The New York Knicks are currently the sixth seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference standings and are likely to make their first playoff appearance since 2013.
Despite not having a lottery pick in recent NBA drafts, the team has improved this season primarily due to some smart acquisitions in free agency. The Knicks showcased that the NBA draft isn't the only avenue for a struggling team to find talent, and that free agency can also help a team improve tremendously.
Every summer, there are plenty of free agents available that could drastically improve a team and it will be no different this upcoming NBA offseason.
2021 NBA Free Agency: Who are the top-10 available players this Summer?
The 2021 NBA free agency is expected to be very exciting. Stars such as Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul will be entering the final year of their contracts and may opt to let go of their player options to test free agency this offseason.
While the status of those two, among others, is unclear, there are plenty of All-Star level players that will for sure be available as unrestricted free agents at the end of the current NBA season.
Let's take a look at our current top-10.
#1 DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan will be one of the most sought-after names in the upcoming NBA free agency. His time with the San Antonio Spurs hasn't exactly gone to plan, though the 31-year-old has remained as consistent as ever and now deserves the chance to be on a team that can compete for the NBA title.
DeRozan could be any team's second or third go-to scorer and offer versatility in his play. In his three NBA seasons with the Spurs, he has upped his offensive output from his time in Toronto, averaging 21.5 points and 6.2 assists.
In that time, DeRozan has also improved his shooting percentage, scoring at a higher rate from the field and the free-throw line.
#2 Mike Conley
Mike Conley will enter the 2021 NBA free agency on the back of a stellar campaign with the Utah Jazz and his first NBA All-Star appearance.
The 33-year-old is currently in the final season of his five-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, which he signed back in 2016. It is, however, expected that Conley will stay with the Jazz on a reduced salary contract.
Conley has been integral to the team's success this NBA season, averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting a career-best 41.6% from downtown and his offensive efficiency has never been higher at 123.
#3 Kyle Lowry
Veteran guard Kyle Lowry will also be a free agent this summer. The Raptors were actively seeking trade partners for Lowry before the NBA's deadline but couldn't find a suitable offer and decided to keep the franchise star with the team until the end of the season.
Lowry will no doubt be of interest to teams chasing an NBA championship. The 35-year-old is still an efficient point guard, averaging over 17 points and seven assists per game this season.
Lowry is an extremely tenacious defender, with a career defensive rating of 108 and averages 1.3 steals.
#4 Victor Oladipo
It's been quite the season for Victor Oladipo. The two-time All-Star has played for three different franchises this season but has been consistent, averaging 19.8 points a night.
A recurring knee injury has cut short his playing time since arriving in Miami, though the franchise is positive he will return in time for the playoffs. Oladipo finally got his wish of playing for a team contending for the title when he was traded to the Heat from the Houston Rockets at the NBA's trade deadline.
While he is a free agent this offseason, Oladipo is expected to remain in Florida and re-sign with the Miami Heat.
#5 Dennis Schroder
After turning down an $84m extension with the LA Lakers, it is unclear what the future holds for Dennis Schroder. While an offer may still come his way in the offseason from the Lakers, he could test the market, though, for a streaky point guard, he may not earn much more than $20 million a season.
Schroder has been integral to the reigning champions while LeBron James and AD have been sidelined, averaging 15.4 points and 7.6 assists in his last ten games. He will be a desirable asset in the NBA free agency market, however, his playoff performances could yet decide how lucrative any offer is.
#6 Kelly Oubre Jr.
Another player who could be on his way out of California in the NBA free agency is Kelly Oubre Jr.
Currently, there have been conflicting reports as to whether the 25-year-old would be happy to stay in San Francisco, with Klay Thompson set to return next season. However, what is more, likely is that Oubre Jr. will be expecting a contract that pays more than the $15 million he earned this season.
That could be the breaking point between the player and franchise. Unless the Golden State Warriors can negotiate a team-friendly deal, it is almost certain that we will see the shooting guard moving in the summer.
#7 Danny Green
Danny Green could yet re-write the script on what contract he earns in the NBA free agency depending on this year's playoffs.
Despite facing criticism at the start of the season, Green's shooting has slowly but surely pulled through and the veteran is having his second-most efficient year since 2015.
Through March and April, Green has made 45.6% of his three-point attempts and is averaging 11 points to go along with four rebounds. Green has built a career on his ability to be a knockdown shooter when called upon and still has plenty to offer to several teams around the league.
#8 Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk will have felt aggrieved at being traded from the Miami Heat at the deadline, though is playing like somebody looking to earn a big-money move in the offseason.
Since arriving in Houston, Olynyk has been afforded more playing time and has thus upped his offensive output, averaging 17.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 14 games.
In the midst of a rebuild, it is unlikely that the 30-year-old fits into the Rockets' plan going forward, though it will certainly have caught the eye of potential suitors ahead of the 2021 NBA free agency.
#9 Otto Porter Jr.
Due to injuries, Otto Porter Jr. has played only 42 games since the start of last season. The Chicago Bulls offloaded the 27-year-old to the Orlando Magic as part of their blockbuster deal at the trade deadline and it is unknown where he could end up next.
Orlando chose to not buy out Porter Jr.'s contract, and he has only appeared in games since being traded to the team. However, there was considerable interest for the small forward had the Magic chosen to do so.
#10 Evan Fournier
The final player on our list of the top 2021 NBA free agency prospects is Evan Fournier.
Brought in by the Boston Celtics to boost their scoring options before the playoffs, Fournier has only managed four appearances for his new franchise, averaging 11.5 points per game.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge may prioritize other needs in the postseason, such as a new center, so Fournier could use the free agency market to explore his options. The French forward was an underrated scorer while in Orlando and would be a valuable asset for any title-chasing side to have next season.