The NBA season is finally over, and we could’ve all predicted this outcome eight months ago; the Golden State Warriors are, once again, champs. Obviously LeBron speculation was rampant following the Cavs’ blowout loss in Game 4, but there are plenty of other marquee free agents out there that should make things interesting this summer. Let’s run through a list of them and maybe predict where they will go (or at least where their best fit is).
For the sake of not writing a 3000 word article, I have decided to trim my list to only those I deem potential game-changers; players who would make an immediate, deliberate impact on whichever team they go to. Before we start, I will shout out to the following players who didn’t make my game-changers cut but are still notable free agents: Rodney Hood, Jusuf Nurkic, and Carmelo Anthony. I love two of these guys because they bring a wide range of talents, but the third is really just someone you pick up if you DON’T want to win a championship (I think you can all decipher which players are which).
Oh and one more note; for those of you financial nitpickers, I am not taking money into consideration when formulating these predictions. Let’s just have fun here.
Some may doubt that he is a top point guard, but the man proved he can lead a team to the Playoffs. He clearly showed in L.A that he is back to full health, and his combination of quickness and finishing ability, along with a natural eye for running the point, make him an All-Star option for any team looking for a leader.
Where he might go: Back to the Lakers, maybe the Cavs if LeBron leaves?
Where he should go: (assuming he wants to play for a winning team): Pistons (and replace Reggie Jackson the misfit), Rockets (if CP3 leaves), Pacers, Bucks
I know, I know. Most of you probably don’t even recognize this name. Well allow me to fill you in. Evans is only 28, runs the point forward like he was born for it, averages 20-5-5 every year and plays outstanding perimeter defense. He’s like if Draymond Green was a little smaller and could shoot better. This guy has made all his teams better, and he would be a great pickup for any playoff squad. Many thought he would even be traded during the season, but t’was not the case so let the bidding begin.
Where he might go: Cavs (if LeBron leaves), 76ers, Celtics
Where he should go: Clippers, Wizards, Pelicans, Pistons, Pacers, Heat, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Spurs (assuming Kawhi is out)...this guy honestly fits anywhere. He’s just a baller.
Capela has transformed himself into your classic elite bigman over the past few seasons, though some may wonder how productive he’d really be without James Harden. Capela possesses all the qualities you want in a center (agile, can score, lob finisher, defensive stopper, athletic), so he could really go anywhere and play in any system. But why would he leave Houston?...
Where he might go: Houston, Cavs (if LeBron stays), Clippers (assuming DeAndre Jordan bolts), Lakers (if Julius Randle and Brook Lopez leave)
Where he should go: Houston, Warriors (this is a huge stretch, but they don’t have a true center), Heat (if the Hassan Whiteside situation doesn’t improve), Bucks (just because that would be fun), Pelicans (if Boogie Cousins leaves)
Basically a more polished, experienced version of Capela, so I’d really say his options are also very similar (except I don’t believe he will ever be seen in a Clippers uniform again after last season).
Where he might go: Houston (if Capela leaves), Cavs (if LeBron stays), Lakers (if both big men leave)
Where he should go: Houston, Cavs, Lakers, Heat, Pelicans
Arguably the most talented center in the game, Boogie will have his share of suitors. I would even say that some teams may be willing to ditch their current centers if they have the money to bring Cousins in (I know I said I wasn’t considering money earlier). He can really do it all (except keep his mouth shut), so I for one will be very interested to see where he lands as he can transform a number of teams.
Where he might go: Houston (if Capela leaves), Mavericks (they reportedly are very interested in Cousins), Pelicans, Lakers (if the bigmen leave)
Where he should go: Pelicans, Mavs (to prove himself post-Achilles tear), all the other teams mentioned for Capela and Jordan honestly
Well we know where he’s NOT going...haha sorry Thunder fans. George is the third-best wing behind Kevin Durant and LeBron (probably), so the man could go anywhere and do anything. We’ve all heard the popular rumor though…
Where he might go: Lakers
Where he should go: Cavs (if LeBron leaves), Wizards, Raptors, Rockets, back to Indiana (hot take), Spurs (if Kawhi leaves), Trail Blazers
The best-free agent point guard, Paul proved he can still play in his thirties. I would have to believe, however, that his no growing history of hamstring injuries might lessen his value on the open market. Nevertheless, he is an elite player who can both lead and carry a team, two traits you rarely see meshed together. But, like Capela, his best shot is to remain put, not get injured, and possibly, finally take one from the Warriors.
Where he might go: Houston, Lakers (there’s a rumor LeBron might bring the both of them there)
Where he should go: Houston
I don't need to do any convincing here of how good he is. Let's just do some predicting.
Where he might go: Houston, Lakers, Cavs
Where he should go: Houston, Cavs