The upcoming offseason of 2019 for the NBA will be one of the most important in league history. Superstar players have started leaving their teams more frequently than ever before with the hopes of better situations and eventually being able to win the NBA Championship. There will be a plethora of fascinating names on the market this summer with huge contracts coming to an end. Rumors already indicate that a few All-Stars are leaning towards leaving their teams with others thinking twice about committing long-term to their current NBA homes. The landscape could easily change with super teams breaking up or other super teams forming.
We will look at some of the names that will find their new NBA team right away when switching teams and the players that will not have such ease. The latter NBA talents will likely be on the free agent market longer than their peers due to a lack of options. Some are surprising names trending downhill while others just are getting past their prime. Regardless, the summer will be fascinating to witness how things unfold. This offseason could shape the future of the NBA and dramatically change the futures of a few teams. Find out just what may happen in the upcoming offseason. These are seven NBA free agents that will be signed quickly this summer, their likely new team, and another seven that will be left in free agency for quite some time.
21 Signed fast: DeMarcus Cousins
The last offseason featured DeMarcus Cousins as one of the biggest names to remain on the free agent market longer than expected. A brutal injury squared teams away from signing Cousins until he took a small one-year contract to join the Golden State Warriors in hopes of proving he’s healthy and winning an NBA Championship.
Cousins will show just how good he is still after the injury. If he returns to superstar form, he will get signed within the few days of the free agent period. Cousins would still get signed by a team looking to take the chance on him within the first week even if he doesn’t showcase superstar status. Teams just want to know what they are getting from him before committing.
20 DeMarcus Cousins will sign with: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards will have to make changes by free agency. Washington seems likely to miss the playoffs after John Wall was ruled out for the rest of the season with an injury. Most expect the Wizards to trade Bradley Beal and/or Otto Porter Jr. and keep Wall as the lone star due to his contract.
Wall had chemistry with DeMarcus Cousins when they played together in college. Washington could buy low on Cousins to make him a complimentary piece or invest in him as the second superstar. Dwight Howard is already looking like a bust and the Wizards will certainly need a new big man.
19 Left in free agency: Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker is only 23-years-old and has solid offensive numbers, but no team seems to want him. The 2018 offseason featured Parker leaving the Milwaukee Bucks for the Chicago Bulls. Chicago has already given up on Parker and removed him from the rotation.
Parker will once again be on the free agent market looking for a new home. Some team will eventually take a chance on him due to his age. However, very few teams will rush to sign him. Parker’s defense is disappointing and he shows no interest in improving it. Expect Parker to remain on the free agent list until the end.
18 Signed fast: D'Angelo Russell
The Brooklyn Nets have been a surprise playoff contender toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference. There are a few promising young assets on the team and D’Angelo Russell may be the biggest of the names. Brooklyn, however, appears to be more sold on two other young backcourt men, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.
It is unlikely the Nets will sign three ball-dominant guards for their long term. Brooklyn often benches Russell at the end of games in favor of Dinwiddie, which shows how little they value him. Russell is still playing well and will be a huge name on the free agent market, as many teams want a young point guard.
17 D’Angelo Russell will sign with: Phoenix Suns
One of the worst kept secrets in the NBA is that the Phoenix Suns would love to sign D’Angelo Russell. Phoenix has a few promising prospects with Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and T.J. Warren looking like longer-term fixtures. Point guard is the main position the Suns struggle with and have struggled with for many years.
Russell, Booker, and Ayton could form a future big three if all young players hit their potential. The Brooklyn Nets may try to trade him before the season ends, but the Suns are the team that will be waiting to offer him a great contract.
16 Left in free agency: Harrison Barnes
The Dallas Mavericks signed Harrison Barnes and hoped he'd become a bigger star. Barnes was a great fit on the Golden State Warriors before Kevin Durant took his spot, but the hope of him improving was for nothing. Dallas failed to make any noise in the Western Conference during the Barnes run.
The future of the Mavericks will see them try to add top stars or young players to pair with rookie phenom Luka Doncic. Barnes will not return to Dallas, as he just doesn’t fit in. No team will rush to sign Barnes, as he is a secondary option someone will pick after losing out on a bigger name.
15 Signed fast: Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol is towards the end of his prime, but he will have another great two or three seasons. The Memphis Grizzlies have been the younger Gasol brother's home for the entirety of his career. This will likely reach an end as Gasol has stated he wants to win. Memphis does not have a realistic path to contending and the relationship should end here.
Gasol will be a great addition for any contending team in need of a big man. There is also a good chance that Gasol will take a pay cut to play for the right team. Gasol was upset last offseason about the Grizzlies not contending and stated that winning is more important to him than money at this point.
14 Marc Gasol will sign with: Golden State Warriors
This is a wilder prediction that could land the Golden State Warriors another big name if Kevin Durant leaves. Most pundits are starting to expect that Durant is going to leave the Warriors for a new start on a team where he will get more credit for the success.
Golden State will have the cap space to sign another noteworthy name. Marc Gasol could take a pay cut to spend one year with the Warriors in hopes of winning a title like DeMarcus Cousins is currently doing. Gasol would be a perfect fit as he is great at moving the ball around, playing selflessly and providing great defense, especially if Draymond Green regresses.
13 Left in free agency: Tyreke Evans
Last season featured Tyreke Evans having a resurgence with the Memphis Grizzlies. Evans signed with the Indiana Pacers in hopes of becoming a great sixth man scorer for the East contender. The play of Evans has been lackluster as he rarely gets as many touches as he expected.
No teams will rush to sign Evans in the offseason after he looks like he has regressed. A team might sign him since he is quite talented, but no teams will rush to sign him. Evans must have a strong showing to end the season and during the postseason if he wants to change his status come free agency.
12 Signed fast: Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris is arguably the most underrated free agent on the market in the upcoming offseason. The Los Angeles Clippers are surprisingly contending for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Harris has been the best overall player for the Clippers and is still young at just 26-years-old.
A team will most likely offer Harris a max contract given how much he’s shown this season as a borderline All-Star. The Clippers likely won’t be the team to sign him since they have the interest to add two bigger names for their long-term plan. Harris will get signed right away elsewhere given the number of teams wanting to sign a young star.
11 Tobias Harris will sign with: Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are putting together a compelling young roster of players that have potential to become great. There will be enough cap space to add two max contract free agents, but they’ll likely have to pick one.
Tobias Harris would be a great addition to the team with power forward as their biggest weakness. The core of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen could see major improvements if Harris and another difference maker joins the team. Harris could find a new home after his breakout season. The Nets have strong potential and Harris would extend that to a higher ceiling.
10 Left in free agency: Enes Kanter
The center position is booming with many great young players. Most of these centers have shined by developing an outside shot and playing great defense. Enes Kanter is a good traditional big man, but that doesn’t help him out today. His numbers have long proven that he can score in the paint and rebound.
Kanter, sadly, can’t shoot from deep or make a huge difference as a top-tier player on a contending team. The New York Knicks won’t sign him since they have higher hopes in free agency and will want to shift Kristaps Porzingis to the center position. No other team will rush after Kanter and he’ll have to wait some time.
9 Signed fast: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is currently on pace to have the best season of his career. The problem is he plays on a Charlotte Hornets team with zero other difference makers. Walker has become an elite point guard and will need a new team to become part of a winning culture.
Many teams will rush to try to sign Walker as either the face of the franchise or a secondary superstar on a new super team. Walker is the best player that most needs to have a change in his culture. Charlotte had him for too long and will likely see him leave a few days into free agency.
8 Kemba Walker will sign with: Los Angeles Clippers
Few teams will be as aggressive as the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. A few major trades led to the team freeing up cap space for two max contracts. There are a few promising young pieces, but there is no one with a safe spot moving forward.
Kemba Walker would be a great addition to the Clippers roster. All their point guards, even promising rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, would be better served as a reserve to a superstar like Walker. The current NBA world could lead to two point guards playing big minutes, which means the Clippers will try to sign Walker and probably have him start alongside Gilgeous-Alexader.
7 Left in free agency: DeAndre Jordan
We have touched on how centers need outside shooting to thrive in the NBA. DeAndre Jordan has fallen from an All-Star center to a player most people forget is still in the league. The offensive game of Jordan will only see him score in the paint, which slows down the game in a way most teams don’t want.
Jordan joined the Dallas Mavericks this season, but rumors are already circulating that the team regrets it. Dallas will let him go in free agency. Jordan will struggle to find a new home with the way things are shaking out. Contending teams and rebuilding teams will all want a center with more variety than Jordan offers. Don’t expect him to sign until the end of the free agency.
6 Signed fast: Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving may be the biggest variable on the free agent market in the upcoming offseason. Most players have given us a great feel on if they are staying or leaving once the season ends. Irving does claim that he wants to stick around with the Boston Celtics in the long-term, but certain reports say otherwise.
The biggest stars are the ones that every team waits on. Irving must decide right away if he is sticking with the Celtics or moving to join another team. Boston fans will be collectively holding their breath between the end of their postseason run and the first few days of the offseason.
5 Kyrie Irving will sign with: New York Knicks
The history of Kyrie Irving has shown he is willing to make a bold move when he believes in it. Irving wanted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers during their run of Eastern Conference dominance behind LeBron James and looks brilliant for it.
Reports have been going around for almost two years now that Irving has a strong interest in joining the New York Knicks. A new superstar core of Irving and Kristaps Porzingis could be enough to contend in the East if they add the right role players around. Don’t be surprised if Kyrie bolts Boston to become a Knick.
4 Left in free agency: Isaiah Thomas
The downfall of Isaiah Thomas has seen him drop from an MVP candidate for the Boston Celtics into an afterthought in the league. Thomas is rehabbing with the hopes of joining the Denver Nuggets at some point during the regular season.
Denver has been a top team in the West over the first few months of the season. Thomas may not get much playing time or play crunch time minutes unless he shows he can once again dominate. Most teams will once again pass on Thomas like the last offseason. He may have to take another one-year contract to prove his value unless he puts up huge numbers for the Nuggets.
3 Signed fast: Kevin Durant
Free agency for most teams will depend on what Kevin Durant does. Many are expecting him to leave the Golden State Warriors with the way things have gone so far this season. Draymond Green had an altercation with Durant in the locker room and echoed the sentiments of fans saying the team doesn’t even need him to win.
Durant has also publicly clashed with Steve Kerr about how the offense should be run. The Warriors will never be Durant’s team during the good times and he will take the blame during the bad times. There’s a great chance he will leave and make his decision early on to avoid dragging out such a dramatic story.
2 Kevin Durant will sign with: Los Angeles Clippers
There are quite a few teams that will go after Kevin Durant in free agency. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are the two organizations with the best chance according to rumors. Durant was impressed with the Clippers meetings with him during his 2016 free agency which could help them out here.
Clippers management is dead set on adding Durant and/or Kawhi Leonard. Leonard's smooth transition to Toronto's play style makes it seem like he will commit to the Raptors. Durant joining the Clippers would not only make him the face of the franchise, but he would go head to head with LeBron James in the same venue with his first true chance at passing the icon as the best player in the league. They have enough cap space to add another star like Kemba Walker.
1 Left in free agency: Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard's career has hit depressing lows in recent years. Howard is no longer a dominant player, but he does put up impressive numbers whenever he plays. However, there have been issues of locker room tension that caused the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks to each quit on him after one season.
Howard is now on the Washington Wizards as they fall apart. His injury issues have kept him sidelined for most of the season which adds another reason for teams to avoid him in the summer of 2019. Howard will not only stay on the free agent list for quite some time, but there’s a realistic chance of him not getting a contract offer by any NBA team.