Free agency officially begins at 6PM ET this Sunday evening and this year is absolutely loaded with starpower. Several players are expected to get max contracts, including some of the league’s biggest names like Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant fresh off an Achilles rupture, and even Kyrie Irving is expected to find yet another team to play for. Just about every player has been mentioned in connection to New York and Los Angeles, but just how realistic is that for these 10 players? Let’s breakdown the odds for the biggest names in 2019 free agency!

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi’s first year with the Raptors was a complete success, ending with the franchise’s first NBA title and his second Finals MVP trophy. Currently, the top three teams in discussion for signing him include both LA teams and the Raptors. He did just win a title with the Raptors, but he has mentioned several times his desire to play in LA.

Betting Odds

  • Raptors: -175
  • Clippers: +190
  • Lakers: +300

Likely Destination: Los Angeles Clippers

It seems like Kawhi’s desire to play in LA might overwhelm the pull of Toronto, especially considering that he’s already won a title there making his mission complete. Of the two Los Angeles teams, it is extremely unlikely that he’d want to play with LeBron and AD. That creates awful spacing and Kawhi seems like the type of guy to be the undisputed best player on the team.

Kevin Durant

Durant is in an interesting position because he just ruptured his Achilles and will miss all of next season, but it still expected to get a supermax contract. Obviously the Warriors would love to retain him, but both New York teams have been pulling for him.

Betting Odds

  • Knicks: -300
  • Nets: +100
  • Warriors: +235

Likely Destination: Golden State Warriors

As exciting as the KD to New York rumors have been, it seems unlike Kevin leaves the comfort of Golden State to join one of two weak New York teams. The Knicks are currently a joke, but Brooklyn might be an interesting option if Kyrie signs there. It is much more likely KD signs a 1+1 with Golden State just so he can recover for a year, then tests free agency again next offseason when he is healthy.

Kyrie Irving

After another disastrous season in Boston, there is no question Kyrie’s headed for the exit. Irving has no interest in staying with the young Celtics, especially considering that Kemba Walker is almost a lock to sign with them. He’s most likely to go to the Nets or the Knicks, but there’s also a chance that he’ll reunite with his good friend LeBron in LA.

Betting Odds

  • Nets: -550
  • Lakers: +250
  • Knicks: +900

Likely Destination: Brooklyn Nets

As magical as it would be to see Kyrie and LeBron team up once again, Kyrie seems like a lock to sign with Brooklyn. His signing might persuade KD, but it makes it very likely that DeAndre Jordan joins Kyrie on the Nets.

Jimmy Butler

Several teams have expressed interest in Jimmy Butler and for good reasons. He’s one of the best two-way wings in the league and will fetch a max contract from any team that has the money. It seems like he wants to stay in Philly, but recently both Houston and Miami have been involved in sign-and-trade talks. There’s also both New York teams hounding after him.

Betting Odds

  • Rockets: +100
  • 76ers: +150
  • Nets: +800
  • Knicks: +900
  • Heat: +1000

Likely Destination: Philadelphia 76ers

There’s absolutely no reason the 76ers should even be considering sign-and-trade options for Butler. Even with Tobias Harris also looking for a max contract, the 76ers need to prioritize resigning Butler. If he doesn’t end up in Philly, he’ll probably end up being traded to Houston for Eric Gordon.

Tobias Harris

Tobias finished his first season with the 76ers, and it certainly wasn’t a complete record of success. It was a tall task asking him to go from being the first option on the Clippers to being the fourth option on the 76ers, but another season would do him well. The Nets are the other likely suitors for Harris and this likelihood only increases if/when Kyrie signs.

Betting Odds

  • 76ers: -60
  • Nets: +300

Likely Destination: Philadelphia 76ers

There hasn’t been much buzz about Tobias lately, but last time it looked like the 76ers seemed very likely to keep Harris around for next season despite not having the greatest showing last year. His start with the Clippers clearly shows he is talented, so Philly will likely give him another shot over returning Jimmy Butler (even though they shouldn’t).

Klay Thompson

Klay immortalized himself in the Golden State franchise when he returned to Game 6 of the Finals to shoot two free throws after tearing his ACL. Klay absolutely wants to return to the Warriors, and any talk of him going to LA is simply to force the Warriors to offer him a supermax contract, which it seems they already intend to do.

Likely Destination: Golden State Warriors

Klay resigning with the Warriors is basically a foregone conclusion at this point. Klay wants to play in Golden State and they’re offering him a max contract. There’s nothing else to discuss and he’ll probably be the first signing of the period.

DeMarcus Cousins

Boogie played his first season with the Warriors and it was definitely a mixed bag. He was playing well until he tore his quad, then alternated between helping the Warriors and helping the Raptors win in the Finals. He’s very likely to leave the Warriors, but there aren’t any glaring suitors for him right now due to the other names on this list.

Likely Destination: New York Knicks

This free agency seems prime for the Knicks to strike out on all the top names, so they’ll end up settling for someone like DeMarcus. That’s not a hack at Boogie at all. A fresh start with Knicks is perfect for Cousins to revitalize his career and truly recover from all his previous injuries.

Kemba Walker

Kemba openly stated he’d be open to taking less-than the supermax to stay with Charlotte, but they proceeded to lowball him and send him out the door. Boston has an opening in the point guard department now that both Kyrie and Terry Rozier are likely to leave, making it a perfect fit for Kemba.

Likely Destination: Boston Celtics

At this point, there’s no question Walker is signing with the Celtics. The Hornets offered him $160 million for 5 years (32/year) when he was looking for $175 million (35/year), so instead he’ll sign with the Celtics for $141 million over 4 years (35.25/year). Complete win-win for Kemba, kudos to him and good luck in Boston!

Al Horford

One of the bigger questions so far actually involves Al Horford. At this point it is absolutely clear he isn’t staying in Boston. There’s been reports that another team has offered him a 4-year deal in the $100 million range, but that team has yet to be identified. This team is likely to be either Dallas, Indiana, or Minnesota.

Likely Destination: Dallas Mavericks

Now that the Mavericks have their euro-duo of the future in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, there’s no better way to compliment them than with the defensive-minded Al Horford. Al is the perfect center for Dallas, but there’s a great chance he could end up in Indiana also. With a healthy Victor Oladipo, that could be a scary Pacers team.

D’Angelo Russell

Russell had a breakout season with the Nets, but Kyrie Irving is essentially a lock to sign with the Nets, meaning DLO is about to lose his job. Several teams are interested in him, but his biggest suitor is actually his former team. Oh the irony! Now that the Lakers have LeBron and Anthony Davis, Russell is in a prime position to sign with the Lakers to be their third star.

Likely Destination: Los Angeles Lakers

While the Timberwolves are definitely interested in Russell, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to generate enough cap space. With two excellent stars already in Los Angeles, the red carpet has been laid for Russell to make his return to the Lakers. Now that he’s managed to escape his immature youth, DLO has the skills and talent to be a driving force on a championship team.

 

 

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