What a wild offseason we’ve already had in the NBA … and free agency hasn’t even started yet! Jimmy Butler has been shipped to the Wolves, Chris Paul is shockingly already a member of the Rockets, Dwight Howard unexpectedly went to the Hornets and the Lakers gave up early on former No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell, who now resides in Brooklyn.
Here’s a look at the 10 biggest names that could be changing uniforms this season along with some potential destinations. Not all of them are free agents, though (potential destinations do not include the team the player played for last season).
Danilo Gallinari (Free Agent)
Small Forward, Denver Nuggets
2016-17 DKFP per game: 30.03
Potential Destinations: Rockets, Celtics, Nets, Mavericks, Pacers
There are a lot of names that you could potentially add that are in the same neighborhood as Gallo. Avery Bradley, Andre Drummond, Serge Ibaka, George Hill, Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay and Jrue Holiday were all players with similar fantasy production last season that could be in different uniforms next season.
The Nuggets are on the come up and almost made the postseason. It’s very possible they’ll want to keep Gallinari as a building block, but other teams will come calling for his services. He’s versatile for his size and his best skill (shooting) is an important one. The Rockets or Celtics could be interested if they miss out on the big pieces they desire. He could be a Paul George replacement in Indy, while the Mavs are just looking for a playoff team to put around Dirk.
DeAndre Jordan (Under Contract)
Center, Los Angeles Clippers
2016-17 DKFP per game: 36.27
Potential Destinations: Suns, Wizards, Thunder, Celtics
DJ would need to be traded, but with CP3 in Houston, there’s a chance the Clippers blow it up, or even just decide to build around Griffin as the lone big man. The Suns have shown interest, but will likely stay young, while the Celtics probably don’t have much of a need, but have been linked. The Wizards and Thunder are two intriguing teams that could use a defensive-minded center to pair with their elite point guards. They both have the pieces to try and pull something off.
Eric Bledsoe (Under Contract)
Point Guard, Phoenix Suns
2016-17 DKFP per game: 39.61
Potential Destinations: Nuggets, Timberwolves, Pistons, Clippers
As I just mentioned, the Suns are going young, and although Bledsoe is just 27, they’re comprised of mostly 21-and-under type building blocks. Phoenix may want to consider moving him for some kind of package that better fits its window to win. Bledsoe could contribute right away on another team trying to make a push now, and by today’s standards is a very affordable contract. Denver’s been linked to point guard upgrades including Bledsoe himself. Minnesota just moved on from two future backcourt pieces and is looking to win with Jimmy Butler. Detroit has soured on Reggie Jackson, and the team that drafted Bledsoe (LAC) now has a big opening in the backcourt.
Kevin Love (Under Contract)
Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
2016-17 DKFP per game: 39.49
Potential Destinations: Knicks, Pacers, Rockets, Thunder, Suns, Celtics, Nuggets
Kevin Love trade rumors — an NBA offseason tradition unlike any other. The Cavs had a good enough team to win it all as presently composed, but that may’ve changed now that Durant is in Golden State. Cleveland needs more firepower and is clearly willing to at least discuss using Love to acquire it. As you see above, it’s not worth going team by team. Love could be involved in a three-way deal that puts him anywhere in the league if LeBron feels the return is enough to give him a better shot at taking down the mighty Dubs.
Carmelo Anthony (Under Contract)
Small Forward, New York Knicks
2016-17 DKFP per game: 36.79
Potential Destinations: Rockets, Cavaliers, Clippers, Lakers
Assuming he opts out after this upcoming season, ‘Melo is in a contract year. That makes him very moveable, not to mention the buyout rumors in New York. Basically, it’s very likely he’s on the move and there are only a few options. “Melo will either be teaming up with LeBron in an attempt to help bring another one to The Land, join the potential next super team in Houston, or journey out to one of the teams in L.A. in hope of building something in the near future. I can’t see Anthony landing anywhere else.
Paul Millsap (Free Agent)
Power Forward Atlanta Hawks
2016-17 DKFP per game: 37.41
Potential Designations: Raptors, Nuggets, Blazers, Timberwolves
The Hawks have completely blown it up at this point. Jeff Teague and Al Horford left town, and then Dwight Howard was shipped out for absolutely nada. Re-signing Millsap would make no sense. If the Raptors can hang onto Kyle Lowry, then maybe Millsap is the piece that can help them contend in the East. Meanwhile, out west, we already know the other three teams listed above are looking to add pieces to improve now. A sign and trade isn’t out of the question with the Hawks potentially willing to take on a bad contract for assets.
Kyle Lowry (Free Agent)
Point Guard, Toronto Raptors
2016-17 DKFP per game: 42.88
Potential Destinations: Spurs, 76ers, Clippers
Lowry has a tough decision, but if I’m him my mind is made up. Tony Parker is aging and injured, and there’s a great opportunity for him to play alongside Kawhi on a contender. The Spurs still don’t beat the Warriors, but they get one piece closer to getting there. Lowry’s hometown Sixers are in the mix, and I just feel the Clippers could be a dark horse here. Again, Lowry to the Spurs feels like the perfect fit, though.
Blake Griffin (Free Agent)
Power Forward, Los Angeles Clippers
2016-17 DKFP per game: 41.42
Potential Destinations: Celtics, Thunder, Heat, Suns, Wizards, Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves
Look at all those teams! We have no clue where Griffin might wind up, but I think we can take the non-winners out of the mix. His hometown Thunder are an interesting option to play with the reigning MVP, while we know the Celtics are a serious option as well. Griffin could be the perfect fit at the four for the Wolves, though. They’re a nice sleeper destination. Wherever Griffin lands, the cause for concern will be injuries. If he chooses his next stop wisely and can keep his health, the former No. 1 overall pick does have the potential to change the lay of the land in the league.
Gordon Hayward (Free Agent)
Small Forward, Utah Jazz
2016-17 DKFP per game: 36.51
Potential Destinations: Celtics, Heat
Griffin is a better player than Hayward in my opinion, but the most important stat is games played. That makes Hayward a much safer option. We could add to his list, but it feels like if he departs Utah it’s only going to be to one of two spots. Miami is great and had a very strong finish to the season, but Hayward doesn’t make them anything more than what the Jazz was last season (with much better weather and nightlife). Boston presents a real chance to win with everything Danny Ainge is cooking up. Maybe not right away, but once all the pieces fall into place. I think Hayward reunites with his college coach, Brad Stevens.
Paul George (Under Contract)
Small Forward, Indiana Pacers
2016-17 DKFP per game: 40.83
Potential Destinations: Lakers, Celtics, Cavaliers, Rockets, Clippers
We’re all waiting for the big fish to fall, and although he isn’t a free agent, PG13 is in the last year of his contract and has already said he will be leaving the Pacers. That leaves them with no option but to trade him. The Lakers are obviously an option as the L.A. native specifically mentioned them as the team he would depart Indy for, but would trading for him be smart? We’ll find out. The Clippers have to be mentioned since they’re in town as well, but I wouldn’t take them seriously after losing Paul. The other teams to watch out for make perfect sense — Boston, Cleveland and Houston are all looking to add pieces to win a title, and George is the best talent in the market. The Celtics should have the inside track again given what they can offer, but these other teams could pull a quick deal and shock the league.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.