With the Milwaukee Bucks winning the 2021 NBA championship, the league now transitions into the offseason. The NBA has one of the most exciting free agency windows, with each individual player having the chance to make a meaningful impact on their new team and salary cap considerations always in play.
John Hollinger is The Athletic’s analytics guru, and earlier this week he released his free agent big board. Two former Michigan Wolverines made the top 20 heading into the offseason.
6. Duncan Robinson, SF, Heat (restricted): $23,924,678
That said, he’s not a high-usage shot creator and he’s not a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, so paying him in the 20s is probably excessive. But Joe Harris money (four years, $72 million) is most assuredly not. For starters, Robinson is 27 and should be coming up on his best years. Additionally, he’s shown himself to be very durable while playing his peculiar role, having not missed a single game since signing with Miami in the spring of 2019.
Not even a full-time starter in Ann Arbor after transferring from Division III Williams College, Robinson has put his name on the map over the past couple seasons. No player has been faster to 500 career 3s, and his performance during the Heat’s 2020 NBA Finals run proves he can be a key part of a winning team. His defense is not elite, but Robinson is more than just a shooter. If Miami does not want to pay up for him this summer, someone else will.
19. Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Mavericks: $12,853,601
One of the most interesting free-agency conundrums is in Dallas, where newly installed general manager Nico Harrison’s first big question is “Tim Hardaway Jr. or cap space?”
After bouncing around the NBA, Hardaway finally found a good home in Dallas. As Hollinger alludes, the question of keeping him comes down to how the Mavericks handle the rest of their roster. It seems to be in Hardaway’s best interest to return to Dallas, as this seems like the first place he has truly been able to find consistency. At 29 years old, there is still time to adjust elsewhere, but at this point he would probably prefer to run it back with the Mavs.
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