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A look at the NBA’s top remaining free agents

Technically, most of this year’s top free agents remain unsigned. Until the moratorium is lifted at the start of the 2022-23 league year at 11:01 a.m. Central Time on July 6, most of them will not be eligible to sign their new contracts.

However, within the last 40 or so hours, 40 of the players in our Top 50 Free Agents of 2022 list have pulled out of the market by signing deal deals with teams across the league.

[RELATED: 2022 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

While these are only tentative agreements and could still fall apart, this typically doesn’t happen more than once or twice in any given off-season, so it’s safe to hold on to these deals for now and assume these free agents aren’t on the board.

So who is left? As of Saturday morning, here are the top free agents from our top 50 list (last updated Tuesday) pending new deals approval:

  1. James HardenG, sixes
  2. Deandre AytonC, Suns (RFA)
  3. miles of bridgesF, Hornets (RFA)
  4. Collin KuesterG, Cavaliers (RFA)
  5. Cody MartinF, Hornets (RFA)
  6. Caleb MartinF, heat (RFA)
  7. Dennis SchroederG, rockets
  8. Montrezl HarrellC, hornets
  9. Jordan NvoraF, dollars (RFA)
  10. TJ WarrenF, pacemaker

Four of our top nine free agents remain on the board, but there are a few caveats worth noting here. Harden, for example, is widely expected to stay with the sixes – it’s just a matter of both sides finding out how many years and dollars he gets. The two sides are reportedly meeting this weekend to negotiate his new deal.

Bridges’ on-court contributions made him one of our top free agents this off-season when we first published our roster, but if we were to re-rank available players today, he’d fall. After being arrested following allegations of domestic violence, Bridges was formally charged by the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday (story via ESPN) and his NBA future is up in the air.

Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer wrote on Friday that a long-term deal for Bridges, which seemed a formality just days ago, now looks very unlikely. Emiliano Carchia by Sportando (Twitter link) has sources who believe so hornets will make his qualifying offer of $7.9 million to Bridges, making him an unrestricted free agent. The 24-year-old is toxic at the moment, and with good reason.

Of the eight other players listed above, four are restricted free agents, which will at least partially reduce their leverage in negotiating favorable multi-year terms. However, Ayton in particular still seems like a good bet to land a lucrative long-term deal.

His situation may be tied to that Kevin Durant Trade Market – if the to sunbathe Durant can acquire, Ayton could be a key part of the outgoing package in a sign-and-trade, either to Brooklyn or to a third team. That jazz and pacemaker are among the teams linked with the former No. 1 overall.

It remains unclear which teams might try to force that Cavaliers« Hand on sexton. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), Cleveland has about $15 million left under the luxury tax line. It’s possible the club can bring Sexton back and stay off the controls if no rival suitors with Cap Room are willing to go after the 23-year-old guard.

Harrell has his own legal issues to contend with, though the marijuana charges he faces are believed to be considered far less problematic by teams than Bridges’ charges.

Warren, on the other hand, is a bit of a joker. He would have ranked much higher on our original list on merits alone, but the fact that he essentially missed two full seasons through injury made me balk at over-rating him — it seems like his long Dismissal could offer potential. Freier also pause.

The following free agents have received honorable mention from our Top 50 list and are not yet assigned:

  • LaMarcus AldridgeF/C, nets
  • Carmelo AnthonyF, Lakers
  • Bismack BiyomboC, suns
  • Avery BradleyG, Lakers
  • Thomas BryantC, magician
  • Facundo CampazzoG, nuggets
  • DeMarcus CousinsC, nuggets
  • Goran DragicG, nets
  • Dwight HowardC, Lakers
  • Serge IbakaF/C, Bucks
  • Jeremy LambG/F, Kings
  • Markieff MorrisF, heat
  • Austin RiversG, nuggets
  • Tristan ThompsonC, bulls
  • Hassan WhitesideC, Jazz

Here are our full listings of free agents by position/type and by team.