With the arrival of the legal tampering period, NBA free agency will officially begin. It is already shaping up to be a crazy summer that more than likely will alter the upcoming season. Superstar players will find themselves in different conferences and there looks to be a number of surprises in store that make the NBA the league to watch when it comes to drama.
Kawhi, KD, Kyrie, Kemba, D’Angelo, Butler, and Horford are some of the notable names hitting the market. There is heavy speculation that certain players, Kyrie and KD or Kawhi and KD, are looking to team up, which could dramatically shift the balance of power in the NBA. While the drama surrounding Free Agency is entertaining, the amount of leaks that can be found through reputable sources – Adrian Wojnarowski or Shams Charania – can make proceedings a bit anti-climatic.
Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with the Nets, ending his tumultuous tenure with the Celtics. He never seemed comfortable and going to the Nets may act as motivation to have his best season yet. In a surprising move, the Hornets will be losing their star guard Kemba Walker, who will be moving on to the Celtics. Other notable free agents, Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic, and Kristaps Porzingis, will be resigning with their respective teams, taking these players effectively off the board.
What makes this Free Agency so crazy is that there a number of teams with max slots. The Clippers have room for two as do the Nets and Knicks. They have a number of young players on their roster, which will give them the depth they need to compete in the unfortunate instance of an injury. The Lakers have a max slot but will need to be careful, their roster is barren outside of LeBron, AD, and Kuzma, so spending all that money on a max tier player may prove costly if any of those key players get injured.
There are going to be a number of restricted Free Agents, such as Malcolm Brogdon, who could very well be strong additions to any team that doesn’t land a marquee free agent. He is incredibly efficient and solid defensively, so teams would be getting a borderline All-Star on a relatively inexpensive contract. There are other players, Brook Lopez Patrick Beverley, Danny Green, and Bojan Bogdanovic that will act as instant upgrades to a teams roster.
The sheer amount of options available to teams this offseason is insane. There will be no shortage of drama and could be some surprises in store for fans. Teams looking to make cap space, Houston for example, could offload a number of key contributors to get a shot at a player like Jimmy Butler. This of course would be notable as it would effectively kill the depth on the team and would instantlg create a combustible environment. Great drama for the league, but not for the Rockets as a whole who have been looking to contend for a championship.
With all due respect to every player entering Free Agency, all eyes will ultimately be on Kawhi and KD. If these two players happen to sign for the same team, whether that’s the Clippers, Knicks, or whoever has the cap space, they will immediately become favorites for the next few years. KD is coming off an achilles tear, but he is an offensive talent who can average 20 in his sleep. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of reality for him to bounce back strong and Kawhi could hold the fort depending on the team they both sign with.
If anything, the NBA should look to move Free Agency to before the draft. The legal tampering period is ridiculous as information leaks are almost always accurate. It’s also unintentionally hilarious for rookies to be drafted and then traded but are unable to wear the hats of the team that drafted them. The NBA isn’t particularly forceful when it comes to disciplining teams for tampering before the moratorium, so why not remove the legal tampering period and get things kicked off before the draft.
As the NBA moves forward into Free Agency in 2019, it will undoubtedly affect the league for years to come. The Warriors are more than likely going to lose KD and the defending champion Raptors may lose Kawhi. This would effectively open the door to a new champion. Think about that, no Warriors in the Finals would be an interesting change of pace and this upcoming season might end up being the most unpredictable in years.
Should be a blast.