NBA Free Agency 2019: Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan, More Rumors and PredictionsJune 25, 2019
The NBA free-agent market is beginning to take shape with the start of free agency less than a week away.
Rumors have spread about the NBA's top stars for months, but now their potential destinations are coming more into view ahead of the beginning of free agency on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.
After winning the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors, Kawhi Leonard has the spotlight focused directly on his decision to either stay in Canada or head back home to California and join the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Brooklyn Nets have been mentioned frequent in free-agency rumors, and another target for a potentially franchise-altering offseason was discussed Monday.
It looks like the race to sign Leonard is going to come down to the Raptors and Clippers.
On Sportsnet's Tim and Sid on Tuesday, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes said he believes the Raptors are the favorites to sign Leonard.
"They are in consideration." Haynes said. "I talked to people across the league and they view the Raptors as the favorites."
On Sunday, Haynes broke the news that Leonard will decline his player option to become an unrestricted free agent but that he is seriously considering signing for the long term in Toronto.
But the Clippers should not be counted out of the Leonard sweepstakes yet, as The Athletic's Frank Isola reported Leonard has a meeting with the team tentatively scheduled for July 2.
If that's the case, it looks like Leonard's decision will not be made at the start of free agency.
Toronto has an advantage in the negotiations because it can offer Leonard a five-year maximum contract and has a better foundation in place to win a championship next year.
The Clippers' title quest can't be completely ruled out because of head coach Doc Rivers and the young core they are building, but even with Leonard, it could be tough for them to make it out of the Western Conference.
If Leonard is choosing his destination solely on his chances to win a title next season, Toronto has to be the landing spot.
But if Leonard wants to play close to home more than anything, the Clippers have the advantage since he is from California and played his college basketball at San Diego State.
After spending the back end of the 2018-19 season with the New York Knicks, DeAndre Jordan could be staying in the New York City area for the 2019-20 campaign.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Brooklyn is exploring the feasibility of signing Jordan to use his presence to tempt close friend Kevin Durant to play alongside Jordan and Kyrie Irving.
Stein also reported the Knicks have interest in re-signing Jordan, depending on how their roster shakes out.
Jordan would be a strong complementary piece to whichever superstar he teams up with next season; he is coming off his sixth straight season averaging a double-double.
With Dallas and New York last season, Jordan averaged 11.0 points and 13.1 rebounds per game.
If Brooklyn can lure Jordan in free agency, he would be a great piece for Irving to rely on down low. It has been widely reported that Irving is set to join the Nets in free agency, with Stein one of the many linking the two parties.
Remaining with the Knicks is another good option for Jordan to have, but if New York can't lure any top free agents, it would be wise of the big man to find the best place to win a championship.
According to Haynes, Washington declined the team option on Jabari Parker's contract, which he signed with Chicago last offseason.
Haynes reported there is still interest between the two parties to sign a new deal, but it did not make much sense for the Wizards to bring Parker back for $20 million after he was acquired from Chicago in February.
Parker has yet to replicate his scoring form from the 2016-17 season, when he took the jump to 20.1 points per game in 51 outings. Without that stretch, though, Parker averages 13.7 points per game in his career.
With Chicago and Washington last season, Parker averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Washington's roster is in a peculiar spot. John Wall is still out for an extended period of time, and Bradley Beal has been the subject of a few trade rumors—The Athletic's Jordan Brenner reported Beal is Boston's prime option in the offseason if Irving departs.
If the Wizards hold on to Beal, then it would make sense to bring Parker back to have two scorers to rely on.
But if Washington decides to blow up its roster, Parker might be better off avoiding a rebuild and landing somewhere he could play a role in contending for a playoff spot.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.