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NBA Free Agency Preview

When the bell strikes midnight on the East Coast, 2016 NBA Free Agency will officially be upon us. Sure, the deals can’t technically be signed until July 7th, but we’ll know where the majority of the big names are headed before the sound of fireworks on July 4th.

This year’s free agency presents a unique challenge to the casual fan. Players like Kent Bazemore, Evan Fournier, and Nicholas Batum, may not be household names, but what they will have is $18-20 million/year deals come next week. It may sound crazy, but it’s important to remember the NBA is operating under a completely new set of rules. With the spike in this year’s cap room, as well as the ensuing mega-spike expected next year, deals that would’ve been near-maxes last season will be looked at as value in the coming years.

So take this into consideration when guys you’ve never heard of are raking in the big bucks. There’s new money to be had out on the market, and players will surely capitalize on all 30 teams suddenly having new found cap-space.

While I’d love to do a full breakdown, two jobs and summer school permit only my quick hits. Take them for what they are and hit me up at @BradMaddox_KVUE with your comments/questions.

  • THE FIRST DOMINO- Every team in the Association would love to have the services of Kevin Durant. His long, athletic body paired with his best-of-all-time scoring capabilities has teams salivating at the chance to get a meeting with him. My guess is that he doesn’t leave OKC unless he wants to make the league crumble under his feet with the Warriors.
  • The Fan Favorites- There are three guys (who coincidentally would all make incredible fits on the Houston Rockets) that might be tough to pry away from their current teams but could be had at the right price.
    • The first is Mike Conley. The Grit & Grind point guard loves Memphis by all accounts and is great friends with Marc Gasol. Ultimately I see him staying with the Griz but if San Antonio pushes hard enough, it could be very tempting to head to Central Texas.
    • Second, we have Al Horford. All along, most expected the big man to hang around in Atlanta. But reports have surfaced that if the Hawks don’t offer him a 5th year on his deal, he could be headed out the door. Potential fits would include the Thunder (who could use a Horford signing to ensure Durant stays home), the Rockets (who need a big man in a big way), and the Celtics (who are star-hungry).
    • Lastly, we have Nicolas Batum. Batum is the quintessential 3-and-D wing who can do a little bit of everything as evidence by his 15, 5 and 5 averages last year with the Bobcats. Most have Batum staying with Michael Jordan in Charlotte, but there’s a chance he could be packing his things come midnight
  • Quick Hits
    • Hassan Whiteside– reportedly choosing between the Heat and the Mavericks. Has meetings set up with both teams and that’s it. Averaged a 14/12 double-double with 3.7 blocks/game to boot. Would be a welcome presence in Dallas.
    • Andre Drummond- even with his free-throw woes, teams will be lining up for his services. Problem is, he’s a restricted free agent. Detroit isn’t going to let him go. Will match whichever team offers him the max.
    • LeBron James– not trying to bury the lede here. Yes, technically he’s an unrestricted free agent but he’s not going anywhere.
    • DeMar Derozan- expected Toronto will do everything to keep him and unlikely he comes south of the border
    • Dwight Howard- Could literally be headed anywhere. Who the heck knows anymore. I can only guarantee one thing, he will not be in Rocket red. I’ll leave it to the professional who says Howard will either be a Celtic or Hawk.
    • Chandler Parsons and Harrison Barnes- Two small forwards. One is a former Rocket who is injury prone but has the unrestricted designation. Parsons gonna get paid. Barnes on the other hand is restricted and his situation could be interesting. It’s expected that Golden State will match any offer sheet so as not to break up the “team of destiny”. But if someone offers the max and there’s any shot at all at KD, the Warriors will have quite the conundrum on their hands.
    • Pau Gasol- An under-the-radar free agent. Coming off an incredible year. Could see a close-to-contender team taking the dive on this Hall of Fame post man.
    • Bradley Beal- He’s restricted and isn’t going anywhere. Will be back with the Wizards next season.
    • Dwyane Wade– Assuming he’s back in Miami may be fool’s gold. Stranger things have happened
    • Three guys the Rockets should have interest in-
      • Ryan Anderson- a smooth shooting stretch 4. Will be pricy but would be an A+ fit in D’Antoni’s offense
      • Jeremy Lin- Linsanity could end up back in Houston after all. The Rockets need some point guard help badly. He could reprise his role as bench spark plug, a role which has been un-filled since his departure.
      • Kent Bazemore- 3-and-D wing who would take a spot in the rotation and either move Ariza to a small 4 or allow Houston to trade him

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