Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Pacific players.


  • 2022/23: $47,063,478
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: up

There were concerns about whether Westbrook would accept a more limited role entering the 2022/23 season, given his combativeness and lack of accountability at the end last season’s disastrous campaign. He clearly didn’t respect former head coach Frank Vogeldespite the Lakers winning a title under Vogel in ’19/20.

The ’16/17 league MVP is on the downside of his career at 34 years old, and he’s certainly not going to approach his current salary on an annual basis in free agency. Moving to the bench also hasn’t helped him score more efficiently — his 49.3 true shooting percentage is his lowest mark in 13 years, and very close to a career low (48.9 as a rookie).

So why is his stock up?

His attitude, effort level and effectiveness on defense have changed dramatically under Darvin Ham. He’s also been less of a ball-hog and a more willing passer in ’22/23.

Before the season started, I thought he might be looking at a one-year deal in the $3-7MM range in free agency. Now, I think he could get something like a two-year deal for the standard mid-level exception ($23.3MM), although it is admittedly difficult to come up a list of suitors – his playing style is polarizing.

  • 2022/23: $2,628,597
    • Notes: Green is also earning $5,571,403 from his previous contract with the Thunder.
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

Taking into account his full salary following a buyout agreement with the Thunder, Green has earned between $7MM and $8.5MM in five of the past six seasons primarily due to his inside-outside game and ability to rebound at a solid clip.

However, the outside part of his game has been lacking the past two seasons. He shot just 26.6% from deep with the Nuggets in ’21/22 and is at 26.5% through 28 games this season.

Green is still rebounding well, but he’s turning the ball over more, has always been fairly foul-prone, and will be 33 in June. If the poor outside shooting continues, he’s likely looking at another veteran’s minimum deal in a best-case scenario, because he’s not big enough (6’8″, 227 pounds) to protect the rim as a center and isn’t shooting well enough to be serviceable as a stretch four.

  • 2022/23: $18,352,273
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: neutral

Barnes had a very slow start this season, averaging just 9.9 points on a .368/.167/.800 shooting line through nine games. Unsurprisingly, he has rebounded nicely by averaging 15.9 PPG on .505/.378/.818 shooting over the past 30 contestswith only four games below double-digit points.

The 31-year-old doesn’t excel in any one area, but he does a lot of things pretty well, and he also doesn’t have easily exploitable weaknesses. Those types of players tend to be even more valuable in the postseason than the regular season, so Barnes will have a long list of suitors if he reaches free agency.

Barnes is in the last year of a four-year, $85MM contract. Being on the wrong side of 30 hurts a little (he turns 31 in May), but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to land another deal at similar value .

  • 2022/23: $2,133,278
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: up

Bryant, 25, has been one of the league’s best bargains this season, producing at a high level offensively while pulling down 11.8 rebounds per 36 minutes on a veteran’s minimum deal. He plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, something the Lakers desperately needed.

Given his defensive limitations, I’m not sure you necessarily want him to be a full-time starter – having a solid foundation in the middle is really important. Still, he has shown that he’s over his ACL tear and will certainly command a raise as a free agent – ​​something in the $7-12MM range annually should be within reach.

  • 2022/23: $9,240,000
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

Saric’s current situation is somewhat reminiscent of Bryant’s last season — the reason Bryant got a “prove it” contract for the minimum is that he didn’t quite look fully recovered from his ACL tear. Unless he turns things around in the second half of ’22/23, that’s likely what Saric will be facing in the offseason as well, because he’s struggled mightily to this point.

Having said that, he’s only 28, and his game isn’t predicated on athleticism, so there’s a chance he could be a nice buy-low candidate in free agency.

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