The summer of free agency is rapidly approaching 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 when big name superstars and role players find themselves in new cities, playing with a brand new organization.
Last summer, former Oklahoma City small forward Kevin Durant left OKC 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 power forwards available on the market this off-season, taking an in in depth look at their most recent seasons and what they have to offer.
Honorable Mentions: Pau Gasol (Spurs), Ersan Ilyasova (Hawks), and Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
3) Serge Ibaka
Current Team: Toronto Raptors
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2016-2017 Earnings: $12,250,000
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 14.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.5 BPG
Serge Ibaka was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Toronto Raptors roughly two thirds of the way through the season, but he stayed consistent and was pretty productive. He averaged 14.7 points per season of 47.4 field goal percentage while also pulling 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game.
2) Paul Millsap
Current Team: Atlanta Hawks
Free Agent Status: Player Option
2016-2017 Earnings: $20,072,033
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 18.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 44.2% FG
At 32 years old, Paul Millsap is still one of the most efficient forwards in the NBA. He is able to contribute to Atlanta’s success in a variety of ways, whether he’s scoring baskets, grabbing rebounds, or playing solid defense. The four time NBA All-Star scored 18.1 points per game this season and snagged an average of 7.7 rebounds per night. Expect plenty of teams to seek out the highly efficient forward.
1) Blake Griffin
Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Free Agent Status: Player Option
2016-2017 Earnings: $20,093,064
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 21.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 4.6 APG, 49.3% FG
Blake Griffin bounced back from an injury-riddled 2015 last year. The Clippers’ star forward averaged 21.6 points per game on 49.3 field goal percentage. He is a quick forward with a natural talent for finishing around the rim. He also has developed somewhat of a three point shot in recent years. He suffered a variety of injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 61 games. He was nagged by the injury bug again in the playoffs, injuring his big toe.
Keep an eye out for Blake Griffin this summer, as he is sure to receive massive deals now that the Los Angeles Clippers championship window is just about shut.