In the days leading up to the NBA free agent market, rumors and trades have flooded the twitter sphere as to who is going where and for how much. Thanks to the NBA’s new 24 billion 9-year deal with Turner Sports, money will be of no shortage. The higher salary caps, and money spent on free agents will also adjust the market value of some highly sought out players this summer, i.e. Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. Fans can expect thursday night headed into Friday night to be an eventful one, as we head into a frenzy of free agency.
Fortunately, this year, pickings are not short of tall centers and small forwards, however, point guards are minimal. In a game that has evolved from having scorers in the bottom court to top, most teams have found their star players and lead scores in the small forward, power forward and shooting guard positions. Yet, given the availability of many, there are very few franchise altering players available (or actually looking) to sign elsewhere.
Given the current line-up, here are some free agents heading into July. You can also stay updated by following us on twitter @aav_sports.
The favorite, or most sought out headed into Friday, is the one and only small forward/shooting guard, Durant. Headed into his tenth year on the court Durant is a force to be reckoned with. He is a dominant player on the court and poses the ability to change a franchise. He’s set to meet with 6 teams including OKC, Warriors, Spurs, Celtics, Heat and the Clippers.
Drummond is listed as restricted and, justly so, should limit his free agent status. The 22-year old is a force on the court still early in his career. With Pistons Owner Tom Gores ready to match any contract offer it’s highly unlikely well see a move for Drummound.
The best point guard up for grabs in the frenzy is definitely one Mike Conley. His ability to add on both offense and defense is a rarity not to be forgotten. Conley is also well-known for his tempo or capacity to play at both a fast paced game and a reserved time. He will meet will the Dallas Mavericks on Friday and has interest brewing over on the coast with the Lakers.
James has opted for he’s player option in his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will most likely stay with the team. The team has stated to the press that James has no intentions of leaving. The Cavaliers will most likely resign LeBron with another two-year contract at his max salary cap, with a player opt after the first year.
After trading Serge Ibaka last week, OKC has the room for Hordford and is actively seeking the center/power forward. In his last season with the Hawks he played all 82 games, averaging 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds. The Piston’s are looking to set up a meeting with the four-time All-Star, and the Lakers have Horford on their wish list which could possible land them a meeting.
Though Howard has been riddled by injures and the downturn of age, he remains an investment to be had as a center. The once Defensive Player of the Year has slowly been muted, but given the right looks could continue to add to the team. The center has garnered interest in the OKC, Celtics and Hawks camps.
Whiteside’s is a force to reckoned with in the defensive court. Given he doesn’t leave the ground when confronted with a pump fake, the 7-foot wall can shut out shots and handle rebounds both offensively and defensively. With some tightening up on the defensive end, Whiteside would be a great addition to any team. Dallas, Portland and the Lakers are all expected to meet with Whiteside Friday.
Though his career is in it’s later years, Wade is still a producer offensively. Given he continues to remain strong generating options on the court, he’s lacking in defense could be overlooked. Given his career has been with the Miami Heat it’s likely he will stay in Florida but Wade is open to any free agent offers come July 1st.
Duncan is considered a free agent via player option. It’s believed Tim won’t be leaving San Antonio anytime soon (if at all). The move to opt most likely stems from a financial standpoint.
The small forward has proved himself on the court, both offensively and defensively with his versatile play, thus causing some worries for the Hornets. Come Friday, Batum will be in talks with the Lakers and Wizards. He’s deal will most likely be at the higher end of the salary cap given his capabilities.