By: Bobby Tuzzio, Sports Co-editor
While the playoffs are beginning to intensify as each team gets closer to an NBA title, after the Finals, free agency is going to dominate the headlines. I thought that it would be interesting to look at some of the top free agents this offseason and maybe even predict what team each of those players will be playing for in October. First, let’s get rid of the easy ones: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. With the Warriors rolling, expect these two players to stay in the Bay Area and sign some big contracts this summer. Staying in California, it’s time to take a look at Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout his NBA career, he has captivated fans with both his monster dunks and impressive stat line. I personally think that he is going to opt out and look for greener pastures, possibly the Celtics. Another player on the Clippers who may make a big move this offseason is Chris Paul. Paul, now 31 years old, can still ball out on a daily basis. I think that there is a good shot Paul stays with the Clips, but it would be hard to rule out other teams. I could see Paul going to the Knicks, as they need a point guard that could match with Porzingis (and no, that point guard is not Derrick Rose).
On the Utah Jazz, Gordon Hayward will have his player option during this offseason. Keeping him in Utah will not be cheap, as he is right in the middle of his prime. I do, however, think that he’ll stay with the Jazz, as they seem to be getting closer and closer to becoming title contenders every season. Up North, Kyle Lowry has found his groove with Demar Derozan. With his player option this summer, look for him to stay in Toronto and continue making magic with Derozan next season. In the East, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks is noticeable on both sides of the court. Lots of teams will look at him for the impact he makes on offense and defense, but I think that he will stay in Atlanta.
That rounds out some of the big names that will potentially leave their respected teams this season. Now I am going to start rounding off some of the second tier players in the league and predicting where they are going to go. If I am right on at least a quarter of these I’ll be shocked. I think: Jrue Holiday will stay with the Pelicans, Danilo Gallinari will stay in Denver, Serge Ibaka will leave Toronto and go somewhere else–possibly Dallas, Pau Gasol will stay with the Spurs, Dwyane Wade will stay with the Bulls, George Hill will go to the Knicks, Otto Porter will stay with the Wizards, Greg Monroe will stay with the Bucks, J.J Reddick will likely leave L.A and go to the Bulls, Dirk Nowitzki will stay with the Mavs, Patty Mills will stay in San Antonio, Rajon Rondo will stay with the Chicago Bulls, Kyle Korver will either go to one of two Texas teams–the Spurs or the Rockets–but my money’s on the Rockets, and hopefully Melo will leave New York.