FREE AGENCY DESTINATIONS

Is Kevin Durant destined to land in the big apple after his NBA Finals MVP performance? In one word, no. The two most surefire locks for free agent destinations are for the top two available NBA free agents. Both Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant will be returning to the bay area to defend their tittle.

After reviewing the available free agency dollars, I’ve predicted the destinations of 25 of the NBA top free agents. Make sure you take a look back at the end of August so you can laugh at how wrong I was (If I nail a majority of these you won’t have to wait, I’ll let EVERYONE know how right I was).

KEVIN DURANT – F – 28 Years old – Golden State Warriors

Durant

Coming off an NBA Finals MVP performance, Kevin Durant is hitting the free agent market along with partner in crime Steph Curry. You can expect a situation similar to the Lebron led Miami Heat where they’ll each take slightly less so Golden State can keep some semblance of a bench by retaining Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livington. PREDICTION: Golden State Warriors

STEPH CURRY – G – 29 years old – Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry

After taking a below market deal last time around to prove that his ankles were not going to be an issue, you can fully expect Steph Curry to sign the largest contract in the history of the NBA. As good as Kevin Durant was during the finals (and he was goooood), Steph Curry is still the engine that makes the Warriors go. I don’t see him leaving any time soon. Prediction: Golden State Warriors

CHRIS PAUL – G – 31 years old – Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul

After months of rumors, I predict that Chris Paul becomes the best free agent to actually change teams. It’ll take a little work, but San Antonio can clear the needed space to add the all star point guard. They’ll wait to see if he is in before making the needed moves, if he decides to take his talents elsewhere and forget the Alamo, you’ll see a series of lesser moves from the Spurs. Prediction: San Antonio Spurs

GORDON HAYWARD – G/F – 27 years old – Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward

After going years without a major free agent acquisition the talk is that the Celtics could make it back to back years making waves on the open market. The draw of remaining with the only team he’s ever known could prove to be too much, but remember that the contract he is on now was a restricted free agent deal he had signed with Charlotte that Utah matched, so he isn’t adverse to leaving. But in the end, I think he returns Prediction: Utah Jazz

BLAKE GRIFFIN – F – 28 years old – Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin

The post draft rumor swirling around Boston is that Danny Ainge has positioned the Celtics to acquire Paul George after signing Gordon Hayward. I think that you’ll see Magic Johnson step in to top the Celtics offer for George, and Hayward ends up getting a max extension from the Jazz. Plan B would then be to add Blake Griffin, preferably at just below the max so as to lessen the impact acquiring him would have on the remaining roster. With his injury history that may be a viable result. Prediction: Boston Celtics

KYLE LOWRY – G – 31 years old – Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry

With the ability to easily create 21 million in cap space prior to any trades, by jettisoning Ricky Rubio the Wolves would be in position to remake their backcourt by adding Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry. Combined with the maturation of former #1 picks Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins the wolves would jump from being a lottery team to the Warriors primary rival in the west. Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves

PAUL MILLSAP – F – 32 years old – Atlanta Hawks

Paul Millsap

With the Hawks in rebuilding mode they may let 32 year old Paul Millsap leave. By doing so they’d go from having about $4 million in cap space to about $34 million. In the same respect, if Danilo Galinari is allowed to leave the Nuggets would have plenty of cap space and an opening at power forward. Millsap would be a nice fit in the rockies with Nikola Jokic. Prediction: Denver Nuggets

DANILO GALINARI – F – 28 years old – Denver Nuggets

Danilo Galinari

A bit injury prone, Danilo is a guy that is slightly below a max player. Capable of playing the 3, or the 4 depending upon your system, he’s a talented player when on the floor. Once Hayward spurns the Heat, they’ll still have a max contract slot to give to someone, Galinari could reap the rewards of that. Prediction: Miami Heat

DION WAITERS – G – 25 years old – Miami Heat

Dion Waiters

The draw of a big payday in philly coupled with their talented young roster could entice Waiters to head north. But at the end of the day I think he keeps his talents in south beach where he finally started to show the skills that made him a lottery pick in Cleveland. Prediction: Miami Heat

JEFF TEAGUE – G – 29 years old – Indiana Pacers

Jeff Teague

I think Teague would like to return to his hometown Pacers, and if he is willing to play at a discount they may be interested. But I think at the end of the day, the game of point guard musical chairs will end with him looking for a job elsewhere. Gut feeling says he ends up as the mentor and possible backcourt mate with De’Aaron Fox. Prediction: Sacramento Kings

NERLENS NOEL -C – 23 years old – Dallas Mavericks

Nerlens Noel

After acquiring the shot blocking young Noel at the trade deadline last spring, Mark Cuban will not let Noel leave Dallas without a fight. Currently one of the 2 key building blocks of the Mavs’ rebuilding effort along with Dennis Smith, Cuban will match whatever offer that comes for the restricted free agent. Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

OTTO PORTER – F – 24 years old – Washington Wizards

Otto Porter

Another restricted free agent, he’ll likely receive a max offer from someone like Sacramento or Brooklyn, but I can’t see the Wizards not matching it. As much as they could use a re-tool to get past the Celtics and Cavs hump, and a max contract for Porter will hamper any future moves, they can’t afford not to match. Prediction: Washington Wizards

JRUE HOLIDAY – G – 28 years old – New Orleans Pelicans

Jrue Holiday

Capable of playing either back court position, there has been talk linking Holiday and his brother Justin heading to Dallas, but the drafting of Dennis Smith may alter that plan. He could return to New Orleans who are severely lacking in back court talent to match the dynamic duo up front. But I think ultimately he’ll be part of the re-tool in Indianapolis, along with whatever haul is acquired for Paul George. Prediction: Indiana Pacers

GEORGE HILL – G – 31 years old – Utah Jazz

George Hill

I think George Hill returning to his San Antonio roots is plan B for the Spurs, and likely Hill’s preferred destination at this point of his career. But as I expect CP3 to head to Texas, Hill may decide to keep moving forward with what they’re building in Utah, especially if Hayward returns. I imagine its an all or nothing result for Utah. Either they both return, or they both leave. Prediction: Utah Jazz

SERGE IBAKA – F – 27 – Toronto Raptors

Serge Ibaka

Following a down year that saw him get traded to Orlando, and then eventually to Toronto I could see Ibaka taking a make good type deal from someone in the hopes of breathing new life into his career in the hopes of one more big pay day next year as he is still fairly young. With money to burn, and the need for another veteran locker room guy, he could be just the right guy in the windy city. Prediction: Chicago Bulls

DERRICK ROSE – G – 28 years old – New York Knicks

Derrick Rose

This acquisition made little to no sense a year ago, but now seems like a match made in heaven. The only place that made any sense for Rose would be to reunite with Butler and Thibs in Minnesota, but as I have Kyle Lowry taking that spot, I now see Derrick Rose surveying the landscape and taking a deal with the only man foolish enough to overpay him, James Dolan. Prediction: New York Knicks

KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL POPE – G/F – 24 years old – Detroit Pistons

Kentavious Caldwell Pope

Much like the Otto Porter situation, Caldwell Pope is about to be overpaid because someone like Brooklyn will make a giant offer that the Pistons will reluctantly have to match. I don’t know if he’ll come to a reasonable agreement with Detroit or just sign a close to max deal with Brooklyn and force Detroit to match. Either way, its back to Mo-Town for KCP. Prediction: Detroit Pistons

JJ Redick – G – 33 years old – Los Angeles Clippers

JJ Redick

Projections have had JJ getting one last big payday from the 76ers this off season, being that missing catch and shoot guy to pair with Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Joel Embiid. But between existing cap room, and a trade involving Ricky Rubio, it is entirely possible for the Timberwolves to add both Kyle Lowry and JJ Redick to the mix and putting their development into hyper-drive. Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves

RUDY GAY – F – 30 years old – Sacramento Kings

Rudy Gay

Recent buzz has been that after opting out of his contract in Sacramento that Gay is plan C for the Boston Celtics should their efforts to sign Hayward or Griffin fail. Coming off an injury he may come at a slight discount. His opting out of his deal was more about getting out of the Sacramento rebuild and less about making the most money. In that vain he is the first person on the list I see signing for the Mid-Level Exception. Prediction: San Antonio Spurs

TYREKE EVANS – G – 27 years old – Sacramento Kings

Tyreke Evans

First of all, how in the world is Tyreke Evans only 27 years old? After some injury riddled season playing in relative obscurity, Tyreke could go one of 2 ways. He could sign a well below market deal. A 5 million a year TPMLE deal with Cleveland? Maybe an MLE deal in Oklahoma City to give Russell Westbrook another scoring option, much better than Andre Roberson? Or he could swing the other way and get paid. Someone has to finally accept the Nets money, and I think Evans could be that guy, able to back up Lin, or Russell, or slot in and play next to them. Prediction: Brooklyn Nets

TIM HARDAWAY JR – G – 25 years old – Atlanta Hawks

TIm Hardaway Jr

After a slow start to his career in New York, Hardaway finally started to consistently show the abilities that made him a star at Michigan. At 25 he and Denis Schroder are the cornerstones as the Hawks begin their rebuild efforts. He is a restricted free agent, meaning the Hawks can match any offer, but I don’t see it even getting that far, Hardaway will re-up. Prediction: Atlanta Hawks

ANDRE IGOUDALA – G/F – 33 years old, Golden State Warriors

Andre Igoudala

The single most underrated member of the Golden State Warriors, Igoudala could jump ship for a better payday and more of a share of the limelight, but ultimately I see Curry and Durant taking slightly less so the Warriors don’t have to renounce the rights to Igoudala, allowing him to get his payday in San Fran. Others may not realize the extent of his contributions, but I’m certain his teammates are aware. Prediction: Golden State Warriors

PJ TUCKER – G/F – 32 years old – Toronto Raptors

PJ Tucker

Should the Raptors be able to retain Kyle Lowry, I think you’ll see them make every effort to retain Ibaka, and Tucker to attempt another run at the Cavs. But should Lowry leave, as I’ve previously predicted, I don’t see the value in his returning to Toronto, either for him, or the Raptors as they’d be looking to retool. At 32 years old and a former undrafted free agent who has never gotten his big payday, he’ll look to cash in now. Orlando is going to have plenty of cap room, and would be a nice fit. Prediction: Orlando Magic

MICHAEL BEASLEY – F – 28 – Milwaukee Bucks

Michael Beasley

After some early personal troubles in his career Beasley has found a home in Milwaukee. He could very well stay there, but they may look to move in a cheaper direction with Greg Monroe opting into his contract. His versatility would play well backing up injury prone Chandler Parsons, or playing along side him in a 4 out offense. Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies

Patty Mills – G – 28 years old – San Antonio Spurs

Patty Mills

A player who has spent years learning under the watching eye of Greg Popovich, the Spurs certainly would like to keep him, but may need to renounce him in order to sign Chris Paul. Should CP3 not end up in San Antonio I certainly see the Spurs retaining him. But if not, he’ll be looking for a nice payday. A team with plenty of money and a point guard who isn’t “their guy” is found due east. Prediction: Orlando Magic

 

  • Jason Sullivan
  • Find me on Twitter @TopDucker

 

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