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Free Agency 2019

NBA Free Agency 2019: Ranking the best forwards

kawhi-leonard-kevin-durant-062719-ftr-nba-getty
Kawhi and KD are two of the best forwards in the market (NBA Getty Images)

With free agency less than a week away, we'll be ranking the top players available at each position this summer in the coming days. After looking at point guards, shooting guards and centres, we shift to the 20 best forwards.

UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA = Restricted Free Agent, PO = Player Option, TO = Team Option

1. Kawhi Leonard, SF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $23.1M

Age (at start of next season): 28

Fresh off of one of the most impressive title runs in league history, two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is ready to test the open market.

Concerns surrounding Leonard's health are now less pressing, as he appeared in all 24 of the Raptors postseason games, averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists while logging over 39 minutes per game.

Leonard is arguably the best player in the league right now and will make an impact as an elite defender and all-around scorer.

2. Kevin Durant, SF/PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $30.0M

Age (at start of next season): 31

Durant will likely miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 2019 Finals but is still expected to sign a max deal during this free agency period. Prior to his injury, Durant was dominating the postseason, averaging 32.3 points per game (on 51.4% shooting) and looked virtually unstoppable on the offensive end.

While questions loom surrounding his ability to return with the same athleticism he had prior to his injury, Durant will undoubtedly still possess elite scoring skills at the very least.

3. Tobias Harris, SF/PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $14.8M

Age (at start of next season): 27

Harris just missed the cut for the 2019 All-Star Game and finished the season averaging 20.0 points and 7.9 rebounds over 82 games with the Clippers (55 games) and the 76ers (27 games). While his time with the Sixers had its highs and lows, Harris has shown the ability to play both forward positions and has shot extremely well from beyond the arc over the past two seasons (40.5%).

4. Khris Middleton, SF, PO

2018-19 Salary: $13.0M

Age (at start of next season): 28

Middleton earned the first All-Star selection of his seven-year career this past season, averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 37.8% from 3-point range as he served as the top-seeded Bucks second option. In addition to his abilities as a scorer and playmaker, Middleton would often serve as the primary defender for the opposing team's best perimeter scorer, showing his value as a two-way player.

5. Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, RFA

2018-19 Salary: $5.7M

Age (at start of next season): 24

It has been reported that the Dallas Mavericks will offer Porzingis a max contract, but the versatile 7-foot-3 forward is an intriguing free agent, though Dallas can match any offer sheet he signs. Porzingis sat out the entirety of the 2018-19 season as he recovered from a torn ACL suffered in February of 2018. Prior to his injury he had earned the first All-Star selection of his career by averaging 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc.

6. Julius Randle, PF/C, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $8.6M

Age (at start of next season): 24

Randle is coming off the best season of his young career in which he averaged a career-high 21.4 points per game to go along with 8.7 assists and 3.1 assists. Randle was one of a few constants for the Pelicans last season as he would often shoulder the offensive load - he scored 30 or more points 11 times, including a career-high 45-point performance against Portland.

7. Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $10.5M

Age (at start of next season): 30

Bogdanovic stepped up in a major way for the Pacers after a season-ending injury sidelined All-Star Victor Oladipo. Bogdanovic led the team in scoring after Oladipo's injury and finished the season averaging 18.0 points per game while connecting on 42.5% of his 4.8 3-point attempts per game. The 30-year-old will bring some size and elite shooting ability wherever he lands.

8. Paul Millsap, PF, TO

2018-19 Salary: $29.7M

Age (at start of next season): 34

He might be entering his 14th NBA season, but Millsap continues to show he has plenty left in the tank and that he can be a crucial component to a team as a savvy vet. Last season, he was a calming force for a young Nuggets team that lacked postseason experience.

Denver elected to bring Millsap back by exercising his $30.5 million option for next season, so he'll remain with the Nuggets.

9. Harrison Barnes, SF/PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $24.1M

Age (at start of next season): 27

Barnes declined a $25.1 million player option to enter the free agent market after spending the 2018-19 season with the Mavericks (49 games) before a trade sent him to the Kings (28 games). His scoring took a dip in Sacramento but his efficiency increased as he would finish the season averaging 16.4 points per game while connecting on 39.5% of his 5.7 3-point attempts per game.

10. Rudy Gay, SF/PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $10.1M

Age (at start of next season): 33

The second full season after rupturing his Achilles tendon was the most efficient of Gay's 13-year career as he averaged 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 50.4% from the field and 40.2% from beyond the arc. He'll be 33 next season but has plenty left in the tank, as evidenced by his team-high 21 points (on 8-for-17 shooting) off the bench in Game 7 of the Western Conference first round.

11. Thaddeus Young, PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $13.8M

Age (at start of next season): 31

It will largely depend on fit but Young is one of the best defenders among this crop of free agent forwards, having shown an ability to defend on the perimeter and the interior. Coming off a season in which he averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, the 12-year vet will also bring plenty of leadership.

12. Trevor Ariza, SF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $15.0M

Age (at start of next season): 34

Ariza averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists over 69 games with Phoenix (26) and Washington (43) in 2018-19. He'll be 34 this upcoming season but has shown he can still make an impact on both ends of the floor and would provide a boost for a contender that could manage his regular-season minutes.

13. Marcus Morris, SF/PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $5.4M

Age (at start of next season): 30

It was a big year for Morris, who averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds on career-best shooting splits (44.7% from the field and 37.5% from deep). While it is yet to be seen if his shooting is sustainable, he'll bring defensive effort, heart and passion wherever he lands next.

14. Al-Farouq Aminu, PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $6.9M

Age (at start of next season): 29

Aminu played a major role for the Blazers as the prototypical 3-and-D guy during their run to the Western Conference Finals. At 6-foot-9, he possesses the length to guard a variety of players and is a threat to knock down perimeter jumpers on the offensive end, having shot 35.7% from deep over the past two seasons.

15. Nikola Mirotic, PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $12.5M

Age (at start of next season): 28

While he is without question one of the best shooters in this free agency class, Mirotic had struggles with inconsistency in the postseason and fell out of the Bucks rotation by the end. Mirotic's career 35.9% 3-point percentage should be an encouraging sign that he'll get back on track wherever he lands.

According to a report from Shams Charania, Mirotic will not be in the NBA next season, as he will return to Europe to play with Barcelona.

16. Kelly Oubre Jr., SF/PF, RFA

2018-19 Salary: $3.2M

Age (at start of next season): 23

Oubre is intriguing in that he is coming off averaging a career-high 15.2 points per game in the 2018-19 season, largely in a reserve role. There's room for improvement on both ends of the floor but he has certainly shown flashes.

17. Bobby Portis, PF, RFA

2018-19 Salary: $2.5M

Age (at start of next season): 24

He appeared in just 50 games last season but averaged 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds, recording 14 double-doubles. At just 24-years-old, that marks a sign of plenty of potential.

18. James Ennis, SF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $1.6M

Age (at start of next season): 29

Ennis had big moments for the Sixers in the 2019 postseason, averaging 7.5 points per game off the bench and scoring in double-digits four times.

19. Jabari Parker, PF, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $20.0M

Age (at start of next season): 24

Parker has been dealt an awful hand with injuries but is still only 24-years-old. Over 64 games (39 with Chicago, 25 with Washington), he averaged 14.5 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 49.3% from the field.

20. Taj Gibson, PF/C, UFA

2018-19 Salary: $14.0M

Age (at start of next season): 34

After averaging 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds over 70 games (57 starts), the 34-year-old Gibson is likely to make another big impact in his 11th NBA season.

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