The 2019 free agency landscape has drastically changed. On Friday, June 14th, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a blockbuster trade. The Lakers sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the number four overall pick and three future first round picks to the Pelicans for superstar forward, Anthony Davis. In the blink of an eye, the market for free agents shifted and all eyes are on Los Angeles.
This free agent class is the best we’ve seen in a long time. Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Al Horford are players to keep your eye on. This article is an analysis of expected strategies and probable landing spots for the marquee free agents of this off-season.
The Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard is on a player contract year. After making his first all star team, I doubt the veteran will opt in for the $13,000,000 player option. With that being said, it’s a long shot that Middleton will sign anywhere else. At the moment, it looks as though Khris Middleton will decline the player option in order to renegotiate his contract with the Bucks. After a career best season, Middleton will look to up his bank statement.
The Boston Celtics are a team torn by two generations. The old guard and the young guard fighting for minutes, the spotlight and just about everything else. While Kyrie Irving has made it clear he plans on leaving the Celtics, Al Horford has remained silent. It makes sense for Horford to leave. He proved he still has ‘it’ in Boston and it looks as though the young guys want nothing to do with the older players in that locker room.
Kawhi Leonard is the only man on the planet who can win a championship somewhere and have me convinced he is not staying there. He may stay in Toronto, but doesn’t it seem like he has no interest in staying there? Wherever he goes, he is getting a super max deal over four years. If you can get a read on Kawhi Leonard, please reach out because I have no idea what he is going to do.
Sometimes, the spotlight is too scary. Klay Thompson has assured us he is signing with the Warriors, no matter what. I have no issue with that. It would be great to see Klay be the man somewhere else and witness his full potential. After getting snubbed off the All-NBA teams, he isn’t eligible for a super max deal. Expect a five year max deal for Mr. Thompson.
It looks a lot like Kevin Durant is going to the New York Knicks. Why? Kevin Durant is an egotistical maniac with no common sense. James Dolan. Those two words should deter any sane person from ever signing their life away to the New York Knicks. It is infuriating. Kevin Durant SHOULD exercise his player option but he won’t. He will leave the Warriors. Why? Because he cares what people think about him. Which is stupid when you have three hundred million dollars in the bank.
Kyrie Irving has narrowed his focus down to the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Before Anthony Davis was in Los Angeles, it looked like he was 90% sold on the Nets. Now, nothing is clear. Kyrie Irving is an enigma, until he signs on the dotted line. My prediction is that he will be a Los Angeles Laker.
I want to believe Kemba Walker will be a Laker, but deep down I know he will sign with the Charlotte Hornets. I don’t blame him. The money is better and it’s a five year deal versus a four year deal. It all comes down to loyalty and the ability to tell Michael Jordan, “I pick LeBron.” I don’t think Kemba has it in him. I am all for Kemba to Los Angeles, but nothing Kemba Walker has said points to anywhere but Charlotte.
Jimmy Butler wants someone he respects. Someone he knows can hoop and hoop with purpose. Someone that wouldn’t ever lose to a practice squad. In short, he doesn’t want to play with children. The 76ers are a team led by kids. Jimmy Butler won’t re-sign with Philadelphia. Of all free agents, Jimmy Buckets is the most likely to become a Los Angeles Laker. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the perfect pair for Butler to mesh into. I predict that Jimmy Butler signs with the Lakers, unless Kyrie or Kemba sign first.
The Los Angeles Lakers have four to one odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals. It’s music to my ears. Los Angeles forever. See you in September.