With free agency set to arrive Sunday July 1st, I expect this off-season to not only get crazy with trades, but possible free agent movement. Every year crazy things seem to happen when the trades start to happen and the first domino falls. Unfortunately this year only a handful of teams really has a ton of money to spend. There is a very good chance none of these come to true, but none the less here are my bold predictions for the start of free agency.
- LeBron James re-signs with Cleveland Usually when a player signs with current team, that is not a bold prediction. However when it come to LeBron James and the media circus that has been covering his pending free agency saying he is going to the Lakers, signing back with the Cavs would be a surprise. So hear me out. The Cavs just went to the Finals with a garbage squad, they are in what seems to be the lesser conference and the front office is willing to spend and trade to accommodate him in any way. I think the Los Angeles is real and he is definitely flirting with going to the Lakers, I think he ultimately heads back to Cleveland. Basketball wise that seems like a smarter move than LA, but he is intrigued at the very least with running to the West coast. In the end maybe I am being naïve in this thought, but I think he stays in Cleveland.
2. Paul George signs with L.A. Lakers The reports are saying George really is mulling coming back to Oklahoma City. But he is from the LA area and has been rumored to be enamored with playing in Tinsel town, that I think he makes the jump. Up until last week I though he was going to stay in Oklahoma City, but then word came about a three-part show showing his free agency that has me thinking otherwise now. In LA, he can become the man again and start build the franchise back up. Only problem I foresee his that either he plays out of position or the Lakers deal some of their youth to get more veteran pieces. I think his decision will come quick to maybe force LeBron’s hands to joining him.
3. DeMarcus Cousins signs with Dallas Gauging the interest in Cousins is difficult as he is coming off an Achilles injury, which will keep him out until probably All Star Break. I think the Pelicans want him back but are they willing to wait and are they willing to give him big money. I do not think he gets Max money, but I think he will get a nice deal and the Mavs have both money to give and patience. The Mavs know they aren’t winning this year, but locking up Cousins and bringing him along slowly with Harrison Barnes and this young exciting back court could be a possibility. This would give the Mavs a big boost heading into the following year.
4. Julius Randle signs with Indiana I feel the Lakers are gonna mess around trying for big fish and Randle will sign an offer sheet, that they can’t match because they are waiting for bigger names. The Indiana Pacers have a bunch of money and are under the radar as of right now. I think Randle is gone, with Dallas and possibly San Antonio showing interest. I like this fit with Indiana as they could be a real low post threat from making a deep playoff run.
5. Isaiah Thomas signs with Utah Not much market for a 5-9 shoot first point guard. However if you need scoring off the bench, he is a perfect fit. The Jazz struggled with the second unit back court and that just happens to be Thomas’ strength. Is it a perfect fit, no, but he is not going to get that big pay-day he wants and I think he would be an interesting pick up for the Jazz.
6. Tyreke Evans signs with Indiana The Pacers like I said earlier have money and are going to use it very smart and find sneaky good players to build around their core. Evans does not really have a true position, but can slide in anywhere from the one to the three. With the Pacers loaded at the point guard spot, he would figure to be a wing if he signed with Indiana. Evans is not a very good shooter but can get buckets and create for others which could take pressure off rookie Aaron Holiday in the second unit. Pacers are going to be hungry to make some low-cost moves to add solid depth and this would be a good move.
7. Derrick Favors signs with Milwaukee I think the Bucks are going to target a veteran center in free agency and Favors will be a top of their list. He is more of a new age center that rebounds and can step out and shoot. He does not protect the basket, which the Bucks do need, but it is a definite upgrade offensively for Milwaukee.
8.Marcus Smart signs with Dallas Is Marcus Smart going to be happy heading back to Boston with a loaded back court trying to get minutes? Probably not! The Mavs will likely offer up an offer sheet Boston will not be able to match paving the way for Smart to head to Dallas. In Dallas, he would be a gritty no non sense guard off the bench playing both guard positions. I really think the Mavs make a splash in free agency with Smart their number 1 target.
9. Avery Bradley signs with Philadelphia Maybe I am reading this wrong, but it seemed like if JJ wasn’t shooting well, the Sixers didn’t play him as much as a starter should get. I think that they would bring him back, but not for $17 million. One name that could be in play is Bradley, who looks to be out with the Clippers. He is a good defender and can hit the occasional three. The only problem I see here is that Bradley isn’t a great three-point shooter and the Sixers may want to get Markelle Fultz into the rotation. Either way, the Sixers are going to need 2 guard help and Bradley will be an option available.
1o. JJ Redick signs with LA Lakers If the Lakers miss out on James and do not get 2 big names, they could sign Redick to a one year deal like he did in Philadelphia last year. This is actually where I thought he was going last year before signing in Philly. It makes sense as they want to win and may get at least one of these names floating around to come play them. Redick is a good fit next to all the pieces currently in LA and can play with almost anyone. He is unselfish and does not need the ball in his hands and when he is open he rarely misses.