The Christmas to all NBA fans… NBA Free Agency. Will you get the gift you’ve been waiting all year for? Will your team land LeBron James? Paul George? Or even land Kawhi Leonard via trade? This year’s free agency could turn the tide of the NBA significantly. On July 1st, when the clock strikes midnight, the frenzy begins. This year’s free agency is like no other. Decisions by certain players can completely change a franchise’s course. The only thing that most likely cannot be changed, is that the Warriors will enter the 2018-2019 NBA season as the heavy favorites to three-peat.
Here are my predictions…
Paul George: Last offseason Paul George started the trade and signing frenzy. Paul George wanted out of Indiana and told Indiana he was going to sign with the Lakers in 2018 free agency so they should trade him. He got his wish and was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and at the time this was considered a “rental” contract. However, after spending one full season in OKC, George is having second thoughts about dashing up to the Hollywood Hills. George’s decision is similar to LeBron’s and revolves around LeBron’s as well. George is considering the Lakers and the Thunder. It was reported the Rockets are attempting to get in the sweepstakes but it is unlikely George ventures there. In my eyes, both have an even shot at landing George. I could very well see George going to LA to team up with LeBron, but I also could see him resigning with the Thunder to play another season with Russell Westbrook. If George remains with the Thunder I believe he will sign a 1 year deal with a player option after that season to become a free agent again next year. This again gives him leverage and allows himself to make another decision next year. Now for the Lakers chances, Paul George was at one point considered a lock to go to Los Angeles this offseason. I think the Lakers are no longer the favorites to sign George. The only way I see Paul George going to Los Angeles this offseason is if he follows another star such as Kawhi or LeBron there first. Paul George has said he “would enjoy the idea of playing with LeBron,” and that ever since he was a kid he pictured himself in a Lakers jersey. Either way, I believe Paul George’s decision is very vital.
Chris Paul: Chris Paul finally made it to the Western Conference Championship this year for the first time in his career. His career-long bad luck continued though, when he was unable to play in Game 6 & 7 which ultimately allowed the Warriors to advance to their 4th straight NBA final. Many do not know, Chris Paul opted into his contract with the Clippers last year before being dealt to Houston. This makes him a free agent this year. When Chris Paul was acquired, he and ownership most likely verbally agreed he would resign this upcoming offseason. However, there has been growing tension between him and the organization because he has gone against his word and has been listening to other teams offers. I think that no one will be able to offer Chris Paul the money and the winning that Houston can so he will end up staying there.
DeAndre Jordan: DeAndre Jordan opted out of his contract, and now is a pending free agent. Before choosing to opt out, DeAndre Jordan was mulling opting in and then being a prime candidate for a trade. The lead team to sign DeAndre Jordan is the Dallas Mavericks. This is ironic considering the fact that years ago, DeAndre Jordan verbally agreed to leave the Clippers until he changed his mind and decided to return to LA. I think that DeAndre Jordan most likely will be signed by the Mavericks but I think that he could maybe venture to maybe Washington or Milwaukee
Demarcus Cousins: Though some would argue New Orleans is better off playing the up-tempo, shooter-heavy style that got them to the second round of the playoffs after Cousins’ injury, word on the street is that Anthony Davis loves playing with his twin tower. And the Pelicans are in the business of doing anything and everything they can to keep their superstar happy. However, I think that this is a one year deal and later in the season New Orleans looks to trade Cousins. But Cousins will resign with the Pelicans.
Kevin Durant: There was talk brought up that LeBron reached out to Kevin Durant in an attempt to lure him to LA in a move that would completely change the NBA. The two best players in the league have never been paired together in league history. However, I think that this report or finding is completely false. Kevin Durant is not going anywhere. Kevin stated he is the “happiest he has ever been,” with Golden State. He is going to re-sign with the Warriors. It will be interesting to see how much money Durant takes, but Warriors GM Bob Myers said that Durant can have “whatever contract he wants.” Durant most likely will sign a shorter contract so he has freedom every year. I think in Durant’s later years of his career he will attempt to venture from Golden State and sign with the Thunder in a reunion or even return home to Maryland and play for his hometown Wizards.
Keeping the Paul-Harden-Capela dynamic alive is priority No. 1 this offseason for a team that believes it would have beaten the Warriors were it not for an untimely Paul injury. Running it back is the best, and possibly only, option for Houston. I don’t know why they would scrap that after being 48 minutes away from beating Golden State.
Below are my predictions for the rest of the lower class free agent field…
Dwight Howard: Signs with Washington Wizards or Boston Celtics
Elfrid Payton: Signs with Chicago Bulls
Isaiah Thomas: Signs with New York Knicks
Tyreke Evans: Signs with Indiana Pacers
Dwyane Wade: Re-signs with Miami Heat
Zach LaVine: Re-signs with Chicago Bulls
Marcus Smart: Re-signs with Boston Celtics
Jabari Parker: Re-signs with Milwaukee Bucks
Will Barton: Re-signs with the Denver Nuggets
Rudy Gay: Signs with Houston Rockets
Avery Bradley: Signs with Memphis Grizzlies
Ersan Ilyasova: Re-signs with Philadelphia 76ers
Rodney Hood: Re-signs with Cleveland Cavaliers
Jerami Grant: Re-signs with Oklahoma City Thunder (If Paul George leaves)
Brook Lopez: Signs with Milwaukee Bucks
Rajon Rondo: Re-signs with New Orleans Pelicans
Luc Mbah a Moute: Re-signs with the Golden State Warriors
Joe Harris: Re-signs with Brooklyn Nets
Aron Baynes: Re-signs with Boston Celtics
Julius Randle: Signs with Dallas Mavericks
Fred VanVleet: Re-signs with Toronto Raptors
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Signs with Memphis Grizzlies or Los Angeles Clippers
Aaron Gordon: Re-signs with Orlando Magic
Derrick Favors: Re-signs with Utah Jazz
Trevor Ariza: Signs with the Golden State Warriors
Jamal Crawford: Signs with Golden State Warriors
J.J. Redick: Re-signs with the Philadelphia 76ers
Dirk Nowitzki: Re-signs with Dallas Mavericks
Jusuf Nurkic: Re-signs with Portland Trail Blazers