The focus in NBA free agency will rightly on top-line superstars, but it’s easy to forget just how many players out thee will be seeking new contracts. Though there’s always underrated value to be found each summer around the league, but these six players should absolutely be avoided at all costs.
Remember this guy? Probably barely. Shabazz Muhammad has fallen from one of the most highly-regarded high school prospects in the nation to completely irrelevant in the pro ranks. He was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Milwaukee Bucks last season, and now enters unrestricted free agency at the age of 25. Once projected as a capable scorer, he is now nothing more than a ball-hogging chucker. Muhammad averages less than one assist per game on his career (no, that’s not a typo). It is not a given that he will even be in the league next season.
Tony Parker should be headed to Springfield one day for all that he has accomplished in the game, but the four-time NBA champion is running on his last legs. Parker made an admirable effort to return from a ruptured quadriceps as soon as possible, but the Frenchman’s time in the league is running out. He was always a player who’s game was predicated on speed and deception, never being a pure shooter from the outside. As he enters unrestricted free agency, there’s a reasonable chance that the Spurs bring him back on a cheap deal. But he has very little to offer a contending team.
It may be time for the 38-year-old to retire to the BIG3, because his tank is finally running low. Jamal Crawford will always have a smooth handle to go with his quick release jumper, but he’s now more of a liability than anything else. His scoring mentality did not yield efficient results this past season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and opposing ball-handlers absolutely feast on Crawford on the defensive end. The two-time Sixth Man of the Year opted out of his contract, so he’s clearly betting on himself. That’s probably not the best idea.
Brook Lopez’s days of being an All-Star-caliber scoring center are over. His regression as a rebounder and inability to switch on the perimeter make him a liability, and while he has developed a jump-shot to go along with his finishing ability near the basket, he’s now on the wrong side of 30 and the prevailing style of the game has passed him by.
It seems like ages ago that Jahlil Okafor was picked third overall in the 2015 draft, and despite a decent rookie year in which he put up reasonable numbers, it has been all downhill for the Duke product. Jah was shipped from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Brooklyn Nets for nothing more than chump change, and he now enters restricted free agency with his value at an all-time low. Although Okafor still has some touch around the rim, his general incompetence makes him pretty unplayable at the NBA level.
One year ago, Isaiah Thomas was a true NBA superstar and surely thought he would be in line for a max contract this summer. After being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the midst of a nagging hip injury and failing to mesh with LeBron James, he ended up getting shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers. Being a score-first guard that plays arguably the worst defense in the league outside of Jamal Crawford, there will be few spots in the league where he will actually be able to contribute to winning games.