Top 5 free agent destinations in the summer of 2019
- Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have just over forty million dollars in cap space. Using that forty million they could sign a top level player who would work great with the rest of their young pieces, most notably, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, or Kawhi Leonard. The similarities between all those players it that they are all 6’7 or upwards and can shoot at a respectable volume and efficiency, as well as versatile defenders who can guard most positions and guard them at an above average level. Those type of players are perfect alongside Simmons and Embiid. The city of brotherly love is also the fifth most populated city in the United States. Philadelphia has everything needed to present a real case to all-star level free agents. Young all-star level players under team control for a while, a relatively big market, and the money and trade assets to add additional support. The only reasons Philly isn’t higher is because of how injury prone their main guys are, and their lack of a general manager is not very appealing. When you have an elite two-way center who looks like a modern rendition of Hakeem Olajuwon, and a 6’10 point guard who played like an all-star in his first year, surrounded by a host of quality players like Saric and Covington, you cannot fail.
- New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have almost thirty-nine million dollars in available cap space, and they have the means and opportunity to effectively create up to sixty million dollars in cap space, meaning they could give themselves the financial flexibility to have a great offseason and sign multiple three and D players to surround Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Knox. Porzingis is a young superstar, the tallest player in the NBA, yet he can shoot at an above average rate, and mix volume with efficiency seamlessly. Then on the other side of the ball, Porzingis is an elite rim protector and a competent perimeter defender. Frank Ntilikina was an above average defender in his rookie year and has all the physical tools to be a top-level starter or even an all-star. Knox, while somewhat inefficient, looked like a stud in summer league. Right now the Knicks have those young guys, their market, and their cap space to use to attract free agents. Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee are also the perfect types of players to have in a contender, with their shooting and defensive versatility. So the Knicks have all the tools to attract free agents and build a real contender.
- The Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers have had quite the year, expected to go into rebuild mode with the trade of Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they unearthed a gem in Victor Oladipo and have managed to turn into a force in the Eastern Conference. The Indiana Pacers also have Myles Turner, the perfect modern big who also happens to be twenty-two, and coming off a summer of transformation similar to the one Oladipo had last year. With those two players to build around, Indiana is entering 2019 free agency with up to sixty-seven million dollars in cap space before resigning restricted free agents. The Pacers could enter free agency with the goal of signing one all-star such as Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, or Kemba Walker. Then use the other thirty seven or so million dollars into attaining three and D players such as Khris Middleton, Danny Green, JaMychal Green, etc and build a modern squad to compete. They could also attempt to lure two all-stars and then spend the rest of the money on productive role players for minimums. The potential issues here may be the restricted free agencies of Turner, Sabonis, and TJ Leaf. Yet the Pacers could wait until they have signed their two marquee free agents to match whatever those young big men are being offered and fit everything legally. So watch out, the rest of the Eastern Conference, the pacers may be a legitimate championship contender in a matter of a year.
- Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have near twenty-eight million to sign a top level free agent, which seems to be the goal. Twenty-eight million is probably not enough for a superstar the likes of Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard, but considering superstars have made a habit of taking less than they’re worth the past couple years, the Lakers may just get lucky and nab someone. The twenty-eight million in cap space, the allure of playing with Lebron James, and the market of Los Angeles might just be more than enough. They also have the means to trade for another big star and effectively build a big three. There are reports that the Timberwolves are looking to trade Jimmy Butler if he doesn’t express interest to resign before the trade deadline, then a package of Caldwell Pope, Michael Beasley, Kyle Kuzma, and Sviatoslav mykhailiuk in exchange for Jimmy Butler, Keita Bates Diop, and a second round pick might do the trick. The Lakers would get the bird rights to Jimmy Butler and could sign another top-level free agent before resigning Butler and effectively build a big three while keeping Lonzo and Ingram. Losing Keita Bates Diop might sting, but they would probably be starved for legitimate offers at that point when every team knows Butler is going into free agency, and getting a player who was an all-rookie player, plus a rookie who had a standout college career, plus two players who can help them compete at the moment.
1.Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have near Forty-nine million dollars in cap space. That is enough money to give a max money player as much as he wants and still have enough money to sign another valuable player. The Clippers have all the tools to build a contender, they just lack the superstars. They can hopefully resign Tobias Harris, then they can flaunt Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Patrick Beverley. Plus Lou Williams coming off the bench, the promise of Shae Alexander, Jerome Robinson, and Montrezl Harrell, and the proven scorer of Danilo Gallinari. Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley is a stout defensive backcourt that has two players that can both hit the three at an above league average level, and Harris is a great shooter who can create his own offense. The Clippers could probably find a way to get off the Gallinari contract to a rebuilding team such as the Magic and give them Alexander and/or Robinson to create the cap space to go after two top-level players and build a real contender the likes of some of the real forces in the league. Add in the market of Los Angeles, and the astounding amount of available three and D free agents available next summer, and the Clippers have a real chance to take the biggest win at the conclusion of next years free agency.