NBA Free Agents 2018: Rumors and Predictions for Remaining Available TalentJuly 4, 2018
LeBron James, the No. 1 free agent on the market, made an early, decisive four-year commitment to the Los Angeles Lakers on July 1. His representation, Klutch Sports Group, confirmed the news. The Golden State Warriors made a huge splash, agreeing to a one-year deal with DeMarcus Cousins, per Yahoo Sports reporter Shams Charania. Who's still available and where will they land?
Thus far, restricted free agents have yet to sign offer sheets. The two-day clock to match would start when the moratorium period ends July 6. The Milwaukee Bucks could face opposition for forward Jabari Parker. Is it time to move on from the injury-prone 2014 No. 2 overall pick?
Some veterans on the market prefer to find a new destination, sometimes with rebuilding squads, on a one-year deal to increase their free-agent market value for the next offseason. Others have the opportunity to join contenders in specific roles. Can Isaiah Thomas land a starting position after playing just 32 games last season? Will we see a bidding war for Jamal Crawford between two Eastern Conference teams?
Forward Jabari Parker Drawing Interest from Chicago Bulls?
The Chicago Bulls potentially face a tough restricted free-agent decision concerning guard Zach LaVine, but the front office may consider Parker, who's also restricted, on the market, per HoopsHype writer Alex Kennedy:
Of course, the Bucks can match outside offers for the fifth-year forward. However, due to Parker's injury history, a steeper proposal could lead to a change in the 23-year-old's scenery. He has torn his ACL twice, during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 campaigns, limiting him to 183 games over four seasons.
"He ain't going anywhere. He's going to be here," Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said to Racine Journal Times columnist Gery Woelfel in April.
Nonetheless, the dollar amount will determine the Bucks' appetite for Parker. For either team, it's a risky investment on a costly deal.
The Chicago native's potential return home sounds like a feel-good story. However, it's more likely Parker remains with the Bucks as teams hold on to their cash for potential free agents such as Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler, who have player options next summer.
Prediction: Jabari Parker signs new deal with the Milwaukee Bucks
Mutual Interest Between Isaiah Thomas, Orlando Magic?
After a shortened 2017-18 term because of an extended recovery from a hip injury, Thomas may land with the Orlando Magic per Kennedy:
Thomas already followed the Magic's Twitter account, which almost assures there's something brewing between the two sides:
Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA
Isaiah Thomas followed the Orlando Magic on Twitter today. It seems Thomas wants to go somewhere he can play a lot, so Orlando makes a lot of sense. He'd get a lot of touches and the only other point guard on the roster is DJ Augustin. (h/t @DavidBaumannORL) https://t.co/8woksGgAee
The 28-year-old would battle guard D.J. Augustin for minutes in the backcourt. Assuming Thomas takes on the starting role, he'll have a full campaign to look closer to the player who earned All-Star honors in consecutive seasons with the Boston Celtics.
The Magic would add a spark-plug scorer who can set up his teammates as the primary ball-handler. Thomas also has an incentive to put forth a strong year before hitting the market again next summer.
Barring negotiations falling apart, it's fair to expect Thomas and the Magic to agree to terms.
Prediction: Isaiah Thomas signs with the Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers Interested in Jamal Crawford?
Crawford could play for an eighth team in his NBA career. The 38-year-old can still knock down shots from a distance. He made 104 three-pointers during the previous campaign with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After shooting marksman Marco Belinelli agreed to a two-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers may consider adding the veteran scorer Crawford, per Philly.com's Keith Pompey.
The Sixers will face competition within the conference. Washington Post reporter Candace Buckner revealed the Washington Wizards phoned Crawford once the moratorium period started July 1:
Philadelphia agreed to a one-year deal with guard JJ Redick, per Wojnarowski. Unless the team unloads Robert Covington and Dario Saric for Leonard, a package SI.com writer Jake Fischer reported, the Sixers don't seem hard-pressed to pursue Crawford in a market battle.
Due to James' decision to take his talents to Los Angeles, the Wizards likely see a window of opportunity to vie for the Eastern Conference crown. According to The Athletic's Jared Weiss, Dwight Howard intends to sign a one-year deal with the Wizards after a finalizing a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets. He's still worth a solid double-double and interior defense as a starter.
Crawford could become an instrumental component off the bench. He averaged 10.3 points in 20.7 minutes per game last season.
Prediction: Jamal Crawford signs with the Washington Wizards