NBA Free Agent Predictions
The summer of 2016 is bound to be an eventful one, as fifteen All-Stars will be hitting the free agency. Last year, The Athletes Hub was able to compile about 60% predictions correctly when it came to who would land where last year. Let’s see what the calls are for this year:15. Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG, Los Angeles Lakers)
Clarkson will be a restricted free agent this summer, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see a few offers on the table. The Lakers want Clarkson to remain in LA as they continue to re-build with young talent.
Prediction: According to sources, the Brooklyn Nets will take a run at Clarkson, but I think the Nets would rather have a guy like Rondo. I’d expect Clarkson to stay with the Lakers.14. Chandler Parsons (SF, Dallas Mavericks)
Parsons finally broke out of his shell, and because of that, he will look for a max contract in free agency. With that being said, it’s tough to assume that Dallas will throw all that money his way. If Dallas signs Conley or Whiteside, expect Parsons to be on the move.
Prediction: Parsons didn’t even play a full season in 2016, so it’s hard to say that the Mavs will give him a max deal. I say Parsons leaves Dallas, and seeks a lot of interest in the market. Expect Los Angeles and Brooklyn to take a peek into him.13. Roy Hibbert (C, Los Angeles Lakers)
After another dissapointing season with the Lakers, Hibbert isn’t getting any younger. With that being said, very few teams are currently interested, which is shocking to me.
Prediction: Hibbert has expressed his desire to come back to LA, and it will be about if the Lakers want to keep him. Hibbert took over $15 million in 2015, and will cost a similar amount this year. I say he makes a small pay cut and stays with the franchise.12. Nicolas Batum (SF, Charlotte Hornets)
For teams that miss out on Kevin Durant this summer, Nicolas Batum would be a great secondary option. With not a lot of teams interested, Charlotte has made it clear that re-signing Batum is at the top of their priority list.
Prediction: I believe Batum stays with the Hornets, mostly because he is one of their best players. Expect the Hornets to sign him fairly quickly, before other teams have the chance to bid on him.11. Dirk Nowitzki (PF, Dallas Mavericks)
The long time Mavericks veteran is finally a free agent, and there are a few franchises interested. The Warriors make the most compelling case, and at this age, I’m sure all Nowitzki wants is another ring.
Prediction: Obviously the Warriors would be the place to go for an easy ring, but this seems like a fairy tale more than anything. I believe Dirk stays and finishes his career as a Maverick.10. Mike Conley (PG, Memphis Grizzlies)
In order for Memphis to keep Conley, I’d expect a max contract offer. This would mean on his last year, the Grizzlies would hand over $33 million to the point guard. Conley sees himself as a top 5 point guard in this free agent frenzy.
Prediction: The Bulls may take a peek on Conley, but the real competitor for Conley is going to be the Mavs. I believe Conley stays in Memphis, simply because the Mavericks need to worry about keeping Dirk and Parsons first.9. Dwyane Wade (SG, Miami Heat)
Wade re-signed with the Heat on a one-year deal in 2015 worth $20 million, and everything is pointing to the fact that Wade has no intention of leaving. The only rumor out there is that he leaves Miami for Cleveland, which is doubtful.
Prediction: Wade will stay in Miami, most likely on a one or two year deal. Simple as that.8. Rajon Rondo (PG, Sacramento Kings)
Averaging 11.7 assists per game last season, Rondo would be a great asset to any franchise. Previously the Knicks were Rondo’s place of choice, but that dream was killed with the addition of Derrick Rose.
Prediction: I don’t believe Rondo sticks around with the Kings, but how about the Nets? Rondo has been expressing major interest in Brooklyn, and they seem like a fit as they need a point guard.7. Hassan Whiteside (C, Miami Heat)
There are so many suitors for Whiteside, such as the Lakers, Celtics, Mavericks, Warriors, etc. The Heat have decided that they’ll figure out wether Durant is a realistic signing for them before they proceed with Whiteside.
Prediction: There are going to be a lot of max contracts offered his way, but I think Whiteside actually winds up with the Mavericks (if he leaves at all). They lost out on DeAndre Jordan last year, and I think they catch a stroke of luck in 2016.6. Dwight Howard (C, Houston Rockets)
It’s obvious that Dwight will once again be on the move, as he rejected his option worth $23 million for 2016. Let me start by saying there will be teams interested, but no one should be signing him for close to even $20 million.
Prediction: This one should be an easy one, although anything can happen. The New York Knicks seem interested in Howard, and Howard feels the same way. At this stage, it will be about figuring out the numbers.5. Al Horford (PF, Atlanta Hawks)
From what I see and have heard, teams such as the Lakers, Magic, Pistons, and Celtics will be in on the mix for Al Horford. Horford could see a lot of money thrown his way, but is he really going to move?
Prediction: If Hordford did move, I’d expect the Pistons to be the ones most likely to receive him. For me though, I see Horford staying put on a multi-year deal. The Hawks are consistently successful in the East, and all the teams interested in him are practically re-building.4. DeMar DeRozan (SG/SF, Toronto Raptors)
Toward the trade deadline, DeRozan hinted that the Lakers are who he wanted to play for someday. Afterwards, he was all of a sudden happy with Toronto when they made a postseason run. It will come down to these two teams in free agency.
Prediction: DeRozan can make more money by staying with the Raptors, and his relationship with Lowry appears unbreakable. Expect the Lakers to make a deep run at him, but expect DeRozan to remain with the Raptors. Note also that DeRozan is a restricted free agent, making it that much harder for LA to land him.3. LeBron James (SF, Cleveland Cavaliers)
James brought a championship to Cleveland as promised, but will he pack up and leave again? Teams like Miami and Los Angeles are back in the mix, as James will have a tough choice to make.
Prediction: No way. James is staying and retiring as a Cavalier. Any other rumors posted are most likely false. I could see offers being made by LA and Miami, but I think James will take a two or three year deal from the Cavs.2. Joakim Noah (C, Chicago Bulls)
With Noah becoming a free agent, he may be the best big man available. The Wizards will not even offer to Noah, but the Knicks and Warriors seem to be the franchises most interested.
Prediction: According to sources, Noah and the Bulls are making a lot of progress when it comes to contract talks. I think he will stay in Chicago, but if not, look for Derrick Rose to be a heavy factor in recruiting for the Knicks.1. Kevin Durant (SF, Oklahoma City Thunder)
I think Durant at this point has been connected to every team out there, as he will meet with Miami, Cleveland, LA, Golden State, etc. Durant has a great relationship with Westbrook, but now would be the best time for him to opt out of OKC.
Prediction: The Thunder idolize Durant, and I think he remains with the Thunder. Going to Cleveland or GS, Durant will have a small role in their success. Oklahoma City is home for Durant.
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