NBA Free Agency:
The NBA’s free agency is set to kick off on July 1st. With all the buzz around Lebron’s big decision and the recent mess of a situation with Kawhi Leonard, there has been little talk around the very strong 2018 free agent class. Just like last summer’s crazy summer, this one shapes up to be another wild and action-packed offseason with free agents ranging from Lebron James to Rajon Rondo. Only a few teams have cap space, such as the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and the LA Lakers, which should lead to some difficult contracts.
Here are 8 predictions on where some of the top free agents will land:
Rumors have been circulating that Lebron’s decision is down to the LA Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, but earlier reports claimed that the Rockets, Celtics, and 76ers are also in the running. Whatever the King’s decision may be, it will certainly pose as the top headline throughout the summer. James’ relationship with GM Dan Gilbert does not appear to be getting any better, so Cleveland will have to dig deep in their bag to lure Lebron back to his hometown. The 76ers don’t seem to make much sense for James because of their young core and the doubtful success Ben Simmons would have with Lebron. LA seems to be a more attractable destination as they are pushing for stars like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Prediction: Stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s almost as if we are watching George’s frenzy on a seesaw. One day all signs point toward George joining the Lakers with pictures of George with Lakers’ Josh Hart and him throwing parties in LA, and other days it is almost certain he will reunite with Melo and Westbrook. In reality, it seems more realistic that George will sign a 2 year deal with OKC with a player option after next season. The PG13 race is certainly interesting because if LA strikes out on landing Lebron, they might go all in on George, but don’t expect too many fireworks here.
Prediction: Resigns with the Thunder
Coming off a rough Achilles injury, Cousins’ recovery has been slow. As the Pelicans, GM stated, “In a perfect world” the team would like to bring Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins back, but the Dallas Mavericks have also been reported to have high interest in signing Cousins as well. The Lakers and 76ers are there, but Dallas has the highest chance according to Eddie Sefko after the Pelicans. The Pelicans would obviously love to see what Davis and Cousins can really do together healthy, but landing him back might be difficult because Cousins wants a max deal and Dallas is willing to provide just that.
Prediction: Signs with the Dallas Mavericks
The Rockets are very confident they can lure CP3 back to Houston and that makes the most sense. Paul was unable to play in game 7 of the WCF which was disappointing, but Paul knows they have a chance to defeat the Warriors. The Lakers obviously want Paul, but the Rockets are the front-runner to attain him.
Prediction: Resigns with the Houston Rockets
Jordan has until Friday to opt out of his current contract, but the Clippers want him to stay. As Dallas is interested in a center, they are reportedly willing to let their dark past go away in order to sign him. If Dallas doesn’t land Cousins, there aren’t many teams that have cap space to offer a max deal besides the Clippers. The Knicks should also soon be interested with Enes Kanter opting out of his contract.
Prediction: Signs with the Dallas Mavericks (Unless they land Cousins, and if so he will sign with the Knicks)
What may become one of the most interesting decisions in this offseason lies in the hands of GM Danny Ainge. Smart is an absolute workhorse despite his lack of shooting ability. The question is if Ainge believes Smart is worth 12-14 million which Marcus believes he is. The Celtics have a lot of long-term contract decisions to make this offseason and Smart’s steep price may not be in their plan. Is a defensive mastermind with limited offensive ability worth the price tag? Only time will tell.
Prediction: Signs with the San Antonio Spurs
Philidelphia appears to have the highest chance to resign the sharpshooter, but is their interest strong with all their focus on Lebron? Certainly, if they don’t lure Lebron to Philly, then it seems likely that they would resign Redick to another one year deal, but his price tag is very steep in 20 million range. Teams like the Spurs and Cavaliers could be looking to lock up a sharpshooter to compete against Golden State. Redick wants to stay in Philly, but is he willing to budge on his deal?
Prediction: Resigns with the 76ers on a 2-year deal.
The San Antonio Spurs reportedly will not be trading Kawhi Leonard to a Western Conference team, even though Kawhi preferred to end up in Los Angeles. So, if he is in fact dealt, then it will be to an Eastern Conference team. The Celtics and Sixers look to have the best packages if Boston is willing to trade Jaylen Brown and possibly Terry Rozier or picks. If the Sixers fail to land Lebron, could they provide a package to the Spurs that makes the trade worthwhile?
Prediction: No, the Spurs will retain Kawhi and shut down all trade rumors involving Kawhi like they did with the Lakers.