Predicting where the top NBA free agents will land
NBA free agency is about to tip-off and we have polled our NBA writers to see where they think the top players will land this offseason. This year’s free agent class is full of talent and with a lot of names expected to change teams—where exactly will they end up?
|Player||Dan Schalk||Brandon Reid||Patrick Rahall||Dillon Davis-Tirado||Malachi David|
|Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors- Will he leave winning for the Knicks? I need to see it to believe it.||New York Knicks- Durant has his rings. He is looking for a legacy move now. The pressure to win immediately will not be high in New York, and when they’re struggling to get over the hump late next year, he can come in and play hero, like he wanted to do this year for the Warriors. But wait…I have another piece for the Knicks…||Golden State Warriors- He’ll make max money, but it will end up being a huge mistake, even if they trade him, because he will never be the same player.||New York Knicks- Nothing is more alluring than the prospect of bringing a title to NYC and you know you and whoever the Knicks sign with you are the two men to do it||
New York Knicks- This is not only a good move for him to try and regain some credit after his move to Golden State, but it is also a good move for him to be in a no pressure spot as he recovers next season. The odds of the Knicks making the playoffs are slim as it is, so with him on the bench, the fans will only be looking forward to the 2020-21 season.
|Kyrie Irving||Brooklyn Nets- Personally, I think it’s a bad business decision to chose Irving over Russell, but the Nets seemed intent on making this move.||Brooklyn Nets- The Nets have already started clearing cap space for Kyrie. They seem to have fallen in love with the fact he wants to be there, and they’re ready to let D’Angelo Russell walk. Kyrie is also signing with Roc Nation. My feeling is Kyrie wants to be somewhere he can score 40 a game without the pressure of winning. Good luck, Brooklyn.||Brooklyn Nets- I think this is a bad move, but this is what Kyrie wants, and in two years he’ll want a trade because that’s who he is. He thinks he wants to be the alpha, but he can’t handle it.||New York Knicks- It’s been reported that he and Durant want to play together, and where Durant goes Kyrie will. The Knicks have the room for two max players so if the pitch is right for Durant, Irving will follow suit||
Brooklyn Nets- I hate this situation, but I think it is the move that the Nets will make and regret. Irving has become a toxic player that lets his ego outweigh his talent. He is becoming the new Carmelo Anthony.
|DeMarcus Cousins||Golden State Warriors- Cousins’ value is at its lowest point it has ever been, so why not stay put and try to build it up with shooters around you?||New York Knicks- I think this would be a great move for Cousins. He could play along side DeAndre Jordan and RJ Barrett, and do a ton of scoring in Madison Square Garden, until KD comes back. So a year from now the Knicks lineup could look like this: Dennis Smith Jr, RJ Barrett, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan. That’s pretty solid, and there would be more additions to bolster that squad. This is what having money to spend looks like Knicks fans. Enjoy.||Golden State Warriors- He’s hurt (again) and nobody is going to give him the max…well maybe the Knicks. They’re so poorly managed that they might give him or Durant the max.||Golden State Warriors- They will need to reload with enough firepower to compensate for a Durant and Thompson less team, Cousins fits that bill and he looks comfortable in Kerr’s system.||
Golden State Warriors- This is a tough one. I don’t think that he fits well with the Warriors system, but I don’t think another team is willing to take a chance on him. I think he will stay in Golden State with a 2-year deal that has a player option for the second year.
|Kemba Walker||Boston Celtics- What an upgrade over Kyrie. Great move by Danny Ainge.||Boston Celtics- This would be an upgrade for Boston and they would be able to run and score. If they do sign Kemba, and lose Al Horford, they will somehow have to fill a big void at their center position as they have no other viable options currently on the roster. I would go the direction of Vucevic and sign a Derrick Rose type, but indications are the Celtics and Kemba may have mutual interest.||Charlotte Hornets- From everything I’ve heard he likes it there so much that he’s willing to take a discount.||Brooklyn Nets- Being from NYC and with that momentum carrying weight as a hometown favorite, Kemba gets paid and takes a decent Brooklyn squad with the ability to add more and Kemba can keep them competitive||
Boston Celtics- The city of Charlotte will suffer greatly, but Kemba has to make this move for his own career. By adding him, Boston gets a team first player who can help them take that next step to compete for a title.
|Klay Thompson||Golden State Warriors- I think his knee injury puts a damper into his free agency plans, but if Golden State is going to offer him the max, it’s hard seeing him turn it down when he is likely to miss an entire season||Golden State Warriors- The Warriors cannot afford to lose Klay. That would definitely signal the beginning of the end for the Warriors Dynasty. It is essential for Golden State to keep the splash brothers together and I don’t think Klay is inclined to go anywhere else.||Golden State Warriors- Klay is going nowhere. He’ll be back in time to work himself into playoff shape nad give Steph a much-needed helping hand.||Golden State Warriors- You can’t just break up the Splash Brothers but understand this, I almost want to say the Celtics because he would become Batman instead of Robin like he is to Curry. However, I also like to think of Klay as Nightwing, a hero equal to Batman, and a player equal to Stephen Curry in what he brings to the Warriors||
Golden State Warriors- The injury sort of solidified this, but I think deep down Klay knows that he fits best playing alongside Curry. He is not as dominant of a player with the ball in his hands to lead an offense, so it is best he serve as the 2nd option in Golden State.
|Derrick Rose||Los Angeles Lakers- This seems like a move the Lakers would make. An aging point guard next to LeBron–where have we seen this before?||Phoenix Suns- The Suns need an upgrade at PG to go along with their great young pieces. The have the cap space to do so, and I think Derrick may have the mindset of cashing in for as much as he can right now. His injury history has kept the former league MVP from getting those big deals, but he could get a high end deal from the Suns, and help them fill a need.||Los Angeles Lakers- He still thinks he’s the 20-year-old version of himself, but I think he would jump at the chance to join forces with LeBron and Davis. I don’t think they’re going to have many options, and Rose would fit in nicely as a PG when LeBron wasn’t bringing the ball up the court.||Los Angeles Lakers- but that’s only because I can’t think of a team that can really use him more than Los Angeles. He brings them a point guard presence much needed with how short staffed that team will be. Plus, Rose and LeBron on the same team, sign me up!||
Los Angeles Clippers- This is a stretch, but if the Clippers fan on getting any of the big names, they may take a shot on a “revitalized” D-Rose.
|Kawhi Leonard||Los Angeles Lakers- I don’t want to believe the reports, but I can’t see him staying in Canada.||Toronto Raptors- Kawhi could be Prime Minister of Canada right now. There is no reason to start a rebuilding project with another team. They have a lot of young standouts like VanVleet and Siakam, and Marc Gasol will resign as well. I really have to question Kawhi’s decision making if he goes anywhere else but the Lakers.||Toronto Raptors- He can be anonymous there; he can walk down the street and get a bag of milk without being pestered, which won’t happen in LA. Plus Masai is staying, and they just won a championship, which counts for a lot.||Toronto Raptors- Does it look like it’s in his nature to chase a superteam? Kawhi is a baller, not a star, and what I mean by that is that he doesn’t want to be centerpiece of a super team of stars, he wants to ball, and he wants to win in his own way. He showed the NBA how a rag tag group truly wins a title, and his presence on the Raptors and the Eastern Conference is too big and opportunity for him to jump and join LeBron or Kevin Durant or whoever.||
Toronto Raptors- I think with Gasol staying put it would be silly not to stay here. Kawhi can run the East with this squad. They would be the team to beat.
|Jimmy Butler||Miami Heat- This is out of the box, but I can see Pat Riley swinging a sign and trade for Butler, moving many of their solid pieces for a star.||Philadelphia 76ers- I believe it will be Butler who stays while Tobias Harris and J.J. Reddick bounce. The Nets will have to keep either Butler or Harris. At this time, I think Harris could benefit more from a scenary change, leaving Butler to sign a better deal, and have a larger role with the Sixers.||Los Angeles Clippers- Another player, like Kyrie, who keeps forcing himself into situations that he thinks he wants, but always ends up wanting out of the situation because it isn’t perfect. He doesn’t like being told what to do, and he’s going to be a problem wherever he goes because he doesn’t like being coached.||Houston Rockets- Because the Rockets are about to implode. Chris Paul and James Harden, DO. NOT. GET. ALONG! And that’s because they can’t finish the job. That’s where Jimmy comes in. It’s been reported the Rockets are asking the Sixers to do a sign and trade deal involving Butler. If it goes through, Houston shows the most clout in trying to grab Butler.||
Houston Rockets- It is a toss up as to whether or not Butler will be able to mesh with Harden. I think the negatives will outweigh the positives in this instance, but it is the most likely situation.
|D’Angelo Russell||Phoenix Suns- Russell paired with Devin Booker? Plain and simple, fun to watch (even if it isn’t likely to happen).||Los Angeles Lakers- I think this will be a 2nd tier, cheaper move for L.A., but allow them to do exactly what they wanted to do. Bring in another big piece, preferably a PG, but not have to spend 100% of their cap space offering a max deal to the likes of Kawhi or Kemba. They will still need to add some shooters, perimeter players, and fill some gaps. But the idea of bringing D’Angelo back home, as LeBron once did, is very intriguing.||Boston Celtics- They’ll have the money, and they need a PG. They’ll basically have traded Kyrie for Russell, a win for the Celtics in my book. Kyrie has much more talent, but Russell is a better fit.||Los Angeles Lakers- If they can afford him. He and Rose operating together in the backcourt is enticing. But the inept front office is already embarrassing themselves with that Anthony Davis trade and the cap space not working out. But Russell and L.A are meant for each other and he’s that one piece LeBron needs to get a shot at a title contendership.||
New York Knicks- The Knicks will miss out on Kyrie and Kemba which means they will want to make a move for a point guard. Russell is a great option and will provide them with a boost in play while Durant is out.
|Khris Middleton||Los Angeles Clippers- I think the Clippers will swing and miss at a lot of the superstars they are trying to sway, so Middleton is a solid alternative.||Milwaukee Bucks- This is a player I would love to see on a lot of other teams, including my Memphis Grizzlies, because of his pure shooting ability and what he brings to his team. But the Milwaukee Bucks cannot afford to let him go if they want to keep this contending team together. If you let Middleton walk, you’ll take a step back next year, and probably hurt your chances of re-signing Giannis in 2021.||Milwaukee Bucks- I think he stays with the Bucks unless someone else gives him a ridiculous offer. If he wants to win, he’ll stay with Milwaukee.||Los Angeles Clippers- because Kawhi isn’t going there. I don’t care what you say or read. HE. IS. NOT. GOING. THERE. But if the Clippers can make magic and sign him and one more and split that max deal money up, Middleton can run with a squad with momentum off that playoff push.||
Milwaukee Bucks- There is a rumor out there that Middleton bought and moved into a home in Milwaukee. I know what you are thinking, “A lot of athletes buy homes in different places”. While this is true, Milwaukee isn’t exactly a vacation home kind of place, trust me, I live in Wisconsin.
|Nikola Vucevic||Boston Celtics- Another great move by Ainge, replacing an aging Horford with a younger and better ‘Vooch’.||Dallas Mavericks- Pairing Vucevic along side Porzingis, in addition to the NBA Rookie of the year, Luka Doncic, would put the Mavs back on the path to contention. This would make Dallas very dangerous from inside out with Porzingis being able to spread the floor and give Vucevic room inside. Talk about a triangle offense. I would love to see this.||Boston Celtics- This is another player the Celtics could and should target. He fills a need (rebounding) and he would be a legit threat down low. With Marcus Morris and Al Horford heading for greener pastures, the Celtics are in desperate need of a big man who can rebound, not just shoot from the perimiter.||Boston Celtics- because honestly they need to replace Horford with someone. He sure ain’t staying. The Kyrie effect hit that dude good. Vucevic is a great replacement in my opinion has all the skills and moves of a traditional big man, but can play mid-range to 3pt if needed.||
Boston Celtics- Plain and simple, they need to replace Horford. Vucevic is the best option for them.
|Tobias Harris||Utah Jazz- The Jazz don’t typically spend a lot of money, but Harris fits with this team and Utah does have some money to spend.||Brooklyn Nets- Tobias needs to be looking for max money right now. I feel like he was the odd man out in Philly and his game was hurt the most compared to what he was doing for the Clippers. I’m not buying all this hype around everyone wanting to sign with Brooklyn. I see them getting Kyrie, but not Durant or any other max player mentioned. They do have money to spend and I think their sights will have to fall to more realistic expectations like Harris. If not Brooklyn, possibly the Pacers, or a reunion in Los Angeles with the Clippers. Harris should fall somewhere that has a lot of money to spend.||Utah Jazz – He would be a valuable presence with Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and new PG Mike Conley running things in Utah. He’d give them a scoring threat in the playoffs as well, taking the pressure off of Mitchell and a bigger body to help contend with some of the other bigger teams in the West.||Philadelphia 76ers- they can’t afford to lose him. Butler is not staying so keep who you can to contend in the East. Harris proved a great asset post trade, so there’s no reason to think he won’t ball again this season with a starting role should it work out.||
Los Angeles Clippers- Once again, another reach. However, the Clippers are going to have to get something after they strike out on Durant, Leonard, and Butler. Harris could go back to being the productive player that he was.
|Julius Randle||New York Knicks- The Knicks are in the running for a lot of players, but if they don’t land them, Randle is a sad consolation prize.||New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans can’t afford to lose anymore big men. Keeping Randle and pairing him with Al Horford would be a tough out for opposing frontcourts.||New Orleans Pelicans- I think he’ll stay, especially with the team that is being put together around him. This is a very promising young group, and they’re built for the long haul.||New York Knicks- and on the cheap. Randle could take a mid level exception deal, as the Knicks could pitch it to him to be another piece of a talented squad being put together, should things fall in line that is.||
New Orleans Pelicans- Randle has the chance to be part of a franchise that is on the rise and will be a future contender. I think he stays for that reason mostly. Another reason he may stay is because they are basically the Los Angeles Pelicans now.
|Jabari Parker||San Antonio Spurs- This seems like a great signing for the Spurs who can revitalize Parker’s career.||Philadelphia 76ers- I believe Tobias Harris will leave during free agency opening up a spot to play along side Joel Embiid. The Sixers are such a mess right now, it’s hard to say exactly who stays, who goes, and who comes in. But Parker could be a good fit regardless.||San Antonio Spurs – They could use a PF who doesn’t need to be the primary scoring option, but can be counted on to chip in a few buckets.||New Orleans Pelicans- As he’s their replacement for Julius Randle. Now of course the questions rise still if this scenario works, but Jabari doesn’t logjam the 4 spot like Randle does. He’s more effective playing at the 3 as swing big man||
Philadelphia 76ers- They will be looking to replace Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, so Parker is boosted up their want list. When healthy and in the right style of offense, Parker is a great option.
|Al Horford||Dallas Mavericks- Another move I would not make if I’m Mark Cuban, but all the reports are indicating the desire for the Mavs to sign this aging big man to a max deal.||New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans need a big man after losing Cousins and AD in the last year. They can offer Horford a very lucrative 4-year deal, and I think the idea of playing in New Orleans with Zion and the other young guys would be attractive to Horford, given how much attention will be paid to them this year. If not New Orleans, I have to lean towards the Clippers to land Horford.||Milwaukee Bucks- This will give them a legitimate shot to unseat Toronto and win it all.||Los Angeles Clippers- only team that can really work for him and pay him.||
Dallas Mavericks- It is definitely a questionable signing, but Horford would bring a defensive presence to that team that they could really use.