So I have been working on this one ever since the first rumors broke out about KD being unhappy in good ol’ San Fran. Of course, the argument between Dray and KD only helped fuel this article. With all the reports since? Well, let’s just say it all but solidified my opinion that he shall be leaving this offseason.
Multiple teams will have cap space, but that is not what KD wants. KD wants a contender. He wants to win a ring on his own AND be “the dude” on that team. Tough bill to front, I know, but the surprising thing is…he can find those teams. He will be the 2nd biggest (behind Anthony Davis, sorry Pels’ fans) to hit the free agency. He took a paycut to chase rings, and he won’t do it again. He wants the big paycheck that he passed on to betray Russ, and form the superteam that even the NBA Front Office despised being formed.
So, on that note, let see where his aspirations take him…
Odds – Soft 2
I have to put his hometown team down solely because of the fire sale incoming from their organization (expect a nice BWW next week breaking down my predictions on said trades). The Wizards could quite easily eliminate $40-$55 mil off their books by dealing 2 players. If they were able to pull off a full sale, they’d be ale to wipe about $75-$80 mil off their books. That would leave enough (going off the smallest $40 mil estimate not including the waiving/declining of Dwight Howard’s option) to pursue KD and a nice roleplayer or two. It is nice to know he could go back home to play in front of his hometown with a semi-decent team, but that isn’t what he wants. He needs/wants a contender or a team a piece away from being a contender. Pretty tough ask, and it is a bill that the Wizards cannot foot to say the least. Best case scenario the Wiz are able to keep their best players on their roster right now and pick up KD. Know what their starting lineup is sans bench? Satoransky, Beal, Oubre, KD, and Morris. Not exactly a winning lineup, and that’s with them being able to move the other 6 players in the 10 man rotation they have now.
Odds – Hard 4, maybe even Soft 5
So the Nets are thankfully in the same city that KD said he wants to play in (FYI – KD about a month ago said he could see himself playing in New York because he loves the city). Unfortunately, they are not the pinnacle of primetime basketball right now. The Nets would definitely solve all of their problems at the 3 spot (and small ball 4) by signing him, but would KD want to be there? The Nets have a ton of great young guards, and Jarrett Allen is going to be a good center in the league.
…but they got nothing else besides that. They have 4 good guards, a good center, and that’s it. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Demarre Carroll are serviceable, but not good. Even then, I am considering my main man D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) a good guard, even though Spencer Dinwiddie (the backup) is better. Also, the Nets market is A LOT smaller than the Knicks market. Even though the Nets will have more available money this offseason to pursue other rotation players, I don’t expect them to make too big of a splash. Don’t expect it, but I still could see him going there over Washington.
Portland Trail Blazers
Odds – Hard 6
So the Trail Blazers, for the history of their organization, have struggled to try and pick up a 3rd All-Star. As is the case with most small market teams, they can get two, but not over the hump and get three. However, that may change this year. The Trail Blazers could afford to sign KD, and they would be stacked if they did. They are one of the best teams in the West right now, and have a top five guard duo in the league. Their 3-5 is currently defensive/rebound focused, but their bench is strong. Incredibly strong in fact. So strong, that their hair would make Mitch jealous (shout-out Will Ferrell in “The Campaign”).
In all seriousness though, multiple things would have to happen. In order for them to clear enough space to even get KD to listen to their low contract offer, they would have to trade 3-4 players AND not take on any additional salary. This, coupled with the fact they would have to not draft anyone in this year’s class, would put them in a sticky situation to say the least. I personally can’t think of many teams that want Evan Turner or Meyers Leonard. But stay tuned, maybe they decide to make a splash this year and go to big-time contender status.
Odds – Soft 7 in my heart, soft 2 in reality
So I decided to include Phoenix in this because of an interesting trend I have started to observe with the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets sold out defense for offense, and have been rewarded in kind by being the #1 offense in the NBA this year. I’ll do a Nuggets article in the future (maybe even this week, stay tuned) on why this is the case, but look at the Suns roster. Despite having almost no point guards and horrible defensive bigs, they are winning games. Why? Well, shockingly it’s because of D Book running point (finally) and the rookie Mikal Bridges. Kind of seems like another young UK guard and awesome 3 and D guard to me (a la the aforementioned Nuggets)
Now, the only reason I have included the Suns is solely for these two reasons:
1) They will have a crap-ton of money this FA, and can have even more if they trade players away.
2) Their star (Devin Booker) is a legit star. He also said that he wants to make his own super team.
3) They are young, which means that they will only get better (hopefully)
Do I think the Suns will actually be smart this off season? No. Do I think they will have the same GM at that point? No. Do I think people even want to go there? Who knows. The Suns are a question mark to me with the only things I know for certain being threefold:
1) Their coach and D Book are awesome.
2) Their owner sucks.
3) They should have drafted Luka.
Let’s see what happens, but color me intrigued.
Odds – Soft 7 in actuality
So I actually really want this to happen. Even though it means that I would have to forsake my love of the Mavs, they are poised to make a splash and compete sooner than people anticipated. Luka, Kleber, and Smith are legit young stars. Also, their bench is pretty good. Let’s not forget that they could potentially have (if Harrison Barnes turns down his option) $40 mil heading into this off season. More than enough to get their high draft pick AND secure a top tier free agent. It doesn’t get KD out of the West, sure, but it’s a good place to win. Big contract in a big market? Everything is bigger in Texas, and what’s not to like about that? I’m keeping this one short and sweet because, logically, it makes a lot of sense. Too much sense to actually happen, but hey, who knows! Weirder things have happened
New York Knicks
Odds – High enough that Wiz Khalifa would tap out of the rotation, let’s give it a hard 420
The Knicks might easily become the next super team of the NBA next season. The 2019 free agent class will be one of the most talented ever in NBA history. If the Knicks can shed one or two (best case three) more contracts, they could easily, and comfortably, sign three All-Stars with a rotation player or two. That is bewildering to think about. They could easily go from lottery to championship. Why? Well, lets dive in.
The Knicks have been the talk of the town for all hitting the market this year. Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, and KD have all talked about making the Big Apple their new home. This isn’t including other big stars like Kemba Walker, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. Hell those are just the household names. There will be about 100 players expected to sign new deals, and over 30 will be players that have made an All-NBA list in the last 4 years.
I’ve heard talk that a Kemba, Thompson, KD, Knox, and Prozing-God could be in the mix as a starting lineup next year for this team, and even if one of the three doesn’t sign, that lineup is still ridiculous. Hell, you could put Delante West out there with two of those four All-Stars and you could make the conference finals.
While I don’t believe the Knicks will be a big player to sign three All-Stars this free agency, I do believe they will be able to snag two. One of which should be KD. If they don’t get KD, then they well and truly fumbled the bag.