The speculations have been circulating, questions continue to be raised, and answers are consistently rumored. But finally, NBA free agency is upon us.
The floodgates have officially opened with teams receiving the green light for negotiations as of 6 p.m. ET. Contracts can not be signed until July 7. However, it is only a matter of time before the gears shift as rumors materialize into done deals.
While there is plenty, and I mean plenty, of movement expected to go around the NBA, there are a few main characters on our radar. Those to keep a close eye on as their next move could shift the landscape of the league.
At the time of this writing, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving had agreed to stay put in their respective teams. Both are stellar players at their best and are controversial figures in basketball. Green’s time in Golden State has a stain in the shape of Jordan Poole. Instead of covering it up, the Warriors did the right thing by moving Poole and keeping Green around. In doing so, they have kept their title-winning core as they continue to build towards another championship run.
On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks decided to go all-in on Irving despite failing to make the playoffs after his late addition last season. It is as simple as making the deal a little too late. But now that they get to have him and Luka Doncic for a full season (assuming they don’t get hurt) and two more after that, the possibilities are endless for the Mavs.
Other noteworthy deals include Kyle Kuzma resigning with the Wizards, Khris Middleton staying in Milwaukee, and Bruce Brown heading to Indiana after becoming a vital pulse to Denver’s championship run.
Within the first hour, we received closure regarding some stars. Meanwhile, some question marks continue to hover over others.
How far does loyalty take you?
It is one that causes a lot of anxiety as we await Damian Lillard’s future. For over the past decade, Lillard has been the face of Portland. There is no questioning the mutual love between both parties, but even good relationships have to end sometimes.
Plenty of factors play into this situation; frustration, lack of understanding, and the feeling of not getting what you need from the other.
Lillard and the Trailblazers have had their runs, but the frustration has been blatantly putrid from the PDX. Is it time for Lillard to move on from Portland in pursuit of the title he absolutely deserves? Should the organization bring in seasoned talent to keep him or focus on the youthful future? As a franchise, you can see both situations as a way to pay Lillard for his unwavering loyalty. Whether it is setting him free or giving him a reason to stay.
Rumored suitors include the Clippers, Nets, and Heat– Miami is the clear front runner in this race if there is one.
Can we continue to trust the process?
Oh, Philly, so much potential, so much talent, and so many opportunities met with failed attempts.
When a team’s battle cry is “trust the process,” it does not necessarily scream confidence. However, it showcases no lack of optimism. Still, do you wait until your arms are weak from carrying participation trophies and runner-up medals? You’ve moved players, fired coaches, and brought the City of Brotherly Love to its knees all to no avail.
Joel Embiid was a deserving MVP winner this past season. But the 76ers just could not catch a break. There is an ever-revolving door for his surrounding cast but James Harden was a glimmer of hope as his co-star. Or so we thought.
Given his previous achievements, it is hard not to give Harden some grace. But he consistently sits on the fence between being an asset and a liability when he disappears when he’s most needed. While we know for sure, that Embiid is sticking around, Harden’s future in Philadelphia remains uncertain.
If he leaves the 76ers, the market is wide open for the former MVP. Like Lillard, the Clippers and Heat could be potential landing spots for Harden. A return to Houston is also one of many possibilities. The process continues to unfold and the answers lie not too far ahead.