In case you haven’t heard, LeBron James has decided to opt out of the last year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But he is not going anywhere so we will try not to mention him again. His Cavs running mate Kevin Love, on the other hand, has also decided to opt out and there is no guarantee he will stay in Cleveland next season.
While teams adding new players get the most attention in Free Agency, the bigger story this year may be the stars that are looking to stay put. Marc Gasol, the center for the Memphis Grizzlies has many suitors, but odds are he is staying in Memphis. Jimmy Butler had a breakout season for the Chicago Bulls, and their owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, said they will do what they must to keep Butler there. Draymond Green of the World Champion Golden State Warriors is expected to be offered a maximum contract to keep him in a Warriors uniform.
Perhaps the most public Free Agency situation is that of Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. Wade has played for the Heat his whole career, winning three rings and making huge plays. He may be the most significant player in Heat history. He is asking for $16 million a year for the next three years. Pat Riley seems reluctant to give Wade that kind of money, since he is an aging superstar who has bad knees, and has not played a full season in a while. That being said, Wade is expected to return to Miami next season, along with point guard Goran Dragic, another potential free agent.
2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Loenard is another big name free agent expected to stay with his team, the San Antonio Spurs. It looks like the Spurs will re-sign Leonard along with the franchise’s greatest player, Tim Duncan, allowing them to make another title run. They are also the front-runner to land perhaps the best player in this Free Agency class, LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge has made it clear that he wants to return to his home state of Texas. Chances are, his time in Portland is up. Although the Spurs look like the most likely destination, teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and even the Los Angeles Lakers will make a push for him.
Free agency never goes exactly how anybody expects. There is always a surprise or two and this year should be no different. It could be a major trade, since the Sacramento Kings are rumored to be shopping superstar center DeMarcus Cousins. There are many other players looking to sign with a team, like DeAndre Jordan and Brook Lopez, and hundreds of other Free Agency possibilities. I have explored them more thoroughly in my complete Free Agency Breakdown.
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