With the NBA slowly becoming a year round sport in terms of the news cycle, free agency plays a huge role in how we view an NBA team's summer. One bad signing can set a team back for years., while one great signing can take a team to the next level.
This year is no different. Many all-stars may be testing free agent waters, and some stars who are nearing the end of their deals can opt out and cash in bigger contracts with their current team, or leave for greener pastures. Teams are in desperate need to make moves this off season, and today we will be look at 15 teams and seeing what player they need the most this summer. While some of these players have been rumored to be re-signing with their previous franchise, we will be looking at what teams need the most, regardless of the possibility of certain players re-signing.
16 Oklahoma City Thunder - Blake Griffin
It does look like the Clippers are willing to pay anything and everything to keep their star forward, but that doesn't mean that the Thunder should not offer him a contract and try to bring him home. Russell Westbrook, despite his MVP caliber year, needs help if the team has any goals of getting out of the first round. Blake Griffin would be just that, and then some. His game instantly transforms the Thunder’s offense, that was absolutely stagnant when Westbrook wasn’t putting up his standard numbers (it becomes increasingly difficult to rely on one player). The Thunder attempting to sign Blake to a long term deal should be a no brainer, but we will see if Doc Rivers is willing to let him go.
15 Brooklyn Nets - Dion Waiters
Is there any way that Dion Waiters Island is not being relocated to either Philadelphia or Brooklyn? Any where Waiters decides to go, he is going to get paid. After putting up 19 points in a contract year, Waiters has set himself up for a huge pay increase. Basically, Evan Turner is going to laugh at how much Waiters will make the following seasons. As a key member of the Heat’s rotation down the stretch they won 13 straight games. Brooklyn finds themselves throwing money at seemingly anyone with the slightest bit of potential and ball handling ability (Allan Crabbe, Tyler Johnson) so they should have no problem bringing Waiters island to the Barclay’s Center. And this time, their money throwing ways could actually procude some results.
14 Denver Nuggets - Dwyane Wade
This old hinges on if Dwyane Wade opts out of his player option this summer, but after the train wreck of a season the Bulls had, it may be smart to find a different team. The Nuggets are a young team that needs veteran leadership, as they faltered out of the playoffs during the last two months of the season. Wade would bring just that, and a scorer who can be trusted to bail them out at the end of the game. The 2017 season wasn’t too kind to the former finals MVP, as we saw injuries take a toll as well as his scoring dip to the lowest since his rookie season, but Wade can offer so much to this young squad. Nikola Jokic could have a hall of fame guard to pass the ball to, that alone is worth whatever it takes to get Wade out of Chicago.
13 Boston Celtics - Gordon Hayward
The Celtics need to sign Hayward this off season if they want to be a serious contender to LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Danny Ainge should be preparing a max contract for Hayward, and his inability to make an All NBA Team this year makes it easier for the Jazz star to walk away from Utah. This is the summer that Boston needs to make a move, whether it is signing Hayward or trading the number one pick to a variety of suitors. The Celtics cannot just stand pat and take Fultz in the draft and not pair him we a player of Gordon Hayward’s caliber. With all the talk about Brad Stevens and his relationship with Hayward, the Celtics look to be the prime location if he does decide to leave Utah.
12 Dallas Mavericks - Jrue Holiday
The Mavericks have a choice to make this off season regarding their back court. They can move forward with last season's sensation, Yogi Ferrell, or they can look to make a move in free agency. Ferrell did sign a guaranteed contract last year, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is the starter going into next season. Fans do not want to see a rebuilding project during the final years of Dirk Nowitzki's career, and Ferrell may not be the guy to make a playoff push. Jrue Holiday would be the type of player Dallas needs, and would make them a fringe playoff contender if the rest of their team is healthy. Jrue Holiday would be an improvement over what Rick Carlisle had last season, and at the age of 26, he should be just about to hit his prime.
11 Memphis Grizzlies - Taj Gibson
Has their ever been a player more made to be on another team more than Taj Gibson signing with Memphis this off season? Gibson is the ultimate Grit N Grind player. An inside force that will not back down from anybody is exactly the type of player the Grizzlies look for. With Zach Randolph possibly leaving this summer, there could be a huge need to replace the former all-star's minutes. Gibson could easily assume to role that Randolph had late in the season, becoming a force off the bench for a team trying to get a little younger and faster. Veteran experience is still meaningful in today's NBA, and if Taj doesn't command a huge asking price, the Grizzlies should be targeting the big man.
10 Sacramento Kings - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
The Kings should be looking to add pieces around Buddy Hield, and adding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would help the young guard not have to carry such a large load in the 2017-18 season. The two could blossom together as a back court duo, or one could play at the small forward position. KCP would be able to have a more prominent role with the Kings, and it could be worth the gamble to take a young player just coming off of his rookie contract. He didn't play well enough last season to garner a huge mega deal, and could be seen as a steal if he signs for a low number. If the Kings do not grab a guard who can make an impact right away in the draft, and history says they will not, look for them to add a player like Caldwell-Pope in the off season.
9 Miami Heat - Danilo Gallinari
The Heat may be losing their second best scorer this summer, and will need to bring someone in to remain the the bottom half of the playoff hunt. The Heat would need someone like Danilo Gallinari, should he choose to opt out of his contract. He can be the primary ball handler while Dragic rests, which is something the Heat desperately needed last year. The Heat's offense brings a ton of spot of opportunities, and 42 percent of Gallinari's shots come off those exact plays last year. The Nuggets do not have enough shots to go around with the emergence of Jokic and the large amounts of guards they have, so look for Danilo to opt out of his player option and head to South Beach.
7 Milwaukee Buck - Chris Paul
It is highly unlikely that we see Chris Paul and Griffin depart from Los Angeles, but if Paul wants a better chance of getting back to the Conference Finals he may want to go out East. This Bucks team is a point guard away from seriously challenging every team in the east. The Bucks need Chris Paul badly, and it would jolt them the an elite team instantly. Paul could accelerate Giannis Antetokounmpo's development as a point guard so much that even just a two year stint with the Bucks would make a world of difference. Paul could contend for an NBA title with the roster that is in Milwaukee, but leaving California for Wisconsin maybe unrealistic. The Bucks haven't had the best luck signing free agents, as Greg Monroe was the biggest signing the franchise has seen in years.
6 Indiana Pacers - Rudy Gay
The real question here is, does any team sign Rudy Gay this off season? His reputation is terrible right now and he will be asking for too much money (and at this point in his career, if Gay worth the price). The Pacers may have a huge gap to fill if they do indeed trade Paul George. Gay could replace some production, but the ideal situation is to pair him with George and see how both players can play off of each other. It would be great for Indiana to bring in some talent this off season to show George that the front office is committed to building a contender around him. If George does leave or get traded, the Pacers would still have someone to run an offense through.
5 Portland Trail Blazers - Paul Millsap
This is almost impossible due to bloated contracts attached to Evan Turner and Allan Crabbe, but the fit is perfect. The Blazers now have their center of the future with Jusuf Nurkic, and seem to be a piece away from contending for a top four seed like they did before losing LaMarcus Aldridge. Paul Millsap's range would open doors for the Blazer offense, as Moe Harkless and Al- Farouq Aminu did not provide as much spacing as fans would have hoped. Atlanta will try to hang on to their star power forward, but the Blazers should make a push this summer to sign a much needed third star. Like Milwaukee, the Blazers struggle at signing marque players over the summer, and the last time a big time free agent came to Portland, it was Andre Miller.
4 Philadelphia 76ers - George Hill
The 76ers are not going to land any premier free agents any time soon, but they still need a capable starting point guard. T.J. McConnell isn't terrible, but he also should not be a starting point guard in the NBA. The 76ers have a large amount of potential, but without someone capable of getting them the ball, it is just being wasted. George Hill has always been a reliable option in the back court, providing a high IQ and little turnovers. Hill played excellent in that exact role for the Jazz, and may be looking to score his first big payday. That is exactly what Philly needs and they have the cap space to sign anyone willing to join the team. Hill should be a primary target for the 76er front office.
3 San Antonio Spurs - Kyle Lowry
The Spurs should be linked to every single point guard that hits the market this summer, as they are in desperate need of stability. They cannot rely on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili anymore, and Patty Mills may be cashing out this summer. The Spurs will not be as competitive as year's past if they do not get someone who can run the offense. People have wrote off the Spurs for the last decade, but without a key free agent, this maybe when we see a decline. After getting swept by the Cavs, Lowry seemed disgruntled, and may have hinted a move to the western conference. If that is the case, look for Kyle Lowry to join a contender out west that needs a point guard. This sounds like the perfect match for San Antonio, as they get a veteran point guard that can fit into a system.
2 Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka
Continuity is important in Toronto, as general manager Mason Ujiri has made it very clear Serge Ibaka while be coming back next season. It is exactly what the Raptors need to do in order to stay relevant in the eastern conference. The Raptors will more than likely turn into what the Clippers have in the west, and be a team that rolls back the same core group but not be able to reach the finals. Either way, the Raptors need to hang on to Ibaka, and see if they can build on the chemistry that was made during the 2017 season. If Ujiri is able to keep together the core that just got swept in the playoffs, he should be able to find a way to shed some more cap space and trade or bring in another player who can help them compete against the Cavaliers.
1 Minnesota Timberwolves - Otto Porter
The Timberwolves number one need this off season is a wing player that cant be a liability on defense. Otto Porter showed that he could be just that, breaking out during the last season of his rookie contract. The Wizards say they are ready and willing to match any offer that is made on Porter, but that should not stop Minnesota from trying to bring in a young player who is improving. Minnesota has made huge offers to restricted free agents in the past, most recently Nicholas Batum in 2012. The Wolves are in need at the exact same position this summer, and should be willing to offer a max contract. Porter would be a huge addition to the young core the Wolves are putting together, and will be surrounded by players who will soon be entering their primes at the same time.
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