Free Agency 2021

2021 NBA Free Agency: Ideal fits for best remaining free agents

Two weeks have passed since the start of 2021 NBA Free Agency and the majority of needle-moving players have already signed new deals.

However, there are still a handful of players available that could make an impact with whichever NBA franchise signs them.

Who are the best remaining free agents and what would be an ideal landing spot for each of them?

Listed alphabetically.

Best remaining 2021 NBA Free Agents

Avery Bradley, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets

The 30-year-old veteran went through an injury-riddled season last year, missing significant time with a knee injury, a calf strain and COVID-19. He only appeared in 27 games - 10 with the Miami Heat and 17 with the Houston Rockets following a trade at the deadline - averaging just 6.4 points and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 32.7 percent from 3.

In 2019-20, Bradley started in 44 of 49 games played for the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, holding his own as a playmaker and perimeter defender before opting out of the season restart following the pandemic. At this stage in his career, Bradley could look to bring those two skills to a contender's bench, and the Warriors and Nuggets seem like strong fits based on a need for depth at the position.

DeMarcus Cousins, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets

Significant injuries led to Cousins bouncing around from team-to-team, playing for four different franchises in the past three seasons. From the Warriors to the Lakers to the Rockets to the Clippers, the former four-time All-Star is looking to find his footing and try and make a consistent impact off the bench for a team in need of a center.

Cousins had a solid showing in the playoffs with the Clippers this past season, scoring double figures in three of the seven games he appeared in, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3.

With the Heat and Nets both loading up on veterans for a potential title push, Cousins could add a voice on the bench and in the locker room while staying ready in case his team needs a physical presence on the floor.

James Ennis, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers

Ennis is a solid 3-and-D wing who should receive some consideration for contenders looking to add shooting and defence.

A reunion with the 76ers would make some sense, but the Lakers may be the best possible landing spot for the 31-year-old. NBA Insider Marc Stein reported an interest between Ennis and Los Angeles, which adds up, given he shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range with the Orlando Magic last season.

Harry Giles III, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors

Giles is still just 23 years old, yet the versatile forward hasn't been able to find a permanent landing spot in the NBA. He has shown glimpses of promise as a player who has averaged a double-double per 36 minutes throughout his three-year NBA career, but without a designated position and role, the Duke product has struggled to fit in.

The Celtics are an intriguing fit because of his tight relationship with superstar Jayson Tatum and their need for some forward depth. The Raptors would make an interesting pairing as a team that has loaded their roster with lengthy, switchy forwards - a bill that Giles fits - and their renowned player development program could get the most out of the young player.

Josh Hart, restricted

Ideal fit: New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls

Update: According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Hart is "closing in" on signing a three-year, $38 million deal to stay with the Pelicans.

There were multiple reports that the Pelicans weighed sign-and-trade options for the restricted free agent, including potential deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings .

Hart was one of the best rebounding wings in the NBA last season, averaging 8.0 boards per game. He can defend multiple positions and is a career 34.8 percent 3-point shooter, something any team in the league could use.

New Orleans needs to improve on the defensive end and letting Hart walk would have been a step backward on that front, so staying put was the best option for both him and his team.

Lauri Markkanen, restricted

Ideal fit: New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves

Markkanen has been linked to the Dallas Mavericks but it would be very interesting to see how he and Kristaps Porzingis would fit next to each other, considering they are eerily similar players.

The 24-year-old forward was a hot commodity following an All-Rookie calibre first season and a sophomore season in which he averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game for the Bulls. His value has appeared to diminish a bit since then, coming off of a season where he averaged a career-low 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds.

However, the 7-footer still shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range and a change of scenery could be all he needs to get back on the right path.

There has been reported interest between Markkanen and the Pelicans, an intriguing fit that would give New Orleans some much-needed perimeter shooting. The Timberwolves are another team that has had reported interest in Markkanen, and I like his fit there for the same reason as the Pelicans, especially given how quiet this offseason as been for Minnesota, who could use more talent on its roster.

Wesley Matthews, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets

Things didn't work out as planned between Matthews and the Lakers last season, as the 34-year-old struggled to find a rhythm on either end of the floor the way Los Angeles would have hoped. He shot a career-low 33.5 percent from 3-point range while only averaging 1.1 3-pointers made per game, his lowest mark since his rookie season.

With that being said, if the Lakers are looking for another shooter to round out their bench, there is a familiarity with Matthews and it wouldn't hurt to give him another chance. The Nuggets are another team that could use his veteran presence and 3-point shooting, too.

Paul Millsap, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls

Millsap has been a solid contributor throughout his entire NBA career and his veteran presence would be invaluable for any team looking to take a leap as a potential contender.

He is still a sound defender that can guard multiple positions, as well as a capable scorer who can score around the basket or from 3-point range.

A reunion with his former Hawks could be a match made in heaven, as Atlanta looks to live up to the expectations of a team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Millsap was a four-time All-Star with the Hawks from 2013 to 2017.

The Bulls are another seamless fit as a team looking enter playoff conversations, especially after trading away a similar player in veteran forward Thaddeus Young to the San Antonio Spurs.

JJ Redick, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics

Redick has made it known that Brooklyn is his ideal destination given that's where his home and family are. It came as a surprise when the Pelicans sent Redick to the Mavericks instead of the Nets last trade deadline. Could the 37-year-old sharpshooter finally end up back at home this free agency?

You can never have too much shooting and Redick still converted 3s at a 37.1 percent clip last season.

The Celtics are another interesting spot, given it's in the Northeast, close enough to his home, and Boston could use a pure shooter of Redick's calibre to space the floor.

Isaiah Thomas, unrestricted

Ideal fit: Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat

Thomas had social media buzzing after going for 81 points in a Pro-Am game last week, stating his case for a return to the NBA.

The 32-year-old veteran has been in and out of the league since his season as an MVP candidate for the Celtics back in 2017, with injuries preventing him from completely returning to All-Star form. Thomas has had 10-day contracts with different teams and even played half of a season with the Washington Wizards in 2019-20, where he averaged 12.2 points and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 41.3 percent from 3.

His latest opportunity came on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans last season, but Thomas didn't exactly get a fair shake with playing time.

The Lakers have had reported interest in Thomas, who played 17 games in Los Angeles back in 2018. He would give the Lakers a shot creator and another ball handler off the bench. If the Heat are looking for depth behind newly acquired Kyle Lowry, Thomas may be a decent fit there, as well.

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