The summer of 2019 is going to be a big one in terms of NBA free agency. The biggest potential move will involve New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. The February trade deadline passed without Davis, who had asked to be traded, being moved. He will become a free agent at the close of the 2018-19 season.
Davis is not the only big name that could find himself playing in a different locale next season. Stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard may also be on the move. Here’s what the NBA Summer of 2019 might look like.
A.D. to Boston Surely, Magic Johnson and LeBron James will put forth an effort, but the Lakers just won’t be able to match what the Boston Celtics can offer for Davis. The Celtics have plenty of cap room and a serious number of draft picks to wave in front of the Pelicans. The big question in a Davis deal would be Jayson Tatum. Even if Tatum is not part of the deal, Boston has the inside track on Davis.
K.D. to the Big Apple Don’t forget that Durant’s deal with the Golden State Warriors is up at the end of this season. Would K.D. stay in Oakland? Sure, but it’s unlikely the Warriors can keep the band that is Steph Curry, Durant, and Klay Thompson (another free agent) together. Durant, even though he denies it, wants to help rebuild the New York Knicks. If he doesn’t go to the Big Apple, Durant would likely stay in Golden State.
Uncle Drew Stays Home Irving will be a free agent at season’s end. There is some talk about Irving and Durant in Knicks uniforms next year, but don’t believe the hype. With Davis headed to Boston, Irving would pair with one of the game’s best power forwards to make the Celtics the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
Kawhi Goes Home Toronto basically got Leonard for a one-and-done. Leonard will be a free agent and it is highly likely he goes home. The 6-7 Raptors star hails from southern California and the Los Angeles Clippers have been treating Leonard like a high profile college recruit. Team officials have shown up to a number of Leonard’s games this season. There is a possibility Leonard stays in Toronto, but that chance is slim at best.
Warriors Break Up The dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors could end as early as next season. Durant could be a Knick and Klay Thompson could walk as well. Thompson, who averages 22.0 points a game this season, will likely want a max contract. It’s likely that Thompson stays. If he doesn’t get the full max offer, there is a slim chance Thompson ends up a Laker.
The Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins this season to give the team the best starting five in the league. The problem next year is that Golden State can only offer Cousins a maximum of $6.4 million. That isn’t going to cut it for Cousins. Look for him to be gobbled up by one of the teams from Los Angeles, either the Lakers or Clippers.
Philadelphia Story The 76ers are going to have to make some decisions this offseason. Both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were acquired this season and will hit unrestricted free agency in July. The Sixers likely won’t keep both players and both could end up heading somewhere else. The more likely scenario is Harris stays and Butler goes.