Tag Archives: Free Agents

The Upcoming NBA Season: What to expect, offseason moves and their impact, standings, awards and more…​

What a wild offseason it has been! Starting off with the NBA Draft, we saw Markelle Fultz leave the board first, teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philly, followed by the most prominent name of the summer, Lonzo Ball, be selected by the Lakers at number 2. The Celtics traded down to 3 and snagged Jayson Tatum, potentially the most talented player in the entire draft. Josh Jackson went 4th to Phoenix, and De’Aaron Fox went to the Kings, rounding out the top 5 picks. With Jimmy Butler traded to the T-Wolves, the offseason was off to a wild start. We saw Chris Paul traded to the Rockets to join James Harden, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony traded to the Thunder to team up with Westbrook. Paul Millsap joined Denver to speed up their rebuilding process. Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to join the Celtics, and shortly after, Kyrie Irving was traded in a blockbuster deal for Isaiah Thomas, a first-round pick and more. D-Wade signed a one year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers, rejoining former teammate and good friend, LeBron James.

Big contract extensions were also a big theme this offseason. Kyle Lowry, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook all signed max deals with their respective teams.

So, what should we expect this season? Will Boston dethrone Cleveland in the East? Can anybody beat Golden State? Who will win MVP? Will the Lakers or Sixers make the playoffs?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Five Hot Takes:

  1. Jayson Tatum will prove to be the best player in the draft (he will not win ROY).
  2. Joel Embiid will play at least 65 games and average at least 25 points a game.
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo will win MVP (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).
  4. Brandon Ingram will win Most Improved Player.
  5. Damian Lillard will be an All-Star starter (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).

 

Top Storylines:

  1. The steep decline of Dwight Howard and why he should not be a Hall of Famer.
  2. Why Westbrook’s extension means that LeBron to LA is no longer a given.
  3. Will DeMarcus Cousins team up with John Wall in Washington?
  4. Kyle Kuzma’s emergence as a draft steal—what does this mean for the future?
  5. When will Trusting the Process lead to contending for titles?

 

Players with the most to prove this season:

  1. Carmelo Anthony (needs to show an ability to defend, create offense in transition)
  2. Dwight Howard (needs to prove that he won’t create dissension in the locker room)
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge (needs to prove that he is tough enough to play for Pop)
  4. Lonzo Ball (needs to show the NBA why Lavar is so high on him as an overall talent)
  5. Kyrie Irving (needs to prove that he can be the primary option on a title contender)

 

Standings

Eastern Conference:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Philadelphia Sixers
  7. Detroit Pistons
  8. Miami Heat

 

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers

 

Awards:

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Improved Player: Brandon Ingram

Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside

Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith, Jr.

Comeback Player of the Year: Danilo Gallinari

Points Leader: Kevin Durant

Rebounds Leader: DeAndre Jordan

Assists Leader: Russell Westbrook

Blocks Leader: Hassan Whiteside

Steals Leader: Chris Paul

Most impact on a new team: Jimmy Butler

Least impact on a new team: Tim Hardaway Jr.

 

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics: Cleveland in 7

Western Conference Finals:

Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Golden State in 7

NBA Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors: Golden State in 6

Finals MVP: Kevin Durant

 

What are your thoughts and feelings about this upcoming season?

 

Image via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByVvmw2bbSw

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U-Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

Top NBA Free Agents

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Kevin Durant, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

He’s only the 2nd best player in the world. This Warriors team looks like it has the makings of a dynasty and I don’t see why he would go anywhere else. I hope he leaves, but he won’t. They’re too dominant.

Value: Max

What the Warriors should do: Make sure he has no plans to leave, and max him up.

What he should do: Sign a max with the Warriors.

 

Gordon Hayward, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hayward has evolved into a top 30 player, and really played well this season. He’s certainly a star player, and can make any team better instantly. Averaging 22 points, 5 boards and 4 dimes a game, he is still improving and can become a superstar with time.

Value: Max

What the Jazz should do: Offer him a max contract.

What he should do: Sign with the Celtics, Thunder or Pacers (he went to college in Indiana).

 

Kyle Lowry, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Good for 22 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists a game, Lowry has certainly cemented himself as a top 10 point guard. A smart 31-year-old veteran, he would be great for any team trying to find a “missing piece” in the backcourt. His size can be a concern, but his IQ and talent make up for it. His demeanor is up and down, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a better supporting cast.

Value: Max

What the Raptors should do: Try and resign him, he’s worth the max.

What he should do: Go to the Spurs or stay in the East.

 

Chris Paul, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A seasoned veteran and pure point guard, CP3 can make any team a contender. His great basketball IQ as well as his winner’s mentality should land him a max deal, but for his own sake it shouldn’t be in Los Angeles. He has yet to make it to a Conference Finals, and really needs to make a run at a title, because he is too good not to at least have an NBA Finals appearance.

Value: Max

What the Clippers should do: Re-sign him for less than the max in hopes of signing another marquee free agent.

What he should do: Sign with the Spurs for a bit less than the max.

 

Steph Curry, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A top 2 shooter in basketball and good for 25 points, 5 boards and 5 assists a game, Curry is as valuable as anyone and is a top 5 player in the NBA.

Value: Max

What the Warriors should do: Give him a max contract.

What he should do: Sign a max contract with the Warriors.

 

Blake Griffin, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

His talent is top notch, but his health is a big question mark. Nonetheless, he needs a new scene and needs to leave LA. He’s good for 22-25 a game and is a physical specimen who’s strength combined with his athleticism is unmatched. If he can stay healthy, he is certainly a top 25 player.

Value: Max

What the Clippers should do: They need to move on and let him walk.

What he should do: Go to OKC and team up with Russell Westbrook.

 

Danilo Gallinari, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

While he has been injured the last couple seasons, his size and shooting ability should not be overlooked. He can add value to any team, assuming his health is intact. He averaged 18 points and 5 rebounds a game last season with the Nuggets.

Value: $18-20 million/year

What the Nuggets should do: Let him go, spend the money on younger talent in the rebuilding process.

What he should do: Go to the Thunder; they need another talent as well as shooting, two things he brings to the table

 

Otto Porter, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

He has improved immensely over the last two seasons, averaging 13 and 6 on the Wizards as the third scoring option, as well as recording the best three-point shooting percentage. He is definitely someone you want on your team, but beware of his disappearing acts, they come unexpectedly.

Value: $18-20 million/year

What the Wizards should do: Let him walk, make Kelly Oubre the starter and clear up cap for another superstar in the future.

What he should do: Try to sign a max deal with the Wizards.

 

Paul Milsap, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Averaging 18 points, 7 boards and 4 assists a game, Milsap has evolved into a star veteran at the forward position. His size is a concern, yet his skills negate those concerns and he is extremely valuable. He has a winner’s mentality and can fit on any team.

Value: $22-24 million/year

What the Hawks should do: Re-sign him.

What he should do: Leave and go to a “contender”- possibly the Spurs, Thunder, Wizards or Bulls.

 

JJ Redick, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

He’s a marksman from deep, and he’s an automatic 15 points a game for a team in need of shooting. He can fit anywhere, just don’t let him go to Golden State on a minimum salary.

Value: $14 million/year

What the Clippers should do: Let him go, don’t spend money on a 32 year-old shooter right now.

What he should do: Go to a team in need of a starting shooting guard, preferably in the East.

 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A solid player on both ends, but definitely overrated. Detroit said they would do everything in their power to keep him, but he is replaceable. He averaged 14 points a game on 40% shooting. Nothing to sneeze at.

Value: $12 million/year

What the Pistons should do: Not give him a max contract.

What he should do: Try to get max dollars from the Pistons. He fits well there and won’t be utilized well on a winning team.

 

Rudy Gay, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The saying “talented bum” applies to Rudy Gay–when he left the Grizzles they made the Western Conference Finals and when he left the Toronto Raptors they went far in the playoffs. When he walks into the contract room, he should have an L on his forehead, because that’s all this guy does. 19 points a game and a loss is what you will get, unless he’s your 4th or 5th option.

Value: $12-14 million/year

What the Kings should do: Anything but re-sign him.

What he should do: Take a pay cut and learn how to win on a contender.

 

Serge Ibaka, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just 27-years-old, Ibaka seems past his prime. Nonetheless, he averaged 15 and 7 last year with the Raptors. He can still play, but his defense has diminished and he has no post game to speak of. If you aren’t sure why he’s standing outside of the paint, he’s not waiting for the bus–he wants to shoot a three. He shot slightly under 40% from beyond the arc as well.

Value: $12 million/year

What the Raptors should do: Only re-sign him if Lowry stays.

What he should do: Stay in Toronto. It’s a good fit.

 

Jeff Teague, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Teague has proven to be effective on both ends, as his speed and agility are important parts of his game. His days in Indiana are likely over, as they are more focused on locking up Paul George and if not, signing young talent.

Value: $14-16 million/year

What the Pacers should do: Let him walk, he’s better off somewhere else.

What he should do: Go where the money is, not good enough to propel a team to the finals.

 

Greg Monroe, Power Forward/Center ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monroe has moved around a couple times, yet hasn’t really found a home yet. His size and strength make him effective in the post, yet his lack of speed hurts him against versatile bigs.

Value: $14 million/year

What the Bucks should do: With the development of Thon Maker and John Henson, the Bucks should let Monroe walk.

What he should do: Go to a team looking for a big, but not a contender- the Suns, Hornets and Kings are all possible fits.

 

Andre Iguodala, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Iggy has a choice to make this offseason- does he want to collect a large check, or does he want to win? It’s his choice to make, but he can’t have both. He’ll need to take a huge pay cut to stay with Golden State considering Steph Curry and Kevin Durant have to get paid first.

Value: $16 million/year

What the Warriors should do: Offer him whatever cap space they have, but don’t stress if he walks.

What he should do: Whatever he wants. He’s a champion and a former all star. He’s done enough, if he wants to sign a max contract with a losing team he should be entitled to. If he wants to win, he can do that as well. His choice.

 

Jrue Holiday, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Holiday did his part this season, averaging 15 points and 7 assists a game on the Pelicans. With the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, it could create a lot of opportunities for Holiday in the pick and roll game with him and Anthony Davis.

Value: $15 million/year

What the Pelicans should do: Re-sign him, he can get the job done at point.

What Holiday should do: If he wants to win, leave. If he wants to get his assists totals up, stay.

 

Pau Gasol, Power Forward/Center ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although Pau is up there in age, he still brings a lot of value to the table. He is a good fit in San Antonio, but only if they lose Aldrigde. He’s a winner, and he’s a champion. As long as he is paired with a true center, he will fit well.

Value: $10-12 million/year

What the Spurs should do: Re-sign him if they trade Aldridge, let him walk if they don’t.

What he should do: If he wants to win a ring, stay in San Antonio for less money. If he wants to get paid, take the highest bidder.

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wade averaged 18 points a game this season, as he still has something left in the tank. Wade, like many veterans on this list, can do whatever he wants. He didn’t seem to love his Chi-town reunion as much as we thought.

Value: $16 million/year

What the Bulls should do: Let him walk, they need to rebuild.

What he should do: Accept his player option if he wants the money or go to Cleveland or San Antonio if he wants to compete for a championship, for the minimum.

 

George Hill, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hill said he would leave if Gordon Hayward did, so based off that, he’ll probably reside somewhere other than Utah next season. He would be a great backup point guard on a team like Washington, desperate for one.

Value: $10 million/year

What Jazz should do: Let him walk, give Exum more minutes.

What he should do: Sign with the Wizards.

 

Derrick Rose, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️

Averaging about 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists a game on the Knicks this season, Rose was nothing short of average and has demonstrated he cannot stay healthy throughout the entire season. His defensive woes were very obvious as well, as well as his inability to consistently shoot. His athleticism is diminished and he does not have
the bounce he once did.

Value: $8-10 million/year

What Knicks should do: Let him walk. A franchise with no direction does not need to lock up more cap space on an over the hill 29-year-old who can’t shoot or play defense.

What he should do: Try to convince Phil Jackson to give him a max contract- he would be stupid enough to do it.

 

Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️

An average role player with some talent, Waiters averaged 16 points per game off the bench for the Heat. Despite his talent, he has had problems in multiple locker rooms. His shot selection is concerning, but he has confidence in himself, which is a plus. Solid player, don’t break the bank for him.

Value: $10-12 million/year

What the Heat should do: Let him go because Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson show more promise and play the same position.

What he should do: Try to stay with Miami- he seems to like it there and he fits well with the other young players.

 

Nerlens Noel, Center ⭐️⭐️

Still a young and vibrant 23-year-old, Noel has shown he can be a valuable defender and rim protector. He should hit the weight room, but I think he can be a useful player on a winning team.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Mavericks should do: Re-sign him, but only for the right price. Do not overpay.

What he should do: Sign a 2 year, $6 million deal with the Warriors. Replace Zaza, he’s terrible.

 

Kelly Olynyk, Center ⭐️⭐️

The aggressive and offensive minded kid from Gonzaga has game. He is somewhat of a liability defensively, but he can space the floor and knock down the three. He’ll help a team in need of a backup center who’s good for 25 minutes a game.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Celtics should do: Re-sign him only for $10 million or less.

What he should do: Stay in Boston.

 

Tyreke Evans, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️

From rookie of the year to a forgotten player, Tyreke has displayed a lack of care when it comes to winning–then again, he’s in Sacramento. He should go back to playing point guard like he did at Memphis. He has the skills, just not the mentality.

Value: $8-10 million/year

What the Kings should do: The opposite of what they think is right.

What he should do: Leave and sign with an Eastern Conference team looking for a spark off the bench.

 

Rajon Rondo, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️

Making the playoffs with the Bulls didn’t come easy, as his rifts with Jimmy Butler early on in the season were a sign of things to come. This isn’t a good fit for Rondo, but it seems nowhere is. He’s a headache in the locker room, cannot shoot and has not evolved his game at all. He’s past his prime, and I wouldn’t want him on my team. I know that the Bulls went up 2-0 on the Celtics, but it was just after Thomas lost his sister, I think that contributed to the deficit more than Rondo’s numbers.

Value: $6-8 million

What the Bulls should do: Get him out, don’t pickup his option.

What he should do: Go anywhere that offers him a contract. He’s public enemy #1 right now.

 

Tim Hardaway Jr., Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️

Hardaway Jr. showed out this season, averaging 14.5 points per game in Atlanta. While he is still a flawed player, he has improved since he was on the Knicks, and should get a solid check this offseason.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Hawks should do: Re-sign him, but not for too much.

What he should do: Try and stay, it’s a good fit for him.

 

Andre Roberson, Shooting Guard ⭐️

Yes, he’s the guy who shot 3/22 from the free throw line in the first round. While he has good size, his offensive skills are so abysmal that whatever he does defensively won’t matter. With the jump shot of DeAndre Jordan and the handles of Tyson Chandler, its too bad Roberson is  only 6’6”, because he plays like a center.

Value: $5 million/year, even though he might get a max. Scary.

What the Thunder should do: Show him the nearest exit.

What he should do: Be happy he’s in the NBA.

 

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).