Written By: Spencer Fielding
With the NBA Finals over and free agency opening on October 18th, the off-season has officially started. Granted, this will be one of the oddest, and possibly quickest free agency periods in recent memory. With this free agency class being decent, a few young stars are hitting the market. Let’s see the top 5 for this upcoming class.
5.) Montrezl Harrell : Los Angeles Clippers
Montrezl Harrell makes this list because of the damage that he can do on both ends of the court. He is a good defender, (1.1 blocks a game last season) and a good scoring punch off the bench as he scored 18.6 a game. He did struggle in the playoffs during this last season, but there’s no doubt that a lot of teams could use Harrell’s service.
I don’t believe that Harrell will be returning to the Clippers. Even though he has spent three seasons with them, it seems like he is on his way out. This seemed to be a difficult season for every player on the Clippers. This could mean they are looking at some seismic changes to their roster. For Harrell, I believe he will sign with the Toronto Raptors.
Harrell and the Raptors have been linked since the Clippers were eliminated and they lost a 3-1 lead. If the Raptors are able to get a big like Harrell, that would definitely ease the pain of losing Marc Gasol. A Pascal Siakim and Montrezl Harrell duo could prove to be very good. Both present a decent outside shot, with the ability to guard multiple positions. This would be a great move for the Raptors at the end of the day.
4.) Fred VanVleet : Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet is going to be a very interesting case for free agency. He is going to a fit with any team lacking an established point guard. As good as he has been for the Raptors, the young guard is primed to make a splash in free agency. It is difficult to see the Raptors offering a large contract to him because they have Kyle Lowry at the same position.
VanVleet will be a very popular guard in the upcoming offseason. It all depends on the draft at this point. With the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks being the biggest suitors, it all depends on the LaMelo Ball sweepstakes. Whichever team selects LaMelo, will not have a need for VanVleet. Either team would have VanVleet start, but if I was VanVleet, I’d be hoping for the Pistons because they have more options in terms of offense. The Knicks have so much to work on in terms of their roster.
3.) DeMar DeRozan : San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan isn’t the hot commodity he once was. DeRozan is a great scorer but that’s never been a problem for the athletic wing. With shooting becoming such an important aspect over the last few years, DeRozan has been less and less needed on NBA teams. I believe he will get a number of high priced offers, but I’m sure it’ll either be non-contending teams, or a reunion with the Toronto Raptors.
DeRozan’s lack of a three-pointer is difficult to add to most teams. He definitely needs to be on a team with a decent shooting frontcourt. If he wants to sign with a contender, it definitely should be the Raptors. They showed during the postseason that they needed a guy that could go get a bucket with ease. DeRozan definitely always has the ability to put his nose down and either get a bucket or get fouled. Add in Kyle Lowry, and Pascal Siakim, and the Raptors can be contenders once again.
DeRozan will most definitely get an offer from the Knicks. I know the Knicks want literally everyone, but the Knicks throw their hat in the ring, no matter how confusing the move is. They’re willing to take on larger contracts like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Those two players are bound to regress and have large contracts that will most likely take draft picks to make the deal worth it for other teams. If I am DeRozan, and I want to win a ring, the Raptors are offering me the best possible chance to win.
2.) Brandon Ingram : New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram is going into the offseason as a restricted free agent. A restricted free agent means the New Orleans Pelicans will have the chance to match any offer that is made. This is something that the Pelicans need to monitor. If they choose to not offer a contract and another team offers him one, he could get hurt that the Pelicans didn’t offer him one. Gordon Hayward was in the same situation back when he first became an all-star. He took that to heart, and he would end up leaving the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics.
I hope the Pelicans make the right decision and sign Ingram. Is he worth a max contract? No. But he’s going to get one from other teams regardless. Don’t be cute, just sign him to one. He had a breakout season for the Pelicans, and he has the chance to become a great player on both ends for them. He would fit nearly any other team.
1.) Anthony Davis : Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis has already claimed he is opting out of his player option and planning to resign with the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t see them losing Davis unless something catastrophic happens. He was just as advertised along with LeBron James. They have a chance to become one of the best duos in NBA history.
If he was to leave the Lakers, the Chicago Bulls would probably be on his list for teams to go to. The Bulls offer a young roster that has a chance to make some other moves to get a co-star with their fourth overall pick, and they have many assets that they have been able to acquire over the years. They are primed for a breakout season with Billy Donovan as their coach. AD would be smart to take a meeting with the Bulls and their young core. Plus, being in the East would be a more simple way to possibly make the Finals.
In the end, it looks like it’s settled that AD wants to run it back with LeBron and I wouldn’t blame him for wanting that. The chance to repeat is such a once in a lifetime thing and this Lakers squad looks primed to make a run back at the title.
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