Every NBA Team's Realistic Dream Signing in 2019 Free Agency

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaNBA AnalystJune 19, 2019

Every NBA Team's Realistic Dream Signing in 2019 Free Agency

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    We are on the cusp of the most eventful NBA offseason since the summer of 2010 when LeBron James and Chris Bosh teamed up to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Things got started when the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to trade for Anthony Davis to team him with James.

    There's a whole bunch of money out there to be spent. According to Keith Smith's meticulously maintained spreadsheet, there is just shy of $450 million in cap space out there. If you factor in exceptions, it's likely more than half a billion dollars will be doled out this summer.

    Additionally, 40 percent of players could be free agents this year, according to Adam Silver (via Joe Vardon of The Athletic).

    A team's best target depends on at least two things: how much money the team can spend and its status in regards to contending. For instance, the Sacramento Kings might have enough money to afford Kawhi Leonard, but that doesn't mean they should pursue him because it's unlikely he would leave the reigning champs for a team early in the rebuilding process.

    For this article, teams were grouped based on their cap statuses. Some of those numbers are deceptive, however, and those instances were noted.

Way over the Apron: Minus-$60 Million and Up

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    The Apron

    "The apron" is a threshold roughly $6 million over the luxury-tax limit. While there are several restrictions involved, according to Larry Coon's CBA FAQ, the main one that applies to free agency is that those teams have smaller mid-level exceptions and no biannual exceptions.

    Other than that, all that is available to a team are minimum contracts. Even with those, the cost to the team can greatly exceed the cost of the contract because of the massive tax bill that can come with it.

    In other words, if you're over the apron, there's not a whole lot you can do, especially if you're not expected to contend for a title.


    Golden State Warriors (Minus-$70.2 million): Kevin Durant

    Check out this fun factoid tweeted by NBA.com's Beau Estes, which points out that if the Golden State Warriors retain Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant on max contracts, they'll be the first team ever to have four players under max deals.

    If they also retain Kevon Looney at about $15 million annually, their four-year tax bill would come to about $1.6 billion.

    Regardless of the cost, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported they plan to do just that.


    Boston Celtics (Minus-$70.1 million): Ricky Rubio

    The Boston Celtics are this high up mostly because of cap holds. In reality, they could be a cap space team. Kyrie Irving seems like he might go to the Brooklyn Nets (more on that later), and the Celtics have a few other free agents who are carrying holds.

    So the Celtics' total is inflated. If they let Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier go and restructure Al Horford's contract, they could get about $14 million below the cap, according to John Karalis of Mass Live.

    Considering they're not going to get a player who replaces Morris, Rozier and Irving for $14 million, they're better off staying over the cap and trying to secure a new starting point guard with the MLE.

    The Celtics haven't indicated what they plan to do, but Ricky Rubio is a point guard who plays well in a team structure. He would help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown grow into stardom by feeding them for easy buckets.

    And he should be available for the right price.


    Toronto Raptors (Minus-$68.5 million): Kawhi Leonard

    This isn't hard. When your star player just scored the third-most points in postseason history, won the Finals MVP and led you to your first NBA championship, retaining that guy is your top option.

    For the same reason, and maybe a little bit because of Durant's torn Achilles tendon, he'll be the most sought-after free agent.

    Leonard has divulged nothing regarding his plans, but you have to think the title provided some incentive to stay.


    Washington Wizards (Minus-$62.9 million): Cory Joseph

    The Washington Wizards are nearly $63 million over the cap, but a lot of that is because of holds they're likely to renounce. In all, their cap holds sum up to $79.4 million. They also have a team option they can (and probably will) decline on Jabari Parker for $20 million.

    The problem is that no matter what they do, they're still going to be paying John Wall $38.2 million, and he'll likely miss the entire season. They also have $27.1 million going to Bradley Beal and another $15.5 million going to Ian Mahinmi.

    According to Smith's sheet, the most they can free up is about $17.2 million. Cory Joseph would make sense at that price. He can run an offense reasonably well and play off the ball some, which would allow Beal to thrive as the primary ball-handler and scorer.


    Minnesota Timberwolves (Minus-$60.3 million): Terrence Ross

    The Minnesota Timberwolves have $63.5 million in cap holds, so don't read too much into this figure. Regardless of what they do, or how they maneuver things, the lowest they can go is about $4 million over the cap, which would put them in full MLE territory.

    They have only one point guard under contract (Jeff Teague), but they can use the Bird exception on Derrick Rose, and Tyus Jones is a restricted free agent.

    The Wolves were bad from range last year with just 10.1 three-pointers per game. A guy like Terrence Ross, who shot 38.3 percent on 7.0 attempts, could help with that.

Just over the Apron: Minus-$40 Million to Minus-$60 Million

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    Oklahoma City Thunder (Minus-$50.0 million): Jeff Green

    Sitting at almost $11 million over the apron, the Thunder's problems are deep. They're not only well over the tax, but they're also a repeat offender, which raises the payout even more.

    That means if they use the full mini-MLE available to teams over the apron, it would cost them the $5.7 million for the player and another $25 million in taxes. That would put their total tax bill over $65 million.

    Folks, that is a lot of money for a small-market team that can't make it out of the first round, so I wouldn't expect them to use their full MLE.

    The Thunder could use another combo forward, and Jeff Green fits that bill. He'd likely be available for the minimum, and the story of him coming home to the franchise with which he started his career has a certain feel-good vibe to it.


    Houston Rockets (Minus-$48.7 million): Trevor Ariza

    After the Houston Rockets once again lost to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, they seemed like they might blow things up. But following injuries that could keep both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant out for most or all of the 2019-20 season, the Rockets seem like they have the inside lane to the Finals.

    The Rockets are well above the cap. But they have almost $50 million in cap holds, so they're not as close to the apron as it seems. While they might want to bring back Kenneth Faried and Austin Rivers, they can trim enough cap space off to get a full MLE.

    Even after the Los Angeles Lakers' acquisition of Anthony Davis, the Rockets have to like their chances. The Lakers still have to flesh out the rest of their team with limited cap space, and James and Davis are still unfamiliar with one another.

    So why not bring back Trevor Ariza, who helped them win 65 games in 2017-18? His three-and-D abilities make him the exact kind of player who could help, and he'd be gettable with the MLE.

    Of course, if James Harden and Chris Paul don't reconcile, maybe none of that means anything. 


    Orlando Magic (Minus-$44.2 million): Nikola Vucevic

    The Orlando Magic finally made it back to the playoffs last season, ending a drought that stretched back to the Dwight Howard trade in 2012.

    Ironically, their big man, Nikola Vucivic, was a major factor, leading the team in points (20.8), rebounds (12.0) and steals (1.0) while placing third in both assists (3.8) and blocks (1.1). Only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis put up similar numbers.

    There is some contract-year risk here, as Vucevic had by far his best season. But it's too much for the Magic to let him walk away, which is why president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman called bringing back their starting center a "priority," per Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel


    Portland Trail Blazers (Minus-$41.4 million): Reggie Bullock

    The Portland Trail Blazers got to the Western Conference Finals last year, but they were swept by the Golden State Warriors (the games were a bit more competitive than the sweep might indicate).

    Like the Rockets, they might have been confronting existential questions if the Warriors weren't facing injury concerns. But the door has been kicked open, and the Blazers hope to be the ones to walk through it.

    They have enough free agents that the $41 million here is realistic, which means they're going to be operating over the apron. If Seth Curry leaves, which is a real possibility, they'll need to replace him, and Reggie Bullock (39.2 career three-point percentage) is a prime target with the taxpayer MLE. 


    Charlotte Hornets (Minus-$40.1 million): Kemba Walker

    Kemba Walker is the greatest player in Charlotte Hornets history, and there is a genuine possibility he'll put the "walk" in Walker as he walks away from the only team for which he's ever played.

    Kemba is the franchise's all-time leader in minutes, points, two-pointers, three-pointers, free throws, win shares and value over replacement player while sitting second in assists, third in steals and sixth in rebounds.

    That's why general manager Mitch Kupcheck told reporters, "I think this is a place that he wants to be, and we'll do everything that we can to bring him back here."

    However, other teams, including the Lakers, are showing an interest in him, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. He could be lured away if he can still get paid in a location where he feels he has a better chance of winning. 

Around the Apron: Minus-$30 Million to Minus-$40 Million

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    Miami Heat (Minus-$36.0 million): Elfrid Payton

    The Heat are barely over the apron, and they're not in repeater territory, so the tax man is not going to hit them as hard as Golden State or Oklahoma City. 

    There is a world in which Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic opt for free agency and the Heat have cap space. Unfortunately for Miami fans, that world is not the one we live in. Realistically, they're just going to have the mini-MLE to play with.

    They could use a guy who can run the offense when Dragic is out. While Justise Winslow had some success as a point guard last year, it doesn't seem to be a long-term solution. Payton, however, is a prototypical point guard who has had success when in a strong system, and head coach Erik Spoelstra has always been good at adapting his offense to his players.

    Payton averaged 12.8 points, 9.2 assists and 6.3 boards per 36 minutes last season. He should be available for the mini-MLE or less, as he made just $3 million last year.


    Detroit Pistons (Minus-$34.6 million): Seth Curry

    The Detroit Pistons are pretty firmly in MLE territory. The best they can do is get down to about $5 million over the cap, but they'd be well under the apron as they'd renounce most—if not all—of their $26.5 million in cap holds. 

    Reggie Jackson has been stellar at times, but his injury history definitely mandates a quality backup. Seth Curry is a guy who can fill that role. Additionally, he would be able to provide spacing and play alongside Jackson. 

    In completely unrelated but somewhat hysterical news, this is finally the last year of Josh Smith's stretch provision. 


    Cleveland Cavaliers (Minus-$34.0 million): David Nwaba

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are in salary-cap hell.

    Their active roster is going to cost $135 million. The best they'll be able to do is the taxpayer exception, and it's probably not worth it. They're also in the repeater tax, and that's similarly not worth it for a team that has no chance of contention.

    Moreover, it'll be hard for them to dredge up the remnants of free-agent minimums to find someone who wants to play for the Cavaliers. I don't mean to imply anything against the city of Cleveland—just that the team is, well, terrible. 

    Their best bet is probably to retain David Nwaba, who has the potential to develop, and wait for next season when they free up cap space and can do something of more significance.


    Philadelphia 76ers (Minus-$32.5 million): Jimmy Butler

    The Philadelphia 76ers are not going to have enough money to sign anyone of note, so their absolute top priority has to be retaining the top star for whom they traded last season. 

    Other teams will try to compete for Jimmy Butler, but the Sixers have one big advantage: They can offer him an extra year. The Lakers want to bid on him, but Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported on a notable hitch:

    "Butler's agent, Bernie Lee, has been resolute since Butler's trade demand out of Minnesota that any teams interested in him would be competing with multiple maximum contract offers, and that market is revealing itself to be true.

    "The Los Angeles Lakers have genuine interest in acquiring Butler, sources said.

    "'Knock on wood, I will get a max contract no matter where I go,' Butler stated at his exit interview last month. 'You always want to be able to win. I think that's key, for sure. You're looking at coaches, you're looking at the city. There's a lot that goes into it.'"

    In making the Davis trade, the Lakers didn't leave enough cap space to offer another max contract. That could leave them out of the Butler bidding—barring further developments—and remove the most serious threat to steal away Butler. 

    It also suggests the fifth year could be what the Sixers need to get the deal done because it's the one thing they can offer that no one else can.  

Non-Tax Teams: Minus-$30 Million to $0

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    Memphis Grizzlies (Minus-$27.0 million): Tobias Harris

    The Memphis Grizzlies are technically over the cap and the tax, but more than $58 million of their expenditures are cap holds. A good chunk of that will be renounced, and Jonas Valanciunas will opt out of the last year of his contract ($17.6 million), per David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

    Furthermore, the Grizzlies are shopping Mike Conley and his $32.5 million deal. If that fails, they can always stretch Chandler Parsons' $25.1 million contract. 

    The Grizzlies have a feasible path to the max cap space likely needed to sign Tobias Harris, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, they are expected to pursue him. 

    Harris would fit Memphis in the sense that he's a hard-working player with a well-rounded skill set. He fits into the Grizzlies' grit-and-grind style. 

    But I'm not sure Memphis fits Harris. Historically, he's better when he's the second- or third-best player on the team. On the Grizzlies, he'd be the best if they traded Conley. If it's more of a situation like he had with the Clippers, where he's a "co-best" player, it could work. 


    San Antonio Spurs (Minus-$23.8 million): DeMarcus Cousins

    The San Antonio Spurs last missed the playoffs in 1996-97. Over the last 30 years, they've won almost 300 more games than anyone if you include regular-season and postseason wins. It's a phenomenal run, but will it end this year?

    Dylan Carter of Air Alamo offers an interesting proposal for a Spurs team looking to keep the run alive: Get DeMarcus Cousins. 

    Cousins would work in the Spurs' system, which has deliberately refrained from buying into the pace-and-space trend. The pairing of DeMar DeRozan and Cousins could actually be pretty interesting as both are underrated passers. 

    Boogie's market value is uncertain, but he'd be a worthwhile addition if San Antonio could get him for the MLE.


    Milwaukee Bucks (Minus-15.5 million): Khris Middleton 

    Khris Middleton's run as the unofficial most underrated player is finally over.

    He was an All-Star in 2018-19, and he's going to get paid accordingly this offseason. If you're a Milwaukee Bucks fan, you'll be pleased to know those paychecks are likely to come from his current boss. 

    Bucks reporter Paul Henning revealed Middleton has "moved into a new home in a Milwaukee area suburb. Have to think that bodes well for him re-signing with Bucks when free agency opens on June 30th." 

    Keeping their most important free agent would be good news. But with Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez also hitting free agency, the Bucks should be trying to free up the space to keep all three. Accordingly, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported they are trying to find a taker for Tony Snell's or Ersan Ilyasova's contracts and are willing to part with draft picks to get it done.


    Phoenix Suns (Minus-$7.2 million): Julius Randle 

    John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweeted: "Have heard that Free Agent Power Forward Julius Randle has interest in the Phoenix Suns. And I fully expect the Suns to consider him as well."

    That is an idea I can get behind. 

    The Suns will have the full MLE to offer, and that's a pay bump over what Randle is getting right now ($9.1 million with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018-19). Someone could offer him more, and Phoenix would be priced out if that happens.

    Just 24 years old, he would fit right in with the rest of the young nucleus led by 22-year-old Devin Booker. Next to 20-year-old Deandre Ayton, he would give the Suns an imposing frontcourt. Randle can shoot (34.4 percent from deep) to help open the rim up for Ayton, and they're both excellent rebounders who should dominate the glass.

Less Than Maximum Cap Space: $0 to $30 Million

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    New Orleans Pelicans ($15.2 million): Brook Lopez

    Keith Smith's sheet wasn't updated to reflect the Anthony Davis trade, but he told me the Pelicans will have about $18 million to spend after the trade goes through. That's not too bad considering what they have on the roster while launching their "rebuild." 

    Their projected lineup after the trade features Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson (once drafted at No. 1 overall) and a center. So, who should that center be?

    The trade is still too fresh for any actual rumors, so it's all just speculation right now. But why not Brook Lopez? He could stretch the court for Williamson's rim-running and give the Pelicans a nice blend of youth and experience. 

    They might even be a playoff team next year. 


    Denver Nuggets ($17.4 million): Nikola Mirotic 

    The $17.4 million here assumes the Nuggets opt not to keep Paul Millsap and his $30.5 million contract, which is by no means a foregone conclusion. However, let's entertain the thought.

    Nikola Mirotic could give the Nuggets the greatest all-Nikola big-man tandem the NBA has ever seen, although the sample size here is pretty limited. 

    The Nuggets would be a nice fit for Mirotic, too, as they have an offense in which he would thrive without having to function as an on-court leader. At times, he could get hot and function as an unstoppable force. When he's doing that, the Nuggets could just ride him until he cools off. 

    And when that inevitably happens, they could just pivot to their other stars. 

    The Nuggets also have enough wings that they wouldn't have to make the oft-failed decision to play him at the 3 and find out he can't handle that role defensively. 


    Chicago Bulls ($20.8 million): Patrick Beverley 

    The Chicago Bulls have assembled a young core of players who could blossom into a playoff team if they get the right point guard, and it is increasingly looking like Kris Dunn is not the right point guard. 

    Every other position is set with Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. They can (and probably will) draft a point guard, as they're looking at Darius Garland and Coby White with the No. 7 pick, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

    They could still land another in free agency, and Johnson also reported Patrick Beverley is in their sights. The feeling seems mutual: 

    "But ask Beverley which has been his favorite social media post from a fan and the veteran guard doesn't hesitate.

    "'The ones where they had my picture in a Bulls jersey,' Beverley said Thursday by phone. 'That looked pretty dope.'"

    Beverley would give the Bulls a defensive-minded leader who has the kind of fiery disposition they could use, and he wouldn't detract offensively from what the young stars can do.


    Los Angeles Lakers ($32.5 million): Patrick Beverley

    As with the Pelicans, the Lakers' figure in Smith's sheet doesn't reflect the current cap number. The "real" number is closer to $24 million unless they can convince the Pelicans to change the date on which the Davis trade goes through, which won't happen without the Lakers giving up even more than they already have. 

    While Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN report there is some possibility they could do some machinations to clear space for the max, it requires a third team to take on players, as well as the purchasing of second-round picks and Anthony Davis to waive his trade kicker. 

    So increasingly, it seems the Lakers are not going to have enough for a third max contract. It's also not realistic to think Kyrie Irving or Jimmy Butler would take a pay cut of around $10 million per year to play in L.A.

    It's not impossible, but it's not realistic. 

    The Lakers would be better served to spread that money over two players rather than one, and Patrick Beverley would be a great option here. He's a good shooter (39.8 percent from deep over the last two years) who is content letting someone else run the offense.

    Furthermore, with James "resting" on defense these days and Kyle Kuzma enduring challenges on that end, the Lakers will need a bulldog defender such as Beverley. 


    Atlanta Hawks ($25.0 million): Klay Thompson 

    The Atlanta Hawks are perfectly positioned to offer Klay Thompson a max deal. They have about $35 million in practical cap space, which is enough to make things happen. 

    For most teams, investing that much money in a player who isn't going to play most or all of the season might seem like a bad idea. But in this case, it makes sense. By signing Thompson, the Hawks would invest in the future while letting their younger players develop. And considering they have three top-17 picks in this year's draft, as well as one of the two best rookies from last year, that's a big plus. 

    Now about that rookie: His name is Trae Young, and he is reminiscent of Stephen Curry. In related news, Thompson has some experience playing with Curry and could bring that acumen to a new partnership with the Hawks' budding star. 

    It's a deal that might also make sense for Thompson, who perhaps never got the respect he deserved playing alongside so many other stars in Golden State. 

Maximum Cap Space

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    Dallas Mavericks ($29.3 million): Kemba Walker

    The Dallas Mavericks are poised to re-enter the playoffs with a revamped team and up-and-coming superstar Luka Doncic leading the way. But he won't be their only standout once Kristaps Porzingis is re-signed.

    Speaking with Latvian TV station LETA on a recent visit for Basketball Without Borders, head coach Rick Carlisle said the plan is to have the Unicorn ready to go from "day one" of training camp (h/t Mavs.com's Dwain Price). 

    The Mavs would definitely be back to relevance if they could add a third star to that nucleus, and Kemba Walker would be the ideal fit. Dallas struggled at times to find another player who could create shots, and Walker is one of the best in the business at doing so; 523 of his 731 buckets came unassisted, according to NBA.com

    It might take some convincing, but having better co-stars around him in Dallas might move the needle. 


    Utah Jazz ($33.4 million): D'Angelo Russell

    D'Angelo Russell is the choice for the Utah Jazz, but with a massive qualifier.

    "The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said," The Athletic's Shams Charania reported.

    If that fails, a good "in case of emergency, break glass" backup plan would be D'Angelo Russell, who has the all-around skill set (21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds) to supplement young Jazz star Donovan Mitchell without usurping him.

    In fact, this might work out better for the Jazz, as they wouldn't have to give up anyone to get him. His age (23) also meshes better with the nucleus of the team. 


    Sacramento Kings ($38.4 million): Tobias Harris

    The last time the Sacramento Kings were in the playoffs was 2006. For maybe the first offseason since then, Kings fans have reason to believe Sactown will be back. 

    Last year, they showed signs of progress as Buddy Hield had a breakout campaign (20.7 points) and De'Aaron Fox took a big step forward in his second season by averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 assists. 

    Harris is not a superstar. He's never even been an All-Star, but he can shoot, put the ball on the floor, defend multiple positions and pass. He does plenty of things well, though nothing on an elite level. 

    Guys like that plug a lot of holes and are often the difference between winning and losing. That shows up more in catch-all statistics such as real plus-minus (RPM) than in the box score, and Harris was fifth among small forwards in RPM wins last season, per ESPN.com

    He might be the player who can get the Kings back into the playoffs.  


    Indiana Pacers ($44.0 million): D'Angelo Russell

    The Indiana Pacers are another team in the hunt for D'Angelo Russell, according to Charania

    For the second season in a row after trading Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they exceeded expectations. Once Victor Oladipo went down against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 23, Bojan Bogdanovic emerged, averaging 20.7 points while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three.

    Myles Turner turned in a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber performance. Domantas Sabonis continued to blossom, notching 14.1 points and 9.3 boards per game. 

    The Pacers are a balanced, well-coached team, and Russell would slide right in. The only question is whether he'd be happy to play in a Midwestern, small-market city.

Maximum Cap Space-Plus

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    Los Angeles Clippers ($52.9 million): Kawhi Leonard

    It sure seems like if Leonard leaves the Toronto Raptors, it's going to be for the Clippers. 

    ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski explained on Get Up (h/t Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari):

    "The reality is Kawhi Leonard's focused on Los Angeles, but it's the Clippers, not the Lakers. No. 1, they don't have the money to sign him. And two, the idea of him being a third wheel on a team trying to create a superteam, that has not been Kawhi's M.O. The Clippers are poised to be able to lure him from Toronto. This will be a Raptors-Clippers fight down to the end. He may take meetings with more teams; it's not even certain he'd even take a meeting with the Lakers right now."

    Right now, it's hard to argue against Leonard as the best player in the NBA, and there's a fair argument that whichever team he goes to will head into the 2019-20 season regarded as the best team. 

    As a player or executive, Jerry West has been involved with a Finals team 31 times. Will the Clippers be his next success story?


    Brooklyn Nets ($67.6 million): Kyrie Irving

    There seems to be a lot of certainty that Kyrie Irving is going to the Brooklyn Nets. As Steve Bulpett of the Boston Globe reported: 

    "According to a source with ties to Roc Nation, the organization expected to become Irving’s new representative, the All-Star point guard is prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month. A separate league source told the Herald that his team (not the Celtics) has received the same information and is operating under the belief that Irving wants to join the Nets."

    Irving would just be the start for the Nets, who should be looking to pair him with a second star. But getting the first star goes a long way toward getting the second. 

    According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher on The Herd With Colin Cowherd (h/t Fox Sports Radio's Wil Leitner):

    "I'm told Kevin Durant is out of the hospital, moved into a hotel for the time being in the New York area and him and Kyrie have met and have continued to discuss playing together next season. KD has moved all his stuff and will spend his summer in New York… Every indication says KD is making plans to be elsewhere because obviously Kyrie will not be joining the Warriors any time soon."

    While Durant would be the bigger get here, Irving is the target if Durant would be coming to play with the All-Star point guard. 


    New York Knicks ($73.2 million): Kevin Durant

    Putting Kevin Durant's name here is playing on the margins on the word "realistic." But rumors have swirled all season, so maybe they have some legitimacy. Maybe. 

    It's hard to say with the Knicks because it seems the more money they have to spend, the more likely they are to mess things up. That's not mean, so much as historically accurate. Joakim Noah, anyone?

    But maybe they won't mess it up this year and will instead get Durant to sign with them. Maybe. 

    Probably not. 

    If that doesn't happen, the Knicks might want to think about collecting assets in exchange for taking on bad contracts. 


    All stats, unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of Basketball Reference.