Bold Free Agency Predictions That Could Affect Dubs Replay originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
There’s nothing like watching basketball before the playoffs.
But the NBA offseason, complete with wild rumors, drama, current reports, and plenty of eyeball emojis on Twitter, is a close second.
Teams can officially begin negotiations with free agents at 3 p.m. PT Thursday, when front offices begin restructuring rosters and restore hope (or… not) to fanbases across the country.
The Atlanta Hawks made the most important move of the young Wednesday offseason, swapping Danilo Gallinari and a string of first-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray.
What could happen if the free agency starts Thursday afternoon?
Here are six bold predictions:
Heat creates shocking Brunson
New York is desperate for a point guard. Knicks fans were convinced that their favorite team would somehow trade in and tackle Purdue guard Jaden Ivey in the draft. Instead, New York spent the night clearing a lot of space to, apparently, throw piles of cash at Jalen Brunson to lure him to Madison Square Garden.
Brunson is reportedly planning to visit three teams when the free agency starts, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports — the Knicks, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. While the Knicks are out to take over Brunson at any cost (they even hired his father Rick Brunson as an assistant coach), Dallas, where he spent the first four seasons of his career, can offer Brunson a five-year contract as an assistant coach. owner. of his bird rights.
Bold prediction? Brunson gets cold feet and packs for South Beach to join Miami. He is convinced by team president Pat Riley that Heat Culture is real, and Miami is happy to move on with Kyle Lowry in another trade.
In response to the Knicks and Mavs, Brunson steals a rule from his (now former) boss Mark Cuban.
“And that’s why I’m gone.”
How it affects the warriors† The Mavericks are losing their second-best player and have a lot of work to do if they want to remain a serious contender in the Western Conference.
Ayton moves to Indiana
Deandre Ayton’s name has been circulating in trade rumors for months. Since the trade deadline, really. Not wanting to commit long-term, the Suns finally find a sign-and-trade partner for Ayton in the Indiana Pacers and host Myles Turner in a one-on-one trade.
Ayton’s biggest complaint with Phoenix was his declining role as he averaged 26.8 minutes per game while the Suns lost to the Mavs in seven games in the semifinals of the conference. That won’t be a problem in Indiana. Ayton can be a constant scoring threat alongside game-making guard Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte and number 6 overall pick Bennedict Mathurin.
How it affects the Warriors: The championship jokes aside, Chris Paul will always be a force to be reckoned with in the post season. Phoenix will miss Ayton’s athletics, but still score a lot. The Suns remain a top four team in the West.
If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again
Desperate for a guard after missing Brunson, the Knicks trade for Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon. They’re packing one of those three (yes, three!) protected first-round picks they got on draft night and maybe a little more, leaving Indiana room for a near-maximum deal to give Ayton and the rest of the pack. low season.
How it affects the Warriors: A trade between two teams in the East? This wouldn’t affect Golden State much more than an annoying Twitter notification or two from national basketball reporters.
LaVine stays at home
You could qualify this prediction as not so bold. Chicago can offer Lavine a five-year contract and about $55 million more than any other team because of Bird rights. LaVine is coming off the Bulls’ best season since Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler ran the show, and LaVine has no problem turning down other offers and staying in the Windy City cashing big checks.
How it affects the Warriors: Chicago will be top priority off-season to re-sign. The Dubs can only hope to do the same with their biggest off-season internal priorities. Which brings us to…
GP2, Looney returns to champion
All Golden State does is win. Both Greatest Wishes of the Warriors come out as Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II re-sign to stay in the bay.
Looney had plenty to prove on his way to the year, but he did that and more. The 26-year-old played in all 82 games of the regular season and did not miss a single playoff game, turning him into a restless monster on the boards in the postseason. He signs a well-deserved three-year deal worth approximately $30 million.
RELATED: Time to rediscover the value of Warriors culture in free agency
Payton could probably get more money elsewhere, but he decides to stick with Golden State on a two-year deal worth $12.5 million. The Warriors keep their beloved burst of energy and elite perimeter defender on their championship list.
How it affects the Warriors: A few fan favorites return for an encore of this year’s title. The Warriors keep as much of their championship roster intact as possible.
Otto drives to Motor City
However, not all of the Warriors’ dreams come true. Otto Porter Jr., who signed the veteran minimum of $2.4 million last summer, is cashing in on his role with the championship-winning Warriors with a three-year contract with the Detroit Pistons.
How it affects the Warriors: Golden State will miss Porter. There is no doubt. He led the Warriors with a net rating of 12.4 in the postseason. But Golden State will survive without Porter, as young Jonathan Kuminga is looking for a bigger role next season.