Before the trade deadline, there was already a big discussion about the upcoming free agents this summer. The New York Knicks traded away their biggest star, the player who was supposed to become the cornerstone of the franchise, all for the possibility to land two or three big stars in the summer. The Knicks are definitely not the only team that have decided to go this route, as the Clippers also traded their star, Tobias Harris, to the 76ers.
But, there are only so many star players that will be free agents this summer, and can choose to join a new team.
Durant is probably the most mentioned upcoming free agent. He originally joined the Warriors in 2016 to win championships, and succeeded twice. This summer, he’ll have the opportunity to win his third ring in the Bay Area. There has been quite a lot of interest for the 2-time Finals MVP, and as Durant has a player option on his contract, the choice is totally his. As of now, it seems like the New York Knicks are the most interested party, but you never know.
Walker will be an unrestricted free agent, and that will definitely mean a huge new contract for him. This is his ninth season with the Hornets, but it might also be his last one. As of now, the Hornets are on a playoff spot, but that will only be the third time in Walker’s NBA career. With his super star qualities, and his third All-Star appearance coming up, him staying in Charlotte is not a done deal. Walker has made clear he’s found a home in Charlotte, but with his hometown team, the Knicks, freeing up cap space, he might choose to leave the hive.
As Thompson is one of the best shooters in the league, he’s proven himself to be a valuable asset and this summer he can get a big contract. There’s a lot of talk about him joining the Lakers, but there’s a big chance he’ll sign another contract with the Warriors.
Harris was just traded from the Clippers to the 76ers, as the Sixers needed extra power to be able to make a difference in the playoffs. As of now, after a couple of games, the Sixers seem to be in great shape with their new addition, but we’ll have to see whether it was all worth it. This summer, Harris will be an unrestricted free agent, but the 76ers think they can convince both Harris, and the other FA Jimmy Butler, to resign with the team, especially if the post-season is in their favour.
Kyrie Irving will also definitely be a player to follow during the free agency period. It has been two seasons since he was traded to the Celtics, and he has managed to prove that he can lead a team. Boston, and especially the Celtics’ GM, Danny Ainge, are convinced Kyrie will stay in Boston, even though Irving said that he’s going to do what’s best for himself.
Both the Knicks and the Nets think that they have a shot to land Irving, and now that the Knicks have cleared the way for some superstars this summer, they might be one of the main candidates.
The Raptors gambled last summer, when they decided to trade for Kawhi. It was a huge gamble, as they had to get rid of DeMar DeRozan, who was committed to Toronto, and had to hope that Leonard was going to resign after one season. As of now, Leonard is refusing to discuss his upcoming free agency, so there’s no way to know what he will do this summer, though he continues to be linked to the Lakers.
Cousins signed a cheap contract with the Warriors last year, after a lot of teams didn’t want to risk it with the Achilles injury. It did take until January before Cousins returned to action, but he has immediately impressed everyone on the court. As he only signed a one-year deal, Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent over the summer, and this time around, there will be a lot of interested parties.
Porzingis didn’t agree on the Knicks’ vision, and decided he wanted to be traded from New York. The Mavs’ decision to get him to Dallas was quite a gamble, as Porzingis is still recovering from his ACL injury, and the fact that he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Of course, as Porzingis is a RFA, the Mavericks have the chance to match every offer for the 7-footer, but nothing is certain. And when they manage to resign the Latvian player, it’s still the question whether he’ll be able to reach his old level.