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2015 NBA Free Agency- Top 20 Available #11-20 - This Is Sports Zone

With the July 1st moratorium the kick-off to the 2015 NBA Free Agency period around the corner, it’s time to preview the best available of this year’s free agent class. Each player’s predicted landing spot is listed in BOLD. Today we look at the 11th through 20th best available, while tomorrow we preview the top 10. Feel free to give your opinions in the comments:

11. Khris Middleton, G/F, Milwaukee Bucks (RFA)- In his three seasons in the league he has gone from throw-in in the trade that sent Brandon Jennings to Detroit, to one of the top players on an up-and-coming playoff team. He set career highs last season in points per game (13.4), field goal percentage (46.7%), rebounds (4.4), steals (1.5), and assists per game (2.3), and at age 24 coming opening night, the sky is truly the limit for the third-year pro. The Bucks would be foolish not to match any offer he receives, and every team from the Pistons, to the Hawks, Knicks, Magic and more should be expected to place a bid for this versatile player who can defend three positions. In the end, he will return to the BUCKS as part of an outstanding core that includes the returning Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

12. Monta Ellis, G, Dallas Mavericks (Declined $8.72 million Player Option)- Ellis is a rare breed, he’s an erratic shooter who rebuilt his reputation as a player in his two seasons in Dallas, and is one of the only shoot-first players in the league who doesn’t shy away from assists, having average as much as six assists a game twice during the last four seasons. He opted out of his final season in the hopes of an eight figure a year deal, and it’s been rumored that the Pacers, Heat, and Hawks could be his top suitors. Any team that obtains him would be wise to only need him as a scorer who can handle the ball occasionally, and as such his best fit would probably be with INDIANA.

13. Tyson Chandler, C, Dallas Mavericks- One season removed from being shipped out of New York in Phil Jackson’s first trade as team president, Chandler has re-established himself as one of the top defensive big men in the game, playing in more games than he had since 2010-11, and put up some his best numbers since his Defensive Player of the Year season in 2012-13. Teams from the Bucks to the Blazers, and even the Clippers (if they lose DeAndre Jordan) could be in play, but in all likelihood he stays in DALLAS, where he’s had his most success.

14. Tobias Harris, F, Orlando Magic (RFA)- With Scott Skiles becoming the new head coach of Orlando, the writing is all but on the wall for the Magic to decline to match any offer made to Harris, who only broke out once he was traded away from Skiles’ Milwaukee Bucks, as he had never been given the chance to shine and was buried on the bench during their time together. Harris has proven to be a dynamic scorer with a decent outside shot who can play both forward positions when given the chance. He was linked to the Knicks at one point during the season, and he should have a number of teams lining up for his services (If they are willing to pay a large price). There’s always a possibility he signs his one year qualifying offer and becomes a free agent next season when the cap expands, but if he chooses to test the market, the Sixers, Lakers, Hawks, Suns, Celtics, and Knicks could all get in the mix. I predict he ends up in DETROIT, as Stan Van Gundy moves on from the Greg Monroe era.

15. Goran Dragic, G, Miami Heat (Declined $7.5 million Player Option)- The Heat gave up two first round draft picks for Dragic midseason, so they are under tremendous pressure to bring him back. Because they can offer him the most money and years it seems a good bet to think he will be back, but other teams like the Lakers, Knicks, and even the Rockets (if they clear cap space) could offer him a decent landing spot. In the end, no team needs him more than the HEAT, and one can’t expect Pat Riley to watch one his top free agents leave for a second straight year.

16. Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit Pistons- Though he missed much of the second half with a knee strain, Monroe looks to command a huge contract from some team looking for a big man, now that he no longer is a restricted free agent, a tag that cost him a long-term contract last season. He was reportedly of signing any long-term offer sheet that the Pistons would be able to match, as he did not want to commit long-term before playing under Stan Van Gundy first. Though Monroe set career highs in free throw percentage (75%) and rebounds a game last season (10.2), his style has always clashed with Andre Drummond, the true star in Detroit, and as such he has most likely played his last game for the Pistons. The Lakers, Celtics, Hawks, Blazers, Bucks and Knicks figure to be among his top bidders, but he is going to expect at $16 million a year, which is a steep price for a big man who doesn’t excel on the defensive side of the ball, but I’ll say the LAKERS make the biggest push to add another scorer next to Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle, and the newly drafted D’Angelo Russell.

17. Dwayne Wade, SG, Miami Heat (Rumored to be declining $16.13 million Player Option)- The big question is whether Wade finally wants the money he has turned down during Miami’s super-team years. Of course the problem is that he is no longer worth $20 million a year, and he probably doesn’t have more value to any team other than the Heat, as he is arguably the best player the organization ever produced. He will stay in MIAMI, and he may simply take his player option to allow Pat Riley to add pieces in free agency, provided a mystery team doesn’t tempt him with a max contract.

18. Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers- Brook’s brother has broken out the last two seasons playing next to LaMarcus Aldridge, and whoever signs him would be wise to treat him as a complimentary player rather than a lead player, especially on the offensive end. He would be a good fit with the Knicks and allow Carmelo to play the power forward position he seems to excel, and the Celtics are thought to want to sign him along with Kevin Love and Paul Pierce for a new big three. I see him going to the BUCKS once Tyson Chandler and Brook sign with other teams.

19. Danny Green, G/F, San Antonio Spurs- Green has become one of the better ‘three-and-D’ players in the league, but San Antonio will be hard pressed to keep him given they will also be attempting to resign Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili while attempting to add another piece for one last run. Green figures to be a casualty of the numbers, and teams from the Pacers, to the Hawks, Mavericks,, Blazers, Pistons, Magic, and Knicks could all vie for the sharp-shooters services. My surprise prediction– the KNICKS pay the premium to add probably the best shooter that has ever played alongside Carmelo Anthony.

20. Rajon Rondo, PG, Dallas/Reggie Jackson, G, Detroit Pistons (RFA)- Thanks to injuries, inconsistencies, and his toxic relationship with Rick Carlisle after being traded to Dallas, Rondo’s value has never been lower, but a team looking for veteran leadership could take a chance, but it will be surprising to see who pays the large price tag he will no doubt look for. At this point in his career he might be suited better for a bench role, or a team like the Heat may take a chance if they lose Dragic, but if not the LAKERS might view him as a valuable mentor to Russell in his rookie season. As for Jackson, he proved to be too good for a backup role, and he played some of the best ball of his career after he was traded from the Thunder to the Pistons midseason. Van Gundy has been adamant that Jackson is his starter for the future, even with Brandon Jennings still under contract, and as a result he does appear to be set to remain with the Pistons. While a team like the Knicks or Sixers might offer a max deal given his age and upside, in all likelihood DETROIT will keep him and look to trade Jennings at some point this offseason.

Next Best Availables: Brandon Knight, PG, Phoenix (RFA); Wesley Matthews, G/F, Portland; Luol Deng, SF, Miami (Opted into his $10.15 million player option Monday); Paul Pierce, SF, Washington (Declined $5.54 million Player Option); Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio; Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio.

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