Now that the 2014 NBA season is complete, the focus for many basketball fans has shifted to the draft and free agency. There are several huge names that could hit the open market and drastically change the landscape of the league.
With players like LeBron James and Carmelo Antony both having options in their contracts to become free agents, as well as unrestricted stars like Dirk Nowitzki, the potential for movement has basketball fans genuinely excited.
Here is a list of where the top potential free agents will land and a preview of the next possible Big Three.
|2014 NBA Free-Agency Predictions|
|Rank||Player||Free Agent Type||Predicted Landing Spot|
|1||LeBron James||Early Termination Option||Miami Heat|
|2||Carmelo Anthony||Player Option||Houston Rockets|
|3||Chris Bosh||Early Termination Option||Miami Heat|
|4||Dirk Nowitzki||Unrestricted||Dallas Mavericks|
|5||Tim Duncan||Player Option||San Antonio Spurs|
|6||Dwyane Wade||Early Termination Option||Miami Heat|
|7||Kyle Lowry||Unrestricted||Los Angeles Lakers|
|8||Eric Bledsoe||Restricted||Phoenix Suns|
|9||Luol Deng||Unrestricted||New York Knicks|
|10||Pau Gasol||Unrestricted||New York Knicks|
|Source: NBA.com. Predictions via Donald Wood|
Breaking Down the Next Big Three: Houston Rockets
There is no doubt that LeBron James is the biggest piece to the offseason puzzle, but a move from Miami after the way the franchise lost in the Finals is not likely. He will look to avenge the loss to the Spurs in Miami.
That will leave an opening for New York Knicks small forward and potential free agent Anthony to walk out of the Big Apple and onto one of the brightest teams in the league today, the Houston Rockets.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Anthony is looking to test free agency:
As re-signing with the Knicks continues to fade as his priority, Chicago and Houston have emerged as the clear frontrunners to acquire Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Chicago and Houston front-office executives are working diligently on contingencies to clear the space to sign Anthony outright – or engage sign-and-trade scenarios with New York, sources said.
Harden has the ability to create his own shots or play from the point position, depending on what the offense dictates. In his second year with the Rockets, the shooting guard averaged 25.4 points, 6.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Anthony would obviously be the main cog in the game plan, but Harden’s ability to make shots or find the open man will alleviate much of the pressure that the potential free agent felt in New York.
2K Sports insider Ronnie Singh talked about just how wild this offseason could get:
Add in the fact that Dwight Howard is patrolling the low post and regaining his form as one of the best centers in the NBA—he racked up 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks during the 2013-14 season—and Houston has three of the most dynamic players in the league.
There will undoubtedly be a transitional period that could make it difficult to win right away, but the possible retirement of San Antonio center Tim Duncan could leave the Western Conference without a clear favorite.
With Anthony teaming up with the already dangerous duo of Howard and Harden, plus the addition of role players like Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley, the Rockets would be formidable contenders for years to come.
Now it’s up to Houston’s management to sway the potential free agent to sign with their franchise.
*Stats via NBA.com.