The free agent period in the NBA offseason has become another exciting aspect to the year in basketball. Following the often exciting NBA Finals, teams will shift towards the NBA Draft and then the free agent period. Star players have started to migrate over the years with big changes shaking up the league. LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and then leaving Miami for Cleveland were bigger stories than the majority of things to happen during the season. Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors completely changed the landscape of the league this season.
Those examples are quite rare with the majority of elite talent usually staying put. Teams can keep their players by having the option to offer more money than any other team. The players that are currently struggling have the best chance at switching organizations in the offseason. Their teams will be less inclined to offer a max contract and the players may want a change of scenery. The summer of 2017 will see many interesting names hit the market come free agency. We’ll look at fifteen specific names that are struggling and the teams they may sign with very soon.
15. Danilo Gallinari: Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are by far the worst team in the NBA this season, but they do have a lot of cap space to spend. Free agency will allow them to overpay a free agent or two in hopes of putting together a competitive team. Danilo Gallinari is currently a member of the Denver Nuggets. His work is impressive, but he’s still not living up to his full potential.
Gallinari is the kind of player the Nets desperately need on offense. Brook Lopez may be their best outside shooter of their better players and he’s a center that had three total three-point shooters entering the season. The trio of Gallinari, Lopez and Jeremy Lin could create some sort of optimism for the franchise as they continue their rebuilding process.
14. Blake Griffin: Oklahoma City Thunder
Blake Griffin is still putting up great numbers, so it may be a stretch to say he’s struggling, but he has definitely taken a downturn in recent years. There was a time Griffin was a clear All-Star and a potential top five player in the league. That is no longer the case with a couple of lackluster seasons right before entering free agency in a couple of months.
The Los Angeles Clippers may be the favorites to keep him, but the bad blood from last season, with him attacking a team employee, put him in the dog house. Griffin could ditch the Clippers for a chance to return home in a better environment. The Oklahoma City Thunder could attract the hometown boy by creating a new dynamic duo of Griffin and Russell Westbrook.
13. Brandon Jennings: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a loaded roster, but they badly need a backup point guard. They may find a rental this season, but that will only last until the end of the season. Cleveland will look for a veteran point guard that can score and facilitate in a bench role. Brandon Jennings is the perfect man for the job. The New York Knicks don’t give him enough of a role to shine, but he still has the scoring touch.
Jennings could be a potential sixth man of the year on the Cavaliers. Any potential Kyrie Irving injury or rest days won’t destroy the team’s chances of winning without him. Jennings is the kind of player that you don’t think would help a contender until he’s actually on the roster with a respectable role. Cleveland is the best fit if he chooses to take the veteran’s minimum for a shot at winning a ring.
12. Andrew Bogut: Golden State Warriors
The days of the traditional center are numbered. Big men are required to have a three-point shooting touch and some speed or they will be obsolete. Andrew Bogut is learning that the hard way on the Dallas Mavericks. Bogut fit perfectly on the Golden State Warriors defending the paint because the team could sacrifice his offense with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and others on the team.
Bogut is struggling immensely in Dallas and there’s no doubt he’ll leave the team in the offseason. Golden State could use a paint defender going forward. Bogut loved the franchise and the winning that came with the past few years. Don’t be surprised if he takes a pay cut to return to the Warriors for happiness and a chance to continue being a part of something special.
11. Darren Collison: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are struggling to find the right man at the point guard position. Deron Williams is past his prime. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are often injured. Yogi Ferrell is unproven aside from one week of good basketball. Dallas will have a tough time finding a difference maker in the offseason and their best bet is to pick a veteran point guard to lead another committee.
Darren Collison shows flashes of brilliance, but is best splitting time with other point guards on his level in Sacramento. Dallas could find use of him and Rick Carlisle may be the right coach to get the best out of his talent, as Collison is a potential diamond in the rough. The Mavericks offer the best scenario and an escape from the Sacramento Kings franchise.