Predicting NBA Free Agency: The Top 35

Disclaimer: These predictions were made as of 6/12/19. They were made with the salary cap in mind, all reasonable cap holds and renouncements taken into consideration, and were not made with the impression of any trades that have not already taken place being necessary for the signings to occur.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Kevin Durant – The injury has clearly muddied the waters on the Kevin Durant situation. After a lot of thought, I still believe the Knicks would offer him the same deal I originally thought, but I no longer think he’ll have any player options. Originally, many thought Durant would simply opt-in to his 2019-2020 player option with GSW for $31.5 million, but reports are Durant is so highly desirable that teams are still likely to offer him a max even with the injury recovery factored in. This seems like it actually may have helped the Knicks in their pursuit of KD. Reports also seem to indicate franchises are prepared to not include heavy injury language or team option type of restrictions in an offer to Durant.

Kawhi Leonard – I projected he would stay when The Finals were at 1-1. I think he stays regardless of the outcome, mainly because he clearly looks worn down, and the Raptors managed his playing time during the season admirably. I think he rewards them for both taking the risk and for not completely running him into the ground. He also wants to lock up as long and as prosperous a contract as he can rather than bet on himself on a shorter deal and potentially sustain further injury.

Klay Thompson – Klay is the other name heavily impacted by the Durant injury. Does this force GSW to be even more aggressive in their pursuit of Klay? I still think he’s served his time there and doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Steph for his entire prime, but if there was any thought GSW might get cute with their offer to Klay and expect a hometown discount, that may have gone out the window. Still, I don’t believe the Clippers are striking out in free agency, and the attractiveness of Los Angeles and a four-year max will land the other Splash Brother.

Tobias Harris – The news of the Nets and Kyrie Irving’s mutual interest makes me think the Sixers are now the favorite to retain Harris. The Nets seemed like the biggest threat to lure Tobias away. If for some reason the Kyrie rumors are false, and he ends up a Knick, I’d consider the Nets and Sixers about even.

DeMarcus Cousins – Cousins had flashes of his former self as a Warrior but remained set back by injuries. I think he takes another one year “prove it” deal to both chase a ring and continue to have the ability to try and get back to form. That will allow him to look for a better long term deal next year, assuming he can finally get fully healthy.

Al Horford/Marc Gasol – As noted in the key above, both have expensive player options that I can’t imagine they would turn down at their age. Horford is due $30 million and Gasol $25 million. I think both would entertain the idea of turning those options into 2-3 year deals at just under $20 million a season to ensure they are well paid for the remainder of their playing days.

Bojan Bogdonovic – As Austin Krell mentioned in his Free Agency Prediction piece, Bogdonovic is reportedly being pursued by the San Antonio Spurs. While he absolutely feels destined to play for Pop, I don’t imagine San Antonio would offer him any more than Indiana would, and as they could go over the cap to retain him, I think they would match any deal offered by the Spurs or beat it, and Bojan will remain.

Malcolm Brogdon – As Utah seems very likely to not retain Ricky Rubio, they also are one of the teams who can fairly easily create cap space through releasing some dead weight such as Derrick Favors and the aforementioned Rubio. Brogdon seems like a perfect fit alongside Donovan Mitchell: a point guard who isn’t a primary scorer, but can play off the ball as a super efficient spot up shooter and defender to counterbalance the sometimes inefficient Mitchell.

Nikola Mirotic – One of the biggest wild cards in free agency in my opinion, Atlanta seems like a terrific fit for Mirotic. Mirotic can spot up in the corner and be the perfect drive-and-kick partner for Trae Young.