NBA Free agency may not be as star-loaded as next year’s free agency period. However, with the next NBA season likely tipping off before Christmas, free agency is going to be a blur this fall. Below are our top five free agents that could move future odds if they sign with another team.
NOTE: Anthony Davis, the top free agent in this class, has already indicated he is planning on re-signing with the Lakers, so he is not included in this list.
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans (Restricted Free Agent)
After Davis, the top free agent in this class is also restricted, which means the Pelicans can match whatever Brandon Ingram gets on the open market. It may not come to that either, because the Pelicans probably want to do everything they can to keep Ingram, the league’s most improved player, on their roster.
Ingram is a huge threat, and there will likely be other teams willing to give him a max contract. However, the Pelicans can offer him more years and money than other teams. So, it remains likely he just signs a max extension instead of testing free agency. Especially considering the Pelicans will almost surely match anything he would get on the open market. Crazier things have happened, but I would be shocked if Ingram ended up on another team.
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The league’s next biggest prize this offseason that very likely could end up on another team is Fred VanVleet. The Raptors’ point guard has been amazing over the last two seasons and in all likelihood has earned a substantial raise this offseason.
The problem for the Raptors is that they already have a ton of money tied up in Kyle Lowry as their starting point guard. So VanVleet may seek more money on another team. He could still re-sign with Toronto, but the pandemic limiting revenue could be enough for the Raptors to move on. That is if they don’t have the appetite to go deep into the luxury tax to retain VanVleet’s services.
The Knicks have been rumored as a potential landing spot for VanVleet, but that obviously wouldn’t move their future odds into contention. However, if VanVleet doesn’t choose New York, there are some contenders that would see their futures shorten if VanVleet signs with them, including his current team.
Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Another name that could demand a solid salary and could also help a contender big time is Danilo Gallinari. The Italian veteran is a lights out shooter and played very well for the Thunder after being traded there in the Chris Paul deal.
If the Thunder are set on rebuilding and trading away Paul, Gallinari is probably going elsewhere, and his market should be hot. Without a ton of big game-changing names in free agency this season, Gallo might be heavily sought after by the contending teams with money.
Tops on that list might be the defending Eastern Conference champs. Miami might see Gallo as an upgrade at power forward over Jae Crowder and even a small-ball center option. The Bucks, Celtics, and Warriors could also be interested in the 6’10 swingman.
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs (Unrestricted Free Agent)
DeMar DeRozan might not be an elite player anymore, and his lack of three-point shooting is a concern for any team wanting to bring him in, but he’s still a high-level scorer in the NBA. With the lack of options for teams this offseason, we might see him get the attention he would not get otherwise.
It might be a non-contender that ends up with DeRozan because contenders may want to spend more wisely this offseason, but one destination that makes sense for DeRozan is the Nuggets if they get a sign and trade together. However, DeRozan signing with a team not projected to make the playoffs is a bit more likely at this point. His value dropped some playing in San Antonio, so a team with a lot of young talent but no veterans could be interested.
Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Another name on our free agency list that will be due for a huge pay raise is Montrezl Harrell. The Clippers’ big man has played outstanding off the bench for LA, and a starting role with a big contract might be in his future somewhere else considering the Clippers’ cap situation.
Harrell has been linked with the Raptors, but that would only happen if they decide to move on from VanVleet and Serge Ibaka. I could see it happening though, because with Marc Gasol also a free agent, the Raptors need bigs. Charlotte has also been rumored as a landing spot, simply because they have money to spend and are desperately in need of some interior and rebounding help.