The real offseason is about to begin.
While the NBA Draft has come and gone, free agency begins July 1. Players all across the NBA can hit the open market; some could change the face of the NBA, while others are just looking to make an impact or find the right fit for them.
Here at Basketball Insiders, we’ll be looking at the top potential free agents from each division. Matt John already covered the Northwest Divison, and today we’ll be looking at the Pacific Division.
There are plenty of players from the Pacific that can and will hit the open market, but who are the biggest among them? Let’s take a look.
Kevin Durant — Golden State Warriors — $25,000,000 (Salary Last Season)
Kevin Durant took a pay cut last season to help the Golden State Warriors keep the roster that has now won the Larry O’Brien Trophy in back-to-back seasons together. Now, with his player-option all but declined, Durant will once again hit the open market.
He won’t be out there for long.
Durant intends to re-up with the Warriors on a new deal early on in the free agent period, but he still has plenty of decisions to make, however; with the amount and length of a deal yet to be determined, will Durant opt for a more lucrative, long-term deal or short-term one that provides the Warriors, and, more importantly, himself, some more flexibility?
DeAndre Jordan — Los Angeles Clippers — $22,642,350
DeAndre Jordan is reportedly undecided on his player-option with the Los Angeles Clippers. But with the June 29 deadline to pick up or decline the option quickly approaching, Jordan could find himself as one of the better free agents on the open market.
While his percentages have dipped, Jordan is still a monster around the basket; Jordan posted an offensive rating of 125 as he averaged 12.7 points while shooting 64.5 percent from the field and pulled in 15.2 rebounds per game. He is still an anchor defensively and can shut down the opposing offense near the basket on drives and cuts as well.
Jordan may not hit the jackpot on a new contract, but he could forgo the $24,119,025 option in order to secure a long-term deal, either with the Clippers or someone else. The 7-foot big man should have no shortage of suitors should be chosen to become a free agent.
Julius Randle — Los Angeles Lakers — $4,149,242
After a so-so three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Julius Randle really started to put it all together in his fourth NBA season. A restricted free agent, Randle averaged 16.1 points, eight rebounds and 2.6 assists last season in Los Angeles and was able to contribute for the Lakers in multiple ways while on the floor.
Whether starting or coming off the bench, Randle brought energy to the team and was able to do a lot of damage near the basket. He was more aggressive offensively than in years past, leading to a career high in points per game (16.1), field-goal percentage (55.8 percent) and free throws, both made and attempted (305 and 425). While he has yet to make big strides with his three-point shot or as a defender, Randle is still just 23 years old and has plenty of time to continue to improve.
With the Lakers sights set on Paul George, LeBron James and other big-ticket names available this summer, Randle could find himself on the way out of Los Angeles due to lack of cap space. Still, his play has earned him a nice payday and it should be interesting to see where he ends up.
Isaiah Thomas — Los Angeles Lakers — $6,261,395
Isaiah Thomas if one of the more interesting free agents this offseason. After an all-time offensive season with the Boston Celtics in 2016-17, the “Brinks Truck” was expected to roll out for Thomas this offseason. But, following an offseason trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thomas has struggled to return to form from a serious hip injury sustained in his last playoff run.
Spending time with the Cavaliers and the Lakers last season, there were flashes of the old Thomas, the one that could blow by defenders and get to the basket almost at will. But Thomas just wasn’t the same — he shot just 29.3 percent from three and averaged just 15.2 points — and his season ended with yet another surgery on his ailing hip after playing in just 32 games between Cleveland and Los Angeles.
The repeat injury will scare off multiple teams — already at a disadvantage as a 5-foot-9 point-guard, Thomas can’t afford to lose a step, athletically, against bigger defenders. He also has a desire to continue as a starter. But, if Thomas is 100 percent healthy come next season and is able to return to pre-injury form, some team will get a major bargain and game-changer.
Avery Bradley — Los Angeles Clippers — $8,808,989
Regarded as one of the better two-way guards in the NBA a season ago, Avery Bradley lost a lot of money with an inconsistent 2017-18 season.
Bradley struggled at times throughout the year due to injury after an offseason trade from the Celtics. Playing first for the Detroit Pistons and, eventually, for the Clippers, Bradley played in just 46 games (40 in Detroit, six in Los Angeles). While he still managed to average 14.3 points on the season, teams will likely be wary of Bradley because of those ongoing injury concerns; he played in just 55 games during his last season in Boston as well.
However, if healthy, Bradley can still be a real difference maker on both sides of the ball. He is more than capable as a shooter and is still highly regarded by his peers on the defensive end. There will likely be plenty of teams willing to take the gamble on the 27-year-old.
The Pacific Divison has multiple intriguing free agents going to the market; while some of them had down years in 2017-18, these players are all capable of making an impact next season. Starting July 1, they will have some important decisions to make that could heavily impact their current team as well as others.
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