Get your popcorn ready, because NBA free agency is just days away from properly starting. While just a little bit of the intrigue has been sapped out of the whole affair by the deluge of leaks and rumors, the best free agents in basketball could set Twitter on fire and change the entire course of the league by going against the grain and signing for a team no one thought they would. These potential free agency plot twists would be seismic and would instantly change the power dynamic of the NBA in a heartbeat.
7. The Milwaukee Mass Exodus
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee could find it awfully hard to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals after this offseason is over. With Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon as restricted free agents and both sharpshooting big men Nikola Mirotic and Brook Lopez on the market, Milwaukee could find themselves out four of their six top scorers. While the Bucks will keep at least some of these pieces, they will look vastly different next year.
6. Philly Manages to Keep Both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris
The No. 3 and No. 4 scoring options on a Philadelphia team that had their hearts ripped out by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors, Butler has long been expected to take a max elsewhere and be "the guy," while Harris is a true wild card. Given the fact that Philly is desperate for shooting, Elton Brand could get equally desperate and give both Butler and Harris max contracts in order to keep the superteam together in Philly. With the uncertainty around Toronto and Milwaukee, the Sixers could run the East with that core.
5. The Knicks Bring the Bronx's Own Kemba Walker to the Garden
No one has any idea where Kemba Walker is going, as the Hornets, Mavericks, Celtics and Lakers have all been mentioned as potential landing spots. While the Knicks do have a logjam at point guard at the moment, that could easily sort that out if Kemba joined them in New York. Walker grew up in the Bronx, and the allure of the Garden might be enough for him to reject the supermax deal in Charlotte.
4. Brooklyn Signs Kyrie and Keeps D'Angelo Russell
While nothing is official yet, one of the most widely-held beliefs in the league at this moment is that Kyrie Irving will sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. While most assume this means that D'Angelo Russell will have to be jettisoned to make room, the two might be able to co-exist in a manner not unlike Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland. It would be risky, but those two in Kenny Atkinson's offense would be must-see TV.
3. Golden State Doesn't Max Klay Thompson and He Bolts for LA
While Klay's ACL injury suffered in the Finals throws a wrench into proceedings, the Warriors are still expected to give Thompson a max contract to keep him in San Francisco. Of course, the key word in the last sentence is "expected." If Klay's medicals scare a way a Golden State team that is trying to turn the page on their dynasty era, Klay could leave for a max offer from the Lakers or Clippers.
2. Kevin Durant Gets a Max with Golden State
With many assuming that Kevin Durant is ready to begin his next chapter in one of the two New York boroughs with a basketball team, Durant could just opt to stay in Golden State, and could even stay beyond one more season. He'll play with Hall of Fame teammates, a great coach, and a fantastic owner. A New York move is risky, while staying the The Bay means Durant can nurse his Achilles back to full health and keep racking up the titles.
1. Kawhi Leonard Signs With the Los Angeles...Lakers
It would come from way out of left field, and it would put the Lakers in salary cap hell, but this would be arguably the best 1-2-3 punch in the history of basketball. If the Lakers can piece together a roster to make all the cap logistics work out, the sheer entertainment value of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Board Man on the same team would be unlike anything we've seen. The Lakers would instantly be the title favorites without a close second.