his prime now, at the tender age of 27, and it would be a big turn of events if a franchise can reel him in on a mega deal. If he is to opt out of his contract with the Jazz, Hayward will most likely head to the East to contend for a championship there, with the Boston Celtics being the front-runners.

If you would like to read more about the possible free agent destinations of Gordon Hayward, check out my recent article here.

1) Kevin Durant

Image result for kevin durant warrior

Age: 28

Current Team: Golden State Warriors

Free Agent Status: Player Option

2016-2017 Earnings: $26,540,100

2016-2017 Season Statistics: 25.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, 8.3 RPG, 53.7% FG, 37.5% 3P

 

In his first season as a Golden State Warrior, Kevin Durant played spectacularly, averaging 25.1 points per game, partnered with 8.3 rebounds a game. He continued to show that he is one of the best scorers in the game, and he did so at a high percentage (A career best 53.7% FG). The 2014 MVP, alongside back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, led the Warriors to a 67-15 record, grabbing the top seed.

As interesting as it would be, don’t expect Durant to go anywhere next season, as he has fit into Steve Kerr’s system well, and is thriving and playing world class basketball in the Bay Area.

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