Pass or Pursue: Top 10 NBA Free Agents in 2022

Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton
Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton / Will Newton/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs - NBA Free Agents
Zach LaVine / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

1. Zach LaVine (Unrestricted)

Since the Chicago Bulls flamed out in the first round and Zach LaVine is an unrestricted free agent, you're bound to hear a lot of buzz around him. Given that he and Dejounte Murray are close and the Spurs' fresh new All-Star is openly recruiting his friend to San Antonio, that buzz will be especially loud in the Alamo City.

Although not exactly what the Spurs need most this summer, LaVine would solve a lot of problems they suffered from last season. For one, he's a big-time, go-to scorer capable of hitting big shots and unafraid to be a leader. Secondly, he simply elevates the talent level on the team to another tier.

LaVine can get buckets from anywhere on the floor, and to add a cherry on top, he's a hell of an athlete.

Still, there are legitimate concerns with offering the 27-year-old a max contract no matter what team you are. He's scheduled for offseason knee surgery soon. While reports suggest it shouldn't be a long-term degenerative issue, you just never know with knee problems.

The cost of acquiring LaVine plus the injury concerns is enough to make many fans reluctant to pursue him, myself included. But given his uncertain durability, maybe he'll consider that with his next contract. As ESPN's Bobby Marks said recently, both sides need to meet in the middle on his next deal, meaning he can't expect the absolute maximum, five-year contract from Chicago he's eligible for.

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If there's a slight chance LaVine would be open to negotiating terms like options and even the dollar amount for San Antonio, they have to jump on that. If not, I'm not sure the risk is worth it here.

Verdict: Pursue (under the right conditions)