By Joseph Cervantes
5. Willie Cauley-Stein, Golden State Warriors
Contract: 2 Year/ $4.5 Million
The former top pick of the 2015 NBA Draft hasn’t yet lived up to his expectations, but a new chance with the Golden State Warriors could unlock his full potential.
Willie Cauley-Stein can ideally be a nice fit with the Warriors on both ends of the floor as a rim-running 7-footer. With his supreme athleticism and jumping ability, Willie will become a prime target for weak side alley-oops.
In each of the last two seasons, the big man has averaged 11.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Expect to see Draymond throw a lob up to Cauley-Stein multiple times a game.
4. JJ Reddick, New Orleans Pelicans
Contract: 2 Year/ 26.5 Million
JJ Reddick is coming off arguably one of the best seasons of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers averaging a career-best 18.1 points per game to go along with 2.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
The New Orleans Pelicans can expect plenty of floor spacing when Redick is on the floor. When Redick is not running defenders ragged in search of quick jumpers, he helps keep the team connected and the offense moving.
Nonetheless, the thirteen-year veteran can provide a special kind of locker room leadership the Pelicans need. Redick can show these younger players what it takes to have a long, productive career in the NBA which will ultimately be essential for the sustained success of the Pelicans.
3. Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons
Contract: 2 Year/ $15 Million
The Detroit Pistons were heading into free agency with intentions to improve their point guard position since former Piston Ish Smith contract had expired. Derrick Rose could even possibly take over the starting position over Reggie Jackson at some point during the season. Rose is a slasher and scorer, and that is something the Pistons were sorely lacking.
Derrick Rose finished the season averaging 18.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 4.3 APG, while shooting a healthy 48.2 percent from the field and a career-high 37 percent from three. Derrick was arguably one of the best backup point guards last season as he had a mini career resurgence playing through 51 games.
2. Isaiah Thomas, Washington Wizards
Contract: 1 Year/ $2 Million
Isaiah Thomas will once again get a chance to prove his leadership qualities and offensive prowess with a new team. Thomas signing with the Washington Wizards provides a fresh start for him after only playing in 29 games the past two seasons. It wasn’t that long ago when he carried the Celtics during their 2017 playoff campaign, averaging 23.3 points and 6.7 assists a night over 15 games.
As an eight-season NBA veteran, two-time All-Star, and a ’16-’17 All-NBA second-team selection, Isaiah Thomas is capable of being a starting guard for the Wizards or making big plays off of the bench.
Thomas is a valuable player and leader in the locker room, who can immediately contribute to the team’s success while John Wall continues to rehab with his injury. The Wizards most definitely got a steal after signing former All-Star to a $2 Million deal.
1. Demarcus Cousins, Los Angeles Lakers
Contract: 1 Year/ $3.5 Million
After coming off a disappointing season, Cousins played in 30 games for the Warriors, and averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, in 26.7 minutes. Signing with the Lakers gives him another opportunity to prove that he’s one of the most dominant players in the league if he stays healthy.
The 28-year-old’s passion and skill for his size are unmatched. If he’s able to return to full health, he’s going to be a monumental addition to this re-tooled Lakers roster. Cousins will also be pairing up with his former teammate Anthony Davis, a duo that can not only rim protect and clean up the glass, but can stretch the floor.
The Lakers most definitely got one of the biggest steals this free agency by signing Cousins for only $3.5 Million. The dynamic of LeBron, Davis, and Cousins playing the pick and roll game and off-ball movement in the front-court is going to be unlike anything that we have ever seen.