Free Agency Preview - Eastern Conference

  • By Andrew Taylor, Day 1, 2021


A quick look at each team's key free agents and potential targets in the upcoming 2021 free agency period.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Baltimore Bullets
Available Cap Space - $27,950,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Not applicable
Positions of Need – None
Potential Targets - Unknown
Summary
The Baltimore Bullets enter free agency with a full 12-man roster and reasonable depth at each position. They have no specific need to fill but at the same time it seems unlikely that Bedouin will sit this out. With enough cap space to offer a max contract they represent a potential wildcard in free agency.

Boston Crusaders
Available Cap Space - $61,650,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Not applicable
Positions of Need - SF & PF
Potential Targets - Lamar Claxton, Reggie Fortier, Devan Carroll, Kellen Chambers
Summary
The Boston Crusaders enter free agency with a likely starting backcourt of dual PGs Monroe and Harrell and veteran Alonzo Traylor at center. As such they will likely be looking for starters at the SF and PF positions. At the older end of the spectrum Claxton would provide the ability to play some SG in addition to SF, while Fortier is a lockdown defender at either forward spot. If the team prefers younger options they could hone in on Carroll and Chambers, both tall young players capable of playing either forward position.

New York Renegades
Available Cap Space - $14,200,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Linton Hughes (SF)
Positions of Need - PG
Potential Targets - Keith Humphries, Devante Parker
Summary
The New York Renegades enter free agency with holes in their starting lineup at PG and PF. At PF they have Osazee Ikeafor, who may be ready to step into the starting role in his third season, and resigning Hughes would provide depth at the position. However, after an offseason in which they lost Kendall Houston to retirement and Derrick Cousins to the expansion draft the team does not have a ready replacement at the PG position. As such we anticipate that the team will make a play for Humphries or Parker, hoping that at least one remains in their price range. A more comprehensive restocking of the team’s depth may need to wait until the 2022 offseason when Rashard Stevens’ contract will come off the books.

Philadelphia Warriors
Available Cap Space - $27,000,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Robert Weekes (PF)
Positions of Need - C
Potential Targets - Antoine Hall
Summary
The Philadelphia Warriors enter free agency requiring a new starting center after losing both Durrant and Croyle in the expansion draft. Fontaine has looked good in limited minutes, but the team may proceed to chase a big-name center. Nyambi is probably a little too old for a team at this stage of development but Hall, at only 26, would be well positioned to grow alongside the Warriors younger core players such as Weaver, Hicks, Tyson and Foster. The return of Weekes may come down to cost, as while the team has no other backup SF, they do have players such as Weaver and Coleman who would be capable of manning the 4 in spots.

Toronto Huskies
Available Cap Space - $35,750,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Damien Dukes (LOL)
Positions of Need - Depth
Potential Targets - Rotation players
Summary
The Toronto Huskies enter free agency with a full high calibre starting line-up for the first time in years after the selection of PC Quavius Williamson with the 1st pick in the draft. Whilst the team is already primed for a jump up the standings this offseason is surprisingly pivotal as one of the last two opportunities for the team to add rotation depth before their young studs start to come out of their rookie contracts. The team will be looking for value plays, which may prove challenging in a free agency with this much money floating around. And no, the team absolutely should not resign Damien Dukes.

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago Jailbirds
Available Cap Space – - $5,650,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need - Wing Depth
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Chicago Jailbirds enter free agency with no cap space after the dual extensions of Jason Cheaney and Keydren Carter. Luckily, they have no key free agents to resign and only need to fill out the last few spots of their roster. However without their MLE to work with it seems highly unlikely they will be able to sign the additional wing depth they require and as such they may just opt to resign their current FAs using their tenure rights.

Cincinnati Kings
Available Cap Space - $44,050,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Lamar Claxton (SG/SF)
Positions of Need - PG
Potential Targets - Keith Humphries
Summary
The Cincinnati Kings have embraced ‘The Process’ but have plenty of young talent and a solid veteran anchor with Kelvin Black at center. Owens will join Turner and Richardson in the wing rotation whilst Thybulle will likely play most of his minutes behind last year’s rookie breakout Richmond Benson (No, I will not say his nickname). With this talent already in place it seems unlikely that the team will attempt to resign Claxton. However, following the trade of Jamar Strickland to the Bullets the team is in need of a PG. Given the age profile of the list we anticipate that the team may target Tritons PG Keith ‘Hawk’ Humphries.

Detroit Mustangs
Available Cap Space - - $13,049,080
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need - Frontcourt Depth
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Detroit Mustangs enter free agency as one of the Eastern Conference favorites but need to replenish their depth after the trade to acquire LaGarde. Luckily unlike the Jailbirds the team still has it’s MLE to work with as it aims to fill out the tail end of its roster. With Douglas available to backup both the PG and SG positions we anticipate the team will focus its resources on front court players to support Dawkins and Bundu, who will start for the first time this season. They could do this by resigning their own FAs using tenure rights but this would push them further into the penalty as such the team may elect to focus on veteran minimums.

Louisville Colonels
Available Cap Space - $58,425,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Not applicable
Positions of Need - SG and PF
Potential Targets - Kendall Nash, Antoine Peeler, Devan Carroll, Stoyanov Vitas
Summary
The Louisville Colonels enter free agency with likely starters at C, SF and potentially PG should the team elect to start late 1st round pick Jack Donlon. Assuming this is the case we anticipate that the team will focus on filling the holes at SG and PF. Given the team has already added veterans at C and backup PG we see the team electing to target the younger options at each position. As such the team may enter the bidding for Peeler at SG, with Nash as a secondary target. At PF both Carroll and Vitas would present positional flexibility, which could allow the team to experiment with their Uman Akele, their versatile cornerstone.

Pittsburgh Vipers
Available Cap Space - $29,590,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Not applicable
Positions of Need - Depth
Potential Targets - Anyone under 30
Summary
The Pittsburgh Vipers enter free agency as perhaps the most advanced expansion team with a line-up featuring three all star players alongside prized rookie Kendrick Hill. However, whilst the team may be the most advanced in talent, it’s also the most advanced in age. As such the Vipers should be looking to add younger prospects in free agency who can spend the next year or two developing behind players such as Respert, Carstensen and Young.


SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Atlanta Devils
Available Cap Space - $38,550,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Lucas Rush
Positions of Need - Wing
Potential Targets - Antoine Peeler, Lucas Rush
Summary
The Atlanta Devils enter free agency with considerable cap space for a developed roster due to trading Swayda away last season. With a solid front court rotation and PG Thomas in place the team will likely focus its energy on the wing positions. The team is likely to attempt to resign its own free agent Lucas Rush but could also be a player for the big names on the wing like Antoine Peeler. This likely depends on how rich the bidding on Rush gets and what role the GM feels rookie Javion Edwards is ready to take on.

Charlotte Drones
Available Cap Space - $55,100,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Not applicable
Positions of Need - SF and PF
Potential Targets - Reggie Fortier, Devan Carroll, Kellen Chambers, Stoyanov Vitas
Summary
The Charlotte Drones enter free agency with a solid starting backcourt acquired through the expansion draft and a highly touted rookie in C Khalen Anthony. As such the team will likely be looking to fill the holes in its starting lineup at SF and PF. As discussed with the Crusaders, the age of some of its expansion acquisitions may tilt the Drones’ preferences towards the younger players available at these positions.

Miami Cyclones
Available Cap Space - $36,550,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Stoyanov Vitas
Positions of Need - PF and C
Potential Targets - Frontcourt and SF
Summary
The Miami Cyclones enter free agency with a strong backcourt rotation after the addition of Josh Gamble in the draft. However the team lacks star talent in the front court and whether ‘The Dragon’ breaks out is still very much a question mark. The team may enter the marketplace, and certainly has the money to be a player, but with four 1st round picks in the coming 2022 draft the team may elect to hold it’s funds until 2022 free agency. It certainly seems unlikely to resign Vitas, who barely saw the court after his arrival from the Fireballs.

Nashville Stars
Available Cap Space - $17,265,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Antoine Peeler and Preye Crooks
Positions of Need - PG and C
Potential Targets - Sebastien Tallec
Summary
The defending champions enter free agency with a few needs to address. Firstly, given the retirement of Kaiser Anderson, the team must decide whether they want to resign his key backup Preye Crooks or give the starting C role to one of their younger players. Secondly, they need to decide whether they wish to resign SG Antoine Peeler who is after a max contract and is sure to get it. The team drafted a SG as insurance against losing Peeler but will they really be willing to lose their third best player coming off a championship year. They have tenure rights for both Crooks and Peeler so they will be able to exceed the cap to ensure they retain both. And luckily for them they have their MLE which they may utilize to replace former backup PG Joe Layton who was lost in the expansion draft.

New Orleans Hurricanes
Available Cap Space - $24,900,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Tyson Kuberka
Positions of Need - Wing Depth
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The New Orleans Hurricanes enter free agency having turned over their starting wings, who are much more promising than their old wings. However they still lack depth on the wing and this may be a potential issue to address with their MLE because the majority of that cap space will be most likely utilized to resign Tyson Kuberka, after a fantastic season in which the temperamental veteran significantly rehabilitated his image.