Before I begin, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Stephen Curry won’t be included in this list. Of course they are available but neither are leaving their respective organizations, yet. Carmelo Anthony also isn’t mentioned with his New York Knicks future merely over; his options to move are still so vast. Other stars like Paul George and Gordon Hayward also have their NBA futures up in the air. So lets detail where I think a few top players could go and contend for a NBA Championship.
Even though Paul George isn’t a free agent, his NBA future is in question. After reports came out that George wanted to go to Los Angeles after his contract, the Indiana Pacers are now reeling. They’re stuck with the option of whether to believe the rumors and trade him before end of next season or try to improve the team in hopes he’ll re-sign. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers are all in contention for the Pacers’ star.
Landing spot: Either LA Lakers or Clippers. No other team wants just a one year rental.
The Chicago Bulls have been shopping Jimmy Butler for some strange reason. Teams like the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Cleveland Cavaliers are after the All-Star guard. His prowess on defense and scoring ability are what GM’s feel can take their team from good to great. Sources say that Jimmy Butler has talked to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James about joining them and they want him to force a move.
Landing Spot: With multiple teams beating down the door to improve to compete with Golden State, Butler will join the Cleveland Cavaliers as they have the best chance to defeat the reigning champions.
One of the most ambiguous situations of the NBA offseason is where Blake Griffin will land. Multiple teams have expressed in the five-time All-Star forward, but it seems like he’ll wait to see where other stars will land first. After a disappointing 2016-2017 season, the Clippers will look to revamp their roster. The Clippers added Jerry West to their staff, who is one of the best GMs in NBA history, so expect them to acquire free agent pieces. This could mean Blake resigns with the Clippers, but that depends on Chris Paul’s move. Supposedly, there’s a little beef between the two over who’s team it is which caused riffs throughout the organization.
Landing Spot: Blake Griffin could end up with the Celtics or Clippers. If he wants money, he’ll stay with Clippers. If he wants a ring, you’ll see him sign with Celtics.
Just like with his counterpart Blake Griffin, Chris Paul’s future is pretty ambiguous. His options vary from joining up with his “banana boat buddies” in New York to re-signing with Jerry West and Doc Rivers in LA. CP3 is at the end of the prime of his career and has yet to make it out of the second round of the NBA playoffs. Paul has made plenty money in his career so with that, look for him to join or create a contender. The ideal teams would be New Orleans Pelicans, Clippers, Houston Rockets or San Antonio Spurs.
Landing Spot: Chris Paul should sign with San Antonio to compete for a ring. He and Kawhi Leonard would be instant contenders in the West. If they added one more piece they could dethrone the Warriors.
The Toronto Raptors just came off an offseason where they re-signed their top free agent in DeMar DeRozan. But after another disappointing end to the NBA season, they are in the same predicament. Kyle Lowry is a free agent and reports are he “100% doesn’t want to re-sign with the Raptors” even though he debunked them rumors. Raptors President Masai Ujiri says Kyle Lowry wants to come back and with a 5-year $200 M+ max available, he’s likely to stay. With these developments in mind, Lowry’s has plenty of options depending on where he sees his career going. Teams like the Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Pelicans have come up in discussions.
Landing Spot: Kyle Lowry will look to stay where it’s comfortable. Unless CP3 doesn’t sign with Spurs, I foresee him going to SA or re-signing with the Raptors for max money.
Gordon Hayward is the most underrated star on the move this offseason. If he leaves, the Utah Jazz will be in disarray and will need to rebuild. Likewise, teams like the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs could become instant contenders by acquiring the former All-Star. After his breakout season, Hayward could either chase the money or the contender. At age 27, his options are not limited as he’s just entering his prime.
Landing Spot: Boston is able to pay Hayward the max and add him to an already talented team. With his former college coach Brad Stevens at the helm for Boston, the Celtics seem to be his best fit.