This year’s free agent class could have been filled with superstars. The pool of impact players has been drained, as many of them signed extensions.
There’s still some intriguing names that will hit the market this summer and many of them will be restricted free agents. Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Hamidou Diallo, Gary Trent Jr., Josh Hart and Lauri Markkanen are some of the players who could receive offer sheets.
It’s rare that a highly productive young big like Collins would reach restricted free agency at this point in his career. Collins, 23, averaged 17.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG on a playoff team and he’s a career 38% shooter from deep.
Yet the Hawks seem lukewarm, at best, on Collins as a long-term partner for franchise player Trae Young. He reportedly turned down a $90MM extension offer, believing he could get a max deal, or something very close to it, in free agency.
Atlanta need only to extend a $7.7MM qualifying offer in order to make him a restricted free agent, giving it the option of matching an offer sheet.
Collins has the opportunity to enhance his resume with a strong playoff showing. He contributed a ho-hum 12 points and seven rebounds to Atlanta’s Game 1 win on Sunday but counterpart Julius Randle shot just 6-for-23 from the field. Collins’ second postseason game was a disaster, as he went scoreless in 12, foul-filled minutes.
He contributed 14 points and six rebounds in Game 3 on Friday but, more importantly, helped to hold Randle to a 2-for-15 shooting night.
Ball’s qualifying offer is $14.36MM, so New Orleans has a tougher decision to make. Ball has long been rumored to be a primary target for the Bulls, who are seeking a natural point guard.
Ball’s name was bandied about in trade rumors this winter and it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Pelicans choose to make him unrestricted. That would leave open the possibility of a sign-and-trade, rather than getting nothing if they decline to match an offer sheet.
However, we’ll assume that Pelicans will extend the QO and see if Ball’s offers fall into their price range.
In contrast, the Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen as part of the multi-team James Harden blockbuster with the intent of re-signing him. Allen, whose QO is $7.7MM, averaged 13.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 1.4 BPG after joining Cleveland.
Allen didn’t exactly turn around the Cavaliers’ fortunes but they seem committed to retaining the 23-year-old center. So if another team covets Allen, it will have to make a substantial offer to force the Cavs to think twice about matching.
That leads us to our question of the day: Among John Collins, Lonzo Ball and Jarrett Allen, which restricted free agent will receive the biggest offer this summer?
Please take to the comments section to voice your opinion on this topic. We look forward to your input.