It seems far, but 2019 will be here before we know it, so why not take a look at the free agent class in two seasons, as it really contains some of the league's biggest stars. Much can happen before now and 2019, but for people like me who enjoy forward thinking and projecting, this article will be fun. We could have projected where the 2018 free agents would sign, but that free agent class is sadly not as juicy as 2019, and I will be thought as of more of a genius if my projections are right two years from now rather than just one. This class is full of young NBA players who are in for a big payday in 2019 no matter what team they sign with. The NBA is going to look a lot different after the signing of the 2019 free agents are done, that's for sure.
In this article, we will be looking at 15 of the top free agents of 2019, and projecting which NBA franchise they sign with. This article is supposed to be as realistic as possible, so don't be upset if I have your favorite player staying with their team and not joining your hometown team. As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this matter in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Here is Looking Ahead: Projecting Where The Top 15 NBA Free Agents Will Sign In 2019.
15 Jahlil Okafor - Brooklyn Nets
Jahlil Okafor is a talented young big who has definitely taken a step backwards in Philadelphia since being drafted in 2015 with the 3rd pick. Joel Embiid definitely took the spotlight off of Okafor, as Jahlil found himself losing a lot of minutes to the star big man. Now add two more great young players in Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, the time for Okafor in Philly is dwindling.
A good fit for Okafor would be the Brooklyn Nets. Pair him up with the number 2 pick in the same draft class in D'Angelo Russell, and the Nets give themselves a nice young combo in Okafor and Russell. The Nets will be looking to sign young players to help their rebuild, and Okafor could be that guy.
14 DeAndre Jordan - Portland Trail Blazers
DeAndre Jordan is currently the starting center for the Los Angeles Clippers, and while he is a beloved player for the Clippers by fans and the organization, the team has taken a major step back since trading away their superstar point guard in Chris Paul. Jordan may spend a year or two more in L.A., but when it's his time to leave, I expect him to sign with another team in the Western Conference.
I believe Jordan will sign on to be the starting center for the Portland Trail Blazers as the Blazers are very talented with their backcourt, but need a solid big man to compete. Por Damian Lillard has seemingly been on his own since LaMarcus Aldridge left. Staying on the West Coast, Portland seems like a great fit for DeAndre Jordan.
13 LaMarcus Aldridge - San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are going to be a competitive team for a while. There is really no reason for LaMarcus to go looking for another team in this late stage of his career, as he is still the starting power-forward for one of the best teams in the league. Even with the league getting better and better when it comes to top teams, the Spurs will still be in the hunt for the Larry O'Brien trophy. It took him some time to adjust to the Spurs offense, and he would most likely not want to waste any more of his career learning a new team system.
With the Spurs staying solid, LaMarcus Aldridge will sign back with the Spurs as he looks to win himself his first NBA championship.
12 Dwight Howard - Minnesota Timberwolves
Dwight Howard has had no problems changing teams over the past few years of his career, and expect him to not re-sign with his current new team in the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are going to be a solid team in the Eastern Conference, but they do not have the talent to compete with the elite teams in the NBA, and Howard will be itching to win some playoff games when 2019 rolls around.
The Timberwolves would be happy to sign Howard to be their backup center behind Karl-Anthony Towns. The Wolves have a lot of star power now, and Howard would have to be ready to take a pay cut to play for the championship contender. By 2019, the Timberwolves could very well be the west's new powerhouse.
11 Kemba Walker - Los Angeles Clippers
Remember how I just said the Clippers were going to start going downhill? I believe in the summer of 2019 that the team makes some big free agent moves to keep the team afloat, despite losing DeAndre Jordan to the Blazers. Kemba Walker is in the same boat as Dwight Howard above, as the two are playing for a team that seems as though they are going to hover around the 7th or 8th seed for the decade to come, not getting much better or worse in the future.
Kemba Walker is the team's all-star point-guard, and will be a hard decision for him to leave them in 2019. Los Angeles is a huge market and awesome free-agent destination, and I think Walker will sign with them and become the face of the Clippers alongside Blake Griffin.
10 Devin Booker - Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker is one of the biggest young stars in the NBA, and is going to get paid a lot in 2019 for his talents. Many NBA teams are going to take a stab at Booker once he is a free agent, but the Suns will not be interested in letting Booker walk away, as he is a restricted free agent in 2019, meaning the Suns can match any offer given to him and sign him.
Booker would probably stay with the Suns anyway, as they are building a great young team around him, and he will be able to flourish and grow in Phoenix for a long time. Booker is going to sign a big extension with the Suns in 2019, and even though the Suns have made plenty of stupid moves over the years, letting Booker walk will not be one of them.
9 Kristaps Porzingis - New York Knicks
Despite Phil Jackson trying to trade him (before he parted ways with the Knicks), Kritaps Porzingis has expressed his want to stay in New York for his entire career. It must have made him feel better when Jackson was forced to resign, as trading the young superstar would have been questionable to say the least, as he has been the lone bright spot in New York for the past few seasons.
Porzingis will be a free agent in 2019, but he will brought back to the team with a lot of money as New York looks to right the ship since being off course for about a decade now. Porzingis really is a special player, and could end up being one of the best Knicks of all-time.
8 Carmelo Anthony - Houston Rockets
There is almost no chance that Carmelo Anthony is on the New York Knicks roster in 2019. If he is still on the team by the time he is a free agent, he will definitely not be signing with the franchise who have isolated him so badly.
Already naming the Rockets as a team he wants to play for, it would be a nice fit as he would join the likes of James Harden and Chris Paul. Anthony isn't the same superstar player he was five seasons ago, but he is still a great NBA player and the Rockets would like to bring him in as another veteran star to help them compete with the likes of teams such as the Warriors. Rather than being the focal point of the team, Anthony could play third fiddle behind CP3 and Harden, which is an ideal situation for him at this stage of his career.
7 Nikola Jokic - Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic emerged as one of the league's best young stars last season, even scoring a few triple doubles as he showed his all around talent in his breakout campaign. Drafted with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic was a complete steal at that spot and the Nuggets wouldn't be dumb enough to not offer him the highest offer when he is a free agent in a few seasons. A franchise cornerstone there, Jokic isn't going anywhere for a long time. The Nuggets are a few pieces and a few years away from being serious contenders to win an NBA championship, but with guys like Nikola Jokic being on your team at 22 years of age, the time for the Nuggets is coming.
6 Karl Anthony-Towns - Minnesota Timberwolves
Another young NBA star, Karl-Anthony Towns is primed for a legendary career in the National Basketball Association. The Wolves made some awesome moves this off-season, as they traded away some of their younger assets to grab superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls.
Also signing a few solid players in Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford, the Timberwolves could take the league by storm this season. With all the great moves made, Towns would most likely want to stay in Minnesota because if everything goes to plan, he could be playing for a championship contender from now until the time he retires as the Wolves' front office has shown they know what they're doing. Barring some extreme unforeseen circumstance, expect Towns to stick around.
5 Klay Thompson - Los Angeles Clippers
Despite being one of the original splash brothers, I believe their will be a time Klay Thompson parts ways with the Golden State Warriors. Since Kevin Durant joined the team last summer, Thompson's stats has decreased significantly especially in last years playoffs. Even with Thompson's incredible shooting talent, it's hard to make a big impact on the team while playing alongside stars like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green. Even though Thompson is now a two time NBA champion and with more most likely on the way, I believe Thompson will sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019, forming a dynamic backcourt with Kemba Walker. A new chapter of his career, Thompson could be an MVP candidate if he was on another team, and he knows that.
4 Paul George - Los Angeles Lakers
Many expected Paul George to stay on the Pacers this season and sign with the Lakers in the offseason, but the Thunder made a trade to add him to give some help to their superstar in Russell Westbrook, so the next chapter for George came quicker than expected. I still believe George will find his way to Los Angeles, as both parties have expressed interest in coming together.
I also don't know if OKC is the best landing spot for George, as playing with MVP Russell Westbrook is going to be an adjustment for PG13.
In 2019, if George is not already playing in purple and gold, he will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as the team is already geared up to sign one or even two superstars in 2019.
3 Kevin Durant - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant made sports headlines all over the country when he decided to sign with the already championship made Golden State Warriors. Joining the star studded team, the hate was real for the former MVP in Durant, as it really was an odd move joining such a great team already. But hey, who are we to judge, as KD got the last laugh as he took home Finals MVP honors as he and the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in just five short games. People thought the addition of Durant was going to ruin the chemistry, but he showed that was not the case as he had the most effective season of his career. Durant signed a two-year extension this summer for below market value. It gives him a chance to rack up more championships, and he could then cash in, should he choose, in 2019.
While Durant may not finish his entire career in Golden State, he will sign back with them in 2019 as they are a top threat to the win the championship for years to come.
2 Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
One difference between former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant? Loyalty. Westbrook was obviously stunned and hurt when one of his best friends in Durant left him for the team that beat them in the Western Conference the season before. Westbrook told fans of the Thunder he wasn't going anywhere, and had the season of a lifetime as he averaged a triple double on his way to winning Most Valuable Player of the league. OKC is a great fit for Westbrook, as he is beloved by all in the city and is going to be the greatest player to ever wear a Thunder/SuperSonics uniform. While the supporting cast will change around him such as players like Paul George, Westbrook is going to be the face of the Thunder for the rest of his career.
1 LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers
This could happen as early as next summer, as LeBron has an opt-out clause following 2018, but we'll stick with his official contract for now, which ends in 2019.
Despite losing Kyrie Irving, Cleveland is in a better position for success now and for the future as they added Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a top 3 pick in next years draft which they could keep of package for another star player.
Even with this awesome trade, I believe LeBron James will play for one more team before he brings his legendary career to an end. Type in LeBron James and Lakers in Google and the rumors are never ending as it ranges from checking out schools in Los Angeles for his kids to calling L.A. "home" in a tweets. While all this could be for naught, Los Angeles would be a epic place to end his career, as the team will be ready to compete for championships when 2019 comes around.
With the market and cap space to sign both Paul George and LeBron James, the Lakers could be the next best team in the West.