NBA Free Agents 2018: Rumors and Predictions for Remaining Available Talent

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2018

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 22:  Jabari Parker #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates after hitting a shot against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the Bradley Center on April 22, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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:

Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA

I'm told that Jabari Parker, who was born and raised in Chicago, has received interest from the Chicago Bulls. The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent, so the Milwaukee Bucks can match any offer sheet he signs.

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:

Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA

Isaiah Thomas and the Orlando Magic are negotiating a possible deal, according to league sources. Nothing has been agreed to yet, but it seems both sides want to get this done.

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?

PHILADELPHIA,PA -  MARCH 24 : Jamal Crawford #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles up court against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on March 24, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

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:

Candace Buckner @CandaceDBuckner

Day 3 into free agency and some of the #Wizards's targets are coming into focus: Washington expressed interest in Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham and Willie Reed. All these players were pretty much July 1 calls.

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