12up Logo12up Logo

Predicting Where the Top 2019 NBA Free Agents Will Sign

TORONTO,ONTARIO - JUNE 10:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors eludes Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. 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 Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13:  DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors is defended by Serge Ibaka #9 of the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. 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 Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Finals - Game Six | Thearon W. Henderson

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

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 23: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 23, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Five | Mitchell Leff

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

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 09: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Toronto Raptors in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Raptors 112-101. 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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six | Mitchell Leff

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

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 03: Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a play against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Spectrum Center on March 03, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Hornets | Streeter Lecka

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. 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 Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Finals - Game Six | Thearon W. Henderson

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

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 24:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics heads for the net in the second hafl against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 24,2018 in New York City. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics v New York Knicks | Elsa

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

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his teams win over the Golden State Warriors in Game Six to win the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Finals - Game Six | Ezra Shaw

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

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Finals - Game Five | Gregory Shamus

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.