NBA Free Agency is in full swing and few dominoes have fallen so far. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are the marquee names this offseason, notwithstanding new Jazz man Steve Novak, and the market should follow after both have made their decisions.
Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey has plenty of cash to throw around, but Salt Lake City isn’t exactly a contender to reel in the big fish free agents when Miami, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are in the discussion.
But what if the Jazz could sign one dream free agent from this class to add to a young core of Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, Trey Burke and presumably, Gordon Hayward?
Here’s a list of the top NBA free agents, excluding those that have already re-signed with teams, and what they’d each bring to the Jazz:
1. LeBron James, Small Forward, Miami Heat
It’s hard to argue what LeBron wouldn’t bring to the Jazz. He’s an outstanding defender, a freakish athlete and without question, the best player in the NBA right now. The four-time NBA MVP, two-time NBA champion and 10-time NBA All-Star could conceivably slot in next to Derrick Favors at small forward, bumping Gordon Hayward to the shooting guard spot. His signing would give the Jazz a starting five of Trey Burke, Hayward, James, Favors and either Enes Kanter or Rudy Gobert, with a young and talented bench. He’d immediately boost a sagging Utah defense and rejuvenate a team that desperately needs a scorer and closer.
2. Carmelo Anthony. Small Forward, New York Knicks
Anthony would fill a similar role as James, coming in as a small forward or power forward to give the Jazz an athletic scorer and flexibility to interchange Favors, Hayward and Alec Burks. Anthony doesn’t offer much in terms of improving defensively, but the seven-time NBA All-Star would bring his 27 points per game average to a team that had no players averaging better than 16 points per game last season. New coach Quin Snyder could build an offense around Anthony and with another quality free agent signing, become an instant Western Conference contender.
3. Chris Bosh, Power Forward/Center, Miami Heat
Bosh’s skills may be a bit of an overlap for Favors and Kanter, but I’m sure Utah can find room. He’d give Favors flexibility to play at the center spot and would immediately space the floor, adding a mid-range jumper element to the Jazz and taking some pressure off Favors to produce in the post offensively. He’s not the go-to option like he was with the Raptors, but he’s still a star from a team that just won two titles.
4. Eric Bledsoe, Point Guard, Phoenix Suns
Bledsoe is only a restricted free agent and would require some creativity to bring to Salt Lake, but he’d be a great addition. Although the Jazz are deep at guard, Bledsoe is a dynamic option that can create his own shot and take pressure off Burke in the backcourt. He’s young and jives with the “grow together” mentality preached by the Jazz, giving Utah a deep rotation between him, Burke, Exum and Burks.
5. Chandler Parsons, Small Forward, Houston Rockets
There are other options like Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, Greg Monroe and even Gordon Hayward for this spot, but Parsons makes a lot of sense if the Jazz could overcome his restricted free-agent status. Parsons is young, would be slightly cheaper than the above options and fills a big need at small forward to give Hayward flexibility to move back to guard. Parsons played a big part on a successful Rockets team last season, finishing with a career high 16.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He’d also be able to grow with the young Utah core and give the Jazz a complementary piece in the frontcourt with Favors, Kanter and Gobert.
Other options: Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, Greg Monroe, Lance Stephenson, Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza