NBA free agency storm on the horizon

NBA free agency

NBA free agency is set to begin on July 1st, just a few winks away. The league and fans are bubbling with eager anticipation of a perfect storm as multiple big-ticket players are set to become free agents for the 2019-20 season.

Many rebuilding NBA teams are chomping at the bit for a shot of landing one or more of these elite players.

Topping the bill is none other than 2018-19 Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first ever NBA title. He’s an unrestricted free agent and will have his pick of teams as the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors are all vying for his services. He’s a Los Angeles native and the Clippers have that in their favor, but the Raptors can offer him the most money and already have the pieces in place, as shown by their championship run, that they have what it takes to rise to the very top.

In the same elite tier as Leonard are the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and Celtics’ Kyrie Irving. Both players are highly sought after. Irving has been linked to the Knicks, Lakers and most recently the Brooklyn Nets. He’s opted out of the remaining year of his deal with the Celtics and reportedly “wants out” of Boston. KD, who sadly suffered a ruptured Achilles in the NBA finals, has also opted out of the second year of his two-year contract with the Warriors. He’s expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season as he recovers from surgery to repair the rupture. That said, he’s still in high demand as the Knicks are poised to offer him a MAX deal despite his injury. An option for him is to re-sign with the Warriors, as they can offer him the largest compensation package.

Irving, who has spoken to Durant in the past about the idea of playing together, could coordinate with his friend and ink deals with the same team. On the other hand, he’s also said that he’d like to play alongside Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers have already traded for prior to the NBA draft, acquiring him from the New Orleans Pelicans. Aside from all of these things, many insiders have spoken up that the Nets have the inside track and are in the lead to land the point guard. Should he sign with them, D’Angelo Russell, one of 2018-19’s breakout stars and is also an unrestricted free agent will be parting ways with the team – not wanting to share the backcourt with another ball-dominant guard like Irving.

In the next tier, we have Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, who despite expressing loyalty to the team that drafted him, has been gaining a lot of interest from both the Lakers and Celtics. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris of the Sixers are both UFAs as well, but the Sixers are expected to attempt to keep their core intact for the upcoming season. That said, the Rockets are shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker in an attempt to free up salary cap space to be able to woo Butler into playing alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.

It’s a big-man market

There are a lot of big men who are unrestricted free agents and are headlined by DeMarcus Cousins of the Warriors and Nikola Vucevic of the Magic. DeAndre Jordan (NY), Brook Lopez (MIL) and Jonas Valanciunas (MEM) are also expected to draw major interest from teams like the Celtics, Clippers and Lakers.

Kristaps Porzingis, who is set to be a restricted free agent, is expected to be kept by the Dallas Mavericks “at all costs.”

Shooters abound

Klay Thompson (GSW), Khris Middleton (MIL), J.J. Redick (PHI) and Bojan Bogdanovic (IND) are some of the top shooters on the market. Most of them, save for Bogdanovic are expected to receive big offers from their respective teams.

And the list just goes on and on…

Expect to see a largely different NBA landscape before the dust settles in July as an NBA free agency frenzy could be in the works.

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