Come August 3, the market opens for the NBA free agency and teams can offer deals to free agents. This batch have talent, especially on the backcourt but contracts can’t be made official until August 7.
Topping the list is Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who, as per reports, is keen on resigning with the Nets. How long and how much the deal will be could be intriguing considering the controversy on his being a part-time player because of his refusal to have Covid shots.
Another free agent who had prior relations with Brooklyn is James Harden. Philadelphia most likely will have to give Harden what he wants as they had already given away Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first round picks for him. The experiment so far had been so-so but Philly can’t afford let go of The Beard and leave Joel Embiid hanging.
Perhaps the most attractive among the free agents is Zach LaVine. Chicago can offer him the the 5-year max deal of $212 million but despite the money, it does not guarantee that LaVine will stay put with the Bulls. Reportedly, the LA Lakers, Portland, Dallas and Atlanta had shown interest but management is willing to pay the luxury tax to keep the core of LaVine, Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan.
Two bigs that the Lakers can use to improve their frontline will be DeAndre Ayton of Phoenix and Jusuf Nurkic of Portland.
Ayton and the Suns couldn’t agree on the rookie-scale extension before the season started so there is a possibility that the big man will be testing the free agent market. JaVale McGee, another Phoenix big, will also be a free agent and he could be back as a Laker next season, noting the team’s recent liking to vet minimum salaries.
Nurkic needs to improve on his defense and perimeter shooting, but he’s a legitimate starter. A good low-post player, rebounder and passer, his inside presence will be valuable to any team needing a frontine improvement. The 6-11 center from Bosnia is only 27-years old and he’ll be a better upgrade than Dwight Howard who had seen better days.
With the way Malik Monk played this season, he’ll be getting a pay raise. He’s the only Laker on the veteran’s minimum contract that did well, shining alongside LeBron James. He could get between $5 to $11 million this coming season and if the Lakers won’t give him what he’s due, he’ll do a Caruso and sign elsewhere.
Other notable free agents are Bradley Beal (WAS), Miles Bridges (CHA), Jalen Brunson (DAL), Collin Sexton (CLE), Bobby Portis (MIL), John Wall (HOU), PJ Tucker and Victor Oladipo (MIA) and of course, LAL’s Russell Westbrook.