Christmas time may be upon us, but the real best time of year for NBA fans is the free agency period. This is the time where fans and the media can speculate where the biggest names may end up before the end of the summer. Rightfully so, there have been so many tremendous free agency moves in the last ten years that have altered the landscape of the NBA. In recent memory, that was Kevin Durant’s move to the Golden State Warriors.
However, what if another big free agency move was in the works? Only time will tell for sure, but here are five dangerous free agency scenarios that can definitely alter the state of the league.
5. LeBron to the Rockets
Since Chris Paul returned (6 games, 2 weeks) – HOU ranks:
1st in offensive rating (118)
1st in defensive rating (97)
1st in net rating (+21)
Assist % has also ticked up to 66% (3rd in league), Warriors usually 1st around 70%.
That is the Chris Paul effect.
— StanfordKP (@stanfordkp) November 30, 2017
The Houston Rockets have certainly grown from a mediocre team into an NBA title contender. Not only is their offense one of the best in the league, the Rockets boast an incredible defense that is ranked 5th in the entire Association, according to Cleaning the Glass. In short, the Rockets are ready to contend and their formula is quite simple. They are simply going to outscore with their amazing core of James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capella.
It doesn’t take a scientist to know that LeBron James is entering his third free agency term of his career, and he may just be looking to leave Cleveland. There are even tons of rumors swirling about the possibility of suiting up with the Rockets. Although this is somewhat unlikely, if James does sign with the Rockets, we may just witness the making of the most dominant team of all-time. We could even witness a team that can quickly get payback on the Golden State Warriors when you add a 3-time NBA champion, of course.
4. Paul George to the Warriors
Last summer, Paul George made headlines when he told the Indiana Pacers that he planned to sign with Los Angeles Lakers. Later that summer, George was subsequently traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in what was viewed as remuneration in the event that George left the team with nothing in exchange. Several months later, no one is sure if George still wants to go to LA. However, we can assume that he just may not stick around in Oklahoma City after this season.
So, where will George end up in 2018? The answer may not be so simple. However, there are numerous rumors that the Warriors will target George in the upcoming free agency. Although this sounds incredibly unlikely, let’s remember that the Warriors gained Kevin Durant in 2016, even though they were already title contenders. With Paul George’s added shooting and defense, the Golden State Warriors will become invincible. Unfortunately, time has proved the the Warriors are always hungry.
3. DeMarcus Cousins to the Cavs
According to NBA.com, DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 26.2 PPG, 12.3 RPG, and 5.1 APG. He is also currently shooting 35% from deep, which is excellent for a center. Obviously, DeMarcus Cousins is a superstar. Even with his red-hot temper, Cousins is a borderline MVP candidate. This is especially interesting since Cousins will hit the market in 2018. Although he has played fantastically with the Pelicans, no one is sure if Cousins will automatically re-sign with the team. So, with doubt there is certainly speculation.
As of right now, there aren’t any credible sources that state any interest between Cousins and the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, if LeBron stays in Cleveland, we should all assume that he doesn’t plan to rebuild. If Cousins is on the market, Cleveland can make a push. After all, they do have a starting-caliber center of their own and a 2018 first round pick. If LeBron and the Cavaliers can snatch Cousins, they will have the power to bully the Warriors in the post, which could possibly give them the edge in a seven game series. Also, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, and DeMarcus Cousins is a fearsome trio that shouldn’t be messed with.
2. DeAndre Jordan to the Bucks
Ever since Chris Paul left, the Los Angeles Clippers have become a shell of a team that can barely compete with the pieces that they have. Key pieces such as Danillo Gallinari and Blake Griffin have consistently battled injuries through the season, and the role players have become burdened to pick up the slack. All in all, the Clippers are a mess. That may be why DeAndre Jordan might leave, for real this time, in 2018.
According to SLAM online, the Milwaukee Bucks are making a “concentrated push” to acquire DeAndre Jordan. However, that may not happen, considering that the Bucks threw away one of their bargaining chips in Greg Monroe in the Eric Bledsoe trade. Still, the Bucks may just pursue the rebounding big man during free agency. What will be their pitch? Giannis, Giannis, and more Giannis. The Greek Freak is already having a MVP-caliber season this year. Imagine what he can do if the Bucks can secure a superb rebounder, post defender, and lob partner? No one wants to know the answer to that.
1. Isaiah Thomas to the Timberwolves
Isaiah Thomas’s heart was shattered when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In other news, Thomas will make exactly $6.3 million at the end of the 2017-2018 year. Something isn’t adding up quite right. Will Thomas stick around and stay with the Cavaliers. Probably not. Thomas has said it himself that he wants to get the maximum payday possible when he hits free agency. Do you believe that he can accomplish this on a team full of overpaid players and LeBron James (who may command the largest salary in NBA history)? Nope.
Thomas will hit the market running, but it is unlikely that any NBA team will offer him a max contract after his nagging hip injury. Though, there is one team that just may give him a chance. The Minnesota Timberwolves are hungry and they are in the tough Western Conference. Isaiah Thomas on a team with Karl Anthony-Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins could be just what the NBA needs. And, that’s another super team in the West.
In sum, all of these free agency moves are hypothetical in nature. Though, if they did happen, the NBA would drastically change for better, or for worse.