NBA Free Agency Best Fits – 1st Installment

by JoeYancey

A few quick hits. We have a lot of players to cover so I will break this up over several installments.

John Wall

Age31
PositionPoint Guard
Current TeamHouston Rockets
Best FitLos Angeles Lakers
Our GuessMiami Heat

It will require the Rockets and Heat making a trade or buying out Wall’s contract via some negotiation, but Rockets are not going to pay him again to play zero minutes. Kyle Lowry was hobbled and playing through pain, but there are no guarantees a healthy Lowry leads the Heat to victory over Boston. With most of the team back next season, a John Wall/Kyle Lowry trade would benefit both teams. Wall to the Lakers for Westbrook would be a great fit for L.A; but it is unlikely Houston is interested.


Kyrie Irving

Age30
PositionPoint Guard
Current TeamBrooklyn Nets
Best FitWashington Wizards
Our GuessNew York Knicks

Whether it is his fault or not, Kyrie has not picked up many fans, less the antivaxxer crowd. It always feels like Irving is in a constant fight with someone or something. The court of public opinion locked Kyrie away and tossed the key years ago. His perceived differences with Lebron James did not play well for him. He is considered by many to be a bad teammate, but not something we’ve heard from actual teammates, thus it is just noise. New York seems like the team to splurge on Kyrie, and he would gladly accept if the compensation matches his skill. I think Kyrie in Washington with a healthy Beal, Porzingis, KCP Kuzma and Hachimura is a contender.


Bradley Beal

Age28
PositionSmall Forward
Current TeamWashington Wizards
Best FitWashington Wizards
Our GuessWashington Wizards

Bradley Beal has made a home in Washington and has been very vocal about his love and affinity for the city, as has his wife. The Wizards are a much better team than people think. They are but one big piece from being a playoff team. The fact that the no one can pay Brad Beal near what the Wizards can, the Wiz are trying to build a team around him, and he is comfortable, I cannot see him going anywhere, but where he already is.


James Harden

Age32
PositionPoint Guard/Shooting Guard
Current TeamPhiladelphia 76ers
Best FitChicago Bulls
Our GuessPhiladelphia 76ers

Harden has until June 29th to opt in to a one-year, $47 million deal. That is a ton of money for one year, but should he falter and post a bad 2022-2023, he becomes a 33-year-old free agent with a lot less value. I expect him to use the leverage he has now and work with Philadelphia on an extension that has a lower annual pay, with more years. This is likely to be his last big contract. Should he opt out and become a free agent, the Chicago Bulls would be a great fit.


Deandre Ayton

Age23
PositionCenter
Current TeamPhoenix Suns
Best FitSan Antonio Spurs
Our GuessPortland Trailblazers

At only 23 and full of potential, Ayton is one of the more attractive free agents available. Ayton’s max contract estimated around $130 million or so over four years may be a bargain. He has size, and the skill develops a bit more each season. The Spurs are going to land someone. It is unlikely San Antonio is in play, or has interest in Harden, Wall, Beal, or any of the older players. Zach Lavine is a nice option, but at that cost, and the Spurs biggest hole is size that produces, Ayton is the obvious choice. They will have a lot of competition, but this could happen. It could potentially be a sign and trade as well. This is the Spurs signing Lamarcus Aldridge, but younger. With that said, Damian Lillard does not have a lot of years left, and the prospect of playing alongside Dame supersedes that of playing with Dejounte Murray. The Blazers will throw everything they have at Ayton.

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