The NBA begins its annual free agent hunt in just a couple of weeks. Here are the top players, teams, and stories to watch as the chaos unfolds for the 2018 NBA Free Agency period.
The NBA’s annual signing bonanza begins on July 1. Here’s a quick rundown of the top stories surrounding it.
Once again, the shuffling begins with the landing site of Lebron James. After making two league-shaping moves from the Cavs to the Heat and back again, all eyes are upon the King as the big day approaches.
And while James has surprised us before, as things stand now he’s already ‘whittled his choices down to two scenarios- making do with what he has in Cleveland or plying his trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. His family’s needs seem to be playing larger roles than during his previous decisions, and they seem to have nixed the chances of new homes in both New York and Houston.
Assuming these rumors are true, will Lebron remain a Cav or head out West to help build a possible super team with the Lakers? The answer will probably depend on how much stock James puts in his legacy compared the importance of chasing another championship.
Staying with the Cavs is unlikely to get him that elusive fourth title, but it’s not clear if the Lakers will have enough to topple the Warriors even if their dream roster becomes a reality. The cupboard might just be too bare in Cleveland, so the early prediction here is that James bolts for Los Angeles.
Destination: Los Angeles?
When Kobe Bryant went down with a ruptured Achilles a few years back, so did the Lakers’ status as a free agent destination. But with youngsters like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle on board, Los Angeles is starting to take on some of its old sheen again.
Though the Spurs slammed the door on a deal with the Lakers for disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers can still carve out the max contract spaces needed to land James and/or Paul George. If GM Rob Pelinka can pull off either or both of these coups, the Lakers will be very much back in business.
That leaves us with the future status of Leonard. Still under contract with the Spurs, GM RC Buford seems intent on keeping him in San Antonio, but he has also admitted that he ‘will explore all options.
While Leonard seems truly miffed at the Spurs organization, we’ve seen much worse relationships be repaired in the past. That’s why the smart money should go on Leonard staying right where he is, at least for the time being.
But in the end, it’s all anyone’s guess. Strange things tend to happen during NBA free agency, and once the big name dominoes start to fall into place, things could get very interesting.