The 2014 NBA playoffs are winding down, and for most teams, the offseason is already in full swing.
Each franchise will be looking to improve over the summer—no matter its record from a season ago—and bringing in a top-tier free agent is one way to gain a significant boost.
This year, there are plenty of big names on the market. With those names come plenty of rumors regarding where they may end up next season.
Let's take a look at a few juicy rumors involving some of these players currently circulating around the web.
Kyrie Irving to Leave Cleveland?
All right, so Irving isn't set to be a free agent this year; however, according to a report from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, he will not only become a restricted free agent next year, but could be traded this offseason:
The Cavs are making noises that they aren't going to offer Kyrie Irving "max money" this summer via a long-term extension. They don't want to deal the 2014 All-Star Game MVP, but it could come to that, especially if the West Orange product and his family continue to tell people that he wants out.
FiveThirtyEight breaks down the scenario, via their tweet:
Should the Cavs extend Kyrie Irving’s contract to the max? http://t.co/xFuowScS44— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) May 25, 2014
This season, Irving is due a base salary of just over $7 million, according to Spotrac.com.
It could be conceived the Cavaliers would be open to offloading Irving, as he hasn't quite lived up to expectations since coming aboard.
Here's what one source said to Lawrence about Irving's situation in Cleveland: "He was just handed too much, too soon. You've got to make these young guys earn it, and that's where this team did a bad job with him."
If Cleveland can't find a suitor for him via trade, it appears Irving will be a name to watch during the 2015 free-agency period.
Nick Young to Test the Market?
Young's stellar perimeter shooting and average of 17.9 points per game last season should make him a very hot commodity if he does enter free agency.
According to a report from Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders, that may indeed be the case:
A source very close to Young recently told Basketball Insiders the Los Angeles native would prefer to wear a Lakers uniform next season despite the uncertainty of the team’s roster and the vacant head coach position.
However, the source fully believes Young will elect to opt out of his deal this summer in order to fully evaluate his options on the free agent circuit in July.
It seems rather interesting that Young would opt out of his contract with the Lakers despite his interest in remaining with the team. However, Greene's source went on to explain that Young may have a motive in mind: "According to the source, the purpose of opting out of his deal would be driven by the desire to lock up a more lucrative long term contract with the Lakers."
ESPN's Arash Markazi tweeted his take on Young's decision:
Not sure what he'll get in the open market but Nick Young would be crazy to leave L.A. #HomeTownDiscount— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 24, 2014
Sure, Young's plan could work; however, once he hits the free-agent market, his chances of remaining in Los Angeles are lessened. Could he really decline a more lucrative offer from another team?
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Lakers Don't Want Carmelo Anthony?
Anthony has been one of the biggest names floating around NBA circles since the New York Knicks failed to make the playoffs.
He's been willing to hit the free-agent market in hopes of landing a big contract with a potential contender. Although, according to a recent report from Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Lakers may be out of the picture.
He writes, "Meanwhile, the Lakers have cap space, but sources maintain they aren't too interested in Anthony as a fit with Kobe Bryant. Nor is Lakers president Jeanie Buss enthralled with stealing Anthony from Jackson, her fiance."
First things first. The second part of that rumor more than likely isn't a factor in the Lakers' decision. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweeted why:
Reports that Jeanie and the Lakers would bow out of Carmelo Anthony pursuit so as not to impact Phil would be a violation.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 27, 2014
The first part of the rumor makes plenty of sense.
Bryant wants the ball in his hands—we all know this. Unfortunately, Anthony wants the same thing.
With these players sharing the court, a seemingly stellar addition could quickly turn into a disaster if these two players can't coexist. In that case, Los Angeles would be dealing out a bunch of money for a "what if" scenario.