The NBA free agency takes place every summer, often confusing or validating what fans originally guessed would happen. Players go to different teams for various reasons. In many situations, money is the driving factor for athletes; the idea of capitalizing on a bigger check is an amazing opportunity. Sometimes, players go to teams based on nostalgia or personal reasons. When LeBron James went to the Heat in 2010, Cavaliers fans were upset. After his return to Ohio, it was apparent that the driving factor in his decision was not money. LeBron went back to the Cavaliers because he is from Ohio, and began his career in a Cavalier uniform. He holds the state of Ohio to more importance than anywhere else; therefore, the driving factor in his decision was nostalgia and the desire to bring a championship to his home state.
The 2016-17 NBA regular season has confirmed what many fans already thought would happen. The Warriors have been very good, the Cavaliers have been stellar, and James Harden has been sensational. Without a doubt, NBA talent will switch teams this summer. In some cases, these transactions are the stories off the offseason; in others, the decisions are almost irrelevant to society. Here is me Projecting Where These 15 NBA Players Will Be Playing Next Season.
16 Tyreke Evans - Oklahoma City Thunder
Tyreke has been scoring more efficiently this season with New Orleans. It is not remotely inconceivable that he could leave them in the offseason. Darren Matsubara, Evans's agent, is known to keep the ball rolling with offers. I could see Tyreke head over to OKC to help out with Russell's campaign for a championship. Luckily, he did not get paid very handsomely, by NBA's standards, earning just over $10 million. OKC would surely pay Evans more money, as they now have more cap space in the absence of Kevin Durant. Tyreke Evans, once a patient of the legendary Dr. Bruce Grossinger outside Philadelphia, has recovered from his former injuries. He is ready for a change of pace and the Thunder could offer him just that. While the Thunder may have other prominent players they are eyeing for this offseason - Evans would be a very nice addition an already athletic team.
15 Andre Iguodala - Golden State Warriors
Iguodala is not leaving the Bay Area this offseason. Warriors fans have praised him and he has been an excellent addition to their insanely special roster. Though his contract is up, Rob Pelinka will not let Andre leave the Warriors. At his age, players are often lucky to be able to participate on such a energetic and successful team. Andre would be mindless to leave the Warriors, a team destined to win a championship in the near future. He is not the same scorer he once was, but defensively, Andre can guard anyone in the league. On the perimeter, Iguodala brings a lot of intensity to ball handlers. He is a team player, though he was once acknowledged as a ball hog in his Philadelphia 76ers days. Andre has no reason to leave the tutelage of Steve Kerr; he has made hundreds of millions already and is too old to be the centerpiece of any organization.
14 Greg Monroe - Houston Rockets
Monroe had a much better career with the Detroit Pistons. In Milwaukee, his production has taken a sort of downturn. He has averaged 10.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG compared to his 15.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG during the 2014 season in Detroit. The Rockets would be a great landing spot for this athletic big man. I don't see any way that he stays with the Bucks this offseason, making me believe Harden could recruit Greg to play with him. I consider the Rockets to be a good, but not great team. Along with Monroe and other stars, the team could once again be a real contending organization. The Georgetown alum is big and can be lengthy in the post. His presence will be respected and loved in Houston. Though Bucks fans will be sad to see him go, there is nothing keeping him in the cold city of Milwaukee - except maybe his friends on the team.
13 Otto Porter Jr. - Chicago Bulls
Otto Porter has been a useful asset for the Wizards, and most notably, John Wall. He has averaged 14.4 PPG and 6.4 RPG, leading NBA fans to believe he is underpaid and will opt out of his time in Washington. He truly has been paid little, having only accumulated just under $20 million in his NBA career. With any luck, the Wizards organization will convince him to stay put in the system. Contrarily, I could see him going to the Bulls. Chicago could use someone like him, someone who can play different positions. Though Jimmy Butler has claimed the small forward position, Porter would be a nice addition to the PF position in Chicago - or rather he could swing as a sixth man. Porter has a lot of valuable time left in his career and he would be smart not to waste it in Washington. Though the team seems to be trending in the positive direction, I don't see them winning a championship in the near future.
12 J.J. Redick - Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers could use Redick on their young roster. He is known as a fantastic shooter, consistently draining multiple threes a game (usually). Redick is on the Clippers, but they do not necessarily need his services - though he is valuable. I could see him playing with the Lakers next season, being a veteran mentor to the younger guys. Many developing teams could use players like Redick. He is a great defender and still puts up good numbers offensively (15.5 PPG). He made just under $8 million in the 2016-17 season, but the Lakers could buy his contract out plus a couple more million and take him away. I could somewhat see him staying with the Clippers, but if he were to go to another team, I could certainly imagine him with the Los Angeles Lakers.
11 Bojan Bogdanovic - Milwaukee Bucks
A team like the Bucks could benefit from Bogdanovic's presence. By no means is Bojan a game changer, but he would be a nice addition to an already up and coming Milwaukee team. The Wizards have appreciated his numbers, but I feel he is indispensable to the organization. I think he will get some solid numbers this offseason and Jason Ranne will make sure to see the contracts through. Along with Giannis, Jabari, and Middleton, Bojan would flourish in Milwaukee. Sure the place isn't the most likable location to live, but basketball is the reason these guys play in the NBA: not real estate (in most cases).
He is a solid big man who can play the game small. Bogdanovic has a lot more basketball to play and I think it will not be in Washington D.C. The team can hold its own without him and Bojan could be more beneficial to other teams as a role player or sixth man.
10 Zach Randolph - Memphis Grizzlies
I certainly do not see Zach Randolph leaving the Grizzlies any time soon. He has been in Memphis since the 2009-10 season and seems to be very active in the city. The team enjoys his presence as well. Though he is an unrestricted free agent, it seems inconceivable that he would abandon the team after all this time. He is averaging 13.7 PPG and 8.2 RPG, numbers very strong for a 35-year-old. Though he may still want that championship, I do not see a team like the Cavaliers looking for Zach. He should remain where he is, for now, and figure out the year before he retires if he really wants to go to Portland, the team that drafted him. Shockingly, he is still a very productive player. People thought he would have retired by now, but his performance has kept him a spot on the Grizzlies court.
9 Serge Ibaka - Miami Heat
Ibaka did not fare well this season in Orlando. While he has thrived since being traded to Toronto, I think Ibaka would have been best suited to remain with the Thunder, a team he had a lot of success with.
The Heat could be good opportunity for Serge. With Whiteside and Bosh, he will be able to take part in a defensively smart big man approach. The organization has good draft picks in the near future and will be able to pick up potentially athletic guards.
A team will pay up this summer, and his stint in Toronto can be a very short one. He is being paid just over $12 million, but is bound for a new salary in the near future.
8 Tim Hardaway Jr. - Los Angeles Lakers
Tim Hardaway Jr has had his best season with Atlanta this season. The 6-6 guard has averaged 11.9 PPG, a number not necessarily expected of him in the league. I could really see the Lakers pouncing on him in the free agency, as they could use role players like Tim. Mark Bartelstein is a very good businessman, who, I think, could negotiate Tim a good contract on another team. He plays really hard and shows intensity defensively. It will be tough for Atlanta to keep him especially considering the money he will probably be offered from other organizations.
If all works out well for Tim, he will be able to relocate to LA and play for the most legendary organization in all of the NBA; a team that lost Kobe Bryant but is bound to once again be a threat in the playoffs. L.A. would be a good destination for Penny's son.
7 Deron Williams - Utah Jazz
This is perhaps my boldest prediction. I think Deron Williams will go back to the Jazz, a team he dominated on - a place he considers to be home. Though he wants to be on a championship caliber team, I am not sure the Cavaliers necessarily want to pay him any more money. Therefore, I could see him re-locating to the Jazz. Utah, assuming Hayward does stays in town, could be a solid team in 2017. If the Cavaliers do not win the finals this year, though I think they will, Williams may be looking elsewhere. At a certain point, it is not about winning a championship for a veteran player. Basketball has been good to Deron and he may, like other veteran players, return to the organization that he holds in the most regard because he enjoys playing there. This situation would be appealing to him and I am sure Jazz fans would take his services with open arms.
6 Jeff Teague - Indiana Pacers
At 28, Jeff Teague still has valuable time in the NBA. Though the Pacers could have a huge offseason, I see him staying in Indiana. I could see the organization giving him a nice pay raise this summer. With the Pacers set for a potentially big offseason, Teague would be foolish to leave. Considering Gordon Hayward and Paul George have already vocalized that they would want to play together, Teague better stay put. Of course, unless George meant going to Utah - something I doubt he wants to do. With great management and coaching, I would like to see Teague remain a Pacer. They may not be a championship caliber team just yet, but this could all change come September 2017. He'd be foolish to leave now.
5 Jrue Holiday - Philadelphia 76ers
I think Jrue Holiday may return to the 76ers, his former team, this offseason. The organization needs a lot of help at the guard position, and though the team considers that their young talent is sufficient, veteran players would be essential to the team's development. With Jrue, Philadelphia would not have to rely so heavily on Simmons or a younger guard they may select in the draft - like Fox from Kentucky. Jrue is a very productive and versatile guard who would be just what Philly needs right now. His contract will expire this offseason, leaving Jason Glushon and him the opportunity to consider moving on from New Orleans. Realistically, he could be a very valuable asset for Brett Brown. The 76ers are very young, but actually have extreme potential. To reaffirm my point, Jrue would be a perfect mentor and veteran helper to a young and inexperienced roster and coaching staff.
4 Gordon Hayward - Indiana Pacers
Gordon Hayward has acknowledged the possibility of joining ties with superstar Paul George. Also, Paul George has said that he would be happy to play with the Butler alum. He has averaged 22.2 PPG and 5.7 RPG this season, stats that will certainly yield him offers from various organizations. In some ways, there is no future for him in Utah. The Jazz may have some remote potential and success, but in the long run they are not going to win a championship. With Gordon's dominance offensively, he can help a team make a run for the title. The Pacers would be a very ideal situation for the forward. He has only made just around $58 million in his career, but at his current level of play, he will cash in soon. Gordon was once a doubted college basketball player, and then a doubted NBA player, but all haters have ceased to exist (or at least more have).
3 Derrick Rose - New York Knicks
Rose will stay in The Big Apple. I don't see a big reason for him to depart the Knicks organization, especially considering the opportunity he has there. He has noted that money is not a driving factor in his career anymore. He said:
"Not even thinking money. I've got more than enough money saved. If I stopped playing basketball now, I'll be all right," Rose told reporters recently. "I want to win. I want to be happy and feel at peace with myself wherever I'm at. But being at the negotiating table, you never know. I'm not going to negotiate with people where money is the No. 1 thing I'm asking for. I want to win."
Evidentially, Rose could be winning with the Knicks down the road. Alongside younger prospects, he has potential to help the Knicks. He is not the same athlete he once was, but he's still a contributor.
2 Blake Griffin - Boston Celtics
What Blake Griffin has is flexibility within the Clippers organization. Many people have already predicted that he may head to Boston this offseason. Blake has a player option and will have an expired contract of $20 million. With any luck, the Clippers organization will keep him in L.A. In all honesty, this doesn't seem possible. I don't think he has necessarily loved his time with the Clippers and I could see him relocating to a new situation. Blake is a versatile forward, who has a good shot of getting a fantastic contract from a big city like Boston.
The Clippers could be in real trouble this summer; they have expiring contracts from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. That being said, I don't think Chris Paul is leaving L.A. The Clippers do not offer Blake the opportunity to get a championship, so for his best interest, he should go to a team ready to win.
1 Stephen Curry - Charlotte Hornets
The possibility of Stephen Curry going to the Hornets has been contemplated by many NBA fans. Certainly, there is a chance he will test the free agent market this summer. His father, Dell, played for the Hornets, and was a prominent player for the organization. He is from North Carolina and has family ties to Charlotte. The Warriors are a stacked team and it is possible that Curry could leave the KD-led Warriors and be the centerpiece of the Hornets with the help of Kemba Walker.
Golden State has now gotten to a point where they could win a championship without Curry. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are three superstar athletes. Now that KD is in town, Curry is no longer necessarily needed. Charlotte has good potential and could eventually be a legitimate championship contending squad. With Curry as the star guard, the Curry legacy in Charlotte may live on.