NBA Free Agency Preview: Predictions for Best Available Players

We look at the notable free agents, teams over the first and second apron, and make a handful of predictions for the top players.
2024 NBA Free Agency Preview
Nic Claxton headlines a group of free agents who we expect to change teams this offseason.

The NBA Finals ended less than a week ago but we're turning the page to next season as free agency begins on June 30th at 6:00 PM EDT. The 2024 class of free agents is far from star-loaded but there are still a handful of players who will certainly play a role in how next season plays out.

Before we jump into our predictions, here is a quick look at the best available players as well as the teams that will sit this free agency out as they fall into either the 1st or 2nd apron.

F DeMar DeRozan (UFA)

G Markelle Fultz (UFA)

G James Harden (UFA)

G Malik Monk (UFA)

F Isaiah Hartenstein (UFA)

G Klay Thompson (UFA)

G Buddy Hield (UFA)

F Derrick Jones Jr. (UFA)

G Tyus Jones (UFA)

F Kyle Anderson (UFA)

F Saddiq Bey (RFA)

F Miles Bridges (UFA)

C Nic Claxton (UFA)

G Immanuel Quickley (RFA)

G Gary Trent Jr. (UFA)

F OG Anunoby (P OPT)

G D’Angelo Russell (P OPT)

G Russell Westbrook (P OPT)

Teams Over the 1st Apron

LA Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

Teams Over the 2nd Apron

Boston Celtics

Denver Nuggets

Minnesota Timberwolves

Phoenix Suns

Predictions for Key Free Agents

The reality for any NBA Free Agency period is that the majority of the big names will resign with their current team, as it means a larger contract. That said, there are a few players who could play a pivotal role for a contending team if they make a move this offseason. Here are a few that stand out to us.

C Nic Claxton

Claxton has grown into one of the best rim protectors in the Eastern Conference over his five year career in Brooklyn. Coming into this offseason, the big man is a priority signing for Brooklyn and other lurking teams that need to solidify their big man spot before the NBA Draft. Over his last two seasons, NC averaged 12.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 2.3 BPG over 147 games. He stayed healthy, blossomed into one of the best rim protectors in our league, and even showed some playmaking potential averaging 2.0 APG.

The 25-year-old is due to receive north of $20-23 million per year from either the Nets or another middle-of-the-pack NBA team. One aspect Claxton will need to work on to see upwards of $25 million for his next contract will be the 3-ball. He’s only 3 of 19 beyond the arc in his career and teams might look away from Claxton due to his limited offensive abilities. However, teams such as New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and Utah will keep their eye on this situation brewing in Brooklyn.

F Isaiah Hartenstein

Who would have thought Isaiah Hartenstein would be a game-changing name during this NBA offseason? Hartenstein broke out this season for New York, starting a career-high 49 games while averaging 7.8 points and 8.3 boards per contest. While this was a step in the right direction for Isaiah, his postseason averages of 8.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG catapulted him into the radar of lurking teams with salary to spend this offseason, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder who are eyeing down a big man to pair with Chet Holmgren.

While Hartenstein would be a great fit next to Chet or back on the Knicks to try and make another run at the title, we have to remember that the injuries to OG, Randle, and Robinson in the postseason allowed the journey big-man to shine as a scorer and playmaker during the playoffs. With that being said, a physical veteran big-man is key during a championship run. We’ve seen Al Horford and KP make a difference this playoffs, while Jeff Green made a major impact last postseason for the Nuggets.

Hartenstein should command $15-20 million from a team looking for big man depth which would make for his biggest payday of his career.

G Klay Thompson

This could end ugly. That is my first thought when dissecting the few possibilities of how Klay’s career could end - whether at the hands of Golden State or another franchise. Thompson is looking for a new three year deal after his worst season of the last decade, while new management seems to be unwilling to offer a long-term solution.

The future Hall of Famer has been linked to the Magic and Kings for some time now - two squads that could use the veteran leadership on both ends as well as the hot shooting from beyond the arc.

Klay scored 18 per game this season on 38.7% shooting from beyond the arc - his worst statistical season since his second year in the league in 2012-13. Looking forward, a partnership with the Magic would make sense if he were to depart Golden State as the mix of youth with toughness on the defensive end would allow for Klay to continue to blossom from beyond the arc.

However, this could all end up with Klay accepting a 1-year deal with Golden State for one more ride at a championship with the aging Curry and Green.

OG Anunoby

Another situation that could end up getting ugly, the recently acquired Knick isn’t happy with how he’s being treated by the organization. OG was the primary factor on defense that allowed New York to become a legitimate title contender by April and is in the midst of his prime at 26 years of age. Additionally, OG has been consistent from beyond the arc over his career averaging 37.6% shooting on 4.4 attempts. These numbers should continue to rise in his late 20s.

The Knicks are in a tough position as they may have to decide between a cheaper Hartenstein or more expensive Anunoby. They sent Quickley and Barrett - two of their prized possessions to Toronto in exchange for the game-changing wing and losing him would be a huge blow to all the momentum this team picked up along this season.

Anunoby will test the free agent waters but it is likely that New York simply matches what other teams offer one of the better two-way wings our league has to offer.

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