The NBA offseason is quickly approaching with many teams having high hopes. We all know the Golden State Warriors are absolutely dominant and will be the favorites every single season they remain together. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the class of the Eastern Conference with the conference basically being needed to be renamed after LeBron James. Both teams will have the ability to make minor moves but everyone else is hoping to catch up to them. For most NBA fans, the offseason has been the most important NBA time frame since the regular season was dominant by the obvious teams.
Free agency has become equally as popular as the playoffs. LeBron coming back to the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors and DeAndre Jordan screwing over the Dallas Mavericks dominated the summer sports stories the past few years. Many top names will be on the free agent market once again this year and every NBA fan base has pipe dreams. The cap space situation makes it tough for some teams but trades can make just about anything possible. Pipe dreams can become reality with the signings coming in July. We'll take a look at the best case scenarios of fifteen free agents with where we would most want to see them sign.
15 Derrick Rose: Cleveland Cavaliers
A disappointing season with the New York Knicks will send Derrick Rose to the free agent market in hopes of finding a new home. Rose is clearly nowhere near his former Superstar days as the MVP Award winner for the Chicago Bulls. Injuries to his knee ruined the potential of Rose to become a Superstar point guard for the rest of his career.
Rose can still however score the basketball as he averaged 18 points per game this season with the Knicks. The problem is those points don’t necessarily matter as much when they come on a poor team. Rose signing with a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the best case for his career. The limited minutes in the backup role on a contender can both see him contribute to winning and become a sixth man scorer off the bench. Deron Williams is awful for Cleveland and Rose would be an upgrade.
14 Andre Iguodala: New Orleans Pelicans
The Golden State Warriors’ dominance is not just a product of the big four of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Golden State has a great supporting cast of role players that add to the greatness. Andre Iguodala is the most important asset to the bench. The former NBA Finals MVP replaces a center in a smaller lineup to make the Warriors absolutely deadly.
Iguodala will have to take a huge pay cut to remain in Golden State. The fun in being part of a dynasty may be fun, but the cap space only allows so much money to be offered. Iguodala would likely have a better contract leaving the Warriors for a bigger role. The New Orleans Pelicans will have a lot of pressure next season to make the playoffs with the combination of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. A respected veteran like Iguodala could make a huge difference and contribute more than he does in Golden State.
13 Jeff Teague: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have been in need of an upgrade of talent on their roster for a few years now. Yogi Ferrell, J.J. Barea and Seth Curry all showed signs of success last season, but none of them are legitimate starting point guards yet. Point guards have become the most important position in the NBA. Dallas can’t risk going into another season without a good point guard situation.
Jeff Teague will be one of the more underrated point guards on the market. A disappointing overall season by the Indiana Pacers may be the end of his tenure there. Teague would fit in better on a team like the Mavericks that allow the ball movement to go around. Indiana relying on Paul George hurt Teague. A pick and roll combination of Teague and Dirk Nowitzki would be outstanding for Dallas.
12 JJ Redick: Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are a long way away from truly contending with the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Houston’s biggest improvement over the past season is the dominant three-point shooting. Any team to have an outside shot of defeating the Warriors will need elite three-point shooting.
Houston should be looking to improve their three-point game and truly double down on their strength. J.J Redick is arguably the best three-point shooter on the free agent market this summer and would be a good fit. The Rockets could improve at other positions by trading away Eric Gordon with his value at an all-time high in exchange for a good forward. Redick would fit in perfectly for the highly entertaining Houston team.
11 Otto Porter Jr.: Washington Wizards
John Wall has stated that the Washington Wizards needs to be contenders by the time he's a free agent in a few years to remain. One of the more talented young stars on the Wizards roster is hitting free agency this summer with Otto Porter Jr. Aside from Wall and Bradley Beal, Porter is the most important Washington star for the future.
Porter has significantly improved over the past few years. The Wizards fell just one game short of making the Eastern Conference Finals in their epic series with the Boston Celtics. Porter and Washington both are best together. You have to figure LeBron James starts to age at some point. The Wizards have three great young talents and losing one could destroy their future chance at contending. Washington has to find a way to re-sign Porter.
10 Jrue Holiday: New York Knicks
One team that badly needs a new point guard is the New York Knicks. They traded for Derrick Rose last offseason as an act of desperation for the starting point guard spot. Jrue Holiday is hitting the free agent market this summer and could be making a move. The New Orleans Pelicans has been the home of Holiday for a few years now but he seems best suited for a change.
Both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins need the ball quite often which can hurt the role of the point guard. New York is likely going to be rebuilding with the hopes of trading Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. Holiday signing with the Knicks to join up with Kristaps Porzingis could provide a great duo to build around. It would give him the opportunity to become a bigger star in the league with a fresh slate in one of the biggest markets.
9 George Hill: Philadelphia 76ers
Another point guard entering free agency is George Hill. The shocking success of the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference shined thanks in part of Hill joining the team. Hill however doesn’t seem like a good long term fit in Utah. The best role and the ability to make the most money could actually be on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia showed improvement last season with their young talent and has a lot of cap space available to sign a top player. Hill running the offense to improve the other young stars could benefit everyone. The 76ers desperately need a few veterans on the roster. Hill needs a situation with freedom and a big contract. Hopefully it works out for Philadelphia to finally get one of the relevant names on the free agent market.
8 Danilo Gallinari: Chicago Bulls
The utter disappointment of the Chicago Bulls season with the trio of Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo was perplexing. Everyone expected better of the new look Bulls to contend in the Eastern Conference. Chicago’s biggest problem was their lackluster three-point shooting. Wade and Rondo’s backcourt was the worst starting combination shooting from deep.
NBA fans know just how important the three-point shot is to contend today. Danilo Gallinari is an underrated player with a great three-point skill on the market. The Denver Nuggets are on the upswing, but Gallinari may not fit in well anymore as they look for youth. Gallinari is closing in on thirty and can contribute to Chicago becoming significantly better. A smaller lineup with Gallinari playing power forward and adding a much needed three-point shot would be great for Bulls fans.
7 Serge Ibaka: Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have many young assets and that will only improve with whoever they select with the second overall pick. One issue the Lakers lack after Kobe Bryant’s retirement is toughness. Los Angeles also lacks a strong frontcourt. Their best young assets are mostly guards. The signings so far in the frontcourt have been busts with Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.
Serge Ibaka will command great attention on the free agent market. The Toronto Raptors seem like a great fit for Ibaka, but a move to Los Angeles would be best for the NBA. Ibaka’s presence would go a long way to helping the young Lakers progressing along with having a great big man fit for today’s NBA. Regardless of how you feel about the Lakers, it's always better for basketball when they're good, so Ibaka joining would be best.
6 Paul Millsap: Portland Trail Blazers
Paul Millsap is the quietest four-time NBA All-Star. The Atlanta Hawks have gotten away with underpaying Millsap during all four consecutive seasons of his greatness. Atlanta’s lack of excitement is one of the main reasons Millsap doesn’t get the proper respect in the mainstream basketball world. It makes perfect sense for Millsap to leave the Hawks for a better situation with his free agent value this summer.
One team desperately in need of a great forward is the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum make up an outstanding backcourt, but Millsap would put them above another tier. Portland is hoping to at least move into the top tier of the Western Conference. Millsap’s play would be more appreciated with the two stars by his side. Let’s hope they find a way to make it happen.
5 Kyle Lowry: Toronto Raptors
The rumor mill is already red hot regarding the future of Kyle Lowry. Following his role helping the Toronto Raptors find their biggest success in franchise history, Lowry enters free agency with the opportunity to get a fat contract. Some fans would like to see Lowry on the San Antonio Spurs, but Lowry just means too much to the Raptors franchise.
Toronto has become one of the most diehard fan bases in the league providing a truly special atmosphere. Legacies in sports are more important than championships. Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have something special going right now. They may never truly contend for a title, but they still find huge success as one of the more successful teams in the league. Raptors fans will adore him for life if he remains in Toronto.
4 Gordon Hayward: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have one of the best situations in the NBA right now. Boston just finished with the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and has youth on their side as they hope to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in coming years. The Celtics also have a massive asset with the first pick in the upcoming draft thanks to that trade with the Brooklyn Nets many years ago.
One thing that goes under the radar is the fact that Boston has the ability to sign a free agent to a max contract with a couple of minor moves. Gordon Hayward is a rumored name that makes so much sense. The Celtics already have a superb point guard, superb center and superb supporting cast. A superb wing player is all that’s left to become a contender. Hayward proved he is a Superstar small forward and could contend in a major way with the change.
3 Blake Griffin: Oklahoma City Thunder
We all wanted to believe the Los Angeles Clippers would become contenders in the Western Conference Finals. The window has closed with disappointment after disappointment every single postseason. We would all be better off if their star players left for new opportunities. Blake Griffin has gone from one of the most important stars in the league to a forgettable Superstar in recent years.
A move is badly needed for both his brand and for the entertainment sake of the NBA. Griffin going home to join the Oklahoma City Thunder and forming a new Superstar duo with Russell Westbrook could easily make them the second best team in the Western Conference. Westbrook badly needs another Superstar and Griffin needs a new situation. The loyal Thunder fans would treat the hometown boy as a God for unofficially replacing Kevin Durant. A sign and trade is the perfect situation for all parties.
2 Chris Paul: San Antonio Spurs
Another Los Angeles Clippers Superstar that has to make a change for the betterment of his career is Chris Paul. The fair assessment on a season by season basis would easily show he’s one of the greatest point guards of all time in the conversation to the likes of Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and John Stockton. Paul however gets punished for the postseason failure as he has yet to make the Conference Finals.
The time is now for Paul to join a contender and try to get a ring before it’s too late. Paul has stated numerous times an NBA Championship is the ultimate desire of his. That is just not going to happen on the Clippers. The San Antonio Spurs are the only contender with a realistic chance to sign Paul. Kawhi Leonard and Paul joining forces could provide at least a challenge to Golden State.
1 Stephen Curry: Charlotte Hornets
Let’s just face it. The NBA will be no fun over the next few years with the Golden State Warriors dominating the league. Golden State one year into their run with Kevin Durant on the roster is easily destroying every other team in their path. Things will only get worse as they develop even more chemistry with years of experience together.
We have one pipe dream to stop it. Stephen Curry will be entering free agency this summer and can finally cash in after signing to one of the cheapest contracts for a Superstar in today’s NBA. It's 99% likely Curry will stay in Golden State due to the dynasty aspect, the love of the fan base and the happiness of his family.
The only possible scenario that could save us is Curry wanting to go home to sign with the Charlotte Hornets. Maybe the Warriors try to underpay him due to valuing Durant more. Maybe Curry buys into the lure of working with Michael Jordan. Regardless, we have to hope Curry leaves to break up a dynasty like never seen before.