It’s the NBAs’ third and most hectic season, the off-season! The time when all teams are created equal, be you the Lakers, Knicks, or Timberwolves (okay maybe not completely equal).
While this summer’s free agent class isn’t as juicy as the potential 2016 class (Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Mike Conley, and Al Horford to name just a few), it still boasts some big names that can help shift the balance of NBA power.
While LeBron James and Dwayne Wade both hold player options this offseason, their names are absent from this list, since there is no way in hell they change jersey this year. When next year’s new TV deal is announced, well… that will be a different story.
For now, we focus on this year and where some of the best bodies may end up once negotiations open on July 1. Looking only at UFAs like DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol (plus Kevin Love – who will likely exercise his opt-out option), it’s a class loaded with front court talent.
Here are our odds for where the top NBA free agents will be in 2016.
Marc Gasol, Center:
- Memphis Grizzlies – 1/4
- Dallas Mavericks – 10/1
- Los Angeles Lakers – 13/1
- Field – 19/1
Along with the Lakers and Mavs, the Spurs and Knicks are apparently putting together presentations for Gasol. But the Spaniard doesn’t sound like he’s in any hurry to leave the only team he’s ever played for. Memphis can match pretty much any offer he gets, plus they offer Gasol a decent chance to win a title if one or two more pieces join the fray.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Power Forward:
- Portland Trailblazers – 7/4
- Dallas Mavericks – 7/4
- San Antonio Spurs – 9/2
- Boston Celtics – 12/1
- Field – 24/1
Aldridge has stated he wants to finish his career with the Blazers but those quotes are carrying less and less weight as free agency approaches. Portland will never be a top-spending team so this on-the-cusp roster may never climb higher than it already has. Not to mention Aldridge is a Dallas-born boy, and his hometown team is the top suitor to steal him away from the Northwest.
DeAndre Jordan, Center:
- Los Angeles Clippers – 1/2
- Milwaukee Bucks – 4/1
- Dallas Mavericks – 7/1
- Field – 24/1
The Clippers are tight against the cap, but have stated they fully intend to work out a way to offer the big man a max deal. Milwaukee has plenty of space to work with and are very interested in the defensive boost Jordan would bring to the team. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Mavs are very intent on improving this off-season: word is they could acquire Jordan through a sign-and-trade involving Tyson Chandler.
Kevin Love, Power Forward:
- Cleveland Cavaliers – 1/1
- Los Angeles Lakers – 2/1
- Field – 4/1
Love’s early playoff injury only seemed to intensify talks he may leave Cleveland this summer as fellow free agent Tristan Thompson performed admirably in his stead. The Cavs will be upping LeBron’s deal and trying to retain most of their role players: Love could settle for a short deal and hit next year’s insane market, or he could leave a team he didn’t seem in tune with for much of the year. The Lakers will be first in line if Love does head for the door.
Paul Millsap, Power Forward:
- Atlanta Hawks – 6/5
- Utah Jazz – 5/3
- Field – 4/1
Millsap and DeMarre Carroll are both set to hit free agency after playing themselves into a new wage bracket. The prevailing opinion out of Atlanta is that they will no longer be able to retain both. Millsap is reportedly looking for a max deal around $18 million per year, a number Atlanta may not be willing to meet. If that is the case, Utah is very interested in bringing back their former second-round pick.
Greg Monroe, Power Forward:
- New York Knicks – 5/6
- Boston Celtics – 9/8
- Field – 80/1
The first player on our list that is all but guaranteed to move to a new team after the Pistons dealt for Ersan Ilyasova. Monroe reportedly has his list down to the Knicks and Celtics. Both teams have tons of space to throw around, although Monroe seems like a better fit in New York. Either way, he should have his ducks all in a row when he can finally sign on July 8.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (DeAndre Jordan) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
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