On the eve of free agency, teams around the league are preparing to make a splash this offseason. They want to add to the excitement and surprise we’ve seen so far. Tomorrow they’ll finally have their chance. There are a lot of great players in free agency this year, but I’ve chosen only the top five players I believe will have the biggest impact on the team they decide to sign with. Before free agency starts, let’s take a look at my top 5 free agents and who I predict them signing with.
1 and 2: Kevin Durant and Steph Curry
Prediction: Both resign with the Warriors
I paired Durant and Curry together because they’re both likely to stick around with Golden State. They may not sign right away, but they will resign. After winning the NBA championship, why would they want to go anywhere else? Sure, they could maybe get more money elsewhere, but their potential to win multiple championships over the next few years is far too great to pass up for both players. Both Durant and Curry are coming back to the Warriors to keep them as the team to beat in the NBA for years to come.
3: Gordon Hayward:
Prediction: Signs with the Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward is a good fit with Boston. I wouldn’t call him a superstar, but he was one of the best players on the Utah Jazz, and will be the same for the Celtics. Pairing Hayward with Isaiah Thomas would give Thomas the help he’s needed on offense. He wouldn’t be required to be the go to guy every time. Hayward coming to Boston would also allow him to reunite with his former college coach. Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward had a lot of success together at the college level, and I think they could do the same in the NBA. The relationship Stevens has with Hayward will be a big factor in his decision. Boston brings in the play maker they’ve needed to help them compete against LeBron James. They may need more, and we should expect the Celtics to make even more moves to try and put themselves above Cleveland.
4: Blake Griffin:
Prediction: Resigns with the Clippers
Blake Griffin has been getting a lot of interest from the Suns. They can offer him a lot of money, but so can the Clippers. If Griffin wants a shot at winning a championship, neither place is his best option. If Griffin goes to Phoenix, he’s not going to be “the guy.” If he stays with the Clippers, he’ll be that guy. The Clippers have been a good team ever since Chris Paul got there, but now he’s moved on to the Houston Rockets. Staying in L.A. gives Griffin a chance to show us what he can do as their best player. Can he lead a team to the playoffs? That’s something we haven’t seen from Griffin since he’s been in the league. If he stays with the Clippers and they make the playoffs, it might change how we see Griffin as a player. He would have the chance to show us that he’s not just the guy who dunked a lot while relying on Chris Paul to carry the team. I think it’d be smart of Griffin to sign a short-term contract with the Clippers, show us what he can do as their best player, and then explore his options after teams have seen how he can really help their team win.
5: Kyle Lowry
Prediction: Resigns with the Raptors
The only team I see outside of Toronto that may have a true need for Kyle Lowry, is the Minnesota Timberwolves. As things sit right now, the Raptors need Kyle Lowry more than any other team. If they want to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference, they need Lowry to stay. The pairing of Lowry and DeRozan haven’t been able to get the Raptors to the top of the Eastern Conference, but they’ve had a shot at it for the last couple of years. Like every other team in the Eastern Conference, their problem is LeBron James and the Cavs. If the Raptors don’t resign Kyle Lowry, they can say goodbye to any chance of beating Cleveland. I think Lowry will see the need his team has for him and choose to stay in Toronto.
Will the unexpected happen again?
After what we’ve seen so far this offseason, I think we should all expect the unexpected to happen. My predictions are based on what I think would be best for each player and the team I have them signing with, but who really knows what’s going to happen? We’ve seen a lot of changes happen this offseason already, and I fully expect that to keep happening as free agency officially starts tomorrow.