The free agent period in the NBA offseason has become another exciting aspect to the year in basketball. Following the often exciting NBA Finals, teams will shift towards the NBA Draft and then the free agent period. Star players have started to migrate over the years with big changes shaking up the league. LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and then leaving Miami for Cleveland were bigger stories than the majority of things to happen during the season. Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors completely changed the landscape of the league this season.
Those examples are quite rare with the majority of elite talent usually staying put. Teams can keep their players by having the option to offer more money than any other team. The players that are currently struggling have the best chance at switching organizations in the offseason. Their teams will be less inclined to offer a max contract and the players may want a change of scenery. The summer of 2017 will see many interesting names hit the market come free agency. We'll look at fifteen specific names that are struggling and the teams they may sign with very soon.
15 Danilo Gallinari: Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are by far the worst team in the NBA this season, but they do have a lot of cap space to spend. Free agency will allow them to overpay a free agent or two in hopes of putting together a competitive team. Danilo Gallinari is currently a member of the Denver Nuggets. His work is impressive, but he's still not living up to his full potential.
14 Blake Griffin: Oklahoma City Thunder
Blake Griffin is still putting up great numbers, so it may be a stretch to say he’s struggling, but he has definitely taken a downturn in recent years. There was a time Griffin was a clear All-Star and a potential top five player in the league. That is no longer the case with a couple of lackluster seasons right before entering free agency in a couple of months.
13 Brandon Jennings: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a loaded roster, but they badly need a backup point guard. They may find a rental this season, but that will only last until the end of the season. Cleveland will look for a veteran point guard that can score and facilitate in a bench role. Brandon Jennings is the perfect man for the job. The New York Knicks don’t give him enough of a role to shine, but he still has the scoring touch.
12 Andrew Bogut: Golden State Warriors
The days of the traditional center are numbered. Big men are required to have a three-point shooting touch and some speed or they will be obsolete. Andrew Bogut is learning that the hard way on the Dallas Mavericks. Bogut fit perfectly on the Golden State Warriors defending the paint because the team could sacrifice his offense with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and others on the team.
11 Darren Collison: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are struggling to find the right man at the point guard position. Deron Williams is past his prime. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are often injured. Yogi Ferrell is unproven aside from one week of good basketball. Dallas will have a tough time finding a difference maker in the offseason and their best bet is to pick a veteran point guard to lead another committee.
10 Nerlens Noel: Chicago Bulls
Nerlens Noel does not have a role worthy of his talent on the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid will be their center of the future, while Ben Simmons is another taller player that will want to spend some time in the paint. The 76ers are just not the right team for Noel to progress. His defensive skills and athleticism make him an impressive asset if he's placed in the right system.
9 Deron Williams: Utah Jazz
Things ended poorly for Deron Williams with the Utah Jazz. Williams was the face of the franchise for many years before growing unhappy. Utah dealt him to the Brooklyn Nets and the fans never forgave him for it. However, in the end, fans typically forgive their former star players as time heal all wounds. Williams is struggling badly on the Dallas Mavericks after a depressing decline over the past few years.
8 Andre Iguodala: Boston Celtics
Andre Iguodala was the NBA Finals MVP for the Golden State Warriors just a couple of years ago and one of the most important pieces to their dominant run. However, his role is much less significant now following the signing of Kevin Durant to completely change the dynamic. Iguodala is entering free agency this upcoming summer and it is unlikely he will take a pay cut at this stage of his career like Golden State will want.
7 Tyreke Evans: New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are in a tough place right now. Phil Jackson wants to trade Carmelo Anthony. Derrick Rose will likely be off the team by the offseason. They will badly need new talent, but will have a tough time attracting free agents. The best bet is to go after a talented player that is currently at their lowest value.
6 Greg Monroe: Charlotte Hornets
Greg Monroe's time in Milwaukee has been a massive disappointment due to the league changing. He's at his best when he can post up in the paint and score that way. Most teams are going against that style of play. Michael Jordan is one old school mind that still values the traditional center, but the Charlotte Hornets do not have a strong option at the center position right now.
Jordan will likely be the one owner aggressively trying to convince his General Manager to sign Monroe. The fact that Monroe’s value will be quite low will help the Hornets find a contract that could fit their budget. Monroe will struggle to find a new starting position in the NBA, but Charlotte is one potential fit for him to start over. Of course, this is all contingent on Monroe not exercising his player option for next year.
5 Rudy Gay: Miami Heat
An injury has ruled out Rudy Gay for the remainder of the season, but it was already apparent that things with the Sacramento Kings weren’t going well before this. Gay has a player option, but we don't expect him to want to stay in California. One team that is always looking to get the best out of untapped talent and will look for a great diamond in the rough is the Miami Heat.
4 Serge Ibaka: Memphis Grizzlies
Serge Ibaka is having a terrible time fitting in with the Orlando Magic. His long tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder allowed him to get used to winning. That ended when Orlando acquired him in a trade last summer and failed to implement him into the game plan well. The Magic are still an afterthought in the Eastern Conference and Ibaka will be a free agent in a few months.
3 Derrick Rose: Philadelphia 76ers
Derrick Rose's career went downhill following years of injuries to his knees causing his play to regress. Rose can still be a competent scorer, but he is struggling on the New York Knicks. Fans hoped to get MVP Rose, but instead are getting a slightly above average point guard. Rose will likely have to find a new team when he enters free agency in July.
2 Chris Bosh: Toronto Raptors
Chris Bosh's future is in question with various health issues in play. Bosh wants to return to the NBA but the Miami Heat consider him a health risk and won’t allow it. Miami won’t release Bosh in time to let him sign with another team this season, so next season is the earliest we’ll see him. The talented power forward has struggled with accepting retirement.
1 Dwyane Wade: San Antonio Spurs
Dwyane Wade returning home to play for the Chicago Bulls has not worked out. Chicago is struggling to play .500 basketball, there is turmoil all over the franchise and Wade’s numbers aren’t impressive. The odds are definitely in favor of Wade leaving the Bulls to join a better team in the offseason, as he holds a player option for next year. Wade only has a few years left as a starting caliber player and will want to play for a contender.
The San Antonio Spurs may very well be the perfect fit. Pau Gasol’s contract coming off the books would allow them to offer another noteworthy star a short term deal. Wade has spoken positively about Gregg Popovich and he would improve the team. Danny Green could easily move to the bench and Wade’s would have a chance to add another ring to his resume.
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