This year’s free agent list is one of the best in a long time. There are many superstars who will be testing the waters this off-season and see their worth in the open market. Bagging the right superstar can make or break a team’s fortunes. LeBron James headlines this list since he technically has a player option to stay with Cleveland or go to another team. However, I don’t see LeBron moving teams anytime soon so he is struck off the list. Another free agent Marc Gasol of Memphis is an unrestricted free agent but my bet is he will stay with the Grizzlies.
The following is a list of the best free agents who may be donning a new uniform next season:
1) LaMarcus Aldridge (forward, 23.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg) – There is growing belief in Portland that their star forward will be leaving once free agency starts on July 1. It has been reported that the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers are in the hunt for his services. To reinforce this belief, the Trailblazers traded Nicolas Batum for Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson and Noel Vonleh, creating some cap space and flexibility once Aldridge makes it official. The team is reportedly eyeing Kevin Love who has opted out of his player option in Cleveland.
2) Kevin Love (forward, 16.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg)—Love has stated that he would like to re-sign with Cleveland, albeit for a better and longer deal. With the Timberwolves, Love was a dominant player but has since been relegated to being the 3rd option (behind James and Kyrie Irving) in the Cavs line-up. Will Love be okay with being No. 3 on a team of superstars or would he start anew with another team? Portland is a likely destination with Boston coming in next.
3) Jimmy Butler (guard, 20 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 assists)—Butler has been Chicago’s best player with or without Derrick Rose on the floor. Butler is a fantastic two-way player who can command a max salary. Reportedly, Butler is seeking a shot-term, max deal and get a longer-term max deal once the salary cap is adjusted in the next few years as he enters his prime. Chicago will do everything to keep Butler but at what price?
4) DeAndre Jordan (center, 11.5 ppg, 15 rpg, 2.2 bpg) – Jordan has led the NBA in rebounding and field goal percentages in the past two years and as an unrestricted free agent, many teams will definitely come knocking. Jordan reportedly has a rift with All-Star Chris Paul and this may be the trigger for him leaving LA. Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers seems confident that Jordan will re-sign. He just traded away back-up center Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes for Lance Stephenson.
5) Draymond Green (forward, 11.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.7 apg) – Green is a restricted free agent which means that the newly crowned Golden State Warriors will do everything to keep him. Green’s versatility and talents is one of the reasons why the Dubs claimed their first title in 40 years. This is the same reason why he will have many suitors and may be lured away from Golden State.
6) Monta Ellis (guard, 18.9 ppg, 4.1 apg) – Ellis will definitely test the waters so he can get paid 8 figures again. Dallas in not inclined to give him a raise.
Other notable free agents: Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, Rajon Rondo, Greg Monroe, Paul Millsap, Goran Dragic, Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler