The NBA offseason has been wild so far, so many rumors about star players switching teams. One of the biggest dominos fell last night on draft night with the trade of Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Following this major move I would like to look at what else might happen this offseason. These are my predictions on what will happen in free agency and what players may be traded during the summer.
Let’s start with the next big star out on the open market, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. George has made it clear that he wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers when his contract with Indiana expires. Instead of forcing a trade to get George right now my belief is that the Lakers will wait it out to where they can get George in free agency. This way they won’t have to give up any valuable assets via trade. They would also save money that could possibly turn into another max contract type player. If they sign George in the open market they would pay $132 million dollars. If the Lakers trade for George before he hits free agency, when he does become a free agent the max contract would then be $177 million dollars.
The NBA champion Golden State Warriors two best players are free agents shouldn’t they be worried? No, both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry will resign. Steph will finally get the big contract he has deserved and for Durant he will take less than the max to bring back Andre Iguodala. Also, I believe Durant’s deal won’t be the typical 5 year max contract. But the Lebron type deal, where you sign for two or three years where you can opt out a year early.
The Boston Celtics showed what direction they will go in during free agency. With the selection of Jayson Tatum last night and selecting Jaylen Brown in last years draft, it makes no sense for them to go after Gordon Hayward. He would play over those young wing players and hinder their development because they would play less. So the Celtics free agency pursuit would change and be focused on the power forward position, where the top players are Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap. Also, the San Antonio Spurs are apparently looking to shop Lamarcus Aldridge. Out of the three bigs Millsap is my best bet to end up in Boston. Having played with Horford in the past that would intrigue Millsap. Then, the fact that the Celtics were the 1 seed in the East helps because Millsap is looking to win championships and the Celtics are far better than the Atlanta Hawks at this point in time.
The Los Angeles Clippers may have reached their peak with this team that is currently assembled. They clearly can’t beat the Warriors with this team so what do they do, resign or rebuild? Two members of their big three are free agents, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. With the new addition to the front office in Jerry West the Clippers will find a way to resign both. Chris Paul best option to win would be to go to the Spurs but they won’t be able to clear enough cap space to sign him. His consolation would be a $200 million dollar contract with the Clippers to stay in LA. Not bad right? Then, with my prediction of Millsap to Boston that leaves Blake with no other real option other than to resign.
The last of the all stars available in free agency would be Kyle Lowry and Gordon Hayward. I previously mention Hayward regarding possibly going to the Celtics. As I said he won’t be going there so I think he will stay with a ‘On The Rise’ Utah team which he is the star of. They made the playoffs this year and actually won a playoff series for the first time in multiple years. Now, for Lowry he is most likely going back to Canada and play for the Raptors. Going back home to Philadelphia wouldn’t make sense with Ben Simmons already being a primary ball handler. With a declining Tony Parker with the Spurs this would be an viable option but once again cap space would be the issue stopping this signing. So, Lowry will most likely end up with his backcourt partner Demar Derozan but now with a new max contract.
The NBA summer is always very exciting but this year might be the best. With one of the best draft classes in a while the summer league should be great. Alongside, that free agency will be in a frenzy. As a basketball fan I am very excited and just waiting to be shocked by the major moves coming this summer.