"free" and "theory" don't necessarily go well together.
I would echo other comments regarding resources (with the caveat that resource requests are usually not allowed, but the question has not been closed).
Jerry Coker "Improvising Jazz" is an outstanding book.
The Jamey Abersold series has value but it is easy to take the material out of context. This seems to be where people get the idea of 1 chord = 1 mode and that's the formula for greatness.
With respect to the concept of improv I would cite a quote from Robert Dinero (really a paraphrase). I was watching an anniversary edition DVD of Taxi Driver and they had old and new interviews with cast members. In particular Jodi Foster. She was very young and Di Nero wanted her reactions during filming to be relaxed and authentic. There was, perhaps, some impov very small deviations from the script here and there and he wanted her to be comfortable going with the flow. So, they had lunch together every day, went over lines and he'd throw some mistakes in there (intentionally or not). She attributed the following statement to him "Improv is variation on a theme", you have to know what you are doing so well that you could have created it in your sleep. It's not second nature, it's first nature. This is not where Free improv players are usually coming from but the fact is that the great ones have a lifetime of music (or dance or acting chops) behind them.
From the point of view of getting good at improv in music you need to know music and know a variety of musical styles. Forget "Jazz". All the great Jazz players drew from Indian classical music (namely Coltrane), Latin music (not Latin Jazz), etc. I would suggest walking two paths at once (1) study western classical music theory as this is the foundation of "Jazz", and (2) get immersed in a variety of ethnic musical styles that stress free form improv with a simple theme (like Indian Ragas). You can consider Jazz one of the forms of music to immerse yourself in but what we think of as Jazz didn't exist when those players invented it. I always like going a step further back in time and ask myself what did they draw inspiration from.