Before we know it, the NBA will have a champion for 2016-17 season and people will begin to shift focus to the draft and free agency. I am expecting a big NBA off-season in terms of activity, because of the recent CBA and how high the cap has become. Teams are going to have to spend a lot of money to reach the salary cap floor. There are also going to be teams that try to make a splash, thus they will be looking to add talent to their roster. As a result, we will continue to see players that are considered average by NBA terms, make tens of millions of dollars per year. We will also see all-star players sign $200 million contracts.
Let us not forget there are also going to be some major trades during the offseason. Overall, I do not think we will see anything ground breaking like we saw with Kevin Durant last offseason, but there will be definitely be some interesting moves made. The purpose of this article will be to predict 15 players that are going to go to a different team. A prediction of where they end up will also be made.
15 Jeff Teague - Chicago Bulls
Personally, I would not want Jeff Teague as my starting point guard. Yes, he is a good shooter, can score the ball, and stockpile the assists. However, there are times where it looks like he is giving very minimal effort on the defensive end. Add in the fact that he is a small point guard and this is not a good recipe for a starting point guard on a successful playoff team.
I still think that a non-playoff team or low playoff seed will be desperate and give Teague a lot of money to be their starting point guard. A team like Chicago, who might lose Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo this offseason will be desperate and throw big money at Teague.
14 Greg Monroe - New York Knicks
Greg Monroe has been a disappointing pick up for the Bucks. Monroe does have a lot of skill, but he has slowed down in production and his style of play does not fit the "new" NBA. If you are not going to be an outside shooter, you need to make sure the rest of your game is dominant. Unfortunately for Monroe, he has not really taken the next step in his development to become dominant down low. Remember, he averaged a double double in his last year with the Pistons and has not been able to repeat this.
However, if Timofey Mozgov can get the contract he did, some team will give Monroe a lot of money. My guess is the Knicks will give him a big contract, because it is the Knicks.
13 Danilo Gallinari - Los Angeles Clippers
Danilo Gallinari is a very good player. He never developed into the player many thought he would become, but this can mostly be blamed on injury. Gallinari has stayed relatively healthy this year and that has helped him play very well for a Denver team trying to get into the final playoff spot of the Western Conference.
Ultimately, I do not think Denver will make the playoffs and then the Nuggets will decide it is time to make some changes. Gallinari will be a free agent and the team will let him walk. I think Gallinari will end up choosing the Clippers, a team that had interest in him at the trade deadline (especially since I think L.A. will lose some key players, as you will see in this article). Of course L.A., will have to do some maneuvering with the cap, so maybe it will be a sign and trade.
12 Derrick Rose - Philadelphia 76ers
Of course Derrick Rose will never reach his MVP level again, but he has proven that he is still more than serviceable as a starting point guard in the NBA. He is still able to drive to the basket, create his own shot when the shot clock is down, and be dominant in the fast break game.
The one issue with Rose is the latest setback he had with his knee, which is undoubtedly going to scare teams away, but I still believe there will be a desperate team wanting to make a splash. Do not be surprised if a point guard needy team like the Philadelphia 76ers opens their cheque book for Derrick Rose, especially if they are unable to land their primary targets in free agency. Rose would be a nice veteran addition to this young team.
11 D'Angelo Russell - Indiana Pacers
This seems like it's long overdue. I think D'Angelo Russell being shipped out of town is likely regardless, but if the Lakers are able to draft Lonzo Ball, I think it is almost a certainty. It is obvious the Lakers are preparing for such a scenario by moving Russell to the shooting guard position. To me, this is a test to see if Ball and Russell would be able to form a backcourt together, or just to showcase Russell off for other teams.
Ultimately, I think Johnson will see that Russell is not the point guard of the future for the Lakers and as a result, we will see Russell traded to a a team such as the Indiana Pacers for.. stay tuned to find out.
10 J.J. Redick - New Orleans Pelicans
J.J. Redick is a very good player. He is still one of the game's better shooters and he also is a very good team defender. So why will he not stay with the Clippers? I think the Clippers are ultimately going to fail in the playoffs once again and Doc Rivers will have no choice but to make some major changes. Add in the fact that there are reports stating the Clippers fear Redick's asking price may be too high, and it is very likely we will see Redick in a new uniform.
Redick would be a good fit for just about any team, however one team I can see him playing for is the New Orleans Pelicans, who desperately need outside shooting. The Pelicans would have to be creative to sign Redick and keep Jrue Holiday, so it might be a long-shot.
9 Dwayne Wade - Cleveland Cavaliers
Dwyane Wade can still play, but he is not the once dominant player he was. That is why some people think he may opt in to his contract, to ensure a big pay day. I argue that Wade has made more than enough money over the course of his career and that opting out is not really a big deal to him. Also, add in the fact that things have not exactly been great for him and the Bulls. If you recall, Wade has called out his teammates on many different occasions and he has also received criticism from Rajon Rondo about his leadership. At the end of the day, I think Wade is going to want to play for a championship contender and will be willing to take less money to do so. Look out for Wade to join his good friend LeBron in Cleveland.
8 Gordon Hayward - Charlotte Hornets
I am not sure how I feel about Gordon Hayward as a player. I understand he is a good shooter and can score the ball and there are times when he looks like he could be a game changer. However, there are other games where he has the tendency to disappear. His game is just a little inconsistent and I would not want to pay him a max deal this offseason.
I know there has been rumors sometime about Hayward going to the Boston Celtics, especially because of the college connection with Brad Stevens. However, I do not think Hayward would be that much of an upgrade over Jae Crowder, who is very underrated and plays great defense. I could see a team like Charlotte signing him, as they were interested in previous years.
7 Brook Lopez - Oklahoma City Thunder
With one year left on his contract, I would be very surprised if the Brooklyn Nets do not trade Brook Lopez before the 2017-18 season starts. Lopez is a very good player. He is a versatile big man that can play inside or out. The main thing I respect about Lopez is how he has adapted to the new NBA. He has turned himself into a very capable three point shooter this season. Imagine how much higher this shooting percentage would be if he was playing on a good team with other all-stars.
We have heard rumors of New Orleans and Lopez in the past, but that ship has sailed with DeMarcus Cousins going to the Pelicans. I think a perfect fit for Lopez would be Oklahoma City. Let us see if Sam Presti can pull off more magic.
6 Paul Millsap - Denver Nuggets
I understand the Atlanta Hawks wanted to make the playoffs this season, but if I was in their position, I would have followed through on trading Paul Millsap. Atlanta is not going to win a title with their current core and it might have just been better to stockpile assets for Millsap when they had the chance.
Millsap is a good shooter, can score the ball, and fits the bill of a stretch four perfectly. He can also play the five position in small ball lineups. In the end, I feel a contending team would have given up valuable assets to acquire a player like Millsap at the deadline.
Overall, I do not see Millsap returning to Atlanta, as the Hawks know they cannot win this core. Denver seems like they would be a good fit; a young and upcoming team that Millsap can help.
5 Blake Griffin - Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are already a good team, but they will not be a true contender until they get a better starting power forward. That is not a shot at Amir Johnson, but he is past his prime and up there in mileage. At this stage, Johnson is better suited coming off the bench as a 7th or 8th man.
This makes Blake Griffin the perfect fit for Boston, as he could be the power forward they are missing. As I mentioned earlier in the article, I think the Clippers are going to make significant changes to their team after failing to take the next step in the playoffs this year. As a result, that will leave Griffin free to visit other teams and the Celtics would be a good choice.
4 Carmelo Anthony - L.A. Clippers
As overrated as I think Carmelo Anthony has been in his career, I do not blame him for the disaster that is the New York Knicks. This blame falls mostly on Phil Jackson and management. Whether it has been the constant public call-outs of Anthony, or poor roster management, Jackson has been a very poor general manager.
This summer, the Knicks will finally free Anthony and trade him to the L.A. Clippers. Apparently, a trade was not able to happen at the deadline this year because the Knicks did not want to take on the salary of Jamaal Crawford. I think the Clippers will bend somewhat and trade someone else along with other assets to acquire Anthony. This will put Anthony with Chris Paul, Danilo Galinari (prediction), and DeAndre Jordan.
3 Kyle Lowry - Dallas Mavericks
Before his injury, I thought it would be a guarantee that Kyle Lowry would stick with the Raptors. However, they have experienced tons of success without him and maybe the Raptors will not be willing to give him as much money as they once were. Lowry has already said that if the Raptors present a number he does not like then he is open to visiting other teams.
The other factor is Lowry's injuries. Will the Raptors want to commit long term to a 31 year old that has had trouble staying healthy? If Lowry does walk, there will be many interested teams and one team I think he could be a great fit for is the Dallas Mavericks. Remember, Lowry is from Texas.
2 Jimmy Butler - Miami Heat
One NBA executive has recently come out and stated that it is a certainty that Jimmy Butler will be traded in the offseason. I really am not sure why the Bulls are wanting to trade their best player, but they probably know something we do not. I know that Butler is a great two way player that can will his teams to victories. Put the right pieces around him and you will see a successful team. Unfortunately, the Bulls have not been able to do this, so maybe they try to acquire a good player and draft picks for Butler.
One team Butler would be a great fit for is the Miami Heat. Pat Riley has promised a quick "rebuild" and Butler would be a great start. If the Heat can keep Goran Dragic, a backcourt of him and Butler looks pretty good on paper.
1 Paul George - Los Angeles Lakers
It is pretty obvious that Paul George wants out of Indiana. Why exactly, I am not sure. It is not like the Pacers have sat on their hands. They have made multiple moves to try and build a better team around George. Maybe George is not the superstar we thought he was and he is more of an all-star.
Nonetheless, I see George being traded to the Lakers this offseason for a package of D'Angelo Russell and maybe another player, plus draft picks. However, if the rumors are true and George has his sights on L.A., I would wait until he is a free agent, if I was the Lakers. If the Lakers do not wait, they might end up in a situation where they give up all their assets like the Knicks did for Carmelo Anthony.
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