The 2019 NBA free agent class is the deepest in most recent memory. In all likelihood, the offseason will be full of surprises and massive deals that will completely change the state of basketball.
There is a real possibility the Golden State Warriors come out of free agency crippled, no longer top favorites for the 2020 title. The New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers have set themselves up to have the ability to sign two superstars to max contracts, making them legit players in July.
It is basically impossible to simply guess how all the dominoes will fall. Lets have some fun and predict what could happen and how it would change the NBA for years to come.
Kevin Durant Takes His Talents To New York
When Kevin Durant earned his first championship ring in 2017, he reportedly thought the world would see him as the greatest player in basketball at the time. In 2019, he still hasn’t accomplished that feat.
Until Durant wins his own trophy with an organization of misfits, LeBron James will still be recognized as the GOAT of the 21st century. Enter the New York Knicks, who dealt away Kristaps Porzingis in efforts to let Durant essentially dictate who the team could sign if he became the face of New York City.
Three rings in three years in the Bay Area will be enough for KD to pursue an even greater challenge with the Knicks, in the easier Eastern Conference.
Kawhi Leonard Stays With Toronto
The Toronto Raptors went all in on Kawhi Leonard and it is working out, so far. After trading for Marc Gasol, Toronto is showing a commitment to partnering Leonard with star talent. With a successful postseason run, it would be hard to imagine Leonard leaving town to pursue his Los Angeles dream.
If you really think Kawhi will play in LA no matter what, think again. The $13.3M mansion he just purchased in Southern California is two hours away from the Staples Center when you don’t consider rush hour traffic. That tells me he sees California as his offseason home and where he will retire; not where he will work full-time.
The Raptors will need to figure out how to swap out Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol with younger stars, but in the end, Leonard needs to trust Toronto and stay in Canada.
For the fun of it, I am also anticipating the Knicks to become a dark-horse landing spot for Leonard, especially if Durant stays with the Warriors.
Anthony Davis Traded To Boston
When Dell Demps decided to keep Anthony Davis in New Orleans for the remainder of this season, he took a massive risk. DeMarcus Cousins tore his achilles a year ago, which shattered his value, forcing the Pelicans to let him leave in free agency.
Demps is praying nothing serious happens to Davis, but surely he is doing it to pursue an even greater trade package than what the Lakers were offering. Jayson Tatum is arguably the best prospect the Pelicans could hope for in a trade, and attached with some players like Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, along with some of Boston’s ginormous stash of first-round picks, you can bet on a Celtics deal in July.
Davis insists on not wanting to stay with the Celtics when he enters free agency in 2020, but once he starts winning big with Kyrie Irving on his side, he will realize Boston is the right place for him, just like Paul George did with OKC last July.
Other Free Agency Moves
Don’t close the tab on this article just yet. We still need to figure out where other stars end up after the three superstars mentioned already find their new homes. Lets give it a shot:
Kyrie Irving: Boston Celtics
Klay Thompson: Golden State Warriors
Kemba Walker: Los Angeles Lakers
Jimmy Butler: New York Knicks
Bradley Beal: traded to Los Angeles Lakers after trade demand
Kristaps Porzingis: Dallas Mavericks (RFA)
DeMarcus Cousins: Los Angeles Clippers
Tobias Harris: Philadelphia 76ers
Khris Middleton: Milwaukee Bucks
Nikola Vucevic: Sacramento Kings
Nikola Mirotic: Brooklyn Nets
Al Horford: Boston Celtics (accepts player option but traded in Anthony Davis deal to Pelicans)
Marc Gasol: Toronto Raptors (accepts player option)
Harrison Barnes: Sacramento Kings (accepts player option)
Goran Dragic: Utah Jazz
Hassan Whiteside: Miami Heat (player option)
D’Angelo Russell: Brooklyn Nets
Eric Bledsoe: Milwaukee Bucks
Terry Rozier: Charlotte Hornets
Paul Millsap: Philadelphia 76ers
Julius Randle: Golden State Warriors
DeAndre Jordan: New York Knicks
JJ Redick: New York Knicks
Derrick Rose: San Antonio Spurs
Ricky Rubio: Indiana Pacers
Trevor Ariza: Golden State Warriors