With four championships in the past decade and 27 top-20 recruits from ESPN’s top 100 in the past five years, the ACC has long been at the epicenter of college basketball talent and success.
That talent must move on from the college game eventually, though, and 95 former ACC players are on NBA rosters or the fringe of one. Ranging from league superstars to those saddling the thin boundary between the NBA and the G League, former ACC players are hardly few and far between in the world’s top basketball league.
For those wondering where they are, here is your list - broken down into six different categories based on their success in the league.
Current NBA Stars
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This group is simple enough. The smallest of the clusters, these former Blue Devils and Demon Deacons are amongst the NBA’s established elite.
Kyrie Irving (Duke, Boston Celtics, 26 years old, 6-feet-3-inches) - A former first overall pick, Rookie of the Year, three-time NBA Finals runner-up and NBA champion in 2016, the 26-year-old point guard has already built an impressive resume. Irving’s time in Cleveland will forever be associated with LeBron James and the losing that came before his arrival, but the former Blue Devil hit one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history, leading to the Cavaliers’ improbable comeback series win over the Golden State Warriors. Nearly a year ago, Irving left for Boston, where he’ll look to lead his Celtics to another league title.
Chris Paul (Wake Forest, Houston Rockets, 33, 6’0”) - Paul has been widely considered one of the best point guards in the game since he rose to stardom with the New Orleans Hornets in the mid-to-late 2000s. Still looking for his first NBA title at age 33, Paul will look to close out his Hall of Fame career with one with the Rockets.
Future NBA Stars
This category contains former ACC favorites primed to be mentioned amongst the league’s elite. These players have the talent; they just need time on the court to prove their place in the upper echelon.
Marvin Bagley III (Duke, Sacramento Kings, 19, 6’11”) - The second pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley has dominated at every level thus far, winning the ACC Player of the Year award as a freshman for Duke. He scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds per game in his only year as a Blue Devil.
Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, Chicago Bulls, 19, 6’10”) - Somewhat overshadowed in his only year at Duke by Bagley, Carter still impressed enough to be named second-team All-ACC and was taken seventh overall by the Bulls. The 19-year-old big man averaged 13.5 points and nine rebounds as a freshman.
Brandon Ingram (Duke, Los Angeles Lakers, 20, 6’9”) - It seems forever ago that Ingram was the second player off the board in the 2016 NBA Draft. Kevin Durant comparisons set a high bar that he has fallen short of throughout his first two seasons, but the addition of Lebron James to his Lakers squad has revitalized hope that Ingram can become the superstar that scouts and fans originally envisioned. Ingram has career averages of 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists per game.
Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, Utah Jazz, 21, 6’3”) - Drafted behind fellow ACC competitor Luke Kennard, Mitchell was the breakout star of the 2017-2018 NBA season. Barely beaten out by redshirt-rookie Ben Simmons, the 6-foot-3-inch guard nearly took home Rookie of the Year honors atfer averaging 20.5 points per game in 79 appearances for the Jazz.
Jabari Parker (Duke, Chicago Bulls, 23, 6’8”) - Certainly the name on this list that will raise the most eyebrows, Parker’s young NBA career has been marred by injuries and overshadowed by a generational talent in Giannis Antetokounmpo during his time in Milwaukee. Still only 23 years old, the Chicago native and former second overall pick is returning home for perhaps his last chance to prove himself as the star he was once thought to be. He’s scored 15 points per game during his limited NBA action.
Dennis Smith Jr. (N.C. State, Dallas Mavericks, 20, 6’3”) - The one-and-done product of N.C. State, Smith has the makings of a star. Averaging 15 points and five assists in his rookie year, he will benefit from an improved Mavericks roster, and his monstrous dunks are sure to grab the league spotlight at some point.
Jayson Tatum (Duke, Boston Celtics, 20, 6’8”) - It felt like a steal when Tatum fell into the Celtics’ lap after the Philadelphia 76ers and Lakers both passed on him in the 2017 draft, and the Celtics have to feel even luckier after he exploded onto the scene during the 2018 playoffs. After going toe-to-toe with the best player in the league in the Eastern Conference Finals, the 6-foot-8-inch forward will look to improve upon a rookie season in which he averaged 14 points and five rebounds per game.
Current Starters and Role Players
This category consists of the players who left campus and found a permanent home in the NBA, in one capacity or another. Ranging from bench contributors to reliable starters, this is the largest group.
Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest, Portland Trail Blazers, 27, 6’10”) - Drafted eighth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010, Aminu has established himself as a steady contributor both as a starter and off the bench, averaging nine points and seven rebounds over his three seasons with the Blazers.
Harrison Barnes (UNC, Dallas Mavericks, 26, 6’8”) - An NBA champion, Barnes logged solid minutes for the Warriors before signing a four-year, $94 million contract with the Mavericks. He’s played around 35 minutes and contributed 19 points per game in Dallas.
Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia, Milwaukee Bucks, 25, 6’5”) - A four-year player for Virginia, Brogdon contributed for the Bucks immediately. Playing a part in playoff appearances each of the past two years and winning Rookie of the Year in 2016-17, the 6-foot-5-inch guard has averaged 11 points and four assists for Milwaukee.
Reggie Bullock (UNC, Detroit Pistons, 28, 6’7”) - The former Tar Heel had a quiet first four years before becoming a mainstay in the Pistons lineup last season. Seeing 28 minutes a game, Bullock averaged double-digit points for the first time.
John Collins (Wake Forest, Atlanta Hawks, 20, 6’10”) - Entering only his second year in the league, Collins impressed during the 2017 Summer League and averaged 10.5 points in his rookie year with the Hawks.
Ed Davis (UNC, Brooklyn Nets, 29, 6’10”) - An eight-year veteran, Davis will be moving on to his fifth team this upcoming season. The 29-year-old forward came off the bench in every game he appeared in last season with the Blazers but has found himself in NBA rotations year after year because of his work on the glass.
Wayne Ellington (UNC, Miami Heat, 30, 6’4”) - A nine-year veteran, Ellington has come off the bench for the majority of his career. He’s been a reliable role player since he entered the league, shooting 38 percent from three.
Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech, Utah Jazz, 27, 6’10”) - Favors perhaps never reached his full potential after being drafted third overall by the Nets in 2010, yet he still started all 77 games he played in last year for the Jazz in his eighth season as a pro. He has career averages of 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Jerami Grant (Syracuse, Oklahoma City Thunder, 24, 6’8”) - Jerami has carved a role for himself in the Thunder’s rotation, earning a three-year, $27 million extension. He appeared in 81 games last year, averaging around eight points per contest.
Jerian Grant (Notre Dame, Orlando Magic, 25, 6’5”) - Recently traded to the Magic, Jerian has played a similar role to his younger brother Jerami. Playing an average of 23 minutes per game with the Bulls last season, the Notre Dame product averaged eight points and five assists.
Danny Green (UNC, Toronto Raptors, 31, 6’6”) - Green played a key part in the Spurs dynasty that had a stranglehold on the Western Conference before the emergence of the Warriors. Winning an NBA Championship with San Antonio in 2014, Green has established himself as a three-point marksman. He’ll play his 10th season with the Raptors after being dealt in the trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.
Montrezl Harrell (Louisville, Los Angeles Clippers, 24, 6’8”) - Recently re-signing with the Clippers, Harrell has never averaged more than 19 minutes per game in a season. Still, he was very efficient in his limited action last year, scoring 11 points per game on 63.5 percent shooting.
Joe Harris (Virginia, Brooklyn Nets, 26, 6’6”) - Harris barely got in the game in his first two years out of Virginia for Cleveland but has played important minutes for a lowly Nets team during his past two seasons.
John Henson (UNC, Milwaukee Bucks, 27, 6’11”) - The 27-year-old center has played a part in the Bucks’ rotation since he entered the league in 2012. He started 69 games for Milwaukee last season and shot his highest field goal percentage yet.
Rodney Hood (Duke, Free Agent, 25, 6’7”) - Currently a restricted free agent, Hood is expected to return to Cleveland, where he was traded to from the Jazz in February, for the 2018-19 season. He’s averaged 28 minutes per game throughout his four-year career and scored double digit points per contest every season save his rookie year.
Reggie Jackson (Boston College, Detroit Pistons, 28, 6’3”) - Since being traded to the Pistons in 2015, Jackson has started every game except for two.
James Johnson (Wake Forest, Miami Heat, 31, 6’9”) - A journeyman NBA player, the former Deacon has seen an increased role since joining the Heat in 2016, averaging more than 10 points per game for the first time in his career.
Luke Kennard (Duke, Detroit Pistons, 22, 6’5”) - Drafted 12th overall in 2017, Kennard played solid minutes off the bench for the Pistons during his rookie season and shot an impressive 41.5 percent from behind the arc.
Mason Plumlee (Duke, Denver Nuggets, 28, 6’11”) - The middle child of the Plumlee brothers, Mason has had the most steady career of his siblings. He played a greater role during his time in Portland but has still contributed steadily off the bench for the Nuggets.
JJ Reddick (Duke, Philadelphia 76ers, 34, 6’4”) - Reddick is a 12-year veteran who has only seen his role increase as he’s gotten older. Still known primarily for his three-point prowess, the Duke product has started every game he’s appeared in over the past four years, averaging 16.2 points per contest in that time frame.
Terry Rozier (Louisville, Boston Celtics, 24, 6’2”) - Rozier had a limited role for the Celtics before breaking onto the scene in his third year. He averaged 11 points per game in 2017-18, playing a key role off the bench for an injury-ridden Boston team.
Mike Scott (Virginia, Los Angeles Clippers, 30, 6’8”) - A former second round pick, Scott had been a fringe NBA player, having multiple stints in the NBA Development League. Last season, however, he suited up for 76 games for the Washington Wizards and had career highs in field goal and three point percentage.
Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech, Sacramento Kings, 28, 6’5”) - Shumpert’s career has been disrupted by injury throughout, yet he still won an NBA Championship and has had a solid career as a “3-and-D” player for the Knicks and Cavaliers.
Ish Smith (Wake Forest, Detroit Pistons, 30, 6’0”) - The 30-year-old point guard went undrafted in 2010 and had a limited role in the league before joining the 76ers in his fifth year. He’s played solid minutes during his two years in Detroit and has started more than 30 games per season during that time frame.
Jeff Teague (Wake Forest, Minnesota Timberwolves, 30, 6’2”) - Teague has been a rock-solid point guard throughout his nine-year career in the NBA. A one-time all-star, the Wake Forest product helped the Atlanta Hawks reach multiple Eastern Conference Finals before he signed with the Timberwolves in 2017.
Lance Thomas (Duke, New York Knicks, 30, 6’8”) - Graduating from Duke after the 2010 championship season, Thomas’ NBA career really only took off when he was traded to the Knicks in 2015. Since, he’s played primarily a bench role and served as the co-captain for the Knicks last season.
T.J. Warren (N.C. State, Phoenix Suns, 24, 6’8”) - After being draft 14th overall by the Suns in 2014, Warren has spent his entire career in Phoenix. Last year he recorded his career high in points per game, averaging 19.6 per contest.
Marvin Williams (UNC, Charlotte Hornets, 32, 6’9”) - Williams played just one year for the Tar Heels and that was all the way back in 2004-05, but he’s carved out a significant role as a starter in the NBA ever since. He’s played for three different teams and has career averages of 10.5 points and five rebounds per game.
Justise Winslow (Duke, Miami Heat, 22, 6’7”) - An instrumental part of Duke’s 2015 National Championship during his freshman year, Winslow has largely come off of the bench for the Heat since being drafted 10th overall in 2015. He’s played an average of 28 minutes per game during his three years in the league.
Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech, Indiana Pacers, 30, 6’8”) - Young will be entering his 12th season in the league this year and will likely continue to play starting minutes for the Pacers after scoring nearly 12 points per game last season.
Tyler Zeller (UNC, Milwaukee Bucks, 28, 7’0”) - Zeller saw his playing time peak after leaving the Tar Heels, starting in 123 games during his first three years in the league. Since, he’s seen a large decrease in his minutes yet still occupies a role as a center off the bench.
On Their Way Out
These veterans are on the tail end of lengthy and largely successful NBA careers.
Vince Carter (UNC, Atlanta Hawks, 41, 6’6”) - Drafted 20 years ago, Carter is the oldest active player in the NBA. Rising to stardom because of his prowess as a dunker, Carter scored more than 20 points per game in 10 seasons. Now on his eighth NBA team, the UNC product has taken on a role as a veteran bench presence in recent years.
Luol Deng (Duke, Los Angeles Lakers, 33, 6’9”) - An instrumental part of the Bulls for a decade, Deng has since become a contract liability for the Lakers. After signing a four-year, $72 million deal in 2016, Deng has largely been an afterthought for the Magic Johnson-led Lakers, appearing in just one game last season. He’s a two-time all-star and appeared in the playoffs seven different times.
Jared Dudley (Boston College, Brooklyn Nets, 33, 6’7”) - Suiting up for his sixth different team, Dudley played the largest role of his career during his middle seasons. He played sparingly for the Suns last season.
Raymond Felton (UNC, Oklahoma City Thunder, 34, 6’1”) - The 34-year-old guard is entering his 14th season after recently resigning with the Thunder. Felton played in all 82 regular season games for the Thunder last season. He spent the first five years of his career playing in Charlotte for the Bobcats.
Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech, Free Agent, 34, 6’3”) - Entering his 15th year, Jack played 25 minutes a game for the Knicks last season. He remains unsigned.
Josh McRoberts (Duke, Free Agent, 31, 6’10”) - Still only 31, McRoberts, after 11 years as a role player in the league, appeared in just two games for the Mavericks last season before being waived in February. He hasn’t been picked up since.
It’s too early to tell whether these former ACC players will have a lengthy stay in the league or not.
Grayson Allen (Duke, Utah Jazz, 22, 6’5”) - Entering his rookie season with the Jazz, the polarizing Allen made a splash in the summer league once again with both his talent and his antics. We’ll have to wait and see whether the former Duke star has what it takes both mentally and physically to play in the NBA.
Trevor Booker (Clemson, Free Agent, 30, 6’8”) - After playing a solid role as a power forward off the bench -- he has career averages of seven points and 5.5 rebounds per game -- the Clemson product remains yet to be signed this offseason.
Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame, Milwaukee Bucks, 25, 6’5”) - Recently signing with the Bucks after the Trail Blazers let him become an unrestricted free agent, Connaughton will look to add depth in the front court to a Milwaukee team that’s made the playoffs two years in a row. The 25-year-old contributed 5.4 points per game in his final season in Portland.
Seth Curry (Duke, Portland Trail Blazers, 27, 6’2”) - Undrafted out of Duke and Stephon Curry’s younger brother, the younger Curry had his best season to date in 2016-17 when he averaged nearly 13 points per game and shot 42.5 percent from three. He missed all of last season due to injury.
Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech, Dallas Mavericks, 25, 6’8”) - The undrafted former Hokie has earned a small role in Dallas, yet missed the majority of last season because of a knee injury.
Harry Giles (Duke, Sacramento Kings, 20, 6’11”) - Giles remains one of the biggest “what if” prospects in recent memory. The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2016, Giles suffered multiple ACL tears during his high school days and thus was not able to contribute at all for the Kings last year. Time will tell whether the Duke product can recapture the tools that once made him such a highly touted prospect.
Gerald Henderson (Duke, Free Agent, 30, 6’5”) - Henderson missed all of last season with a hip injury but had played significant roles in Charlotte, Portland and Philadelphia before his year away from basketball. The 30-year-old guard is still unsigned.
Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, Orlando Magic, 20, 6’10”) - Isaac was unimpressive during his rookie year with the Magic and was ultimately assigned to Orlando’s G League affiliate. Drafted sixth in 2017, it is far too early to give up on what could be a promising career for the former Seminole.
Frank Jackson (Duke, New Orleans Pelicans, 20, 6’3”) - Jackson played just one year at Duke and then was drafted at the end of the first round in 2017. He missed his entire rookie year due to injury.
Justin Jackson (UNC, Sacramento Kings, 23, 6’8”) - Jackson won an NCAA title with the Tar Heels in 2017 before being drafted 15th overall. He started 41 games for the Kings in his rookie season, but it is simply too early to tell whether the UNC product will have staying power.
Ty Lawson (UNC, Washington Wizards, 30, 5’11”) - A national champion with the Tar Heels, Lawson was also once a star for the Nuggets, nearly averaging a double-double in the 2014-15 season. The point guard has struggled since, both on and off the court. After playing a season in China, the Wizards signed him before the 2018 playoffs. His future remains uncertain.
Semi Ojeleye (Duke, Boston Celtics, 23, 6’7”) - Ojeleye played less of a role than Jackson did for the Kings in his rookie season yet still gave the Celtics an average of 16 minutes off the bench over 73 games played. He’ll have to prove his worth once again in his sophomore year.
Jahlil Okafor (Duke, Free Agent, 22, 6’11”) - After winning a National Championship with Duke and being drafted third overall by the 76ers, Okafor has seen his career go downhill ever since. After a solid rookie season, it became clear that the former Duke center was not a part of Philadelphia’s future and he was benched nearly his entire third season with the team. He still remains unsigned and could end up playing overseas this season, but there remains a possibility that his combination of size and talent could end up landing him a role with an NBA team.
Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech, Minnesota Timberwolves, 19, 6’4”) - Okogie will enter his rookie year after being drafted 20th overall. He’ll join a crowded backcourt that includes Teague, Jimmy Butler, Tyus Jones and Derrick Rose and will have to earn every minute he gets.
Austin Rivers (Duke, Washington Wizards, 25, 6’4”) - Starting in 59 games and averaging 15 points per game last season, Rivers only finds himself in the “we’ll see” column because it will be his first time since 2015 not playing for a team coached by his father. Regardless, he played solid minutes off the bench for the Pelicans before he was traded to the Clippers. His role will likely be diminished but not non-existent for the Wizards.
Jerome Robinson (Boston College, Los Angeles Clippers, 21, 6’5”) - The 13th overall pick in this past draft, Robinson is yet another rookie who has much left to prove.
Ray Spalding (Louisville, Dallas Mavericks, 21, 6’10”) - A late second round pick in 2018, Spalding will likely see time in the G League.
Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, Portland Trail Blazers, 19, 6’6”) - A second round pick in 2018, Trent spent just one year at Duke.
Lonnie Walker (Miami, San Antonio Spurs, 19, 6’5”) - Spending just one year at Miami, Walker was selected in the middle of the first round in the 2018 draft by the Spurs. He’ll have to compete for playing time with Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills, among others.
The following group is made up of players fighting for a spot on an NBA roster or for minutes in an NBA game. Some are simply hoping to avoid another stint abroad or in the G League.
Justin Anderson (Virginia, Atlanta Hawks, 24, 6’6”) - Anderson has played sparingly in his young career and will fight to stay relevant after being traded to the Hawks.
Braian Angola-Rodas (Florida State, Orlando Magic, 24, 6’6”) - Angola-Rodas went undrafted before signing with the Magic. His spot on Orlando’s main roster is by no means guaranteed.
Dwayne Bacon (Florida State, Charlotte Hornets, 22, 6’7”) - Bacon averaged 13.5 minutes per game in 53 games with the Hornets last season. He spent time in the G League as well and could this season, too.
Malik Beasley (Florida State, Denver Nuggets, 21, 6’5”) - Beasley has played minor minutes for the Nuggets to date and has not secured a permanent position in Denver’s rotation.
Joel Berry (UNC, Los Angeles Lakers, 23, 6’0”) - The UNC graduate recently was signed by the Lakers after being added to their Summer League roster. He’ll likely spend time with their G League affiliate this season.
Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson, Austin Spurs, 24, 6’7”) - Drafted by the Spurs in 2017, Blossomgame has spent his time solely with their G League affiliate.
Tony Bradley (UNC, Utah Jazz, 20, 6’10”) - Bradley played primarily for Utah’s G League affiliate last season.
Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami, Detroit Pistons, 21, 6’5”) - Drafted in the second round in 2018, the Miami product will have to impress to earn a significant role with the Pistons.
Lorenzo Brown (N.C. State, Toronto Raptors, 27, 6’5”) - Brown has played sparingly in NBA rotations throughout his first five years in the league and most recently won G League MVP for the Raptor’s affiliate, earning him a contract renewal with Toronto. He might have a shot as a role player this season.
Quinn Cook (Duke, Golden State Warriors, 25, 6’2”) - Cook split time between the Warriors and their G League affiliate last year. It was by far his most productive season in his young NBA career.
Michael Gbinije (Syracuse, New York Knicks Summer League, 26, 6’7”) - Gbinije played for the Warriors’ G League affiliate last year and hoped to make an NBA roster by playing for the Knicks’ Summer League team.
Olivier Hanlan (Boston College, Austin Spurs, 25, 6’4”) - Hanlan hasn’t played in an NBA game yet and for now remains in the G League.
Isaiah Hicks (UNC, New York Knicks, 24, 6’9”) - While playing in 18 games for the Knicks last season, Hicks spent most of his time in the G League.
Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame, Philadelphia 76ers, 23, 6’1”) - Jackson will likely play primarily with the 76ers’ G League affiliate this season.
Amile Jefferson (Duke, Orlando Magic, 25, 6’8”) - After spending a year with the Timberwolves’ G League affiliate, Jefferson will look to see NBA action for the first time after signing a two-way contract with the Magic.
Brice Johnson (UNC, Free Agent, 24, 6’9”) - Johnson didn’t play much for the Clippers over the past two years and was recently waived by the Grizzlies. He has yet to be picked up.
Tyus Jones (Duke, Minnesota Timberwolves, 22, 6’1”) - Jones played a solid role as a backup point guard for Minnesota last season, but he’ll likely have to fight for minutes this year with what should be a crowded Timberwolves’ backcourt.
Damion Lee (Louisville, Golden State Warriors, 25, 6’6”) - Lee will likely spend most of his time with the Warriors’ G League affiliate this season.
Tyler Lydon (Syracuse, Denver Nuggets, 22, 6’8”) - Lydon played one game for the Nuggets last season.
Mangok Mathiang (Louisville, Charlotte Hornets, 25, 6’10”) - Mathiang spent the majority of his time in the G League last season.
Chris McCullough (Syracuse, Philadelphia 76ers Summer League, 23, 6’10”) - McCullough agreed to play for the 76ers’ Summer League team after failing to gain traction in the NBA thus far.
KJ McDaniels (Clemson, Portland Trail Blazers Summer League, 25, 6’6”) - McDaniels has some NBA experience but has yet to stick. He recently won MVP of of the Summer League championship game for the Blazers.
Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville, Houston Rockets, 21, 6’10”) - Onuaku has appeared in just six games for the Rockets over his two years in the league.
Miles Plumlee (Duke, Atlanta Hawks, 29, 6’11”) - Plumlee hasn’t been able to earn a consistent role in an NBA rotation since joining the league in 2012. He spent some time in the G League last season and will look to avoid doing so this time around.
Davon Reed (Miami, Phoenix Suns, 23, 6’6”) - Reed split his time between the Suns and their G League affiliate last season.
Malachi Richardson (Syracuse, Toronto Raptors, 22, 6’6”) - Richardson hasn’t seen much NBA action up to this point, spending most of his time in the G League last year.
Kyle Singler (Duke, Oklahoma City Thunder, 30, 6’8”) - Singler is a fringe NBA player that saw only 5 minutes per game in the 12 he appeared in for the Thunder last season.
J.P. Tokoto (UNC, Golden State Warriors Summer League, 24, 6’7”) - Tokoto has yet to appear in an NBA game, spending time abroad and in the G League. He recently signed on to the Warriors’ Summer League roster.
Okaro White (Florida State, Cleveland Cavaliers, 25, 6’8”) - White hasn’t made much of an impact in the league and didn’t appear in any games for the Cavaliers after they signed him in April.
CJ Williams (NC State, Free Agent, 28, 6’5”) - Williams had played exclusively in the NBA Development League and abroad up until he played in 38 games for the Clippers in 2017-18. He was recently waived by Los Angeles and remains a free agent.