The 2019 NBA offseason promises to be one of the most memorable in recent history, as the entire power balance of the NBA could be flipped upside down depending on what happened with the biggest free agents on the market. Even with players like Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, and Khris Middleton on the market, these eight could change the face of the league depending on what they do in free agency.
8. DeMarcus Cousins-Dallas Mavericks
Even with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Prozingis already in tow, head coach Rick Carlisle has shown that he likes a back-to-the-basket center in the DeAndre Jordan mold out on the floor. With Cousins' cryptic social media activity indicating a return to the Warriors is not likely, Dallas has money to spend on a center that can provide some toughness inside like Boogie.
7. D'Angelo Russell-Minnesota Timberwolves
If the Nets end up with Kyrie Irving this offseason, it appears that All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell will have to head elsewhere via restricted free agency, as two ball-dominant point guards on the same team rarely work out. While playoff teams like the Jazz and Pacers have been mentioned, Russell could easily team up with two of his best friends in Phoenix (Devin Booker) and Minnesota (Karl-Anthony Towns). Minnesota gets the edge due to them being more ready to win now.
6. Jimmy Butler-Philadelphia 76ers
Despite reports from Arash Markazi of the LA Times that Butler is leaning towards signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia is the better option for him right now. The Sixers are a young team without a lot of shooting, and Butler provides both a deadly three ball and veteran leadership, albeit in a very demonstrative way. Butler is a vital cog in the Sixers' machine.
5. Kemba Walker-Los Angeles Lakers
After reports that the Lakers are prioritizing Kemba in free agency following the Anthony Davis trade, expect Rob Pelinka to back up the Brinks truck in order to pry Walker away from Charlotte. An All-NBA point guard with a deadly three-point shot, Walker's fit in an offense that centers around LeBron James' penetration is ideal.
4. Klay Thompson-Golden State Warriors
This prediction has the highest chance of becoming true, especially after Thompson's ACL tear in the Finals and his father Mychal asserting that he will re-sign with Golden State. While the Lakers were supposed to be in the mix for Thompson, it appears all but a certainty that he'll be back in the Bay Area.
3. Kyrie Irving-Brooklyn Nets
The Kyrie-to-Brooklyn train has been gaining steam in recent weeks, especially after Irving has been scouting property in and around the city lately. Kyrie may not have fit that well in Boston, but Kenny Atkinson's up-tempo, "shoot it if you got it" offense has been very friendly to guards over the last three years. Irving, who grew up a Nets fan, could realize a childhood dream this offseason.
2. Kawhi Leonard-Toronto Raptors
Both Los Angeles teams have money to spend, and that could be an enticing pitch for a former LA kid in his prime. However, Kawhi has the opportunity to run the Eastern conference for the next half-decade should he stay in Toronto, who can offer him more money than any other team. Expect at least one more title if Kawhi stays north of the border.
1. Kevin Durant-Golden State Warriors
That Achilles changes everything. Durant has the luxury of either re-upping with Golden State on a max while continuing to dominate the Western Conference for the next four or five years or signing a one-year deal to recuperate with a medical staff he trusts before trying free agency again next season. Durant could singlehandedly change everything, but he might just end up spurning New York and Los Angeles for San Francisco.