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Though it hasn’t even been two weeks because the Golden State Warriors became 2021-2022 NBA champions, the offseason is already picking up quite rapidly. On June 23, we had the 2022 NBA draft, and now that the highest 58 prospects have their homes, it’s time to begin looking into free agency. The official free agency period begins on Thursday, July 30 at 6pm EST, but be mindful nothing becomes official until July 6. That being said, we should always know so much more concerning the makeup of the league as soon as Thursday evening, and it’s shaping as much as be a busy free agency period. Below, I’ll quickly break down the highest free agents who may or will not be on the move, some player options and every other relevant news.
But first, a trade!
On Thursday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news that the Knicks will trade Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 second-round pick (via Miami) and $6 million in money to the Pistons. The Knicks got nothing in return, but this move cleared up $19 million in cap space, so Latest York should now be quite comfortable obtaining Jalen Brunson in free agency. Brunson has been rumored to be Latest York’s guy for a while now, and so they can now offer him something within the neighborhood of a max contract with more cap flexibility. Woj also said that the Pistons are desperate to utilize each Noel and Burks, though it looks as if they’ll each come off the bench with younger guys already ahead of them within the depth chart, however it’s hard to know obviously at this point within the yr. Noel had an injury-riddled 2021-2022 season wherein he only appeared in 25 games and has shown some insane block upside on a per-minute basis, but he really just hasn’t been in a position to stay healthy. Meanwhile, Pistons GM Troy Weaver said that Burks is a great veteran to mentor the talented group of guards on the Pistons, which doesn’t bode too well for fantasy purposes. The Knicks are really going all in on Brunson, and in the event that they by some means miss on him, they’re not going to listen to the top of it.
Okay, now onto the free agency stuff.
Quick note: The acronym “RFA” below stands for “restricted free agent,” meaning the player can sign with any team however the player’s original team is in a position to match the offer. “UFA” stands for “unrestricted free agent,” which suggests a player is in a position to sign with any team.
Top free agents
Zach LaVine (UFA) – The news on LaVine specifically has been reasonably quiet currently, but essentially the most recent report stated that it’s unlikely he leaves Chicago, which was the thought principally all along. He underwent successful left knee surgery a couple of month ago and is predicted to be ready for training camp, and if the Bulls do retain him, they’ll offer him a five-year deal price around $212 million. Expect LaVine to be wearing a Bulls uniform next season because the franchise looks to construct off of last season’s playoff berth, Chicago’s first one because the 2016-2017 season.
Miles Bridges (RFA) – Bridges’ situation is a bit interesting, because the Hornets didn’t find yourself offering him a max contract but still fully plan to bring him back. Charlotte could be playing games and waiting on one other team to drift out a suggestion only to ultimately retain him, but there’s no denying he’ll gauge ample interest from across the league. If Bridges is definitely on the move this summer, teams just like the Pacers and Pistons are a pair potential destinations. If he lands in either of those cities, there’s a slim likelihood he falls past the second round of fantasy drafts in nearly all of leagues.
Deandre Ayton (RFA) – Considered one of the more dramatic free agency stories, Ayton is officially a restricted free agent after the Suns offered him a $16.4 million qualifying offer, as expected. The massive man wants a max deal however the Suns are almost surely not going to offer it to him given 1) they didn’t last summer and a pair of) the aftermath of Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Mavs wherein he played just 17 minutes before being benched for good. The Pistons were linked to Ayton but they mentioned that he’s now not a top priority, whereas the Hawks mentioned they’d sign him for lower than the max. It truly does appear that Ayton won’t be a Sun when all is alleged and done (I used to be a poet and I didn’t understand it), but only time will tell.
Jalen Brunson (UFA) – After a profession yr, Brunson goes to get the massive bucks no matter where he lands, and it’s looking an increasing number of likely that landing spot might be on the Knicks. He helped the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals this past season, in order that they’d love to maintain him, but other teams will likely give you the chance to pay him more. Before Tuesday’s trade even occurred, Marc Stein previously said that the Knicks were gaining major momentum in pursuit of the guard, and Jake Fischer much more recently said that the Knicks were the favorites to land him, so it’s all lining up. Latest York moreover traded Kemba Walker for cap space purposes, together with Noel and Burks, and Brunson could possibly be a contact price around $25 million annually should he wind up on the Knicks. If that does occur, he could thoroughly be one more profession season with no Luka Dončić operating by his side.
Anfernee Simons (RFA) – Also coming off a profession yr in 57 games played before being ruled out for the season with a left knee injury, Simons is ready to enter restricted free agency. That being said, he sounds confident he’ll be back with the Blazers, and he ought to be receiving a qualifying offer from the team shortly. The team loved what they saw from Simons in his fourth season (and final yr of his rookie deal), and particularly with CJ McCollum now in Latest Orleans, I envision him being Damian Lillard’s recent backcourt buddy in Portland.
Jusuf Nurkić (UFA) – There’s no doubt Jusuf Nurkić is a starting-caliber big man, but health has been an enormous factor. He’s played in only 101 games over the past three seasons (42.8% of games played), which incorporates an eight-game 2019-2020 campaign. It’s price noting that he was one other Blazer, like Simons, who was shut down last season in what was one to forget, however it bodes well for Nurk that Portland has been plenty energetic and want to be in “win-now” mode as soon as October gets here.
Collin Sexton (RFA) – Sexton’s case is interesting, as he appeared in only 11 games (left knee surgery) last season, which happened to be the Cavs’ most successful campaign because the LeBron era. The team officially prolonged a qualifying offer to Sexton, as expected, and he could re-sign with Cleveland on one other contract. Sexton has made it apparent that he wants to stick with the Cavs as well, so we may get our first full taste of the backcourt consisting of Sexton and first-time All-Star Darius Garland if all goes to Cleveland’s plan.
Mitchell Robinson (RFA) – Latest York could have taken considered one of big men Jalen Duren or Mark Williams with the No. 11 overall pick in last week’s draft, put they opted to trade it, so Mitch Rob remains to be their starting center as of this moment. Nerlens Noel now being a Piston only helps Robinson’s fantasy value, but he needs to remain out of foul trouble and stay healthy to really reach his sky-high ceiling. Within the rare scenario that Robinson is shipped away, the Knicks might be left with Jericho Sims and old man Taj Gibson on the five, which probably won’t get it done. To Sims’ credit, he has loads of potential, but will not be ready to indicate it yet.
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Mo Bamba (RFA) – Bamba is considered one of the more likely guys on this list to be moved this offseason, and that only became more clear with Orlando drafting power forward Paolo Banchero No. 1 overall within the 2022 draft. He’s one other guy with a high ceiling but he wasn’t in a position to see consistent playing time, and people minutes are going to be even harder to return by with Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner earning a great chunk of minutes after impressive prior seasons. I haven’t even mentioned mystery man Jonathan Isaac yet, who is thought for his defense and the occasional outside shot, and who knows how he’ll figure into the rotation. A minimum of from a fantasy standpoint, a fresh start for Bamba in a recent city wouldn’t be the worst thing on this planet.
P.J. Tucker (UFA) – Tucker declined his player option price $7.4 million, and while multiple teams including the 76ers were said to have interest, Miami plans on signing Tucker to a three-year deal price around $27 million, per Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun Sentinel. Tucker could have made barely more on one other team, but a three-year for a man that’ll be 40 at the top of it won’t leave Tucker complaining. He’s never averaged double digit points per game at any point in his 11-year profession, and I don’t expect that to alter in his twelfth.
Kevon Looney (UFA) – most up-to-date Finals MVP snub Kevon Looney was massive within the Warriors’ championship run, and he’s expected to re-sign with them for less money within the hopes of running it back with the Dubs. His fantasy game has never been all too great, and it’ll only worsen with James Wiseman now within the equation.
Other notable free agents:
UFA: Chris Boucher, Tyus Jones, Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, Victor Oladipo, Malik Monk, Montrezl Harrell, Otto Porter, Gary Payton II, DeMarcus Cousins, Gary Harris, Nicolas Batum (declined PO), Carmelo Anthony, Thomas Bryant
Notable player options
Kyrie Irving (picked up PO price $37 million) – The limitless Kyrie drama appeared to return to an end after picking up his choice to return to the Nets on Monday, but don’t be so sure yet. Brian Windhorst of ESPN said Irving heading to the Lakers remains to be a possibility even after picking up the choice, however it won’t necessarily be easy for either side. Kyrie ought to be a Net, but you possibly can never truly know what this man has planned or what’s occurring in his head. Just pay attention to the indisputable fact that if Kyrie jumps ship, Kevin Durant likely will too.
James Harden (has yet to select up PO price $47 million) – The Beard is taking his sweet time with this decision, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said he’s leaning towards opting in and lengthening, which makes essentially the most sense. The extension will not be a max, Woj said, however it definitely won’t be chump change for top-of-the-line scorers of recent memory, though he’s admittedly coming off a reasonably down yr for his standards. The team will proceed to prioritize constructing a team around Joel Embiid and Harden (assuming he does indeed pick up his PO), so Philly’s roster could look quite different in just a few months.
Bradley Beal (will reportedly decline PO price $36.4 million) – Beal isn’t planning on picking up his option, but that doesn’t mean he’s on the move. Wojnarowski reported on Sunday that Beal is “very likely” to re-sign with the Wizards, and he could possibly be a deal price as much as $246 million over five years. If Beal does stay, the subsequent step might be to seek out a recent point guard to pair him with, as the present crew of Ish Smith and Raul Neto isn’t going to chop it. Malcolm Brogdon and Tyus Jones are a pair names which were brought as much as assume point guard duties in Washington, and either guy would easily leapfrog the opposite two within the rotation.
John Wall (might be bought out and turn out to be a UFA, then sign with LAC) – Wall’s NBA journey has been nothing wanting bizarre, however it’s looking up for the time being. He’s finally out of Houston’s hair and once he clears waivers, he’s expected to sign with the Clippers in an try and get a fresh start. Wall may not start with Reggie Jackson on the town, but he shouldn’t lack for minutes in what’s shaping as much as be a star-studded Clippers squad inclusive of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and lots of other reliable role players. Just be mindful Wall has played in only 72 games over the past 4 seasons and will display some rust off the bat, and his 43.1% field goal percentage for his profession just is what it’s at this point.
Russell Westbrook (picked up PO price $47.1 million) – After one of the crucial disappointing season from a player of his caliber that we’ve seen lately, Westbrook has officially picked up his hefty player option for the 2022-2023 season. Westbrook made the objectively correct selection as there’s no way he’d be getting that sort of money elsewhere, however it’s still not guaranteed that he’s a Laker on opening night. L.A. is shopping him around for obvious reasons, but there’s not a superb likelihood that one other team is willing to pay him that sort of money. The Kyrie/Russ trade appears to be his best bet, but even those talks have stalled since Kyrie is officially more prone to remain on the Nets after picking up a player option himself.
Bobby Portis (has yet to select up PO price $4.6 million) – Portis had an exceptional season after Brook Lopez went down on opening night, and despite his lack of decision so far, he’s expected to re-sign with the Bucks. Milwaukee remains to be very much a contender and things can have been different for them in the event that they didn’t lose Khris Middleton within the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Portis has no reason to want to go away that. Lopez is healthy now, meaning Portis might be back in his reserve role, but he could possibly be price a glance in drafts for some solid per-minute numbers highlighted by strengths within the rebounding and triples categories.
Other player options picked up: Derrick Favors ($10.2 million), Pat Connaughton ($5.3 million), Kendrick Nunn ($5.3 million), Cory Joseph ($5.2 million), Jeff Green ($4.5 million), Tony Bradley ($2 million)
– Hawks targeting Dejounte Murray – Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said that the starting asking price for Murray can be three first-rounders, desiring something within the ballpark of the Jrue Holiday deal that sent him to the Bucks in 2020. John Collins, who’s possibly Atlanta’s most tradable guy, has not recently been brought up in talks with Murray after the 2 names had been associated prior, so we’ll see if anything actually happens. Murray is on a really inexpensive deal for the time being and moving the MIP candidate without delay seems unwise, so I wouldn’t expect it to occur. Plus, the Murray/Trae Young backcourt pairing could possibly be fun but is an odd fit, given Murray has played 100% of his minutes at point guard over the past three seasons, while Trae has played 100% of his minutes at the purpose throughout his four-year profession (per Cleansing the Glass)
– Ivica Zubac signs 3-year, $33 million with Clippers – the Clips declined his choice to sign him to a greater deal, and deservingly so after averaging profession highs in most relevant categories. He’ll look to construct on that yr after raking in some extra money, and as all the time, he’ll be an often-boring but reliable big man to snag within the later rounds
– Will Hardy to turn out to be recent head coach of Jazz – Hardy is barely 34 years of age and might be considered one of the youngest head coaches ever, but he’s already worked with guys like Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr and most recently Ime Udoka (who he assisted in Boston last season). The Jazz need all the assistance they’ll get as they fight to flee a string of disappointing seasons that saw them reach no farther than the conference semis. In other Jazz news, David Fizdale also became associate GM for the Jazz, per Woj, and the front office probably won’t be the one pieces in Utah that might be altered this summer
– Taurean Prince signs two-year, $16 million extension to stick with Timberwolves – Prince had an honest role with the Wolves last season and had useful numbers in some games, but he’s not someone to focus on aggressively in re-draft leagues. He does most of his damage when guys like Jarred Vanderbilt or Jaden McDaniels are sidelined.