Free Agency Preview - Western Conference

  • By Andrew Taylor, Day 1, 2021


FREE AGENCY PREVIEW – WESTERN CONFERENCE
MIDWEST DIVISION
Houston Lightning
Available Cap Space - $2,150,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Rahsaan Hayes, Kendall Nash, Sebastien Tallec
Positions of Need – Depth
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Houston Lightning enter free agency as the championship favorites after the recent acquisition of reigning league MVP Dontay Sowder. However, the trade has left them a little light on depth so the team will need to nail FA to give themselves the best chance of going all the way in 2021. The team will most likely utilize tenure rights to secure Hayes and perhaps Tallec but it seems unlikely they will chase the bidding that Kendall Nash will receive. They also have they MLE which they’ll will be hoping they can secure an impact contributor with.

Kansas City Knights
Available Cap Space - $9,900,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – Depth
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Kansas City Knights enter free agency with a little under $10 million to spend and most of a bench rotation to fill. They could use a starting PF to hold them over while ‘T-Rex’ Thompson develops but they are unlikely to be able to secure an impact player with their available cap space. Instead the team will probably focus on resigning it’s own free agents and perhaps try to add one impact guy off the bench with its MLE.

Minneapolis Blizzards
Available Cap Space - $71,250,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – PG, SG, SF, C
Potential Targets - Veteran Free Agents
Summary
The Blizzards traded down in the draft and took young talent in the expansion draft meaning that as of this stage they lack an impact player to build the franchise around, though Galloway looks like a lock to start at PF. Given all the kids the team’s key goal in free agency should be to add as much veteran talent as possible to keep the team reasonably competitive and help in the development of the youth. The first priority should be a SG as they don’t currently have one on the roster. Players like Wilkinson and Claxton would be appropriate here if the team wants to avoid the likely max candidates.

Oklahoma City Barons
Available Cap Space - $53,000,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – PG
Potential Targets - Keith Humphries, Devante Parker, Antoine Hall
Summary
The OKC Barons enter free agency with a solid wing rotation, decent options at PF and no PG. Dembele has potential at C but the team may wish to pursue a more experienced center such as Antoine Hall. Regardless the team’s first priority must be PG as they currently have none on the roster. Both Humphries and Parker would be solid options, but Parker might be the better option as a veteran presence on a young team.

St. Louis Skyhawks
Available Cap Space - $27,150,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Kellen Chambers
Positions of Need – Backup C
Potential Targets - Preye Crooks, Rahsaan Hayes
Summary
The Skyhawks enter free agency with a lot of cap space after the retirement of Brian Oliver. Their first priority will be attempting to resign talented but inconsistent young wing Kellen Chambers, although the team could let him go if bidding gets out of control. The team will also likely consider resigning Dougherty who played significant minutes at times. However the team’s main goal should be to find a backup veteran center to backup Mark Hunter, who is finally free and projected to start this year. Both Hayes and Crooks would do well in this role, and their salary demands are not out of reach for the team.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION
Austin Rockets
Available Cap Space - $948,500
Key Free Agents to Resign - Kaiama Nyambi
Positions of Need – PF
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Rockets enter free agency with less than $1M in cap space available. They hold tenure rights on Kaiama Nyambi and can exceed the cap to sign him but without tenure rights on players such as Freeman and Ireland and no MLE, they’ll be left to fill the rest of their roster with veteran minimums.

Dallas Predators
Available Cap Space - $71,875,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – Frontcourt and Wing
Potential Targets - Unknown
Summary
The Dallas Predators enter free agency with a starting backcourt in Cousins and Wade and a lot of young development talent. They have players at PF, C and SF but most likely will focus on adding talent at these positions in free agency. Given their wide range of needs they could pursue some of the younger big names like Hall and Carroll but it seems unlikely they will enter the bidding on players like Nyambi and Stafford.

Denver Dragons
Available Cap Space - $67,925,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – Frontcourt and PG
Potential Targets - Antoine Hall, Devan Carroll, Keith Humphries, Devante Parker
Summary
The Denver Dragons enter free agency with their wing spots filled by 1st rounders OB1 and Mitchell Van Bree. As such they will be focusing on the frontcourt and PG positions this free agency. The team could be a bidder for Antoine Hall the best young big available, and one who has proved their value in an up-tempo offense at the Thunder. At PG they could pursue Humphries whose defensive leanings would complement OB1, or a veteran leader well suited to a fast-paced style in Parker. The team could also decide to deploy Bracey at PG to best utilize his advanced playmaking skills and invest its cap space at SG. In this scenario they might even consider Peeler. The Dragons have already lined up some quality pieces and have a wide range of options available this free agency to fill out the team around them.

Mexico City Jaguars
Available Cap Space - $24,850,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Mirko Blazevic
Positions of Need – Wing Depth
Potential Targets - Reggie Fortier
Summary
The Jags have a talented starting five that just needs time to develop and coalesce. The team added Odiambo as a backup PF this offseason to address one of its depth issues but still could use another strong player on the wing. Fortier would be the ideal player here, a strong defender to assist a young team on that end of the court. However given the young talent on the roster the team may elect to simply fill its last roster spot, perhaps by resigning Mirko as their 3rd center, and save their money for the 2022 free agency period.
Phoenix Vultures
Available Cap Space - $39,650,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - All Star Arden
Positions of Need – SG
Potential Targets - Antoine Peeler
Summary
The Vultures enter free agency with almost two max salary slots but with only 6 players on their roster. The Vultures seem to have enlisted most of their future starting five with SG the only hole remaining. Peeler would fill this hole and the Vults can certainly afford him. However the Vults may well elect to select some rotation pieces and maintain the majority of their cap space for the 2022 season, giving them more time to evaluate their young players.

PACIFIC DIVISION
Las Vegas Scorpions
Available Cap Space - $16,550,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – A bench
Potential Targets - Veteran Minimums
Summary
The Scorpions enter free agency with more cap space than they’ve had since the 2018 offseason when they signed Leon Bowen and HP. The championship team has been deconstructed but the team will need to utilize their cap space carefully to out a rotation around their starting five. The team will be aiming to add a least one impact player off the bench, but will most likely be forced to fill spots 9-12 via veteran minimum contracts as they don’t have their MLE.

Los Angeles Fireballs
Available Cap Space - $42,815,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Colin Stafford, Jamal Wilkinson
Positions of Need – PF and SG
Potential Targets - Antoine Peeler, Kendall Nash
Summary
The Fireballs enter free agency with 2 max salary slots available after trading away Carstensen. The team will almost certainly resign Colin Stafford, whose purple patch of form led the Fireballs past their old conference rivals the Rockets and Scorpions. However, after that is resolved they will be much harder to predict. They could elect to simply resign Wilkinson but it seems more likely that the team will attempt to add younger talent at the position. In this scenario Peeler would likely be their first target with Kendall Nash as a likely fall-back plan.

Oakland Tritons
Available Cap Space - $9,220,312
Key Free Agents to Resign - Keith Humphries, Reggie Fortier
Positions of Need – None
Potential Targets - None
Summary
The Oakland Tritons were the hottest team in the league throughout the second half of the season and would have been a strong chance to win the title if they had secured home court advantage. The team has reasonable depth and addressed the retirement of Austin Williams with the selection of scoring orientated PG Evan Coleman in the draft. What the team needs to do is retain its free agents. We anticipate that the team will match any offers for Hawk and Fortier and then fill the last few spots on their roster with veteran minimums or via resigning Jelcic and Rhodes.

Portland Lumberjacks
Available Cap Space - $54,000,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - None
Positions of Need – Wing
Potential Targets - Devan Carroll, Antoine Peeler
Summary
The Lumberjacks had 8 selections in this year’s draft and constructed a balanced young roster which they supplemented with some veterans in the expansion draft process. They seem to have sufficient depth in the frontcourt and drafted two PGs in the second round. As such it would seem likely that the team may elect to pursue a wing talent such as Carroll or Peeler in FA. However, given the GM’s past relationship with Tritons PG Keith Humphries we fully expect that he will be the team’s primary target. But pursuing Humphries doesn’t mean the team couldn’t pursue a wing talent as well.

Seattle Thunder
Available Cap Space - $36,700,000
Key Free Agents to Resign - Antoine Hall, Devan Carroll, Devante Parker
Positions of Need – None
Potential Targets - Antoine Hall, Devan Carroll, Devante Parker
Summary
The Thunder enter free agency with 9 players under contract and three key members of their rotation on the market. The team is certain to bid on Hall and Carroll but with Tucker hitting free agency next year, may be wary of maxing both. After the selection of PG Lynch in the draft it appears the team may consider parting ways with Devante Parker, particularly if bidding gets out of hand. Having said that the team does have their MLE and could use it to try and secure a productive bench player to fill the role that RayMac occupied last year.