NBA Free Agency Frenzy

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.

Kevin DurantKevin Durant

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.

Andre Drummound

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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.

 

Mike ConleyB9317070469Z.1_20150421185538_000_GGQAIQI4K.1-0

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.

LeBron James

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.

Al Horford

tobias-harris-al-horford-nba-orlando-magic-atlanta-hawksAfter 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.

 

Dwight Howard

Though Howard has bmaxresdefaulteen 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.

 

Hassan Whiteside

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.

Dwayne Wade

Dwyane_WadeThough 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.

 

Tim Duncan

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.

Nicolas Batum

hi-res-0625b54a67797b1c7e8ad9069d44dc86_crop_northThe 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.

The Hunt for Kevin Durant

JUNE 2016

The hunt is on. The 2016 NBA Draft provided some fresh faces to many franchises, giving way to some new and familiar contenders for next years championship title. However, now that the draft has faded from the limelight, the bid for Free Agent Kevin Durant is now in full swing.Kevin_Durant_Feb_2014.jpg

The 9-year vet is expected to be more powerful next season and has caught the eye of many. Despite the July 1st free agency start date, both the Spurs and Warriors are expected to meet with the small forward/shooting guard to discuss possible contracts details. It’s been confirmed Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Steve Kerr and Steph Curry will also attend those meetings with Durant. Other meetings for the prime ball player include the Boston Celtics and Los Angels Clippers.

OKC has also made a silent bid to keep Durant with the trade of Serge Ibaka during the draft last week. The Thunder traded Ibaka to Orlando for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilysova and No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis. This trade in theory gives OKC a fighting chance at the title next year with a rooster loaded with vets and fresh faces, likely to become a strong frontcourt squad. Staying with OKC would also be a smart financial move for Durant. Signing a two-year contract, with an opt-out option after the first year could potentially get him a higher salary cap, as he would be a prime ten-year vet of the NBA and can sign a bigger contract.

Nonetheless, it’s not over until it’s over. Teams meeting with Durant in the days leading up to July 7 (the unofficial decision date for Durant) are most likely to be in the mix for bringing Durant on board. Teams who fail to land some sort of meeting with the free agent in the first few days of the free-agency frenzy, can slowly watch their hopes slip away (sorry Wizard fans). However, those who did land that meeting can call fair game, given certain circumstances and financial means are available.

The Spurs would most likely have to trade Parker and leave Ginobili and Duncan, to acquire Durant, but Durant, Aldridge, Green and Leonard could dominate the court. If Bosh, in Miami, were to be out next season for his medical condition, the Heat could capitalize on the available funds to get a contract. The Warriors and Celtics with recurrent finals appearances also pose as a possible homes.

Theories that LeBron and Durant are both moving to Los Angels have spread across social media, with “reports” that LeBron has already Durant-James.jpgenrolled his kids in a LA school, have LA fans hopeful. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely this will happen, as the Cavs are adamant that James is staying in Cleveland. In addition, circumstances and salaries will be higher and more favorable for the two at the end of next season.

The possibilities are endless, and at the end of the day Durant i
s one of the NBA’s most authentic players. The man just wants to play some ball, and he will most likely go where he can do the most for himself and the team, despite money or franchise popularity. The man makes his own decisions and doesn’t seem to be waivered by moneyball, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Kevin Durant?

With July around the corner the fans should expect to hear where Durant is headed fairly soon. For updates on Kevin Durant’s status follow @aav_sports on twitter.