The NBA off-season gets underway tonight at midnight. Some big chips have already fallen as Jimmy Butler has been traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Chris Paul has left Los Angeles for the Houston Rockets where he will join forces with James Harden.
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and others headline a star studded 2017 NBA free agent class.
Here are my predictions where some of the big fish will end up.
Kevin Durant & Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Warriors are building something special that has the potential to last for a number of years. Green and Thompson are there for another few years and Durant and Curry will join them, once again. As of now, the Warriors only have five players under contract, so expect them to add a few pieces this summer.
Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics
He will reunite with his college coach, Brad Stevens in Boston. The Celtics seriously need a second offensive option next to Thomas and Hayward fits that bill. Hayward is also a good defender, which fits into Boston’s team identity. Even with the addition of Hayward, I do not feel as if Boston can challenge Cleveland in the east.
Blake Griffin, Miami Heat
With the departure of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin will choose to leave LA as well. Adding Griffin would help Miami’s 21st overall offense, but Griffin does come with a history of injuries, which always seems to keep him out for a long period of time each season. He could be a very risky signing for any team.
Kyle Lowry, Not Toronto
As he gets older, he is missing more and more time due to injuries which will no doubt raise some red flags when it comes to teams taking a chance on him. I do not see Lowry coming back to Toronto, unless he is willing to take a two or three year deal (max). Minnesota is in a good position now with a revamped team, so maybe they take a chance on him. With the Paul trade to Houston, maybe San Antonio offers him a contract, especially with an aging Parker as their current point guard. The Lowry story should be fairly interesting this off-season.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
He stays loyal to Atlanta and signs a new deal. If Atlanta is out of the playoff picture this year, or next-they can deal Millsap and get some assets in return. If Millsap does go ring hunting, however, Houston could be a possible destination for him.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brooklyn Nets
Detroit is a mess and Caldwell-Pope will leave them in his rear-view mirror. With the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell, the Nets are starting to finally build a young team that could have some potential in a few years. KCP has to start knocking down his jumper more consistently; if he can do that then he has the ability to be a really good two-way player. 3 and D if you will.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
The Wizards have built a pretty good team, now it is all about retaining it to compete. Porter had a breakthrough season last year and was a focal point of the Wizards on both ends of the floor. If Washington can somehow put together a package for Paul George that involves Otto Porter, I say they do it. It is all about winning now. If not, then they keep Porter.
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
According to the latest rumours, Holiday is staying with the Pelicans and considering how thin they are at point guard, it is probably the right decision. Only issue with Holiday is that he has played 82 games once in his eight year career and paying him upwards of $20 million a season might be too much for a player who misses a ton of games.
George Hill, San Antonio Spurs
Since the Spurs will miss out on both Paul and Lowry, they will at least get Hill. Hill is a dependable and smart point guard who is a great defender, but who can also step out and hit the three (38% three point shooter in his career).
J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers
76ers ranked 25th in three point percentage last season, surely Redick can help them in that department. He would also be coming off the bench, something he is used to doing in his career.
Jeff Teague, New York Knicks
Indiana is falling apart-kind of-and New York is a big stage, a stage I think Teague would do well on. Sure the Knicks have Ntilikina, but it will take him a few years to adjust to the NBA. In the meantime, Teague could be the answer.
Danilo Gallinari, Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay is gone, they have a new point guard and adding a veteran scorer will only help them along the way. The Kings were 24th in scoring and 28th in rebounding-both categories Gallinari can help them in. Every summer has a few question marks as to why some players signed in particular cities and this could be one of those considering Gallinari is being targeted by nine teams, according to reports.
Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors
Not much going around about Ibaka, so let’s assume he is staying in Toronto. He is a solid defender and could become the second option behind DeRozan if Lowry leaves.
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves?
I cannot see him leaving a team where he has achieved so much. But then again he still wants to get paid and earn every dollar he deserves which makes a lot of sense. If he DOES in fact take a pay-cut then I think he stays with the Warriors, but if I were him, I would consider an up and coming team like the Philadelphia 76ers. His veteran leadership, bench production and defence would mean a lot to a young team. Do not rule out the T-Wolves either.
Rudy Gay, Oklahoma City Thunder
They already have a lot of money invested in their current roster, but at the same time they desperately need a second scorer behind Westbrook. At 30 years of age, Gay is still fairly young.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.