Free agency is simultaneously the most chaotic and fun time on the NBA calendar. But as we noted last week, the trade market might end up being way more intriguing and newsworthy during this summer’s NBA offseason since the free agent class isn’t shaping up to be as star-studded as previously expected.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and a few other stars were once upon a time on track to headline this summer’s available free agents. But thanks to max extensions and teams handing out fewer 1-and-1 contracts, the 2021 free agent class is considerably less sexy than previous offseasons. That being said, it’s of course still full of excellent players and difference makers among the roughly top 20 or so available to sign anywhere. So we might as well do our best to project where the most notable names will wind up when players are eligible to sign new deals starting Friday, Aug. 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET.
As you’ll notice, we ignored guys with player options like Montrezl Harrell, Bobby Portis, Norman Powell, Will Barton, Serge Ibaka, JaMychal Green, and others because we need them to figure out what they want to do before re-assessing their situation. However, we couldn’t resist projecting the two most prominent ballers with player options because its Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard. Ignoring them would’ve been criminal.
You’ll see the Knicks mentioned a ton below—you’ll also hear them come up a ton in trade talks as well. That’s because New York owns the most cap room heading into free agency. The Knicks are projected to have a practical cap space of approximately $51 million for next season, according to Spotrac. Let’s see if the front office really knows what it’s doing and continues to spend its money judiciously rather than ridiculously as had been the Knickerbockers wont this century.