NBA free agency is upon us. July 1st marks the first day teams and free agent players are able to meet. According to Inside Hoops, this year this period stretches from July 1st through July 8th. While teams and players are able to verbally agree to contracts during this period, nothing can become official until contracts are able to be signed starting July 9th. For example, LaMarcus Aldridge could verbally agree to play for a team on July 2nd, but other NBA teams can continue to recruit him since he has not officially signed with the team.
This year’s free agency class is full of stars. Players include Lebron James, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Roy Hibbert, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, Dwayne Wade, Kawhi Leonard and Paul Peirce. ESPN has a complete list of all of this year’s free agents as well as their classifications. This season, the salary cap is expected to jump by about $4 million to a $67 million cap.
As a reminder, NBA free agents fall into two main categories: restricted and unrestricted free agents. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with the team of their choosing starting on July 9th. Restricted free agents are at the mercy of their current team. While they are able to sign an offer sheet with a competing team, their current team has 7 days to match the offer.
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s key free agents:
While every team in the NBA would love to have LaMarcus Aldridge, there are only a few that have a realistic shot at signing him. The Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers currently are his most likely suitors. Although there are a few additional teams he could meet with.
According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers were the first to meet with Aldridge. The Houston Rockets have reportedly also met with Aldridge.
The Lakers apparently did not leave an amazing impression with Aldridge. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowkski reports that he was not terribly impressed by the presentation.
The Spurs are also expected to meet with Aldridge. Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are expected to attend the meeting. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Spurs are the frontrunners to sign LaMarcus.
The Blazers will also meet with Aldridge to try to retain him. There have been conflicting reports as to whether he has already told Portland he will not return.
Lebron signed a two-year deal last off-season with the Cleveland Cavaliers with the option to opt out after a season. The deal was done that way for financial reason. It is being reported by multiple people that Lebron James will re-sign with Cleveland. The bigger question for the Cavs is which players they will bring back and if they will sign any additional free agents.
ESPN reported that Jordan is tired of being the third option on offense with the Clippers. Will that frustration be enough to have him sign with another team? Time will tell. The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks are two teams that are interested in signing Jordan. The Lakers are reportedly trying to clear enough cap space to sign both Aldridge and Jordan.
It remains to be seen what other teams Love will meet with. It is being reported that while Lebron James would like Kevin Love to return he will not recruit him to re-sign.
ESPN reports that Gasol will not be meeting with any other teams aside from the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks are two potential suitors for Monroe. The market will open up for the Detroit big man after LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan decide which team they will sign with.
Additional Free Agents
Here is additional news and rumors about other free agents. Keep checking Heavy for all your free agent news.