Prepare Yourself for the NBA Apocalypse

Prepare Yourself for the NBA Apocalypse

NBA Free Agency

Throughout the grueling process that is the NBA season, we as fans go through our fair share of ups and downs. The NBA season is an emotional roller coaster, there's no denying that. The running joke you'll hear around the sports world is that there is no league that has as much drama as the NBA.

Think about all of the storylines that will occur during an NBA season. In this last year we had everything such as the Lakers leaked trade offer, Ryan Saunders coaching his Dad's old team, the Markelle Fultz fiasco, Kevin Durant refusing to talk to media for 9 days, Lonzo Ball posting an Instagram of the song "Bad Boys for Life" after not getting traded, and more...

Although the NBA season gives us some of the best dramatic stories and headlines...there's one period of absolute chaos that wipes the floor with any other sport.

NBA FREE AGENCY

Yes the NBA Offseason, in general, is a terrifying spectacle. This year is going to be different, as basketball fans should be terrified of the NBA Free Agency period that is about to take place. While some might view that as an overreaction, there's a monstrous change in the NBA landscape ahead of us.

With the Defending champion Golden State Warriors going down in the NBA Finals and suffering a number of crucial injuries for their upcoming season, the rest of the league smells blood in the water. We are going to see a crazy amount of high-profile players finding themselves with new homes. Even last years NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard could be on the way out from Toronto. 

For the last 5 years, the NBA has been a Western Conference dominant league, with most of us considering it a "Mad Max" survival mode for teams to get through the Western Conference in the Playoffs. Until this recent year, the Eastern Conference has been slowly climbing back into power, and we wait to see how the balance of powers will take place this upcoming season. 

 

Here's a look at what we know with some of the big names in Free Agency this year.

 

KYRIE AND KD 

  • Everyone is going to have their attention on Kyrie Irving (Celtics) and Kevin Durant (Warriors) and we don't blame them. Don't be surprised if the heavy hitters in Free Agency wait to see where these two wind up. It seems as if every day that goes by, we hear a new rumor involving these two. The hottest rumor now is that Kyrie is Brooklyn bound and is doing everything he can to convince Durant to come on board. While Durant is expected to miss the majority of next season rehabbing his Achilles tear, expect him to still get offered the max. 

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant

KAWHI EYEING TORONTO OR LA

  • Leonard is going to be one of the most fascinating storylines in Free Agency because everyone is going to try to create some hype that he wants to play for the Lakers and Lebron. I'm not saying that isn't true...but I'm also not buying it. Expect this decision to come down to two teams...the Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors. It's worth noting, that if Kawhi decides to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors, he could find himself defending his NBA Championship against an Eastern Conference that could have a lot of star power spreading out this summer. 

THE CURIOUS CASE OF D'ANGELO RUSSELL 

  • You can safely mark this one down as the storyline that deserves WAY more attention. Coming off a career year, in which Russell earned himself his first All-Star appearance, "D-Lo" will find himself entering Free Agency as a Restricted Free Agent. There's no doubt that teams will be lining up with the hope that they can lure Russell away from the Nets, and it's a bit of a surprise that the Nets are willing to move on at this point. There's been some speculation that Russell might be eyeing a reunion with the Lakers, which would be right on cue with the amount of NBA drama we are about to get this summer.

JIMMY BUCKETS AND TOBIAS 

  • After the Philadelphia 76ers made a couple of big trades last year and went all-in on their title run, they now find themselves scrambling to re-sign a couple of big names. The talented combination of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are scheduled to become Free Agents, and both will have plenty of suitors for their services. Harris was rumored to be intrigued with the Brooklyn Nets as a potential landing spot, but the Kevin Durant/Kyrie fiasco could make that difficult with his projected salary. Expect Harris to draw a serious amount of attention in the Free Agency pool once the Kyrie/KD situation settles. He will be a popular target around the league. Jimmy Butler will have plenty of suitors as well, and early reports have him as a sign-and-trade target of the Houston Rockets. Butler would be an intriguing addition to the puzzle for the Rockets, but they will have to move plenty of valuable assets in order to make it happen. 

LAKERS FRENZY

  • One move that we know is already underway is the Lakers acquiring superstar forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. It's a massive move for the organization as they get to pair two of the best players in the NBA together. With additional moves, the Lakers have opened up enough cap space for another max contract player in Free Agency...but what way do the Lakers go? Do they swing for the fence to add another star, which will impact the depth of their bench, or do they prioritize adding key pieces to the puzzle with their remaining cap space? 

BIG AL HORFORD

  • In a bit of a shocking development, Former Boston Celtics big man Al Horford has declined his Player Option and will be pursuing other offers. It was expected that Horford would decline his PO with the focus of re-signing with the Celtics for a longer contract, but now it seems as if the tides have changed. Horford will be an intriguing piece for any team looking to add a veteran big that is a perfect fit in the modern NBA. A couple of teams have been mentioned as potential suitors including the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, and Dallas Mavericks. Oh, don't you just love rumor season?

KEMBA

  • It's honestly the storyline that everyone should be focusing on, but we are in a twilight zone hypnosis because of Kyrie and KD. Kemba has been with the Charlotte Hornets throughout his entire career and they've struggled to build a team around him. It's one of the weirder situations where you could argue that Kemba is one of the most undervalued stars in our league today. He's going to have a hot market, and rumors have it that the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks are the teams waiting in line for Kemba's services. As of today, it's been reported that the Celtics are the "frontrunner" to sign Kemba after the Hornets remain far apart in contract negotiations. Only time will tell where Walker will be suiting up next year. 

THE "OTHER GUYS"

  • Please, PLEASE, don't forget about the rest of this class because there is some serious talent in this Free Agent class. While most of us will be focusing on the big dominoes to fall early, some serious talent will be on the move as well. Here's a couple of players to keep an eye on.

    • Kris Middleton (MIL)

    • Malcolm Brogdon (MIL)

    • Bojan Bogdanovic (IND)

    • Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC) *RFA

    • Julius Randle (NOLA)

    • Brook Lopez (MIL)

    • Nikola Vucevic (ORL)

    • Nerlens Noel (OKC)

    • Demarcus Cousins (GSW)

    • Terry Rozier (BOS) *RFA

 

Free Agency is always one of the most exciting periods in the NBA but this year will sprinkle in its fair share of utter chaos on top of the excitement. Some fan bases are going to be in for rude awakenings, as their will simply be too many pieces changing teams. Everyone will need to come to the harsh reality that the league will look completely different next year.

The balance of power is about to flip upside down, and this league is about to experience a wild ride.

Buckle Up. 

 

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