Top NBA Free Agents to Watch This Offseason

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP


The NBA looks ahead to a short offseason as it attempts to get back on track after the coronavirus disrupted the end of the 2019-20 season and the start of the 2020-21 season. The NBA Finals concluded a fortnight ago with the Milwaukee Bucks clinching the title at the expense of the Phoenix Suns, but free agency is already upon us. Starting from 6:00 p.m. ET on Monday, August 2, teams are open to negotiate with prospective players and agree in principle. It’s the time when deals are leaked, giving NBA fans an idea of what to expect in the coming season and how teams stack up against early NBA futures.

At the end of the week, at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, August 6, the signing period of free agency commences. This is when pen comes to paper, cementing officially key moves on the NBA landscape and by that same token the odds trading across sports betting platforms.

The 2021 free agency class is brimming with star power, as players like Kawhi Leonard (player option), Chris Paul (player option) and Kyrie Lowry (unrestricted), to name a few, are faced with big decisions. In this column, we look at some of the moves that are reportedly in play.

Chris Paul, who’s coming off a runner-up finish in the NBA Finals after the Phoenix Suns lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, was one of the most sought-after point guards headed into free agency. However, it’s been reported in the last few days that he’s agreed to terms with the Phoenix Suns.

According to ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul reportedly declined his player option with the Suns, worth $44.2 million, in order to broker a better deal through free agency. The Suns and Paul have reportedly settled on a four-year deal worth up to $120 million.

Paul was instrumental in Phoenix’s impressive postseason campaign, which kicked off with an upset over the defending champions LA Lakers. From teammates to coaching staff, Paul has been praised no end as a big character, a motivator and a leader in the locker room. So, it’s no surprise that the Suns were keen to keep Paul on side. As per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Suns are priced at +1600 to win the NBA Championship next year, a price tag that puts them inside the Top 5 best bets.

Another big name that was at the centre of much speculation in the lead up to free agency was Miami Heat point guard Jimmy Butler. However, just like CP3, Butler is staying put according to a tweet from Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Miami Heat have agreed to terms with Butler – a four-year deal worth $184-million. Thus, removing the All-Star from the free agency catwalk and underlining Miami’s odds for the upcoming season.

“Breaking: Five-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler is expected to agree to a maximum contract extension with the Miami Heat when the league year opens on Aug. 6, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski,” wrote Charania in his tweet.

The Miami Heat finished runners-up to the LA Lakers at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. Although they failed to replicate their magical run this season, they were nevertheless amongst the playoff contenders. Miami Heat go into the 2021 NBA season as legitimate contenders that are priced inside the Top 10. As per DraftKings, the Heat are tipped at +2800 to win the NBA Championship next season.

Underscoring the Heat’s odds is the addition of Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors. Lowry, who’s been a stalwart in Toronto over the last nine years and played a pivotal role in the Canadian team’s championship run in 2019, was expected to leave T-Dot this summer when his contract expired. His deal with Miami is reported to be a 3-year deal worth $90 million.

Lowry’s recent tweet would seem to confirm this move. “Miami Heat X Kyle Lowry, Let’s Go!,” it said.

Norman Powell, who split last season between the Toronto Raptors and the Portland Trail Blazers looks to be on the verge of signing a deal with the Trail Blazers that’s worth $90 million over five years. Powell joined the Trail Blazers in a trade at last year’s deadline, but declined a $11.6 million player option with the Trail Blazers to become a free agent.

Arguably, one of the most impressive free agency splurges is set to involve Trae Young. The Atlanta Hawks have purportedly committed to the rising star for the foreseeable, offering the young gun a max extension on his rookie deal worth up to $207 million.

Young played a pivotal role in Atlanta’s season and was the driving force behind Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference finals. Young’s outstanding play helped the Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers and give the Milwaukee Bucks at run for their money in the Eastern Conference finals. The Hawks lost the series 4-2. As per DraftKings, the Atlanta Hawks are priced at +3500 in NBA futures.

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