NBA free agency is almost upon us. Our resident basketball analysts Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick give their opinion on which spot would be best for the league's biggest free agents.
If you’re the Sixers, you just want him to go out West. The Clippers would make a ton of sense. It moves him back to the West Coast without being in the limelight of being a Laker — though that’s certainly also a possibility. Toronto still seems like the right choice, though. He’d have the chance to run it back in the East. He is reportedly giving Toronto the last meeting. With Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka all on the last years of their deals, Leonard signing for a year with a player option for 2020-21 makes the most sense. But as we’ve all learned through the Raptors’ playoff run, Leonard is a different kind of dude. —Hudrick
Few know all the behind-the-scenes details of what led Durant to return from a calf strain in Game 5 of the Finals, when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the second quarter. Regardless, you could understand if Durant has a sour final impression of his time with the Warriors and wants to move on, despite Golden State being able to offer him a year and $57 million more than any other team. Brooklyn would be a logical destination, provided he’s comfortable with the prospects of rehabbing with the Nets’ medical staff. There’s a good chance he’d be able to play with his good friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. —Levick
All signs point to Brooklyn. Irving signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and will be the star with the Nets. Kind of like with Leonard, Irving won’t face nearly as much scrutiny in Brooklyn as he did in Boston or if he goes to the Knicks. Will Durant join him? That’s probably the biggest question remaining in free agency. It would be interesting for Irving to lead the way with the Nets this year and then have to defer to one of the best offensive basketball players of all time the following season. One thing is for sure: anywhere Irving goes will be a better fit for him than the Celtics. —Hudrick
There’s been too much smoke connecting Walker to the Celtics for a reasonable person not to think there’s a fire, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski calling Boston the “strong frontrunners."
Wojnarowski reports Hornets owner Michael Jordan is “no longer determined to extend far enough financially to re-sign his franchise player,” which eliminates Charlotte as a possibility. As an outside team, the Celtics are a sensible choice. Walker would be the star attraction in Boston with Irving poised to depart, and he wouldn't be stuck in mediocrity. —Levick
This would’ve have been a lot more interesting had Thompson not torn his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. As it stands, Thompson is still one of the more underrated players in the league as a dead-eye shooter and an excellent defender. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris got into the fold, but man, Thompson would’ve been such a tremendous fit for the Sixers. Given the knee and what he’s established with the Warriors, it would make the most sense for him to stay with Golden State and continue to build his legacy with Stephen Curry. Both L.A. teams are certainly still in play. Thompson’s recovery is likely 10 months or so, so there is a chance he could help his new team for the stretch run. —Hudrick
Horford has been linked with a number of teams after declining his $30.1 million contract with the Celtics. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst name the Mavs, Pelicans, Kings and Sixers as among those interested. You’d figure the Mavs might have the strongest case, with Horford seeming to fit perfectly next to Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Sixers might be the best team interested in Horford’s services. which could sway the 33-year-old as he seeks his first NBA title. However, Horford might not love the idea of waiting to see what the Sixers do with Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris and having other potential offers disappear as a result. —Levick
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