Free agency is barely over, but it’s not too soon to look ahead at the ramifications this July could have on some of the NBA’s best players moving forward.
NBA free agency is like that first boy-girl party in middle school when everyone goes into it hoping to get seven minutes in heaven but most leave wondering how the girl you’ve been crushing on since sixth grade didn’t even notice your new haircut – and sweet-ass Tommy Hilfiger polo that your mom bought you special just for tonight – and instead spends the whole night dangling her feet in the pool with Will Lepro of all people and my God couldn’t you just die.
Or maybe that was just me.
Well, me and Karl-Anthony Towns (who probably doesn’t need his mom to buy him a new shirt, but still…)
Such is life in the L, where we’ve now entered a sad but predictable cycle for star movement: team drafts player, team tries to put competent team around player, team fails player, player seeks greener pastures elsewhere.
This is a new reality. A staggering 13 of the 21 players who’ve appeared on the last two sets of All-NBA teams have switched jerseys at some point in their career. It’s not always a result of forcing their way out due to unhappiness with their team’s direction, but every young star now exists with a ticking clock above his head, and organizations feel more compelled than ever to make a splashy move in free agency so that clock never hits zero.
Many such teams entered this summer with high hopes, but few prayers were answered. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look around the league and see which big names are candidates to push for an early exit, going from least to most likely.
(One note before we start: while players like Kevin Love and D’Angelo Russell may be traded soon for a variety of reasons, they probably won’t be pushing their way out, so they won’t be included here)