Every year, there is a new set of NBA players that finally get paid. It is either well deserved or the team is desperate and ends up overpaying someone for their services. In this article, I will try to foreshadow, who I believe will get paid big money in the off-season.
Without further ado, let’s get down to dollar signs.
James Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and has been the glue guy for this Miami Heat team. He started as a role player earlier in the 2016-17 season, then got bumped up to starting minutes at the PF spot. He is like a poor man's Draymond Green, he gives you a little bit of everything. Johnson finished the season with averages of 12.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.1 spg, and a block a game.
It is important to note that he is coming off a career year and is still in his prime at the age of 30. The reason why he is on the honorable mentions is because I believe the Miami Heat are the only team that will notice his value.
Prediction: James Johnson re-signs with the Miami for 4 yrs/$60 Million
The 26-year-old guard is coming off a solid season with averages of 15.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.3 apg, and 1.5 spg. He is an unrestricted free agent. Team’s like the Knicks, Kings, Nets or the Nuggets could be looking to acquire the guards services as they have a need at that position.
His latest stint with the New Orleans Pelicans was solid but I don’t see him staying there because him, Cousins, and Davis can’t seem to play well together. Partly, the reason why the Pelicans didn’t get any better after that trade. Holiday is on the honorable mentions list because I fear some team will overpay for his services.
Prediction: Jrue Holiday signs with the New York Knicks for 5 years/$100 Million
The Indiana Pacers team had a disappointing season but the play of 28-year-old point guard, Jeff Teague was one of the few bright spots. Teague averaged 15.3ppg, 7.8 apg, 4rpg, and 1.2 spg. Teague makes the honorable mentions list because I don’t feel like he is worth max dollars but some team will make a gamble here. Hopefully, it pays off.
Prediction: Jeff Teague signs with the Sacramento Kings for 4 years/$96 Million
Top 5 NBA Free Agents That Will Break The Bank This Summer:
5. Nerlens Noel
He is a restricted free agent for the Dallas Mavericks. At age 23, Noel’s skills are very raw and unpolished. I don’t see Dallas giving up on him just yet because if they do, then they are likely to miss out on someone with Deandre Jordan level potential on the defensive end.
I expect the Mavericks to give Nerlens Noel a big pay day and make him their starting center for the long term future. If they don’t, I expect teams like the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers to be top suitors.
Prediction: Nerlens Noel re-signs with the Dallas Mavericks for 4 years/ $70 Million
4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is only 24 years old and already one of the best two-way guards in the league today. The Brooklyn Nets have been reportedly planning to offer KCP max money and that’s probably the best acquisition that they could get this summer.
KCP has the ability to gel well in the backcourt with Jeremy Lin. He opens up space on the court for Lin to drive and kick. Obviously, for the Nets this is a gamble on potential. Potential doesn’t always have its payoff but when it does, it is quite a beautiful thing.
Prediction: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signs with the Brooklyn Nets for 4 years/ $98 Million
3. Jonathon Simmons
The San Antonio Spurs should match any offer for the 27-year-old freak athlete known as Jonathon Simmons. His stats don’t jump off the page but his athleticism and length makes him valuable in the long term, so the Spurs can still run with other teams. I expect him to become the sixth man of the future for San Antonio.
He will pick up right where Manu left off. Simmons averaged 6.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, and 1.6 apg but I expect those numbers to all rise next season. Considering this season, he only averaged 17.8 mpg. Expect to see his all around game come more to a surface level next season.
Predictions: Jonathon Simmons signs with the San Antonio Spurs for 3 years/ $50 Million
2. Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Atlanta Hawks would be foolish to let the 25-year-old rising star shooting guard go this summer. Hardaway Jr. is a restricted free agent and coming off a career year. I expect the Atlanta Hawks match any contract that gets offered to Tim Hardaway Jr.
This past season he had career averages of 14.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 2.3 apg on 46% shooting from the field overall. They need to make him and Dennis Schroder, their backcourt of the future.
Prediction: Tim Hardaway Jr. re-signs with the Atlanta Hawks for 5 years/$85 million
1. Stephen Curry
After years of the Golden State Warriors cashing in on Stephen Curry’s play on the court that has led to back to back MVPs and one championship. There is no doubt in mind that the best shooter ever finally gets his big payday this summer.
In fact, I will go as far to make a bold prediction that he will become the highest paid NBA player ever surpassing Mike Conley Jr. and LeBron James. No more days where a guy like Enes Kanter makes more money than Stephen Curry. To put things into perspective Curry just made $12,112,359 this past season. Well below what the unrestricted free agent’s price will be worth this summer.
Prediction: Stephen Curry re-signs with the Golden State Warriors for 5 years/$200 Million