Featured Image by: Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)
Written by Wyatt
This offseason should be one of the best ones in a while due to the outstanding free agent market. There are lots of big names and almost every team will be pursuing them. These are my predictions to where these players will go.
1. Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder (stays)
I would be surprised if Kevin Durant does not remain in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have made it very clear that they will try to get him to stay. He wants to win now, and the Thunder still have the likes of Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and Steven Adams. If I was Kevin Durant, I would sign a one year deal with OKC and give it one more shot to bring a championship to the team he has played on his whole career. If they fail to win it all, he can enter the free agent market again in 2017 along with Russell Westbrook and they could possibly team up again on a new team.
2. Lebron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (stays)
Yes, Lebron James is technically a free agent. However, this does not mean he is leaving Cleveland. He purposely did not sign a max contract in the 2014 offseason because the salary cap goes up this year. This way, he can re-sign with Cleveland and make more money rather than signing one in 2014. I believe there is a 0% chance Lebron leaves Cleveland again, no matter the result of this years playoffs.
3. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors (stays)
Despite rumors of DeMar DeRozan wanting to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, I believe he will stay in Toronto. He is great friends with Kyle Lowry and wants to play for a contender. If he stays in Toronto, he can easily improve on last year, which was his career best, because he already knows the system and the coaches. Toronto was two games away from going to the NBA Finals and they will have two draft picks in the first round of this years draft. Toronto is very good now and they have a bright future. I see no reason for DeMar to leave.
4. Hassan Whiteside – Los Angeles Lakers (leaves the Miami Heat)
Hassan Whiteside is one of the best centers on the free agent market this year. He is an animal on defense and on the boards, and can also drop large amounts of points consistently. His biggest issue is he has trouble getting along with teammates. This year there have been numerous reports of him having issues with his other teammates and starting fights. He needs a fresh start and Los Angeles is a great place for that. The Lakers need a big man desperately, having Roy Hibbert as their starter last season. Along with that, Hassan has told reporters his interest in playing with D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers starting point guard. I expect a new center wearing purple and gold this season in Los Angeles.
5. Dwight Howard – Boston Celtics (leaves the Houston Rockets)
Dwight Howard came off of a disappointing season, however not all of it was his fault. He played on a dysfunctional Houston team and hardly got the rock. Along with that, the Rockets fired their coach 15 games into the year. He is definitely going to want to get away from James Harden, who he butted heads with throughout the whole season. Boston is a great place for him to go because unlike the Rockets, they have one of the best coaches in the league and have no locker room issues. Also, the Celtics are in need of a quality big man because the combination of Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk is not cutting it. He would get to play with an all-star, pass first point guard in Isaiah Thomas who can get him the ball, unlike James Harden. Dwight Howard has made it clear he wants to win his first ring, and Boston is an excellent place to do that.
These are my predictions to where the top five free agents will go. Other big name players include:
Mike Conley – Dallas Mavericks (leaves Memphis Grizzlies)
Kent Bazemore – Washington Wizards (leaves Atlanta Hawks)
Nicholas Batum – Charlotte Hornets (stays)
Harrison Barnes – Golden State Warriors (stays)
Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks (stays)