The NBA is returning to preseason action in less than a month for the 2023-24 season. Many of the league’s best players are entering the last year of their contracts, and they have a lot at stake as they approach free agency next July. Some players have to perform really well this season to get big contracts. Others are using the year to figure out if they want to keep playing basketball professionally. Quite a few players may not even become free agents because of rookie-scale extensions before the season starts, and veteran players have until June 30 to decide on their next steps.
Here’s a list of potential NBA free agents, and we’re sharing our initial thoughts on each one, although the list may not be in any specific order. We’re discussing restricted free agents at the end because they can’t easily leave their current teams without certain limitations or conditions.
LeBron Nearing Retirement?
The NBA relies on popular players, and LeBron James has been one of the biggest attractions for 20 years. After the Los Angeles Lakers lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Denver Nuggets, LeBron hinted publicly that he might be thinking about retiring, suggesting he’s nearing the end of his career.
LeBron James had previously mentioned wanting to play in the NBA long enough to be on the same team as his son, Bronny James. Recently, Bronny faced a serious heart issue but is recovering. LeBron’s commitment to family might influence his decision to leave the NBA. If he manages to secure a second title with the Lakers and fifth overall, it would enhance his argument as the greatest of all time (GOAT). The question arises whether this achievement would motivate him to continue playing or if he would choose to retire at the pinnacle of his career.
Will Kawhi Leonard and Paul George Stay as Teammates?
The Clippers owner, Steve Ballmer, might not be concerned about the NBA’s new rules for big spenders since both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are eligible for contract extensions. The 76ers, led by Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, could be interested in acquiring one of the two Clippers’ wings after James Harden (and Tobias Harris) depart. Similar to James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George have issues—both struggle to stay healthy, especially in crucial playoff moments. Leonard turned down the opportunity to join the Lakers and play with LeBron James, leading the Clippers to trade for George. This move involved giving up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a promising guard, and valuable draft assets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A successful 2023-24 season, especially if they stay healthy through June, could alter the current story. While the Clippers might need Leonard and George for financial reasons, their strong performances could attract other teams interested in signing them in July (unless the Clippers extend their contracts before that).
Can the Warriors Maintain the Splash Brothers Duo?
The fact that the Golden State Warriors recently extended Draymond Green’s contract is a positive sign for Klay Thompson. Although Thompson has faced several injuries, including to his knee and Achilles, he remains one of the best shooters globally and an integral part of the Warriors’ championship success. The key question now is determining the right price for Thompson, especially considering the new rules aimed at curbing spending by high-budget teams like the Warriors.
The Warriors face a significant question regarding Chris Paul, a future Hall of Famer, who has a non-guaranteed $30 million for the 2024-25 season. Saving money may become a priority, but if Paul helps the team contend for a championship, that could change the decision. While the team retains rights after not picking up an option, the only way to avoid Paul’s full salary is through waiver or trade. If the aim is to keep him at a lower cost, the Warriors would only have the option of offering a minimum contract if they choose to let him go instead of paying the full $30 million.
Players to Keep an Eye On: Bridges, Lowry, Dinwiddie, KCP, Monk, and More
Miles Bridges did not play in the entire 2022-23 season because of a serious domestic violence incident, resulting in a 30-game suspension. He has already served 20 games of that suspension. If Bridges proves he can make a positive impact on the court, a team in 2024 might overlook his troubled past, even though there might be significant damage to his reputation.
Experienced players like Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tyus Jones, and Mike Conley will become free agents. Russell Westbrook can choose to leave his contract with the Clippers, which is worth $4 million. D’Angelo Russell has the option to keep his player contract, valued at $18.7 million.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a crucial player for the Nuggets during their championship victory, has the choice to leave his $15.4 million contract. If Caleb Martin continues his impressive performance with Miami, he might seek a higher salary than his $7.1 million player option. Gary Trent Jr. is expected to receive a substantial contract offer.
Malik Monk is known for scoring points consistently. Buddy Hield is likely the top shooter available, with Joe Harris close behind. Royce O’Neale, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Taurean Prince have proven themselves as strong wing defenders. When in good health, Gordon Hayward remains a valuable and effective scorer.
NBA All Star 2024
When is the 2024 NBA All-Star Game?
The 2024 NBA All-Star Game is scheduled for Sunday, February 18, 2024. All-Star Weekend will feature events over three nights, spanning from February 16 to February 18, 2024. For a detailed schedule of events, refer to the official program.
When is the 2024 NBA All-Star Game?
Indianapolis is hosting the NBA All-Star event for the first time since 1985. The Pacers’ home arena, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, will host various events, including the NBA Rising Stars game on Feb. 16, the HBCU Classic presented by AT&T on Feb. 17, and the 73rd NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18.
Additionally, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 17, featuring the Kia Skills Challenge, Starry 3-Point Contest, and AT&T Slam Dunk.
Is the Dunk Contest happening this year?
Every All-Star Weekend has an exciting event called the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. In 2023, Mac McClung wowed everyone by earning perfect scores on three out of four attempts. The 2024 AT&T Slam Dunk Contest will be part of State Farm Saturday Night. The participants for the dunk contest will be announced closer to the weekend.
The NBA, or National Basketball Association, is a top-level professional basketball league with 30 teams in North America. It showcases the best basketball players globally.
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You can check the official rules of the NBA on nba.com.
The guidelines cover various aspects like security, alcohol sales, and a new Fan Code of Conduct for arenas.
Fan Code of Conduct
The Fan Code of Conduct outlines expected behavior for fans at NBA games.
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