The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us: NBA Free Agency! This year, there are some significant moving parts and major players looking for new homes. The next 24 hours prove to be extremely crucial, since there are multiple players with option deadlines today. Let’s do a quick recap!
LeBron James: LeBron has a $35.6 Million player option, which he just opted out of and now is a free agent. I would expect his decision to come sooner rather than later, but he may wait for other dominoes to fall (ie. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George).
DeAndre Jordan: A seriously under-the-radar decision could be DJ’s departure from the Clippers. The irony? The team rumored to be targeting the big is the Dallas Mavericks, who notoriously missed out on Jordan when he went back on his word in 2015 and rejoined LA. Three years later, the vision Mark Cuban had may become feasible. Jordan opting into his $24.1 Million option may do the trick, since it’ll be easier to create room for him by shedding salary via trade.
DeMarcus Cousins: I’m honestly not really sure where his free agency is going to take him. Boogie recently suffered an Achilles tear this past season, which unfortunately threw all of his free agency worth out the window. He might not be ready to play basketball until November, at the earliest. His best move might be to just resign for a shorter deal with less money with the Pelicans, who are open to the idea. This might be the best option for both sides, as Cousins can earn more down the line if he can prove his health and the Pelicans don’t have to immediately commit long-term to a player coming off a major injury.
Paul George: George has already opted out of the final year of his deal with the Thunder, making him a free agent. While this doesn’t rule out a return to OKC (who could pay him more), the specter that is the LA Lakers looms in the background, waiting to lure PG away. George has been rumored to join the Lakers for almost three years now, and while it’s expected for him to finally wear purple and gold, nothing in free agency is certain. I’d expect the three-part tv special he’s making to end with his free agency decision. Interestingly enough, he mentioned the Clippers and Celtics as possible destinations in part two of “My Journey” while talking with Dwyane Wade about his future.
Other potential moves
There are multiple restricted free agents on the market, such as Clint Capela, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, and Zach LaVine, to name a few. The Sacramento Kings have expressed interest in LaVine, who are deeply considering throwing an offer sheet at the athletic 23 year old guard. The Pacers have also been rumored to be in on both Marcus Smart and Aaron Gordon, but these plans might be thrown to the wayside with Thad Young picking up his $13.7 Million option and diminishing their cap space.
Clint Capela is seeking a max contract, or as close as he can get to it. This sort of handcuffs the Rockets if they plan to pursue LeBron, however the Suns were supposedly interested at the beginning of May. Drafting DeAndre Ayton might have changed those plans, unless they’re aiming to pair the two bigs together.
And of course, Kawhi Leonard activity has picked up significantly today, with rumors flying out of all directions. While Kawhi has clearly made LA his preferred landing spot, rumors have emerged that he’s open to playing in other big markets such as Boston and New York. Trading for a star like Kawhi isn’t a no-brainer when he’s non-committal on staying with his new team, but the Spurs have made clear that they’re listening to offers.
It’s time to turn on notifications for Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania. I expect more big news to drop in the next 24 hours.
Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Expects to Come off the Bench
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown may be returning to action later this week after missing three straight games due to a tailbone injury, but he expects to come off the bench when he finally does return to the court.
“I believe in my ability,” Brown said, according to MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “Coaching staff believes in my ability. If coming off bench makes sense – people make it a bigger deal than it really is. At end of the day it’s basketball. (Gordon) Hayward came off the bench & had 30 points. It’s a mindset. It’s a choice.”
Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Only Wants to Play into Mid-30s in NBA
Irving stated that he only wants to play in the NBA until his early-mid 30s, according to Celtics reported Marc D’Amico.
Kyrie Irving says he only wants to play in the NBA until his early to mid-30s.
— Marc D’Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 23, 2018
Irving is the franchise cornerstone for Boston and is posting 22.4 points, 6.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game this season for the Celtics.
Celtics Pick Up Options on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Guerschon Yabusele
Brown’s fourth-year option guarantees his $6,534,829 cap charge for next season, while Tatum will be locked in for a $7,830,000 cap hit for the 2019-2020 season, both moves considered to be no brainers given their development.
The decision on Yabusele, who hasn’t shown much of anything over 38 games since joining Boston, is a bit more of a surprise, but the Celtics see something in his to warrant their decision to keep him a part of their team moving forward.
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