By the end of next summer, there are going to be a few of the NBA's biggest stars putting on brand new uniforms as they head into the 2019-20 season. That has a lot to do with the stacked lineup of upcoming free agents in 2019 that could possibly include a few of the league's biggest stars if they decide to opt-out of their final year on their current deals using the very powerful player option.
But what is a free agent worth to a franchise? How many millions of dollars will it cost to lure some of the league's best players to switch teams? Are any players willing to make a move without a sense of security, knowing other free agents or stars will join him?
There are too many questions that are hard to answer because money is not always the factor in the decision-making process of a NBA free agent. A few summers ago, no one expected Kevin Durant would sign with the Golden State Warriors, but he did and changed the balance of power in the league overnight.
Beyond the 2019-20 season, there are also a ton of free agents that will be available in the summer of 2020 too. So let's take this time to analyze the next two summers of NBA free agency by looking at the top ten in each of the next two seasons.
20 2019: Ricky Rubio - New Orleans Pelicans
When Ricky Rubio was first drafted, in 2009, he was going to become the league's next big superstar point guard because of what he had already been doing in Spain, when he was much younger.
But his transition to the NBA wasn't pretty and it ended up changing his game completely. He had to find ways to adapt to the team's he played for if he was going to survive in this league. So, although he was never a scorer, he would always look to pass first, he is still capable of it on any given night of the week.
19 2020: Harrison Barnes - Dallas Mavericks
When Harrison Barnes left the Bay area to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, many analysts thought it was a bad move. But then the Warriors signed Kevin Durant and it seemed as if he knew all along he should find himself a new place to work before being rejected by his team and losing value in the process.
He will be just 28-years-old in 2020 and has already proven that he has the ability to be a star in this league, regardless of where he plays. He should remain in Dallas, however, because who wouldn't want to play alongside Luka Doncic?
18 2019: DeAndre Jordan - Dallas Mavericks
At 30-years-old, DeAndre Jordan has consistently shown us that he is one of the NBA's top-three rebounders, and has been for nearly six years. During that time frame, he has averaged 11.8 points and 14.2 rebounds per game while also adding 1.9 blocks too.
But why would he leave the Dallas Mavericks when he tried to sign with them two different times already?
The fact that he will be 31 makes him a dangerous free agent because he is mostly a rebounder these days and cannot shoot, at all. So he slows down the offense and could become expendable.
17 2020: Paul Millsap - Denver Nuggets
When Paul Millsap decided to leave the Utah Jazz and sign with the Atlanta Hawks, it seemed like the right move for him at the time because the money was there and it was very good.
The reason he will find himself a home in 2020 is because he has always been able to score 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block per game night after night. He might be 35 by the time he becomes a free agent in 2020, but he could still give some NBA teams enough of what they need on the defensive side of the floor.
16 2019: Enes Kanter - New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are still waiting to see what happens with Kristaps Porzingis before making a long term decision on their future starting center. However, in the meantime, they have found a pretty solid contributor with Enes Kanter.
Enes Kanter does not do things that are flashy or marketable. He just goes out there, night after night, and plays hard, tough defense while also adding around 14 points and 12 rebounds per game. If he keeps up the season he is currently having, he could find himself signing a nice sized deal to stay in New York.
15 2020: Kyle Lowry - Toronto Raptors
Time is running out for Kyle Lowry and he will be 34 before the summer of 2020, where he becomes a free agent. Although we have still seen NBA teams sign large deals with older point guards like Chris Paul and Goran Dragic.
The biggest difference between Kyle Lowry and the other elite point guards is that none of them were 34-years-old when they signed a long term deal. He might have to sign a discounted deal to stay with the Raptors or go elsewhere and sign for even less.
14 2019: Tobias Harris - Los Angeles Clippers
When Tobias Harris was offered a five-year extension worth $80 million last summer to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, he turned it down. The move was a very good one because if he can continue playing at such a high level this year, and leading the Clippers to the playoffs, he will be able to bring in an even bigger deal next summer.
As he continues to improve, his value also grows. Because he is a power forward, his ability to score from anywhere on the court makes him a very valuable asset for teams in the Western Conference looking to compete for an NBA title.
13 2020: Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
For the first time in his career, Andre Drummond finally has a teammate, Blake Griffin, that alleviates some of the defensive pressure he was dealing with the last few years.
The addition of Griffin has given Andre the ability to increase his scoring, which he has by almost three more points per game than any other season in his career. He is already an elite rebounder, averaging around 15.0 points per game. If he continues to get better at putting points on the board, he could become the top free agent in the entire list of 2020 free agents.
12 2019: Klay Thompson - Los Angeles Lakers
As of now, there is many questions about where Klay Thompson is going to end up playing after next summer. Most analysts predict he returns to the Golden State Warriors at a discounted rate but money is money and he would have to turn down plenty of it to remain in San Francisco.
If he leaves the Warriors, it would have to be a pretty big offer that would lure him away from them. Or maybe if he decides to go join LeBron James and return to his hometown in Southern California, maybe then he could surprise us even more.
11 2020: Gordon Hayward - Houston Rockets
Last year, during his first game ever as a Boston Celtic, Gordon Hayward injured his leg and out for the rest of the year. It took him a long time to recover but he fought his way back to health and has returned this season but has not been able to return to his former glory.
He is struggling to find his way and is averaging around 11.0 points, about half of his normal season average in points, while finding other ways to get involved on the court. He has increased his rebounds and assists per game but one of his biggest contributions is his ability to score.
10 2019: Jimmy Butler - Philadelphia 76ers
Now that Jimmy Butler got his wish, to be traded away from the lazy Minnesota Timberwolves, there is going to be very little mystery over where he plans on signing with after this season when he opts out of his current deal.
The Philadelphia 76ers have already made it very clear that they plan on signing him to a long term deal when the timing is right and he already looks as if he has found himself a home where he can truly excel at.
9 2020: Mike Conley - Memphis Grizzlies
The only player on our list that has an ETO, early termination option, is the underrated point guard from the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Conley, who was once the highest paid player in all of professional basketball.
The Grizzlies saw him as a player they could not win without and they were right. Especially when he spent most of last season battling injuries. Now that he is healthy again, he is back to averaging over 20 points per game while contributing in every other aspect as well. His defense is more valuable than anything else.
8 2019: Kyrie Irving - New York Knicks
The jury is still out on whether or not Kyrie Irving is going to stay in Boston after the 2018-19 season. But if he does, he would be rewarded with a nice payday. It could cause a chain reaction that causes the Celtics to release players like Al Horford however.
After growing up in New Jersey, and playing basketball in and around the New York area, rumors are spreading that Irving could wind up signing with the New York Knicks to get back to his hometown.
7 2020: DeMar DeRozan - Los Angeles Clippers
When DeMar DeRozan was traded to the San Antonio Spurs this past summer, it was a surprising move that many people did not see coming. But he embraced it and has continued to play the same game he has always played.
He is going to score a lot of points every night while also adding some tough defense and the ability to make big plays. He has struggled to help the Spurs win games this season but that is not all his fault. If he can find his footing in the next two years, he could wind up staying in Texas.
6 2019: Kemba Walker - Milwaukee Bucks
Unfortunately for Kemba Walker, if he thinks he is going to be able to sign a max contract with any team he chooses next summer, he may be shocked when his list of suitors shrinks down to two. The Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets are the most likely landing spots for Kemba due to various factors.
For one, he is a point guard that needs to take a ton of shots to be successful. He would not be a good fit for a team that already carries a high scoring guard or forward. If he has to share floor space with another big scorer, he could wind up becoming a bust.
5 2020: Hassan Whiteside - Washington Wizards
Two seasons ago, Hassan Whiteside emerged as one of the league's premier center while exploding for 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game averages that year. He has not been able to replicate those numbers yet but has also been dealing with various injuries.
When he becomes available in 2020, he will be 31 and still one of the NBA's best bets at the center position. Although he could wind up sticking around in Miami, there is just too many teams looking for a big time defensive center that can score, and Hassan is that man.
4 2019: Kawhi Leonard - Los Angeles Lakers
It is no secret that Kawhi Leonard has no intention on sticking around Toronto after this season. In fact, many pundits except him to take his talents to Los Angeles to either join LeBron James and form a dangerous duo while others have him going to the Clippers, just so he can remain in LA but not play behind the shadow of King James.
If he continues to play like he has to start this season, he might be convinced that he belongs in Toronto, playing for a an Eastern Conference team that is the best in the NBA.
3 2020: Draymond Green - Golden State Warriors
There are reasons why Draymond Green does not belong this high on our list, but there are also reasons why he should remain in the top five.
That is his career in a nutshell. He does not do things pretty or perfect, but he does them consistently and is the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors. He consistantly averages around 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game for his career. There are only 22 players in NBA history to average these numbers other than Draymond Green.
So when the Warriors have to decide on whether or not to resign him in 2020, they should consider how important winning championships are to them.
2 2019: Kevin Durant - Golden State Warriors
Now that LeBron James has found himself a home with the Los Angeles Lakers, there is another superstar that is playing on very short deals with player options, allowing him to opt-out of the deal before the final year of the contract.
Kevin Durant has decided to skip any long term deals and play on much shorter ones, giving him more freedom to make choices about his future in the league. But that has given the Golden State Warriors a ton of stress as they have to plan around the idea that he may not stay for another season if they aren't careful with him and his ego.
1 2020: Anthony Davis - New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are running out of time if they plan on keeping Anthony Davis around. They have already tried by signing Jrue Holiday for the long-term and trading Nikola Mirotic last year. This past summer, they made some good moves and grabbed a few other players like Julius Randle, who is having a career year.
But they are still losing games and have not been able to find a way to string together a bunch of wins. Anthony Davis continues to have a record season but the rumors are flying all around about how he might be heading to LA to join LeBron James, only time will tell.