NBA Executives Weigh In on 2023 Free Agent Class: ‘A Lot of Key Pieces in Play’

James Harden

Getty James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers.

While the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat are preparing for the 2023 NBA Finals, every other team around the league has switched to offseason mode.

Front offices have shifted their attention to the draft and free-agency period, as they’re both less than a month away.

What do NBA executives think of this summer’s free agent class?

Executives Are Split on This Class

“It’s a very weak class,” an Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “I assume the big names and restricted free agents are staying [with their current teams].”

After talking to several NBA decision-makers, it quickly became clear that this year’s free agent class is polarizing. Some teams are more excited than others for the NBA’s free agency period to kick off on June 30.

“I think this is a very good class, with a lot of implications on the Western Conference in general, and for several teams [in particular],” a Western Conference scout told Heavy Sports. “A lot of key pieces are in play.”

While it’s true that there isn’t a ton of star power in the 2023 free agent class, there are a number of quality role players available.

“This class has a small group of star-level players who are aging out a bit and a strong group of rotational pieces,” an Eastern Conference general manager explained to Heavy Sports.

With the NBA incentivizing contract extensions in the new
Collective Bargaining Agreement
, it’s possible that we’ll see fewer star-studded free-agent classes in the future. Previously, teams could only offer players a 120% raise in the first year of an extension, but now they can offer a 140% raise. This could lead to more extensions and fewer big-name players hitting free agency.

“This free-agent class is a reflection of what future classes could look like with the new extension rules,” the East general manager added. “There will likely be even more extensions done moving forward with the new rules, which will water down the free-agent classes.”

Also, under the previous CBA, teams were limited to only two players on a designated super-max contract. The new CBA removed these restrictions, which will make it easier for teams to lock up their franchise cornerstones on super-max deals and prevent them from ever hitting free agency.

Which Players Are Available?

Nikola Vucevic of the Bulls faces off against Brook Lopez of the Bucks

GettyNikola Vucevic of the Chicago Bulls faces off against Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The top names in this free-agent class are James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Fred VanVleet, Khris Middleton, Kristaps Porzingis and Draymond Green.

But, as the East GM mentioned, there are also quality rotation players including Brook Lopez, Jakob Poeltl, Cameron Johnson, Nikola Vucevic, Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma, Austin Reaves, Josh Hart, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Rui Hachimura, Gary Trent Jr., Bruce Brown, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Russell Westbrook, P.J. Washington, Tre Jones and Caris LeVert.

Entering this offseason, the following teams project to have the most cap space: the Houston Rockets ($61 million), San Antonio Spurs ($40-48 million), Utah Jazz ($31-45 million), Orlando Magic ($22-58 million), Charlotte Hornets ($27-37 million), Oklahoma City Thunder ($31 million), Detroit Pistons ($30 million) and Indiana Pacers ($28 million).

Be sure to check out Heavy Sports’ 2023 NBA free agency rankings, including analysis of each player hitting the open market and the latest rumors about their impending free agency.

Alex Kennedy is the Chief Content Officer at

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