Credit: SIPA, ZumaPress - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas
Credit SIPA, ZumaPress - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration/A.Zaikauskas

With several teams already set for the next season, some of the best free agents have already found a home but there are still some prominent names out there who could help any team. I tried to make a list of the best/most intriguing free agents available on the market. Of course, it's only my take on the subject, so no offense intended to the ones who didn't make this list.

Kevin Pangos

Lorenzo Brown

Lorenzo  Brown
Position: SG
Age: 30
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 90 kg
Birth place: Georgia, United States of America

The Canadian/Slovenian point guard is probably the biggest free agent still on the market. He's coming off a very strong season with Zenit, where he averaged 13.5 points, 6.7 assists, 2 rebounds, and shot 39% from the 3-point line in the EuroLeague. Until a few months ago, Zenit was feeling confident about their chances to re-sign the player, however, the situation has changed.

Pangos has reportedly received a very big offer from CSKA Moscow, which would include an NBA out for this summer. Pangos, in fact, is considering his options in the NBA market, with the free agency officially opening on August 2. Zenit has already signed Conner Frankamp and they're currently exploring the market for another combo guard. So, perhaps, it looks like Zenit moved on from Pangos who remains an aura of mystery.

Alexey Shved

The Russian guard is technically still a free agent but his status should change soon. According to multiple reports, Shved is close to signing a deal with CSKA Moscow after the end of his experience with Khimki. Shved, 32, is still capable of being one of the best scorers in Europe but his fit with the rest of the roster of CSKA remains to be seen.

In the past few years, Shved has always been the No. 1 guy in Khimki but with CSKA, where there are already players like Toko Shengelia and Nikola Milutinov, the situation will be a little bit different. But again, with Mike James now long gone, CSKA needed another guard with firepower and Shved could provide enough scoring to cover that absence.

Jaleen Smith

I gotta admit: I love Jaleen Smith. This kid can do everything: he can score, he can create for his teammates, he's a solid rebounder and a strong defensive presence on the perimeter. After being named MVP of the Bundesliga past season, Smith is ready for the big step in his career and that means EuroLeague basketball. Whichever team is gonna sign him (Zalgiris is definitely among the teams interested in him, so is Monaco) will get a complete package, a player who's clearly ready to play at the highest level. 

Nikola Kalinic

The Serbian forward averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game while shooting 40% from 3-point in Spain last season. Now he's on the market but Valencia retains his rights on the Spanish market. According to multiple sources, Barcelona is interested in the player, but finding an agreement with Valencia will not be easy. The forward would love to play in the EuroLeague again. However, aside from Barcelona, there aren't a lot of options available for Kalinic. Still, he remains a high-level player who can give a great boost to several teams.

Mario Hezonja

Hezonja spent the final part of last season with Panathinaikos and the Greek powerhouse would love to keep the Croatian player around but Barcelona still owns his rights so, to retain him, Panathinaikos has to find an agreement with the Spanish champions. The Croatian swingman is still a young player, he's only 26, and averaged 12.4 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game during his stint with Panathinaikos. It remains to be seen whether Barcelona might be interested in bringing him back or they're just gonna use him as a "tool" to get something in return.

Othello Hunter

Hunter recently ended his two-year experience with Maccabi Tel Aviv and he's one of the most interesting free agent bigs on the market. At 35 he's a proven veteran who brings a lot of experience and toughness to the table. He has won a EuroLeague title in Moscow and has played for a lot of marquee teams (Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Olympiakos). Of course, he's not gonna get any younger but on a one-year deal, he is still a valuable member of any rotation. Several teams are still in need of a big man and German side FC Bayern Munich asked for info about his situation, a source told BasketNews. In his final season with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hunter was instrumental during the final part of the season, helping the Israeli side to secure the national title. 

Ekpe Udoh

Another veteran big man who might be an intriguing option for several teams. Udoh is willing to return to EuroLeague basketball after a couple of seasons in China. Some high-level EuroCup teams like Virtus Bologna and Partizan Belgrade are showing interest in Udoh, sources confirm to BasketNews, but so far the player has given the priority to EuroLeague clubs. A return to his former club Fenerbahce, where he became a EuroLeague champion, seems unlikely, sources tell BasketNews. The Nigerian big man is currently with his national team and might be a part of the roster that will participate in Tokyo (Nigeria hasn't announced their final roster yet). With the Chinese league not expected to have foreign players, at least not for the start of the season, Udoh looks destined to return to EuroLeague basketball in one way or another.

Nigel Hayes

Hayes is a very skilled forward with a nice touch from the outside (he shot 42% from 3-point in Lithuania past season) and might be a really good option for multiple EuroLeague teams. The player, in fact, is currently really focused on the idea of returning to the United States, sources told BasketNews. Hayes has already played in the NBA with the Raptors, Kings, and Lakers, and he would love to have another shot at the league. Despite his will, though, the interest from EuroLeague and EuroCup teams is still there and if Hayes doesn't land a deal in the NBA, he might give another shot at remaining in Europe for another season.

Nico Laprovittola

The Argentinian point guard averaged 6.8 points, 3.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game in EuroLeague this season, playing just under 20 minutes per game. After the end of his contract with Real Madrid, he has officially become a free agent, but his future will most likely be in Spain. According to several reports, including one from the Spanish top reporter Chema de Lucas, Laprovittola is a target for Barcelona and might soon agree to a deal with the Catalan team. During a summer in which Barca and Real Madrid look like they're having fun in exchanging players (Thomas Heurtel has moved to Real Madrid, Adam Hanga is set to leave Barca and join Real Madrid), it's not a surprise that Laprovittola is expected to continue the trend. 

Lorenzo Brown

Maybe his season with Fenerbahce hasn't been the most exciting, but it's only one year removed from Lorenzo Brown's fantastic run with Crvena Zvezda in 2019-20. He averaged 12.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in his first EuroLeague season and that player hasn't magically disappeared, he just needs to be put in the right context, and maybe this version of Fenerbahce wasn't the best fit for him.

I personally believe that in a mid-level EuroLeague team or a high profile EuroCup team, Brown could easily replicate the kind of production that he had with Crvena Zvezda. Last summer, before joining Fenerbahce, Brown was one of the most coveted players in Europe, this year his situation is a little bit different but the combo guard keeps having some market impact. He might be a "smart bet".

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Anonymous
Same could be said about most teams
2021-07-15
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Anonymous
Zalgiris should try Lorenzo Brown, if wage is not to high
2021-07-14
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