On May 14, 2016, Dan Favale — of Bleacher Report — wrote an article depicting his Top 50 Free Agents going into the 2016 offseason. I took that list from his article and tried to predict where I thought all 50 of those guys are going to sign. All these predictions are barring any trade that may happen, like the Celtics with their three 1st round picks that they may be actively shopping. Every year there are theories about where the top free agents will go and usually they never end up where there are suppose to be and end up where they were the whole time. I believe I made some interesting picks here and I believe this will be a fun article to stay tuned too so let’s get right in it.
** some of my sources come from hoopsrumor.com. Some stats come from ESPN & NBA.com**
#50 Seth Curry:
2015-2016 team: Sacramento Kings; 2016-2017 prediction: Washington Wizards; Actual Team: Dallas Mavericks
Curry’s season stats do not jump off the page. On 15.7mpg, he averaged 6.8ppg, 1.4rpg, and 1.5apg while shooting .455% from the field, .450% from the three point line, and .833% from the free throw line. Let’s take a look at the month of April though. He was given minutes and he produced in those minutes. He averaged 32.4mpg, 16.4ppg, 3.0rpg, and 5.3apg, while shooting .459% from the field, .489% from the three point line, and .875% from the free throw line. He only made a shade under a million dollars last season. He’s going into this offseason as a restricted free agent but I predict he leaves free agency on a new team, the Washington Wizards.
#49 Jon Leuer:
2015-2016 team: Phoenix Suns; 2016-2017 prediction: Phoenix Suns; Actual Team: Detroit Pistons
Leuer got his chance in Phoenix. His stats went up across the board, minus his shooting percentages. He played a career high 18.7mpg, scored a career high 8.5ppg, and collected a career high 5.6rpg. He shot .481% from the field, .382% from the three point line, and .762% from the free throw line. He made $1,035,000 last season for the Phoenix Suns and will be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason. With his career highs, I believe Jon Leuer will resign with the Phoenix Suns this offseason and try to continue to build on his last season success.
#48 Lance Thomas:
2015-2016 team: New York Knicks; 2016-2017 prediction: New York Knicks; Actual Team: New York Knicks
The 28 year old had a pretty decent season for the New York Knicks last season. The Knicks probably are not going to be much better next season either. They probably won’t attract many top free agents either, therefore, Lance Thomas will be back next season. Thomas only played in 59 GP and started 5, averaging 22.3mpg, 8.2ppg, and 2.2rpg. He shot .442% from the field, .404% from the three point line (1.8 attempts per game), and .857% from the free throw line. Thomas enters this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
#47 Wesley Johnson:
2015-2016 team: Los Angeles Clippers; 2016-2017 prediction: Los Angeles Clippers; Actual Team: Los Angeles Clippers
According to hoopsrumor.com, Rivers expects Cole Aldrich, Austin Rivers, and Wesley Johnson to all decline their player options due to the rising salary cap. He also said that he wants to resign as many of his soon-to-be-free-agents as possible, which I think includes Wesley Johnson. It could be an interesting offseason for the Clippers as the possibility to blow up the team is as highest as its has ever been, due to another disastrous playoffs. Maybe we are just salivating at the thought of all these possible moves, as journalists, and the Clippers are just going to try to get healthy and try once more with their roster, which should include Wesley Johnson.
#46 Al Jefferson:
2015-2016 team: Charlotte Hornets; 2016-2017 prediction: Charlotte Hornets; Actual Team: Indiana Pacers
Al Jefferson enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent fresh off of making $13.5 million this past season. Jefferson is not an ideal rim protector at all. That is the biggest knock on him. I still think Jefferson has an importance to the Hornets, as they had a very good season, making the playoffs. After averaging 12.0ppg and 6.4rpg –stats that do not jump off the page — he will still most likely resign with the Hornets this coming offseason.
#45 Mirza Teletovic:
2015-2016 team: Phoenix Suns; 2016-2017 prediction: Sacramento Kings; Actual Team: Milwaukee Bucks
The Sacramento Kings finished 10th in 3p% last season. They finished 21st in three pointers attempted a game. So why they are shooting a high percentage, they are not shooting that many threes anyway. Enter Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Kings need three point shooting and that is what Teletovic does. He averaged 5.8 three pointers a game last season for the Phoenix Suns and averaged .393% from the field. I can see the Kings throwing an offer at Mirza that he won’t refuse.
#44 Langston Galloway:
2015-2016 team: New York Knicks; 2016-2017 prediction: New York Knicks; Actual Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Galloway enters the offseason a restricted free agent, meaning any offer he receives can be matched by the Knicks. Galloway should be receiving an offer higher than what he made last season –$845,059. His stats are down from last season which is due to his minutes going down. He averaged 24.8mpg, 3.5rpg, and 3.0apg. He shot .393% from the field, .344% from the field, and .754% from the free throw line. I do expect him to be back with the Knicks for next season.
#43 David West:
2016-2016 team: San Antonio Spurs; 2016-2017 prediction: San Antonio Spurs; Actual Team: Golden State Warriors
West joined this team to win a championship. I see him sticking with this team and sticking with the quest to win. He has a player option for next season that I expect him to pick up. West is still a very valuable backup. Expect him to help the Spurs’ run for the trophy again next season even if the 36 year old has to play with a walker. 36 seems to be an ancient age in basketball years. West can still ball though.
#42 Terrence Jones:
2015-2016 team: Houston Rockets; 2016-2017 prediction: Houston Rockets; Actual Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Terrence Jones is struggling to stay healthy. That is what is keeping him from being paid. Dan Favale wrote that the only players to “amass at least 1,800 points, 1,000 rebounds, 215 blocks and 70 three point makes while notching an effective field-goal percentage better than 53 through their first four seasons are Terrence Jones, Charles Barkley, and Chris Webber.” That is some good company to be involved with and could render some contracts coming his way that could force the Rockets to pay up to keep him. I think they will.
#41 Moe Harkless:
2015-2016 team: Portland Trail Blazers; 2016-2017 prediction: Portland Trail Blazers; Actual Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Harkless’s regular season was unspectacular. His postseason was pretty solid though. In 18.7mpg in the regular season he averaged 6.4ppg and 3.6rpg. He shot .474% from the field, .279% from the three point line, and .622% from the free throw line. His postseason stats increased. He received more minutes, at 24.7mpg, and averaged 11.0ppg and 5.4rpg while shooting .427% from the field, .341% from the three point line, and .480% from the free throw line. Harkless is a restricted free agent and I believe he will still be a Blazer.
#40 Manu Ginobili:
2015-2016 team: San Antonio Spurs; 2016-2017 prediction: San Antonio Spurs; Actual Team: San Antonio Spurs
Will he return next season? He has a player option for next season and he will probably opt in for one more run with the team. Why not? Ginobili will probably play for the rest of his life with Duncan and Parker anyway. There is absolutely no way Ginobili will go to another team so it is either another run with the Spurs, or he will announce he retirement this offseason.
#39 Courtney Lee:
2015-2016 team: Memphis Grizzlies/Charlotte Hornets; 2016-2017 prediction: Charlotte Hornets; Actual Team: New York Knicks
I highly doubt the Hornets traded for him to be a half season rental. Lee will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and I believe the Hornets want him back and will get him back. His numbers in Charlotte weren’t spectacular. He averaged 8.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.1apg, and 1.2spg while shooting .445% from the field, .392% from the three point line, and .885% from the free throw line. His postseason averages weren’t too much different either. Whether he starts next season or comes off the bench for the Hornets, I think he will be an important piece with his three point shooting that forces defenders to respect him.
#38 Dion Waiters:
2015-2016 team: Oklahoma City Thunder; 2016-2017 prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder; Actual Team: Miami Heat
Waiters will be a restricted free agent this coming offseason. He is a shooter. A very erratic shooter at that. He can shoot you out of a game easily but he can also help alleviate pressure from KD and Russ by scoring. Due to a lack of other options, the Thunder will most likely match any offer for him. Who will help score otherwise? Andre Roberson? I rest my case. Waiters should be back in a Thunder jersey next season.
#37 Joakim Noah:
2015-2016 team: Chicago Bulls; 2016-2017 prediction: Chicago Bulls; Actual Team: New York Knicks
With Joakim being injured for most of the Bulls season — as well as the entire roster it seemed — the lack of leadership on the court showed. Rose is not a leader and neither Jimmy Butler nor Pau Gasol stepped up either. Noah needs to come back and get healthy and get this team back on track. Before the season they were talked about being the biggest threat against the Cleveland Cavaliers. After the season ended they did not even make the playoffs. That is unacceptable. Noah is an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason and should be back with the Bulls next year.
#36 Donatas Motiejunas:
2015-2016 team: Houston Rockets; 2016-2017 prediction: Houston Rockets; Actual Team: Undecided
Motiejunas should be a Piston. He was traded at the deadline and due to a back problem lingering for Motiejunas, the Pistons voided the trade. That should be a serious concern for any team that considers dishing out money for the big man. Is it really that bad that the Pistons had no choice but to void it? That back should be the first thing any team should think about when the try to sign the restricted free agent this offseason. He should still be a Rocket come next season, whether or not they want him there or he wants to be there.
#35 Zaza Pachulia:
2015-2016 team: Dallas Mavericks; 2016-2017 prediction: Dallas Mavericks; Actual Team: Golden State Warriors
Pachulia is a work horse. He’s not good at any one thing but he’s good enough to be in the NBA. Pachulia was basically patchwork after DeAndre Jordan said yes I’ll sign with the Mavericks and then said nah just kidding. Okay, maybe those weren’t his exact works but you get the gist of it. I think the Mavericks will want to bring back Pachulia for another season. He is obviously not the long term option at center, but neither is Javale McGee and I don’t think the Mavericks intend on relying on him to be the center. I expect the unrestricted Zaza to stay in Dallas.
#34 Jeremy Lin:
2015-2016 team: Charlotte Hornets; 2016-2017 prediction: Charlotte Hornets; Actual Team: Brooklyn Nets
Lin has a player option for next year that I can bet he will most likely decline. That does not mean he is leaving though. He wants more money, as every other player in the NBA wants with the new TV deal coming into effect next season. Lin was a very good backup to Cardiac Kemba in the regular season and the playoffs. In that backup role, he averaged 26.3mpg, 11.7ppg, 3.2rpg, and 3.0apg while shooting .412% from the field, .336% from the three point line, and .815% from the free throw line. He averaged about the same in the postseason except for poorer shooting percentages. Charlotte will want him back. I believe Lin wouldn’t mind staying here either.
#33 Matthew Dellavedova:
2015-2016 team: Cleveland Cavaliers; 2016-2017 prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers; Actual Team: Milwaukee Bucks
He’s not going anywhere. No one is going to dish out some huge contract for a guy that has mostly been a third string point guard for the Cavaliers. The restricted free agent will be back in Cleveland for next season and I can almost guarantee he wants to come back. He is not a spectacular player but he does all the dirty work and that is why Cleveland appreciates him.
#32 Meyers Leonard:
2015-2016 team: Portland Trail Blazers; 2016-2017 prediction: Portland Trail Blazers; Actual Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Leonard had the best statistical season of his career last season. He averaged a career high 21.9mpg and also had career highs scoring, rebounding, and assisting. He scored 8.4ppg, collected 5.1rpg, and averaged 1.5apg. He shot .448% from the field, .377% from the three point line, and .761% from the free throw line. Blazers will probably look to bring back the restricted free agent as they try to improve on the very good season they had this year.
#31 Bismack Biyombo:
2015-2016 team: Toronto Raptors; 2016-2017 prediction: Toronto Raptors; Actual Team: Orlando Magic
Biyombo has a player option for next season that he will surely decline to get PAID. He has become an important piece to this Raptors squad and has improved a good amount this season. The Raptors squad will most likely pay the big man to keep him. Again, go ahead and look at his stats. Google it. They don’t jump out at you and surely do not show you why he is about to get paid the amount of money he will. He has great wingspan and can protect the rim like Jonas Valanciunas cannot. His offensive game is improving as well. You are about to be rich big fella.
#30 Boban Marjanovic:
2015-2016 team: San Antonio Spurs; 2016-2017 prediction: Houston Rockets; Actual Team: Detroit Pistons
Hear me out. When you read the #25-#1 predictions you will understand more why I could see Boban going to the Rockets. This dude is massive. He is 7’2″, 290lbs of pure intimidation. People are infatuated with how humongous this monster is. Which is exactly why I see some team dishing out money to yank the restricted free agent away from the Spurs. Will he be worth the contract? No one knows. But the curiosity is why some team will take a chance. That reason and a future reason is why I believe that team will be the Houston Rockets.
#29 J.R. Smith:
2015-2016 team: Cleveland Cavaliers; 2016-2017 prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers; Actual Team: Undecided
This man can shoot. LeBron wants him there and if LeBron wants him there, then Cleveland will do whatever to keep LeBron happy. Yes, he has that kind of leverage. J.R. has a player option for next season but I highly doubt him leaving for another team. He’s playing too good in Cleveland around all that talent to leave. He would be crazy too. Whether he opts in, or opts out to get more money remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait and see.
#28 Ian Mahinmi:
2015-2016 team: Indiana Pacers; 2016-2017 prediction: Boston Celtics; Actual Team: Washington Wizards
Wouldn’t this be interesting? I think so, which is why I’m predicting this to happen. In my prediction, the Celtics are going to miss out on some premier free agents in this class but will not leave empty handed. Rim protection is a huge asset the Celtics lack. Mahinmi is a rim protector. The Pacers are in question right now with their coach being fired and everyone doubting them, but the Celtics are a loved team right now with their youth and an established coach in Brad Stevens. Why not be intrigued in signing with the Celtics? Celtics should keep an eye on this man if Mahinmi wants to look at other teams as an unrestricted free agent.
#27 Allen Crabbe:
2015-2016 team: Portland Trail Blazers; 2016-2017 prediction: Portland Trail Blazers; Actual Team: Portland Trail Blazers
McCollum obviously made the biggest jump on the Blazers — especially since he won Most Improved Player — but Crabbe made a jump too for this young squad. His minutes were upped from 13.4 to 26.0 as he backed up Al Farouq-Aminu. His ppg went up from 3.3 to 10.3. His rpg went from 1.4 to 2.7. His field goal percentage increased from .412% to .459. His three point percentage increased from .353% to .394%. Lastly, his free throw shooting increased from .750% to .867%. I believe this is a guy that the Blazers want around, at only 24 years old. They will have to match an offer this guy receives as a restricted free agent.
#26 Jared Sullinger:
2015-2016 team: Boston Celtics; 2016-2017 prediction: Boston Celtics; Actual Team: Toronto Raptors
I don’t foresee this guy going anywhere. Unless some team offers him some huge contract that the Boston Celtics just cannot pay, he should stay. He’s not the most important player to the Celtics, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not a key to them. He’s only 24 and started 73 games for them this year, playing in all but one game this season. His minutes decreased but he still almost averaged a double-double with 10.3ppg and 8.3rpg. I think a frontcourt of Sullinger and Mahinmi (if my prediction is correct) could be a bruising one that can tire opposing front court players.
#25 Rajon Rondo:
2015-2016 team: Sacramento Kings; 2016-2017 prediction: Houston Rockets; Actual Team:
Sources say that the Kings may not be too fond on the idea of bringing back Rondo. Rondo put up some decent averages of 11.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 11.7apg, and 2.0spg. He shot .454% from the field, .365% from the three point line (career-high), and .580% from the free throw line. Kings were not really enamored about his defense either. New head coach, Dave Joerger, is a defensive-minded head coach too. That could mean Rondo is not coming back. Point guard is not really a huge need for most teams in the NBA. Most teams are pretty set on their point guard. The Rockets are not. Harden and Howard could not co-exist with each other. Each one wanted the maximum amount of touches they could possibly receive. Obviously you can tell things did not work out between those two. Also, Patrick Beverley was their starting point guard. Point guard is a need for the Rockets. Enter Rondo. Why not? The Rockets were disastrous this season. Why not sign Rondo, a pass-first point guard, to help divvy out the ball to open players. He almost averaged more assists a game than points a game. Like I said earlier, the Kings did not like Rondo because of his defense. That is what Beverley does in Houston. When you need defense, sub out Rondo and bring in Beverley. Why not bring him in and see what happens. Rondo is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
#24 Tim Duncan:
2015-2016 team: San Antonio Spurs; 2016-2017 prediction: San Antonio Spurs; Actual Team: Retired
This should not even be a shock. I shouldn’t even have to write a paragraph about this. There is no way in the world that Tim Duncan would ever move on to another team. He will either retire or return a Spur. Nothing else. Duncan has a player option for next season.
#23 Luol Deng:
2015-2016 team: Miami Heat; 2016-2017 prediction: Miami Heat; Actual Team: Los Angeles Lakers
The Miami Heat had a successful season and a fairly successful playoffs. One name hinges on the Miami Heat’s future — Chris Bosh. If the Heat had Bosh, would they be in the Eastern Conference Finals? I would say yes. Everything is circling around Bosh right now. The blood clots are threatening Bosh’s playing career and health is more important than basketball. If Bosh can come back, why not bring back the team? They could make a deeper run with Bosh back on the court. Deng is an unrestricted free agent and I believe Pat Riley will bring him back for the right price, especially with Whiteside and Wade up for contracts this offseason too. Deng was one of my favorite players when he was in Chicago and I think the Heat would be grateful to have him back. Deng can still play and contribute.
#22 Evan Turner:
2015-2016 team: Boston Celtics; 2016-2017 prediction: Boston Celtics; Actual Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Turner wants to come back. He is willing to take a discount to come back. He loves playing in Boston. That is why it should be easy to re-sign the unrestricted free agent. The 27 year old in his second season with the Celtics put up averages of 28.0mpg (played off the bench), 10.5ppg, 4.9rpg, 4.4apg, and 1.0spg while shooting .456% from the field, .241% from the three point line, and .827% from the free throw line. In 6 games (4 started) in the postseason he put up averages of 13.2ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.5apg, 1.0bpg, and 1.3spg while shooting .365% from the field, .214% from the free throw line, and .778% from the free throw line. I would not be surprised to see him continue to wear that #11 jersey for the Celtics next year.
#21 Ryan Anderson:
2015-2016 team: New Orleans Pelicans; 2016-2017 prediction: Houston Rockets; Actual Team: Houston Rockets
This could be a good pickup for the Rockets. I said earlier that Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones will remain with the Rockets. But, I could see the Rockets trading Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas at the draft. So, the Rockets could sign these guys and use them in a future trade, which is possible. Ryan Anderson was recently in a podcast with J.J. Redick. Anderson is interested in resigning with the Pelicans but also wants to enjoy this unrestricted free agency option. He is also interested in Washington, Houston, and Sacramento. I predict he will eventually sign with the Houston Rockets after the Rockets trade Jones or Motiejunas. Keep an eye out for this situation.
#20 Marvin Williams:
2015-2016 team: Charlotte Hornets; 2016–2017 prediction: Charlotte Hornets; Actual Team: Charlotte Hornets
Williams helped Charlotte a lot getting to the postseason. Williams had a resurgent season this past season. He scored his highest ppg since the ’08-’09 season with the Atlanta Hawks. He collected a career high rpg and blocked a career high shots per game. He also shot a career best from behind the three point line. His averages this season were 28.9mpg, 11.7ppg, 6.4rpg, and 1.0bpg. He shot .452% from the field, .402% from the three point line, and .833% from the free throw line. He did not have the same success in the postseason but I believe he is still an important piece to this squad. Marvin is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
#19 Festus Ezeli:
2015-2016 team: Golden State Warriors; 2016-2017 prediction: Los Angeles Lakers; Actual Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Yeah, I went there. Ezeli has really started to beak out for the Golden State Warriors as the backup center. Ezeli might become expensive this offseason, maybe a little bit too expensive for the Warriors to keep. A team like the Rockets or the Lakers might dish out some money for the restricted free agent and pry him away from Golden State. I think the Lakers will be that team. I think both the Rockets and the Lakers will throw some money his way but the Lakers will win. This past regular season he put up averages of 7.0ppg, 5.6rpg, and 1.1bpg. He shot .548% from the field. Ezeli will most likely not be on the Warriors roster come next season.
#18 Jordan Clarkson:
2015-2016 team: Los Angeles Lakers; 2016-2017 prediction: Los Angeles Lakers; Actual Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Clarkson has had a very good career so far, especially for a second round pick. This past season he put up averages of 15.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, and 1.1spg while shooting .433% from the field, .347% from the three point line, and .804% from the free throw line. Lakers are going to keep him. They’ll dish out the money to keep him as a restricted free agent. He’s talented. He’s a key piece to this young Lakers squad transforming into a Kobe-less team. Clarkson will get a huge raise.
#17 Evan Fournier:
2015-2016 team: Orlando Magic; 2016-2017 prediction: Chicago Bulls; Actual Team: Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier’s time in Orlando may be done. Especially with the drafting of Mario Hezonja in last year’s draft. It may be Hezonja’s time in Orlando. For the right place, you can pull away Fournier from the Magic. He hits restricted free agency this offseason. This past season he averaged 15.4ppg, 2.7apg, and 1.2spg while shooting .462% from the field, .400% from the three point line, and .836% from the free throw line. I think the Bulls should try to pry away Fournier. They need help. They were suppose to be the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. They were, defeating them 3-1 in the regular season, but the Bulls could not even make the playoffs. They need new players to help this team out. I think Fournier would be a great addition to start at SG and switch Jimmy to his natural SF position. The Bulls should make this move.
#16 Kent Bazemore:
2015-2016 team: Atlanta Hawks; 2016-2017 prediction: Atlanta Hawks; Actual Team: Atlanta Hawks
Bazemore should use his Bazegaze against the Hawks to get paid this summer. Bazemore turned into an important rotation piece for the Hawks and he will command a pretty penny to keep him. In a shade under 28mpg, he averaged 11.6ppg, 5.1rpg, and 1.3spg. He shot .441% from the field, .357% from the three point line, and .815% from the free throw line. He continued his success into the postseason, averaging 11.9ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.9apg, and 1.5spg while shooting .364% from the field, .262% from the three point line, and .682% from the free throw line. The Hawks are going to want to keep Bazemore and will throw a contract at the unrestricted free agent that will keep him in Atlanta.
#15 Harrison Barnes:
2015-2016 team: Golden State Warriors; 2016-2017 prediction: Los Angeles Lakers; Actual Team: Dallas Mavericks
Oh yeah, I am getting bold. I have Harrison joining his GSW teammate Festus in L.A. to play for the Lakers. I am completely basing this on the Warriors not matching the offer sheet in time as they pursue Kevin Durant in free agency, then miss out on both. Harrison has been a good player but he has not exactly broken out like we know he can do and will do in L.A.
#14 Chandler Parsons:
2015-2016 team: Dallas Mavericks; 2016-2017 prediction: Dallas Mavericks; Actual Team: Memphis Grizzlies
Parsons has a player option for next season and I think he would be crazy to opt out. I know most people would be crazy to not opt-out and force a larger contract from another team but with Parsons struggling from injury basically the whole season and postseason. He is not worth anywhere near his $15,361,500 he made this season if he opts out of his contract. He needs to get healthy to be able to help the Mavericks next season. He will soon be the face of the franchise when Dirk retires. Hopefully Parsons can help him next season.
#13 Dwight Howard:
2015-2016 team: Houston Rockets; 2016-2017 prediction: Milwaukee Bucks; Actual Team: Atlanta Hawks
Am I getting that bold again? Yes I am. Dwight Howard’s time in Houston is done. Harden and Howard cannot co-exist. I could say Howard is going to Boston or Atlanta, but I am going bold and saying Milwaukee. Why? Well remember a couple months ago when Milwaukee announcer Gus Johnson said that Howard wanted to come to Milwaukee during the trade deadline? I do. The Bucks were pretty terrible this season after a surprisingly good season last season. The Bucks may look to trade Greg Monroe and bring in Dwight Howard for next year. Dwight Howard will get touches there. There is no James Harden there. There is Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker that are the future of the Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe Dwight Howard can help this young team out. Or not…
#12 Dirk Nowitzki:
2015-2016 team: Dallas Mavericks; 2016-2017 prediction: Dallas Mavericks; Actual Team: Dallas Mavericks
This is set in stone. Dirk will most likely opt out but have no fear. Dirk is not going anywhere besides Dallas. Will he take even less money to attract some free agents? Or will he ask for more money since his career is winding down and he has done a tremendous amount for this franchise, including a title most recently in 2011.
#11 Pau Gasol:
2015-2016 team: Chicago Bulls; 2016-2017 prediction: San Antonio Spurs; Actual Team: San Antonio Spurs
Pau joined the Bulls to chase championships a little more before he retires. The Bulls did not even make the playoffs this past season. I can see him opting-out — and still consider the Bulls — and check out all his options before deciding. I’m sure the Bulls will be high on the list, but in the end, he will join Pop, Duncan, Ginobili, and Aldridge to try again next season. Gasol still has a lot of basketball left in him. I believe the pursuit of him will be even higher if Duncan retires too. I would not doubt Gasol in a Spurs jersey.
#10 Bradley Beal:
2015-2016 team: Washington Wizards; 2016-2017 prediction: Washington Wizards; Actual Team: Washington Wizards
Pony up the money there Washington. Beal is a restricted free agent this summer. Also, the summer that Kevin Durant is a free agent. Washington wants Durant to come home, but at the expense of Bradley Beal? What if you lose out on both? Beal wants to be near, or get, a max contract. Washington did not make the playoffs this season. Thunder are currently in the Western Conference Finals. Why leave the Thunder for a non playoff team? I don’t see it happening. Pay up for Beal and try to improve the roster.
#9 DeMar DeRozan:
2015-2016 team: Toronto Raptors; 2016-2017 prediction: Toronto Raptors; Actual Team: Toronto Raptors
DeMar has a player option for next year. I am seeing that DeMar could potentially join the Los Angeles Lakers since he played at USC in California. It is fun to talk about, but he is not leaving. Toronto will pay him to keep him. DeMar is important to the Raptors, even if Kyle Lowry and him are immensely struggling this postseason. It can be fun to fantasize about DeMar in a Lakers jersey but I do not see it happening.
#8 Dwyane Wade:
2015-2016 team: Miami Heat; 2016-2017 prediction: Miami Heat; Actual Team: Chicago Bulls
Tim Duncan is a no brainer. Dirk Nowtizki is a no brainer. Dwyane Wade is also a no brainer. He’s not going anywhere. He is a Heat lifer. Dwyane Wade will retire here. He is still showing his dominance in the NBA. The Heat and him are still hoping for Chris Bosh to return from his blood cots so they can make a deeper run in the playoffs next year. They were one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals without him. Imagine what can happen with him? Yeah, Dwyane is not going anywhere.
#7 Mike Conley:
2015-2016 team: Memphis Grizzlies; 2016-2017 prediction: Memphis Grizzlies; Actual Team: Memphis Grizzlies
I believe him talking about leaving is a bluff. He does want to leave. He just wants this team to improve. The injuries they suffered this season was absolutely terrible. 28 different players on the roster? That is insane. No wonder Mike Conley is angry. They need to upgrade the roster to improve and make a deep run into the playoffs again. Losing Dave Joerger was probably not something that makes Conley happy and want to return. Conley is an unrestricted free agent this year.
#6 Nicolas Batum:
2015-2016 team: Charlotte Hornets; 2016-2017 prediction: Charlotte Hornets; Actual Team: Charlotte Hornets
Batum is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Just like what I wrote about Courtney Lee, Nicolas Batum is not a season rental either. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was hurt basically the entire season and missed the postseason. Therefore, it would be smart to try to keep Batum. According to Lakersnation.com, Batum prefers to remain with the Hornets because he believes there is unfinished business to attend to.
#5 Andre Drummond:
2015-2016 team: Detroit Pistons; 2016-2017 prediction: Detroit Pistons; Actual Team: Detroit Pistons
Drummond is a lock to stay in Detroit. The Pistons will pay this big man because he is that important to this team. Any offer sheet Drummond receives will be matched by the Pistons. If the Pistons let him go, they will regret that decision immensely. In 81 Games Played and Started, he averaged 16.2ppg, 14.8rpg, and 1.4bpg. In the postseason in 4 games, he averaged 16.8ppg, 9.0rpg, and 1.5bpg. His biggest knock is his free throw shooting — Hack-a-Drummond. Please Drummond, even if you have to throw it underhanded, get that free throw shooting in check (.355% in the regular season and .324% in the playoffs).
#4 Hassan Whiteside:
2015-2016 team: Miami Heat; 2016-2017 prediction: Miami Heat; Actual Team: Miami Heat
You are about to be a rich man Whiteside. Pat Riley said retaining Whiteside was a #1 priority. He is about to be paid like a #1 priority. Whiteside is an unrestricted free agent. Whiteside put up averages of 14.2ppg, 11.8rpg, and 3.7bpg. He was critical in the playoffs as he put up averages of 12.0ppg, 10.9rpg, and 2.8bpg. Whiteside has to come back for the Miami Heat to be successful, as well as Wade and Bosh. Riley has a busy offseason coming up. Better get busy.
#3 Al Horford:
2015-2016 team: Atlanta Hawks; 2016-2017 prediction: Atlanta Hawks; Actual Team: Boston Celtics
I went back and forth trying to predict where Horford would go. Boston? Possibly. Houston? Maybe. Atlanta? Seems most likely. Why would he leave? I mean, he has his reasons why he could leave but I see Horford as a loyal guy and a guy that will be in Atlanta his whole career. Horford is an unrestricted free agent this offseason but I fully expect him to finish what he started in Atlanta.
#2 LeBron James:
2015-2016 team: Cleveland Cavaliers; 2016-2017 prediction: Cleveland Cavaliers; Actual Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Just picture LeBron leaving Cleveland again. Picture the heartbreak of all the fans, the anger, the pure disrespect the fans would feel. That is not happening again. Cleveland is clicking on all cylinders right now. Kyrie, LeBron, and Kevin are all playing extremely well together. LeBron is not leaving. He will stick it out in Cleveland for the remainder of his career. He will decline his player option and seek the highest contract he can from Cleveland because of this new TV deal. Maybe he will enter this offseason with a ring.
#1 Kevin Durant:
2015-2016 team: Oklahoma City Thunder; 2016-2017 prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder; Actual Team: Golden State Warriors
Sorry my Top 5 has not been much juicer with my predictions. I just do not foresee any of them leaving. Kevin Durant will be the same. Will he leave OKC where he is currently in the Western Conference Finals team for the Washington Wizards just because they have his old coach? Highly doubt it. Bradley Beal probably wont be able to stay in Washington if they sign KD so all he will have is John Wall. How is that any better than his current situation? Join Golden State and he will be ridiculed worse than LeBron when he made his “decision” to go to Miami Heat. He’s staying in Oklahoma City.