With the upcoming NBA offseason looming, teams have started evaluating their future moves. The league is set to go through yet another shakeup with the amount of great players set to be available in the summer. The free agent class will be a unique one that may shape up the outlook of the league for many more years. What makes it especially interesting is that many players could be on the move so it is likely to be the most unpredictable offseason in recent memory.
Teams will be lining up to sign at least one top free agent, so there will be stiff competition for the services of many available players. And since many teams are also set to have an available space for a maximum signing, that will put pressure on some franchises that may be unable to match such offers. Many teams may be forced to break up with their current core due to cap space, and the Golden State Warriors are set to lead the most intriguing storyline going into the open market.
Three of their All-Star players will be unrestricted free agents, and rumors suggest that each will generate major interest among teams around the NBA. Most soon-to-be free agents will likely wait until the offseason to make a final decision, as plenty of things could change between now and the Playoffs. But given the ongoing rumors, as well as cap space flexibility, here are 10 NBA players who will leave their teams when they’re offered more by another franchise:
20 Will Leave Their Team: Khris Middleton
The Milwaukee Bucks recently cleared some cap space via trade for George Hill as they will be making a strong run to re-sign their free agent wingman, Khris Middleton. But it will prove to be a tough task given the interest he is expected to generate on the open market, especially if he receives a maximum offer elsewhere. Some teams have enough money to hand out a maximum deal and are willing to take a risk on a player like Middleton, banking on his potential to be worth in the upcoming years as he continues improving with every passing season.
19 New Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Unless the Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kevin Love prior to the trade deadline, then they may attempt to get back into the Playoffs starting in the offseason. With many names available on the market, they likely have to set their sight on a realistic target, and the addition of Khris Middleton would make sense for both sides. On one hand, the Cleveland Cavaliers would remain relevant as they are likely to sneak into a Playoff spot. On the other hand, Middleton would get a major payday that he will be looking for, as well as a bigger role on the Cavaliers.
18 Will Leave Their Team: DeMarcus Cousins
The acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins came out of nowhere for the Golden State Warriors as he reached out to the team in hopes of agreeing to a deal. Both sides realized from the beginning that it would be a one year stay as the team won't be able to give him a worthy contract next summer. Since Cousins is simply looking to prove that he is healthy and still good enough to earn a large contract, he took the easy way out by joining the Warriors where he will also likely add a championship to his resume in a few months.
17 New Team: New Orleans Pelicans
For his new team, DeMarcus Cousins may very well go back to his old team. The New Orleans Pelicans are still said to be highly interested in bringing him back to the team, and Anthony Davis would certainly welcome the addition of Cousins. Considering that the Pelicans may be at risk of losing Davis due to their disappointing record, then it would make sense for them to go all-in by giving it another go. Cousins and Davis formed an impressive duo on the court, although it was short lived and never got the chance to show out in the postseason.
16 Will Leave Their Team: Nikola Mirotic
The New Orleans Pelicans may be losing one of their most valuable players in Nikola Mirotic, especially since other teams are likely to offer him more money as well as a bigger role on offense. Mirotic has played well for the Pelicans thus far, but rumors suggest that he had his eyes elsewhere, so it won't be surprising to see him depart in the offseason. With the Pelicans failing to live up to expectations, as well as Anthony Davis being linked with a move away, it would make sense for Mirotic to do what is best for him in the long term.
15 New Team: Utah Jazz
Prior to his trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, Nikola Mirotic was heavily linked with the Utah Jazz. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Mirotic wished to be sent to the Utah Jazz as he believed that he would fit in greatly with their core. Mirotic was also reportedly interested in being coached by Quin Snyder, so it is likely that he hasn't changed his feelings since last year. Both sides would benefit from such move as the Jazz could offer him a better contract than the Pelicans, while also allowing him to flourish in their offense, while also getting a chance to be in the Playoffs.
14 Will Leave Their Team: DeAndre Jordan
It was always going to be likely that DeAndre Jordan would only stick around for one year with the Dallas Mavericks. As he is set to be a free agent once again next season, Jordan will be eyeing a large and lengthy contract this time around. He wasn't impressed with the offers last summer, which is why he opted to sign a one-year deal with Dallas. It appears that the team wasn't at the top of his list of preferred destinations in the first place, making it a likely scenario that Jordan leaves in July to begin a new venture.
13 New Team: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards' woes at the center position continue for another season, as the Dwight Howard signing hasn't quite worked out. Unless they choose to go through a rebuild, the Wizards will likely be shopping around for another C in the offseason. Considering that John Wall is almost untradeable at this point, the Wizards may opt to give their main core another run with the addition of DeAndre Jordan - who may very well solve the Wizards' problems on the court. Jordan seems to have high demands for his next contract so the Wizards would have to be willing to match it.
12 Will Leave Their Team: Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is having his best season to date with an average of 20.3 PPG and 11.8 RPG. He is already generating interest among many teams who want to acquire him prior to the offseason in hopes of making a strong run in the Playoffs, but it remains to be seen whether the Orlando Magic part ways with him. If the Magic believe that Vucevic won't be re-signing, then chances are that they will be open to discussions in the next month. Given that they had attempted to trade him numerous times in previous years, Vucevic is unlikely to come back next season.
11 New Team: San Antonio Spurs
Along with the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs have been listed as a team that could make a move for Nikola Vucevic. At the moment, their roster is good enough to make the Playoffs, although they will need additional pieces if they wish to advance beyond the first round. Vucevic could be the answer to some of the Spurs' woes, and he should fit in just fine with their main core. Additionally, the Spurs could also give him a lucrative offer to convince him of joining the team come next summer. But of course, there is a possibility that they trade for him around the All-Star break.
10 Will Leave Their Team: Marc Gasol
At this point, it doesn't seem like Marc Gasol will be dressing up for the Memphis Grizzlies next season. He was nearly traded last year although the team opted to him around after all. Following an impressive start to the season, the Grizzlies have struggled plenty since December, finding themselves outside of the Playoffs as of now. If they happen to miss the postseason once again, then it will certainly be the end of an era as both sides may agree to move on. Grizzlies may not want to lock up Gasol on a lengthy contract, while the latter might prefer playing for a different team.
9 New Team: Charlotte Hornets
Assuming that the Charlotte Hornets retain Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency, they will have to bring some additional help to make the Playoffs next year. Marc Gasol makes sense for the team on paper since he would be good enough as a second star to lead the Hornets to a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. The market will likely be a tough one for Gasol as teams may not be willing to meet his contract demands, but the Hornets can afford to do so since they are in desperate need of any help that they can get.
8 Will Leave Their Team: Kevin Durant
There is a strong belief among media members that Kevin Durant will be leaving the Golden State Warriors in the offseason. He has only expressed his desire to earn top money beginning next summer, and considering the criticism that he continues to receive for joining the Warriors, Durant may have finally had enough of it. If he wishes to be remembered fondly when it's all said and done, Durant would be wise to leave the Warriors to push another team to the next level. There will certainly be plenty of suitors on the market, although Durant seems to already have a list of teams that he would be willing to join.
7 New Team: New York Knicks
This upcoming summer may finally be the year that the New York Knicks land a top free agent. The fortune of the franchise could finally turn around with the addition of Kevin Durant, who would undoubtedly be more than enough to bring them back into the Playoffs. According to several reports, the interest is mutual between the two sides which means that the Knicks will be able to book a meeting with him in the summer. And if their pitch is good enough to convince Durant to sign with them, then he would receive his wish of earning more money and becoming an even bigger name.
6 Will Leave Their Team: Tobias Harris
The Los Angeles Clippers are said to be all in for Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, which means that they may be unwilling to give Tobias Harris an attractive contract. Unless their recruitment of Kawhi falls short, Harris is likely to be playing for a new team at the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season. It's also possible that Harris will be seeking a bigger role elsewhere as the addition of an All-Star player would certainly decrease his role on the offensive end. As of now, we predict that Tobias Harris will be looking for a way out in July.
5 New Team: Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings will be looking to add a top free agent and have many targets in mind. Although they would love to land the likes of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, they may have to settle for a player who is a tier below these stars such as Tobias Harris. The Kings would be good enough to make some noise in the Western Conference as soon as next season since Harris would be a massive addition to their roster. As for Harris, not only would he be the star of the team, but he would also be earning his desired salary with Sacramento.
4 Will Leave Their Team: Jimmy Butler
It didn't take too long for trouble to start brewing in Philadelphia as reports have suggested that Jimmy Butler was involved in a heated confrontation with coach Brett Brown. Butler is reportedly unhappy with his role on the offensive end, as well as the style of play being currently run by the 76ers. With earlier complaints from Joel Embiid about his role on the team, it now appears unlikely that Butler will be returning beyond this season. The 76ers would have to find their chemistry in the upcoming months, as well as having a deep run into the Playoffs to convince him otherwise.
3 New Team: Brooklyn Nets
Since Jimmy Butler wants a bigger role on the team, it would make sense for him to sign for a team that is in desperate need of a star. He was reportedly interested in playing for either New York team prior to his trade to Philadelphia, so that may not have changed come next summer. The Nets would be able to offer him a maximum contract while allowing him to run the offense as he wishes. The 76ers already have some reservations about giving Butler a lengthy deal, which may also play a part in his exit from the team.
2 Will Leave Their Team: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson has declared his wish to remain a member of the Golden State Warriors beyond this season, but the team has some tough decisions to make. Kevin Durant will also be a free agent, so it's likely that the Golden State Warriors will be focus on bringing him back by any means necessary. That would create complications for their cap space if they also wish to keep Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the roster, so it means that Thompson would find himself out of the equation. But at least he would still earn a maximum contract on another team.
1 New Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Even if Klay Thompson were to leave to the Golden State Warriors in 2019, rumors suggest that he has no interest in playing outside of California. With links between him and the Los Angeles Lakers, they have become an option to acquire Thompson in the upcoming offseason. Lakers would be able to offer him a maximum contract, which may not be possible with the Warriors due to their cap space. That's not to mention that Thompson would thrive next to LeBron James due to his playing style, while also presenting him with a bigger role than his current one today.