Five Restricted Free Agents Worth Pursuing (for various reasons)

Restricted free agency in the NBA is a chess game. It’s not all about signing a player you really want and crossing your fingers. If could be, “signing a player you want but can live without, understanding that at worst, a rival is going to hemorrhage their finances to keep him.”

See: Roy Hibbert, Eric Gordon, etc.

With that in mind, being shrewd and not over-paying for someone but also chasing someone who can make your team better and crossing your fingers makes it an interesting proposition. It’s the ultimate, “I’ll leave my number on the receipt and see if she calls.”

With all of that in mind, here are five players worth pursuing that are restricted, meaning them in your jersey means it’s up to someone else.

1. Jordan Clarkson, Lakers

JC could be a looter in a riot, but he’s solid across the board and has carved out a nice place for himself. He was second on the team in scoring (by default, since Kobe Bryant took an estimated 700 shots a game), second in steals, and logged the most minutes per game of anyone on the team. The one caveat is that he has already stated looking forward to playing for Luke Walton, so he must think the Lakers are ponying up for whoever leaves their number.

2. Ian Clark, Warriors

The Belmont product is scrapping for minutes on a team with too many players ahead of him that won’t be able to afford him if someone even goes with a remotely decent contract. He has excellent aggressiveness going to the basket and doesn’t seem to have an off-switch. The Warriors literally can’t pay him if you give him even a role player type of deal below $5 million. This fellow is a good, fast steal you can actually sort of count on getting.

3. Allen Crabbe, Trail Blazers

He’s aptly made up for the departure of Wes Matthews to Dallas, and was one of the brighter parts of an already bright reformation project the Blazers embarked on around Damien Lillard, their lone returning starter. The team counted on guys like Crabbe to step in and step up into roles not necessarily accustomed to. The Blazers figure to give a hard charge at keeping him, but if he’s a stock, he’s trending up, high.

4. Andre Drummond, Pistons

One figures Andre will command near a max deal. He’s a younger, more physical version of DeAndre Jordan, and he got whatever he wanted last summer in spite of shooting free throws at a percentage no better than two guys with a few too many in them on those moving goals at Chuck E. Cheese. The worst case scenario is, you gut the Pistons, who have a max amount of cap space at only a shade over $21 million, one of the fewest in the league.

5. Matthew Dellavedova, Cavaliers

Delly will forever be the guy opposing fans groan at having to play but quietly with clinched-fists wish they had on their roster. Lost in all the fact that he’s a professional pest (in the most adoring way I can say that) is that he’s a damn good player who’s ability to find guys all over the floor from odd angle going to the basket, paralyzing the defense is something any team could use. Plus, at worst, Cleveland matches and overpays, thus hurting their ability to keep someone else.