The NBA season has yet to conclude, as a number of teams are still battling it out to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy in June. However, while these teams are in the midst of duking it out, there are those teams that have had their season ended as a result of coming up short in the playoffs, or by not qualifying for the playoffs at all.
These teams aren't focusing on the NBA playoffs that are currently taking place; on the contrary, they have their eyes fully focused on free agency and the 2017 NBA Draft. Teams will look for young cornerstones and promising role players in the draft and will look for franchise faces, veteran leadership and pivotal additions across the board through free agency.
The 2017 class of free agents has a number of players that need a change of scenery and also has those that are in an ideal situation for themselves. Here, we shall take a look at players all across the board and examine what team they should sign with versus the team they will sign with.
17 Blake Griffin
Should Sign With The Oklahoma City Thunder
Will Sign With The Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin has an early termination option as part of his contract, so he technically isn't a free agent. However, the likelihood of him opting out in order to maximize his earnings over the long run is a far more likely scenario. Griffin has been plagued by injuries throughout his tenure in the league, especially in the past two seasons. But, when healthy, it's hard to say there's a more athletic and explosive power forward in the league than Griffin. Griffin is from Oklahoma and there have been rumblings of him returning home. Griffin would fit like a glove in the Oklahoma City Thunder's offense as it is a run-and-gun offense propelled by Russell Westbrook. Unfortunately, the bright lights of Los Angeles will be too hard for Griffin to walk away from and the homecoming will not take place.
16 Kevin Durant
Should And Will Sign With The Golden State Warriors
Truthfully, Kevin Durant doesn't have any options if he cares about his brand whatsoever when it comes to free agency. Well, with the exception of a return to Oklahoma City. Then again, "The Brodie" probably wouldn't be too thrilled about that. Durant's meshed well with the Warriors core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in his inaugural season with the team as the Warriors once again posted the best regular season mark in the NBA. The Warriors are the favorites to not just come out of the Western Conference but to emerge victorious in the NBA Finals in June. KD will stay put in the Bay Area and will sign a lucrative deal that eclipses the original two-year pact he signed in 2016.
15 Michael Carter-Williams
Should And Will Sign With The Philadelphia 76ers
This may be hard to believe today, but Michael Carter-Williams was actually the 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year. But, nothing has been same for the former ROY ever since he was dealt out of the "City of Brotherly Love". Stints in both Chicago and Milwaukee have proved to be uninspiring. To make matters worse, Carter-Williams just had the worst season of his career as he only posted 6.6 PPG and 3.4 APG. The Sixers have struggled mightily to find a viable floor general after they bafflingly dealt Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams needs to revitalize his career and the Sixers have a pressing need at the PG position. This is a match made in heaven for both parties and both parties would be doing themselves a disservice if the signing doesn't come to fruition.
14 Jrue Holiday
Should Sign With The New York Knicks
Will Sign With The New Orleans Pelicans
Signing with the New York Knicks is almost always the equivalent of career suicide. However, if you're Jrue Holiday you're not in an ordinary situation. See, Holiday's older brother, Justin plays for the New York Knicks. The brothers, who are both Los Angeles natives, have expressed a desire to play together during their careers and this is their opportunity to do so. Not only would they be able to play together, but there's a good chance the two could be the starting backcourt for the Knicks for the 2017-18 season (and possibly beyond). Holiday is a pass-first Point Guard which makes him quite beneficial for the Triangle Offense. While Holiday will likely meet with the Knicks, he'll decide to re-up with the New Orleans Pelicans as he will find it hard to walk away from teaming with the twin towers force of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
12 Stephen Curry
Should And Will Sign With The Golden State Warriors
The face of the NBA's most polarizing team, the Golden State Warriors, poster boy Stephen Curry is not only not leaving town but isn't even having thoughts of leaving the only NBA team he's ever played for. The sharpshooting, babyfaced assassin is heralded as a god in Northern California and the addition of Kevin Durant last season only further cemented that the Warriors would both re-sign Curry in the summer of 2017, and also likely make sure he dons the white, yellow and blue of Golden State until his career commences. The only thing that is in question regarding the two-time defending NBA regular season MVP is what the numbers and years will look like when he puts pen to paper once the season concludes.
11 Ben McLemore
Should And Will Sign With The Cleveland Cavaliers
With team owner Vivek Ranadive believing that recently acquired shooting guard Buddy Hield has the potential to be a Steph Curry-like player in the NBA, it's quite obvious that Ben McLemore's days in Sacramento are numbered. Quite frankly, McLemore is probably elated for a change of scenery, as the 7th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft has been nothing short of disappointing for the Kings. McLemore is a good friend of LeBron James, and his agent is none other than James' buddy, Rich Paul. By going to Cleveland, McLemore will be able to pick the brain of James (not to mention Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love) and will be able to showcase his talents as a valuable role player for the team. McLemore's price tag shouldn't be too high and expect James to want this move just as bad as McLemore wants it.
10 Derrick Rose
Should Sign With The Minnesota Timberwolves
Will Sign With The Orlando Magic
There's no player in the 2017 NBA free agent class as intriguing as Derrick Rose. The former NBA MVP is capable of igniting an offense like few others in the league when healthy; but this is exactly where the problem lies- Rose is simply unreliable of staying healthy. As a result, each and every NBA team will be wearisome of paying Rose this summer, and it's unlikely Rose receives a long-term deal. Rose's current team, the New York Knicks, are likely to show interest, but this isn't a deal that best fits either party (primarily based on Phil Jackson's staunch desire to run the triangle offense). Rose needs a change of scenery and is likely best fit for a backup role based on his injury history. But, he will get an opportunity to start; the Orlando Magic will supply Rose with this role.
8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Should And Will Sign With The Detroit Pistons
If the Detroit Pistons are to be believed, they will match any and all offers (including a max contract) presented to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this offseason. Frankly, Caldwell-Pope doesn't have much of a choice if this is indeed the intention of the Pistons as he's a restricted free agent. Caldwell-Pope shouldn't have too much trouble finding a lucrative max contract with the Brooklyn Nets being the most likely candidate. While the Pistons aren't the most promising team to play for in the NBA today, they're a hell of a team when contrasted with the Nets. Caldwell-Pope will likely sign an offer sheet with a team, but the Pistons will stay true to their word and match any and all offers presented to the two guard from Georgia Tech.
7 Chris Paul
Should Sign With The San Antonio Spurs
Will Sign With The Los Angeles Clippers
Playing short-handed without Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers fell short in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs against the Utah Jazz. Just days from his 32nd birthday, Chris Paul knows his time to capture the elusive NBA Championship that has thus far eluded him is waning and waning fast. If he wants a legitimate chance at hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy, he should sign with the San Antonio Spurs. CP3 would have the privilege of learning from NBA Champions Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker along with forming a highly intimidating big three with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard. The icing on the cake for Paul would have to be having the opportunity to be coached by one of the NBA's greatest coaches of all-time, Gregg Popovich. However, Paul and his family seem awfully comfortable in Los Angeles and him re-signing with the Clippers seems far more likely.
6 George Hill
Should And Will Sign With The Utah Jazz
George Hill has enjoyed a career year in his first season with Quin Snyder's group in Salt Lake City as a member of the Utah Jazz. Hill has averaged a career high 16.9 PPG and is one-third of one of the NBA's most promising trios alongside center Rudy Gobert and small forward Gordon Hayward. With the Jazz having recent failed experiments with the likes of Trey Burke and Dante Exum, do not expect them to let Hill walk. Further helping Hill is the fact that the Jazz are in the second round of the NBA playoffs, something that hasn't happened since the 2009-2010 NBA season. Hill is likely to command a max contract and the Jazz are likely to comply with the demands of the former Indiana Pacers point guard.
5 Zach Randolph
Should And Will Sign With The Memphis Grizzlies
Nicknamed "Grind City", the Memphis Grizzlies are one of the grittiest teams in the league and can easily make the case for being the NBA's grittiest team. No player embodies the "Grind City" moniker better then Eddie Winslow doppelganger and Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph. Now 35, Z-Bo isn't likely to have many years left in the league and the 2016-2017 season even saw his role diminish as he primarily came off the bench (behind JaMychal Green). Randolph and the Grizzlies will have mutual interest in each other and it's likely that a deal between both parties is completed sooner rather than later. Randolph will re-sign with the Grizzlies (and don't be surprised if he doesn't meet with any other teams) and will likely finish his career with the team as well.
4 Trey Burke
Should And Will Sign With The New York Knicks
At just 24 years old, Trey Burke fell out of favor in Utah at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season and was dealt to the nation's capital to play for the Washington Wizards. Burke has struggled to gain playing time behind the face of the franchise John Wall as well as new-comer Brandon Jennings. As a result, it's unlikely he will be back with the Wizards next season. Burke's young and likely believes he still has the capability to be a starting point guard in the league. The New York Knicks are unlikely to re-sign Derrick Rose which leaves an open slot for the starting PG position for the "Gotham City" franchise. Burke gets the opportunity to start and likely won't command a contract that breaks the bank. Next stop, New York City, Mr. Burke!
3 Jeff Green
Should Sign With The San Antonio Spurs
Will Sign With The Brooklyn Nets
In 2015, the Memphis Grizzlies thought Jeff Green was the missing piece to the puzzle when it came to their title hopes. In 2016, the Los Angeles Clippers thought the same thing when they traded with the Grizzlies to acquire Green. As we all know by now, neither the Grizzlies nor Clippers hoisted a banner in either of those years. Green isn't a game-changer, but can be a valuable piece. Green could be the ideal sixth man for the San Antonio Spurs as he plays behind Kawhi Leonard. Green will be able to soak up knowledge via Leonard, as well as the likes of Coach Pop, Manu Ginobili (provided he doesn't hang it up) and Tony Parker. However, while this is the best move for Green as a player, it isn't the best move for his pockets. The Brooklyn Nets will throw an irresistible offer at Green and he won't balk at it.
2 Serge Ibaka
Should And Will Sign With The Toronto Raptors
Just before the 2016-2017 NBA trade deadline, Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri executed a trade that brought Serge Ibaka north of the border via Oklahoma City. Knowing that Ibaka's contract was set to conclude at season's end and that a future first round pick was given up to acquire Ibaka, it's unlikely that Ujiri envisioned having Ibaka as a short-term rental. Ibaka's production in Toronto hasn't fallen off and has been nearly identical to his numbers in Oklahoma City. Along with the backcourt duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, Ibaka forms the core of the Raptors. Ujiri will look to keep the group together and will succeed in re-signing Ibaka to a long term deal that will hit nine figures. A phone call from Keri Hilson should follow shortly after!
1 Tyreke Evans
Should Sign With The Boston Celtics
Will Sign With The Philadelphia 76ers
Tyreke Evans is one of four players to average at least 20 PPG, 5 RPG and 5 APG as a rookie (with the other three being LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson). If that isn't illustrious company, I don't know what is. But, this was Evans' rookie season, and his success and production has largely fallen off in recent years. In Evans' defense, he's been in god-awful situations as he's been a member of the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, where it's been difficult to get playing time. Evans needs to, and will hightail it out of Sacramento. He needs a career resurgence and could be a great addition in Boston. But other teams will offer him more money. Evans will likely be offered a deal he can't say no to by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers.
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