The past few years of NBA free agency have made it another huge part of the year in basketball. In past years, the end of the NBA Playoffs would signify a lack of NBA stories until autumn when the next season begins. The major stories over the past few summers have definitely changed the landscape with free agency becoming almost as big as the actual season. Top tier players change teams all the time. LeBron James re-joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016 each helped usher in a new boom period for free agency.
This year looked tame on paper but the rumor mill is now filled with huge names. Chris Paul, Paul George and Jimmy Butler were all traded. Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving may be moved in the next few months. Many top players signed new long term contracts for their future. Next summer will be even more action packed with a plethora of Superstars hitting free agency. Some of these talents are restricted or have options, but the lack of stability often leads to changes coming. We'll take a look at fifteen potential landing spots for top NBA stars that may change teams in 2018.
15 Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat
The decision of Dwyane Wade to leave the Miami Heat in 2016 free agency looks like a bad basketball move already. Wade joining his hometown Chicago Bulls saw them have arguably the most disappointing NBA season barely making the playoffs. Chicago traded away Jimmy Butler and bought out Rajon Rondo proving they no longer are attempting to contend.
14 Joel Embiid: New York Knicks
Joel Embiid is likely not leaving the Philadelphia 76ers but crazier things have happened. The 76ers have an abundance of young talent. Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are viewed to be bigger parts of Philadelphia’s future than Embiid. The success of Embiid last season showed him good enough to be an All-Star but injuries hold him back.
13 Jabari Parker: Dallas Mavericks
Unfortunate luck and bad injuries have ruined the first couple of years of Jabari Parker’s career. The Milwaukee Bucks love his talent but the inability to stay on the court makes him expendable. Milwaukee is building around Giannis Antetokounmpo as the face of the franchise and they have other young pieces around him. The Bucks have a big decision to make regarding how they much value Parker and how much they want to contend.
12 J.J. Redick: Houston Rockets
J.J. Redick shocked the NBA world when joining the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year contract. The thought process of Redick was to find a spot where he can contribute and make a lot of money without remaining there long term. Redick will help the 76ers progress and find out if they're the right fit for him.
11 LaMarcus Aldridge: Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge deciding to leave the Portland Trail Blazers for a chance at a NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs turned out to be a huge regret. All reports indicate that Aldridge and the Spurs have been a poor fit with the team looking to trade him this past summer. Aldridge having to change his playing style to fit into the Spurs offense has hurt his value big time.
10 Andrew Wiggins: Cleveland Cavaliers
The current rumor of Kyrie Irving demanding a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers stated he listed the Minnesota Timberwolves as a team he’d love to play for. Andrew Wiggins was the last number one draft pick that Cleveland traded to Minnesota but he could be heading back. Point guard is arguably the most important position in the NBA today and the Timberwolves could be going for Kyrie.
9 Avery Bradley: Philadelphia 76ers
One of the most underrated NBA players going today is Avery Bradley. The argument can be made that Bradley was the Boston Celtics best overall player during the recent postseason run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Bradley plays superb defense to match his impressive offense. Boston traded him to the Detroit Pistons after signing Gordon Hayward.
8 DeAndre Jordan: Brooklyn Nets
The Los Angeles Clippers saw their world change when it became clear Chris Paul no longer wanted to play there. Paul being traded to the Houston Rockets saw them enter a new phase. One of the reactions was to put DeAndre Jordan on the trade block around the time of the draft. No deal was made but Jordan will be a free agent next summer.
7 Isaiah Thomas: San Antonio Spurs
For whatever reason, no NBA team ever seems truly sold on Isaiah Thomas. The Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns each traded him not believing his success could last in the long-term. Thomas proved them wrong by leading the Boston Celtics franchise towards the top of the Eastern Conference. After finishing in the top 5 of MVP voting, you’d assume everyone was sure he’s the man to lead the franchise, but there’s still doubt.
6 DeMarcus Cousins: Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns have a lot of cap space and a couple of young assets to build something special. Devin Booker looks like he's going to blossom into a superstar as soon as this coming season. Phoenix has dreams of signing LeBron James but that remains highly unlikely. However, they'll still be able to offer big money to other free agents on the market.
5 Chris Paul: Boston Celtics
As mentioned earlier, the Boston Celtics badly want a huge Superstar. The All-Star trio of Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford is great, but there will be plenty of bigger names available next summer. Danny Ainge could easily give Thomas the boot in chase of a better point guard. Chris Paul is still one of the top at his position as he reaches the end of his prime.
4 Paul George: Los Angeles Lakers
One move that seems quite obvious next summer is Paul George signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before the Lakers even drafted Lonzo Ball, rumors broke that George was dead set on heading to Los Angeles when his contract ends in 2018. The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired George in a trade with the hopes of contending this season and convincing him to sign long-term.
3 Russell Westbrook: Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook had one of the all-time great NBA regular seasons averaging a triple double and winning the MVP Award. The lack of a strong team behind Westbrook however made it unclear how they would compete for a title in the near future. Paul George joining the roster is huge, but as mentioned, he's likely leaving after one season.
2 Kevin Durant: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Golden State Warriors will be the overwhelming favorites to win the NBA Championship every single their star core of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are together. It's improbable to see Durant leave a potential dynasty teaming with his friends in a place he loves to live. There's only one realistic option for him aside from Golden State in 2018.
1 LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers
The biggest story of 2018 free agency has already started with rumors of LeBron James wanting to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers organization appears to be falling in a downward spiral between Golden State dominating them in the NBA Finals and Kyrie Irving requesting a trade. LeBron already fulfilled his goal of bringing a trophy to Cleveland and would receive less criticism when leaving this time.
The juiciest rumor out there right now claims James is very much interested in the Los Angeles Lakers situation. As mentioned earlier, Paul George is likely signing there as a free agent. Young assets Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle all have massive potential and could even be used as trade assets for another Superstar. LeBron forming a super team on the NBA’s biggest franchise is more likely than you realize.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!