The season is over, and the NBA Draft is complete. That means the NBA’s 2019 free agency period is in full swing.
With a talented group of free agents hitting the market, the landscape of the league could change quickly over the course of just a few days. The decision of Kawhi Leonard alone will have a huge impact on the championship chase over multiple seasons, and there will be plenty of other impact players available beyond the 2019 Finals MVP.
Ahead of the summer spending spree, here’s a list of the top 30 free agents teams will be targeting. Get your checkbooks ready …
NBA free agency 2019: Player rankings
1. Kawhi Leonard
Leonard is both the best free agent and the hardest one to read. His decision will likely come down to the Raptors and Clippers. Toronto has done everything in its power to persuade Leonard to stay, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the soon-to-be 28-year-old wanted to play closer to home. (Apparently the weather is nice in Los Angeles.)
2. Kevin Durant
A ruptured Achilles tendon won’t shrink the number of suitors pursuing Durant. He is expected to decline his player option in favor of either the supermax with the Warriors or a regular max contract elsewhere. That’s a hefty price to pay for a player who won’t suit up next season, but even a less effective version of Durant is still an All-Star.
3. Kyrie Irving
With the Celtics seemingly out of the running, Irving could be headed to the Knicks or Nets. It’s possible the Lakers get involved, but their cap situation is complicated. One of the most talented and skilled offensive players in the NBA, Irving is squarely in the prime of his career, but the issues he caused within Boston’s locker room can’t be ignored.
4. Jimmy Butler
Butler is another star who hasn’t always been the perfect teammate at his previous stops, but again, someone will throw big money at him. The 76ers are the favorites to keep him at the moment. With Butler hitting 30 years old this September, though, could Philadelphia come to regret a max deal later?
5. Kemba Walker
It would be hard to fault Walker for staying in Charlotte or leaving for a new challenge. The Hornets hold a major financial advantage with the ability to offer a $221 million supermax. An outside team could more realistically present the chance of winning beyond the occasional first-round exit.
6. Klay Thompson
Let’s keep this one simple. Despite suffering a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson should receive a max deal from the Warriors, keeping the “Splash Brothers” together as Golden State shifts to the new Chase Center in San Francisco.
7. Khris Middleton
Middleton doesn’t jump out quite like the guys ahead of him, but he’s a real difference-maker for the Bucks. They are probably going to give him the max (or something close to it). His shooting and perimeter defense make him the ideal wing in today’s NBA. Plus, he complements Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game extremely well.
8. Tobias Harris
Harris’ age, size, shooting and positional versatility could push a team to put the max on the table, but a disappointing playoff performance with the 76ers (15.5 points per game, 42.5 percent shooting, 34.9 percent 3-point shooting) brings a few concerns. Is he just a player who leads an average team in scoring, or is there another level he can reach?
9. Al Horford
Now that Horford is suprisingly back on the market, he will be receiving plenty of interest from teams needing to fill the void at center. The Clippers and Mavericks are reportedly the frontrunners for Horford, and Los Angeles in particular would love to sign Horford if Leonard is locked in.
10. D’Angelo Russell
A restricted free agent, Russell’s situation is largely linked to where Irving lands. If the Nets sign Irving, Russell can pack his bags. If Irving turns down Brooklyn, Russell could run it back with the Nets. One intriguing possibility: Russell returns the Lakers.
11. Nikola Vucevic
Coming off his first All-Star season, Vucevic is looking to cash in. However, his playoff showing against the Raptors (11.2 points per game, 36.2 percent shooting) could take some teams out of the running. Vucevic is better off operating as a secondary or tertiary option rather than the main source of offense.
12. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins’ free agency will be fascinating. After accepting a one-year deal with the Warriors last summer, he could do something similar with a contender to build up his value, or he might take the biggest payday regardless of where the team finished in last season’s standings. His injury history only adds more questions to the equation.
13. Kristaps Porzingis
More injury concerns here, but Porzingis flashed tantalizing potential over 186 games with the Knicks. It’s unlikely any team pulls the restricted free agent away from the Mavericks. They are prepared to offer a rich deal after trading for Porzingis back in February.
14. Bojan Bogdanovic
“Bogey” quietly had a terrific season for the Pacers, averaging 18.0 points on 49.7 percent shooting (42.5 percent on 3-pointers) in 81 games. He is a shooter with size (6-8), and that’s attractive to just about every team.
15. Malcolm Brogdon
It would likely take a massive offer for the Bucks to not match on Brogdon, who is a restricted free agent. There is a chance that could happen, though, because Brodgon can defend either guard spot while posting 50/40/90 shooting splits. He’s also only 26 years old.
NBA free agents 2019: Best of the rest
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