Saturday night at midnight on the East Coast, as it turns into Sunday, NBA free agency opens and it’s as organized as the island in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
However, there is a pecking order. While some deals will get done the second the clock flips to July 1 (of course, there’s no tampering in the NBA *cough*) the big dominoes generally need to fall first before the market shakes out. This year, that starts with LeBron James and Paul George — their decisions influence a lot of other things.
This video breaks down the top 10 free agents on the board, with those two unrestricted free agents near the top (along with Kevin Durant, who is a free agent but not going anywhere). Things shake out from there, and we eventually get into the restricted free agents, where the teams that have the player’s rights can match any offer. But will they?
This is going to be a tough summer for a lot of players — there are very few teams with much money to spend. After the handful of guys at the top of this list (LeBron and George are getting maxed out, obviously), a lot of players are not going to get what they feel they are worth. A lot of players are going to find offers smaller than players they think (or know) they are better than. The summer of 2016 skewed perspectives, last summer was a reality check for a lot of players, and this summer is going to be even a tighter market than a year ago. Offers are not going to be what players want or expect. There will be guys settling for one-year deals to get back in the market a year from now (there’s a lot more money in the market then) and some agents are going to get fired.