Marcus Smart, Jabari Parker and Clint Capela remain trapped in free agency
James ended months of speculation by penning a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first superstar to arrive in LA after Paul George shocked the league by announcing his decision to extend his stay in Oklahoma City.
Paul, as expected, also remained in Houston, signing up for four years at $ 160m while Durant left question marks over his long-term Warriors future by signing up for two years – with a player option for the second year – giving him the chance to hit free agency next summer.
Despite the frantic pace of signings on July 1 however, there are plenty of big names left on the market with their futures yet to be resolved.
Express Sport takes a look at five of the best.
Clint Capela had hoped to attract a max offer sheet this summer
Rockets center Clint Capela became one of the team’s most important assets over the course of a season in which Houston finished top seed in the West.
The 6ft 10ins big man proved a vital interior presence in coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensively-minded programme, averaging almost 11 rebounds and two blocks per game.
Playing alongside Chris Paul and James Harden, his scoring average took another leap too, as he became one of the league’s most dominant rim-runners, putting up 14 points in 27.5 mins on the court.
Capela had hoped to be handed a whopping extension by the Rockets north of the offer fellow restricted free agent Zach Levine signed in Chicago – four years, $ 80m.
But to date, league sources claim he has only been offered around $ 53m over four years.
The Swiss star is now considering signing the $ 3.4 million qualifying offer, allowing him to remain at the Rockets for another year before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Jabari Parker is yet to sign an extension with the Milwaukee Bucks this summer
Milwaukee Bucks power forward Jabari Parker has struggled with injuries over the course of his four-year career in the NBA.
The 23-year-old, who was selected with the number two pick in the 2014 draft, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee twice in the space of three years but managed to bounce back to play the final third of the 2017/18 season.
He averaged 12.6 points in 31 games, coming off the bench in all but three as he continued his comeback on a minutes restriction.
Over the course of his cursed career, Parker has demonstrated his ability to score the ball at a useful clip and shown flashes of playmaking ability.
But with the Bucks’ remaining cap space being squeezed even further by the arrival of Ersan Ilyasova last week, Parker could prove a useful acquisition for a team willing to take a risk on his long-term health.
Marcus Smart is rumoured to be upset with the lack of contact from the Celtics
Defensive behemoth Marcus Smart had publicly campaigned for an extension worth somewhere in the region of $ 12-$ 14m a year in Boston but to date, GM Danny Ainge is yet to deliver an offer sheet of interest.
Smart was key to Boston’s unexpected success in the wake of injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward last year, offering defensive versatility and vital “intangibles” as the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals.
His lack of perimeter shooting appears to have harmed his value on the open market – he shot just 30% from the field on 10 points-per-game – but the 24-year-old remains a vital cog in coach Brad Stevens’ system.
A move to Dallas had been mooted this summer but their $ 23m signing of DeAndre Jordan looks to have put an end to that, while Chicago and Sacramento also appear to have spent their money elsewhere.
Smart is likely to re-sign in Boston, but with reports claiming he feels “insulted” by the lack of progress on a deal, there is work to do.
Isaiah Thomas faces the prospect of being without a team for the beginning of the season
On May 2 2017, Isaiah Thomas played through a damaged hip and without one of his front teeth just weeks after the death of his sister, scoring 53 points during the Boston Celtics’ playoff win over the Washington Wizards.
Fast-forward to a year later and the 29-year-old now faces the possibility of beginning next season without a team after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
A nightmare 2017/18 season saw him ruled out for months needing hip surgery before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and onto the Los Angeles Lakers.
During his final year with the Celtics, Thomas was considered a fringe MVP candidate, scoring 28.9 points per game to drive Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In doing so, he aggravated a hip injury that now appears to have decimated his chances of securing the lucrative long-term he craved.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, executives around the league remain interested in Thomas – but only in a reduced backup capacity on a maximum one-year deal.
Luc Mbah a Moute would favour a return to Houston but is yet to receive an attractive offer
The Houston Rockets are interested in bringing back defensive wing Luc Mbah a Moute next season but may find it difficult to match what he could command on the open market.
The Cameroonian, who offers elite defensive ability but little in the way of scoring, had been considered a lock to return to the Rockets – but a new report from RocketsWire suggests the race is on for the former Clipper.
San Antonio, the Lakers, Clippers, Washington and the Sixers are also said to be interested in the 31-year-old – but he remains keen on resolving his future in Houston.
He told the Houston Chronicle: “I want to be here, yeah. I think we had a great year last year. I had a good year. The team did great, a game away from the Finals.
“Hopefully, we’ll bring everybody back. I know Trevor [Ariza] left. But to bring everybody else back and have the same team and try to go at it again, [that] is what I’m hoping to do. We’ll see what happens.”
Other notable free agents: Rodney Hood (restricted), Jamal Crawford, Montrezl Harrell (R), Wayne Ellington, James Ennis, Corey Brewer, Dwayne Wade, Shabazz Napier, Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley, Aaron Afflalo.
Read more here: Daily Express :: Sport Feedhappy wheels
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