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. 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 Dwayne 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 lucrative 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 centers 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: DeWayne Dedmon (Spurs) and Kelly Olynyk (Celtics)
3) Mason Plumlee
Current Team: Denver Nuggets
Free Agent Status: Restricted
2016-2017 Earnings: $2,328,530
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 10.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.5 APG
Mason Plumlee was another big who was moved mid-season. He was traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Denver Nuggets, in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic. Plumlee proved to be a solid producer off the bench, averaging 9.1 points per game as a Nugget while grabbing 6.4 boards a game. It’s hard to envision the Nuggets letting him go so you can expect him to suit up as a Denver Nugget again next season.
2) Nerlens Noel
Current Team: Dallas Mavericks
Free Agent Status: Restricted
2016-2017 Earnings: $4,384,490
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 8.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG
Nerlens Noel’s numbers don’t tell the full story. After riding the bench behind Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, he was moved to Dallas. There, Noel seemed to thrive, putting up solid numbers on a consistent basis. He has a lot of upside and his great defense will attract many teams. We’ll see how Dallas plays this out, but expect them to make a solid effort to keep him, as he’s only been with the team for half a season.
1) Greg Monroe
Age: 26 (27 by opening night)
Current Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Free Agent Status: Player Option
2016-2017 Earnings: $17,145,838
2016-2017 Season Statistics: 11.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 53.3% FG
Greg Monroe has one of the best low-post games in the NBA. He has an arsenal of moves he uses to put the ball in the basket and he does so on 53.3% field goal shooting. He grabs a good number of boards and contributes to the team in a multitude of ways. He will most likely opt out of his contract with Milwaukee and become an unrestricted free agent. Look out for his name this summer.