The NBA regular season has come to an end so it’s officially speculation time, as we know several NBA teams tend to overhaul their rosters during the offseason, and there are definitely going to be major changes in the Association for the upcoming season, as the new deal will allow a lot of guys to get paid big time.
So, considering some guys will be looking for a huge paycheck while others will thrive to compete for an NBA ring, it’s pretty safe to say that even some stars are going to be playing in another jersey for the 2017-18 campaign.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the top 10 NBA players that will most likely be on a different team next season.
10. Derrick Rose – San Antonio Spurs
The Knicks were very emphatic through most of the season with their desire to resign the former MVP and injury prone point guard, but the fact that he had to undergo yet another procedure on his knee may as well change Phil Jackson’s mind.
On top of that, Rose simply won’t play along with the Triangle Offense and he’s definitely not going to get back to his MVP level, so overpaying for a guy that’s definitely not going to give you 82 games makes absolutely no sense.
Besides, the Knicks aren’t contending anytime soon, so a move to the Spurs where he can back up Tony Parker, get some rest and stay fresh and even compete for an NBA ring will make way more sense for both parties, even if that means taking a huge pay cut.
9. JJ Redick – New York Knicks
The veteran shooting guard and former Duke standout isn’t a free agent, but the Clippers are reportedly very interested in bringing Carmelo Anthony to the Staples Center, so he could be packaged with a future 2nd rounder and Jamal Crawford to try and bring Melo.
Redick would provide much-needed scoring to the Madison Square Garden with his ability to stretch the floor and shoot lights out from deep, while also playing some average defense against opposing guards.
He definitely won’t make the Knicks contenders, but he and Crawford could actually round up their second unit alongside guys like Ron Baker or Mindaugas Kuzminskas, very interesting prospects for the Knicks’ future.
8. Serge Ibaka – Houston Rockets
The Rockets were reportedly very interested in pairing Serge Ibaka once again with James Harden, although they didn’t want to risk anything before the deadline for a rental on the veteran power forward, being confident that they could lure him in the offseason.
Of course, the frontrunner to resign Serge would be the Raptors, as they could offer him more money than any other team, but his best shot at an NBA Championship would definitely come under D’Antoni’s command.
That would definitely mean the departure of Nene Hilario, as the veteran and injury prone big man haven’t been a factor for a team featuring Ryan Anderson, Montrezl Harrell and Clint Capela at the 4 and the 5.
7. Paul Millsap – Minnesota Timberwolves
There were some rumors during the season stating that the renewed Minnesota Timberwolves were quite interested in bringing Paul Millsap back to the Western Conference, but the Hawks decided to pull him out of trade talks before anything went through.
Nevertheless, it seems like Millsap is one of Thibodeau’s favorite targets for the upcoming season, as it’s very likely that the veteran power forward won’t re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks for another season.
Millsap would come off the bench to help the youngsters develop, and he’ll definitely see his numbers take a major dip, although it would really boost the chances of a team that would’ve made the playoffs if it wasn’t for their lack of experience in key passages of their encounters.
6. Carmelo Anthony – Los Angeles Clippers
It’s not a secret that Carmelo Anthony isn’t pleased with the New York Knicks right now as the main scapegoat for Phil Jackson, even though it’s not his fault the team was such a disaster through the entire season.
Having said that, Carmelo could waive off his no-trade clause to go play alongside his longtime buddy Chris Paul, sending Jamal Crawford, JJ Redick and a future 2nd rounder to the Madison Square Garden as we mentioned before.
The Clippers would be a significant boost for the veteran scorer and he could have his best shot at an NBA ring under Doc Rivers’ tutelage if the Clippers manage to keep Blake Griffin on board as well.
5. Jeff Teague – Sacramento Kings
Let’s not fool ourselves, the Pacers aren’t going anywhere during the playoffs or the foreseeable future, and Teague at age 28 isn’t getting any younger or better, so he should definitely be looking for his last lucrative contract before becoming a role player off the bench.
The Kings, on the other hand, are desperately trying to acquire a quality point guard, as neither Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson or Darren Collison have been the answer for Vlade Divac’s prayers and there isn’t much of a market for good point guards.
Teague is set to hit free agency and considering how much of a mess the Kings are, it’s quite probable that they offer a huge paycheck to the 28-year-old, so Teague is very likely to wind up getting the keys to Sac-Town.
4. Gordon Hayward – Miami Heat
Gordon Hayward was one of the main reasons why the Utah Jazz were so successful through the entire season as the main guy on offense while playing pretty good defense as well, getting better and better as years go by.
Nevertheless, it’s been quite clear that the guard/forward wants to play for a bigger market and take his career to the next step, being one of the main targets for the Boston Celtics just like Jimmy Butler and Paul George.
Having said that, there have been several reports that state that Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra want Hayward to be their new franchise player for the Miami Heat, and they definitely have the kind of cash to lure him to South Beach. On top of that, Spoelstra is probably the best coach in the East and he would have a way easier path to the NBA Finals in a weaker Eastern Conference.
3. Jimmy Butler – Boston Celtics
Jimmy Butler has been on the Celtics radar for a very long time now, as the guard/forward was reportedly on the trade block since the last draft day, but Gar/Pax didn’t pull the trigger because they expected to get more out of the 4-time All-Star.
The Bulls’ roster makes absolutely no sense and even if they managed to pull off a miracle and make it past the first round in the weak Eastern Conference, this team won’t be competing the next year with all those veteran players and the lack of consistency in their system.
So, the smartest thing to do would let Butler walk to contend with Brad Stevens inside the TD Garden, getting some nice pieces in return like Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and even Avery Bradley in return and look ahead to the future.
2. Paul George – Los Angeles Lakers
Paul George and the Pacers are in a pretty similar situation compared to the Bulls, but their roster is significantly better. Nevertheless, the Pacers really struggled to get to the postseason and the future doesn’t seem so bright for Larry Bird’s squad.
Having said that and considering that Paul George has been a long time Laker target, a California native and the fact he definitely wants out to play for a bigger market, Magic Johnson could put together a pretty nice package to bring the All-Star to the Staples Center.
So, as George’s most likely leaving at the end of the season for free anyways, they might as well get Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng and even D’Angelo Russell in return for the versatile forward, who’ll gladly head to LA to play for Luke Walton.
1. Dwyane Wade – Cleveland Cavaliers
Wade felt disrespected by Pat Riley during the last summer off-season and decided to take his talents to his native Windy City to play for the Bulls. Needless to say, things didn’t work out as planned for the veteran shooting guard.
Now, returning from injury and trying to keep the Bulls hopes alive in the playoffs, it’s very likely that Wade’s homecoming lasts no more than one season, and he’ll definitely yearn to go back to play alongside LeBron James, whom he won a couple of rings with at South Beach.
The Cavaliers always have a very easy path to the Eastern Conference finals, and considering how much depth this squad has, Wade could be always rested and fresh come playoff time, so this move would make a lot of sense for him.