With NBA free agency upon us, every team is looking for that piece to help their team. This could be a young player for the future or a veteran that will turn them into championship contenders. With every team having different needs or goals, here is each team’s dream free agent.
Every NBA Teams Dream Free Agent
Atlanta Hawks: Gary Harris
Gary Harris is the ideal role-playing shooting guard to pair alongside Trae Young. One of Harris’ big flaws is his lack of shot creation. Young makes up for that with his ability to involve teammates. Harris is an elite defender averaging a steal per game last season. He also is a great on-ball defender and highlighted this back in Denver.
Harris has been labeled as a negative on offense in the past but turned that around last season. He averaged 11 points on 38.4% from three. He was able to provide solid minutes in an inconsistent offense with the rebuilding Magic last season. In a more competitive role like Atlanta, Harris will provide quality defense and the occasional knockdown three.
Boston Celtics: Montrezl Harrell
The Boston Celtics surprised most people by going on a finals run last year against some of the league’s top talent. In this run they were very good defensively, yet went through cold spouts on offense. An energy guy in Montrezl Harrell would be the perfect addition to this Celtics bench.
The former 6th Man of the Year averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds this last season. He’s also highly efficient shooting 64.5% from the field. He’s a vet in this league going into his 8th season, yet is still young enough where he won’t regress completely. Having a player that is willing to hustle every play is exactly what the Celtics need if they hope to compete for a championship.
Brooklyn Nets: Thaddeus Young
Over the last couple of years, Brooklyn has been known to bring in older vets for cheap. This signing is no exception. Brooklyn needs size and shooting after last year as they go up against bigger competition in the east. At 6’8, Thaddeus Young can provide quality minutes at the power forward position.
Young also gives them some much-needed shooting. In Toronto, he shot an impressive 39.5% from three on nearly 2 attempts per game. He won’t need to come in and provide a ton of minutes at the age of 34 but can replace some of the minutes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin as they age out of the league.
Charlotte Hornets: Mitchell Robinson
It’s no secret Charlotte needs a center. There are many quality options for Charlotte but a young player like Mitchell Robinson would be able to grow with this young core. Robinson already has proven he can play at a playoff level with the Knicks two years ago. His defense and lob threat ability makes him the perfect partner to pair alongside LaMelo Ball.
This last year Robinson averaged 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in 26 minutes per game. His presence down low makes up for weak perimeter defense. He’s also a highly efficient player shooting 76% from the field. His long limbs would also make him a great vertical threat in the fast-paced Charlotte offense.
Chicago Bulls: Andre Drummond
This is predicated on if Zach Lavine re-signs with the team. Obviously, he’s their number one target but signs point to him staying. If that happens they hope to remain contenders. In order to do this, they need a backup center. A veteran like Andre Drummond would be perfect for this.
Drummond is a very polarizing player in the NBA. As a starter, he tends to try and do too much making him prone to turnovers and inefficient shots. Off the bench, he’s a spectacular rebounder and can score down low. Last season he averaged 8 points and 9 rebounds in only 20 minutes per game. With Nikola Vucevic struggling last year, Drummond can provide everything he’s missing as a backup.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyus Jones
In a season plagued with injuries, the Cavaliers showed their lack of guard depth. Every time Darius Garland was out the team had very playmaking. Besides Garland, no other player on that team averaged over 5 assists for the Cavaliers. Bringing in a young player like Tyus Jones changes that for the Cavaliers.
Jones averaged 8.7 points and 4.4 assists this last season with the Grizzlies which is impressive. It’s his numbers without Ja Morant that really sets him apart from the competition. This season Jones put up 12.7 points and 6.6 assists in 23 games without Morant. He was 19-4 in those games. Jones would be the perfect backup guard to pair alongside Garland.
Dallas Mavericks: Collin Sexton
With talks of Dallas losing Jalen Brunson to the Knicks, they need to bring in a new second option to pair alongside Luka. Collin Sexton does that after averaging 24.3 points in his last healthy season. After injuries set him back this last year Dallas could lock him up on a cheaper prove-it deal. Sexton could go into a total score first role which would be ideal for what the team needs and his skillset.
Sexton is a very efficient scorer putting up 47.5% from the field and 37.1% from three in the 2020-21 season. In an offense dominated by Luka, there really aren’t many players to create their own shots. That means when Luka’s struggling the Mavericks are struggling. Adding Sexton will allow a spark plug off the bench to revive any stagnant offense.
Denver Nuggets: Dennis Schroder
Denver is in the market for a backup point guard after recently shipping out Monte Morris to bring in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. With Jamal Murray looking to come back soon, some extra scoring at the guard position would do this team wonders. Dennis Schroder is an amazing scorer and playmaker off the bench as a former 6th Man of the Year.
Schroder put up 13.5 points and 4.6 assists last season playing mostly off the bench. This was on a Celtics team where there were plenty of ball-dominant scorers and the Rockets where he battled for minutes with young guards who were prioritized. His tenure in Oklahoma City was where he was best and also had his most consistent role. If he can return to consistency in Denver look for him to compete for the 6th Man of the Year title again.
Detroit Pistons: Miles Bridges
Detroit has its guards of the future in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. They also have a good forward in Saddiq Bey. They have two quality centers in Isaiah Stewart and Nerlens Noel. To really round out this rotation they need a quality forward. Miles Bridges would be the perfect fit for this Detroit team.
This last season Bridges averaged 20 points and 7 rebounds with almost 4 assists a game. He’s very skilled offensively and is a lob threat. He would not only make Detroit more competitive but also far more entertaining to watch. He’s also young enough to develop with this young core as they start to compete for the playoffs for years to come.
Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney
Kevon Looney has been with the Warriors since the 2015-16 season. He’s been in the system for many years and has mastered his role. After winning the championship, the Warriors would be foolish to let him go. Ideally, they would be able to run it back but losing Looney would be detrimental to this team.
Looney averaged 6 points and 7 rebounds and played every game this last season. He also averaged 2 assists but provided more playmaking than the numbers show. His ability to set screens also affects this team as it helps the off-ball movement allowing Steph Curry to thrive and Jordan Poole to break out. The center is one of the hardest to replace in this complicated Warriors system as highlighted by James Wiseman’s lack of success so far.
Houston Rockets: Anfernee Simons
Although Portland will most likely match an Anfernee Simons offer, this is about teams’ dream free agents. With Houston having so much young talent, a star young point guard in Simons would rapidly accelerate this team’s rebuild. Simons broke out this last year with Damian Lillard being injured for most of the year. Simons averaged 17 points and 4 assists and shot 40% from three.
Houston can offer Simons a lot of money as they don’t have many players taking up high amounts of the cap. With Portland in a win-now mindset, they may sacrifice Simons to get quality role players. Simons has shown defensive potential and could help play make alongside Jalen Green.
Indiana Pacers: Miles Bridges
The Pacers look toward a rebuilding direction after acquiring Tyrese Haliburton at the trade deadline. The Pacers have a lot of decent players on big contracts and will most likely look to move them in the off-season. If they gain enough cap back they should look to bring in Miles Bridges.
Bridges is an offensive weapon that can do all sorts of things. He averaged 20 points per game on decent efficiency last year. He’s only progressed from year to year. The Pacers seem to have found their main guard and centers for the future. After drafting Bennedict Mathurin, the Pacers can pair Bridges alongside him and square up their forwards for the future.
Los Angeles Clippers: John Wall
It’s been made clear that John Wall is joining the Clippers after his recent buy-out. It’s the perfect fit for both parties. John Wall is long recovered from his injury. In his prime, he was a playmaking expert averaging 10+ assists a game before his injury. Post-injury once he joined Houston he only played 40 games where he averaged 7 assists in 32 minutes played.
Wall took a step back both defensively and scoring-wise. This is something that the Clippers both shine at. What they need is a facilitator to run the offense. Wall joining this team turns them right back into instant contenders.
Los Angeles Lakers: Serge Ibaka
The Lakers don’t have the money to bring in any expensive role players. Instead, they should look to bring in ring-chasing veterans who are willing to take a pay cut. Serge Ibaka is a guy who would fit perfectly in this description. He has championship experience and has gotten paid so he isn’t looking for a giant contract.
Ibaka helps the Lakers as he is a player that can play down low so Anthony Davis doesn’t have to. He also can shoot as he shot 37.4% from three last season allowing floor spacing for Russel Westbrook and LeBron James to attack the rim. He’s older and may not be able to start but could play a productive 20 minutes for a championship team.
Memphis Grizzlies: Tyus Jones
Memphis’ first priority should be to bring back Tyus Jones. He was great as both a backup point guard and a starter without Morant. They also had a three-point guard lineup last year with De’Anthony Melton but traded him on draft night. Without a clear backup point guard, Jones is necessary for this team.
This team last year took a surprising jump into serious playoff contention. With such a young team gaining experience, running it back seems like the recipe to success. He also helps Memphis’ shooting which is important as the team is built around Morant who isn’t known as a threat from three.
Miami Heat: Collin Sexton
If Miami elects not to trade for another scoring star, they should look to bring in Collin Sexton as a quality scorer. Sexton is a scoring threat while being cheap due to his injury. He could look for a prove-it deal with Miami and try and earn a bigger contract. Miami continues to age every year and is so close to a championship.
Last year’s playoffs show how little of a threat Miami is offensively. Tyler Herro tried to keep the team alive off the bench but struggled as the year progressed. It was all put on Jimmy Butler who single-handedly carried the team on some nights. Miami is one of the best defensive teams in the league but needs to expand with shot creators in order to win a championship.
Milwaukee Bucks: Mo Bamba
Last year the Lakers were able to get younger players in Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn on cheaper deals in hopes that they would prove they can play quality minutes on a good team and get bigger contracts. Milwaukee should look to do the same thing this year with Mo Bamba. Bamba is a center that’s decent but hasn’t reached his true potential yet.
His best asset is his ability to space the floor as a big. He shot 38% from three this last season and scored 10.6 points. On top of that, he has a good interior presence averaging 1.7 blocks per game. With Brook Lopez continuing to age, Milwaukee should look for his replacement in Bamba.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Otto Porter
The Minnesota Timberwolves had one of their best seasons in the last 15 years last season. With Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony-Towns stepping up as stars the Timberwolves have succeeded at surrounding them with young talent. This is an incredibly deep team but should look to improve the small forward position. Otto Porter would be the perfect veteran to come in and do that for this team.
Porter is a good shooter as he scored 8 points while shooting 37% from three. Consistent shooting is something the Timberwolves struggled with last season. They’re also an inexperienced team, but Porter as a champion can change that. He also shined defensively and averaged over a steal per game. Porter would be the perfect plug-and-play player the Timberwolves have been looking for.
New Orleans Pelicans: Malik Monk
What’s one more former Laker to join the Pelicans. The Pelicans have a great defensive team but need as much shooting as possible to pair alongside Zion. They seem to be running a point guard by committee team but could use another shooter. Malik Monk shot 39% from three this last season.
Monk struggled to find a consistent role on an under-performing Lakers team. With players coming in and out of the lineup, Monk was the definition of consistency. Joining the Pelicans would give Monk a role that allows him to score off the bench and play to his skills.
New York Knicks: Jalen Brunson
With Kyrie Irving accepting his player option, New York looks at the next best option on the point guard market. The Knicks have been wanting a point guard for the longest time. Bringing in Jalen Brunson does that for this team. Brunson averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists as the second option in Dallas. In New York, Brunson will have the ball in his hand a majority of the time.
Brunson has shown he can take a backseat role if a player like Julius Randle or RJ Barrett steps up as the number one option. He also could potentially lead the team as the main guy with quality role players around him. He highlighted both of these skills these last playoffs as he shined against Utah without Luka and took a backseat role against Golden State and Phoenix.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Deandre Ayton
The Thunder have an impressive amount of draft picks and young talent that will make them great for years to come. The problem is they need to capitalize on this youth now before they have to pay them. They have a ton of cap space and should look to bring in a young star like Deandre Ayton to have success now.
Ayton is young and can build with the core out in OKC. He scored 17 points per game and had 10 rebounds on a very competitive team last season. He has a lot of experience despite being such a young player. He would be the perfect acquisition for a young team hoping for success in a couple of years.
Orlando Magic: Mo Bamba
The Magic have a great core for the future. They have too many players in their rotation right now and should prioritize keeping their guys rather than signing new players. Bringing back Bamba is the best possible move for this team. Bamba has gotten better every year in the league. He’s also still so young that he should continue to get better from here.
Orlando has the potential to be a serious competitor in the next couple of years. They brought in a new young star in Paolo Banchero and have young surrounding depth in Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner. If they can get Bamba on a team-friendly deal, they could have the cap in a year or two to sign a second star.
Philadelphia 76ers: Hassan Whiteside
The 76ers seem to be missing a couple of pieces if they hope to compete for a championship. They have the star talent in James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid. One of the biggest pieces they need is a backup big man. Hassan Whiteside can be that for this team.
He’s a dominant player down low scoring 8.2 points and grabbing 7.6 rebounds last season. He’s also a block machine with 1.6 last season. With Embiid being prone to injury, they need a guy like Whiteside who can step up at a moment’s notice. He’d be a cheap option for this team that has little money to spare this offseason.
Phoenix Suns: Gary Payton II
The Suns have been on a quest for a ring the last two seasons. Both years they’ve come just short of expectations. Chris Paul continues to age and their chances keep getting slimmer and slimmer. Against Dallas, one of their biggest issues was their lack of backup guard play. Both Cam Payne and Landry Shamet, who has been great for them in the past really struggled this postseason. Bringing in a champion in Gary Payton II will give the Suns the backup guard play necessary to win.
Payton is a great scorer in bunches averaging 7 points while shooting 61.6% from the field. He also provides great defense averaging 1.4 steals per game last season. He isn’t known for playmaking but has the I.Q. to play off-ball and let a player like Paul be ball-dominant.
Portland Trailblazers: Nicolas Batum
The Trailblazers are doing everything in their power to compete for one last year with Damian Lillard. They brought in quality role players in Jerami Grant and Josh Hart. They need to keep adding role players if they hope to make the playoffs with Lillard as a lone star. Adding Nicolas Batum is a step in the right direction for this franchise.
Batum averaged 8.3 points and shot 40% from three last season. He’s a decent three-and-D player that can start for the Trailblazers. He’s a vet that knows how to win and play unselfishly. After a nice season with the Clippers, Batum can look to play elsewhere and take on a bit bigger of a role.
Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo
Sacramento used to be a team that was very guard-heavy. After flipping Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield they’re in the market for a guard again. Victor Oladipo can step up as a solid shooting guard to play some defense alongside De’Aron Fox. Davion Mitchell has shown he can play solid backup minutes but isn’t tall enough to start at shooting guard alongside Fox. Oladipo could go on another prove-it deal to show his worth a decent contract.
Oladipo averaged 12.5 points and shot 41.7% from three last season. This is much needed alongside Fox who isn’t known for his three-point shooting. Sacramento has been terrible for years, but if they can start bringing in quality veterans they may be in playoff contention again. Oladipo would be a step in the right direction for such an unsuccessful franchise.
San Antonio Spurs: Deandre Ayton
The Spurs are in full rebuild mode after trading Dejounte Murray to the Hawks. Adding a young star to build around in Deandre Ayton is the best-case scenario for a directionless Spurs team. Ayton has never been the go-to guy on a team since being taken first overall in 2018. This team would allow him to do that.
Ayton also could look to this team to compete in the next couple of years. They have no true stars but many up-and-coming young players such as Lonnie Walker, Jeremy Sochan, and Devin Vassell. The Spurs had an amazing draft but have so much cap and should look to capitalize in free agency.
Toronto Raptors: Mitchell Robinson
The Raptors’ biggest flaw this last season was their lack of big man play. They addressed this in the draft by bringing in Christian Koloko who’s a decent big man out of Arizona. But they took him in the second round and he may take some time developing before being ready to start for a team. As a playoff team this last season they don’t want to wait and should address this issue in free agency.
Mitchell Robinson is exactly what the Raptors need in a big man. He’s an efficient scorer shooting 76% from the field while also being a presence defensively. The Raptors have great wing defenders but adding in Robinson down low would make this team a top 5 defense in the league. They have All-Stars on their team but a couple more quality role players and this team could be back in championship contention.
Utah Jazz: Otto Porter
The Jazz’s biggest need is defense. Besides Rudy Gobert, no one on this team has stepped up as a good defender. Otto Porter is a great Three-and-D player to add to this team. The Jazz has been trying to have playoff success for the past couple of years but keep coming up short. They have the stars in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert but lack the surrounding depth necessary. They need more shooting and defense.
The Jazz has very little money too. Adding Porter on a cheap deal to play the three alongside Mitchell would be perfect. Porter’s efficient 8 points per game won’t take shots away from an established offense out in Utah. His defensive presence will also benefit a team that relied on Royce O’neale to be their second-best defender.
Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal
This should go without saying but it still needs to be said. Bradley Beal has been the Wizards’ whole team after John Wall went down with his injury. Washington surprisingly has decent players at every position and is a deep team. They need to remain healthy and pick a direction.
If Washington decides to build around Beal they should try and flip assets for better players and continue to roll with their core. They can also re-sign Beal and look to trade him in order to rebuild. Once Beal is re-signed his value will be high and his contract long enough to get great young talent for a better future. Washington has been in a weird middle ground for years and needs to pick a direction. Retaining Beal is the first step in both directions.