NBA Free Agency 2017: Rumors and Predictions for Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, More

The first three names below have been to a combined 18 NBA All-Star games. The fourth player has been a key cog and sharpshooter for a perennial playoff team.

They are just a few names on a list of players expected to pursue different options during NBA’s free-agency period when the new league year begins on July 1.

Like almost every year, the NBA power structure has the potential to shift drastically, but more players than usual may stay put this year.

Here’s a look at the latest rumors and predictions on where these four will play next season.

      

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Blake Griffin is opting out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers to become a free agent:

Marc Stein and Chris B. Haynes of ESPN also reported that the Denver Nuggets could look to make a play for Griffin in free agency.

And according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated, while Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul hasn’t opted out of his contract, it’s expected that he will do so:

There are two reasons why Griffin and Paul will likely return to the Clippers.

First, the Clippers can offer them more money than any other team. Per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles can sign Griffin to a massive five-year, $175 million contract, while it can offer Paul even more money (five years and $205 million). No other NBA team can offer Griffin more than four years and $130 million, and the max for Paul is four years and $152 million.

That extra money for each player certainly isn’t chump change.

Second, the Clippers have been unable to reach their full potential because they’ve been beset by injuries and terrible luck in the postseason. Even with all the injuries during the regular season, the Clips still finished with 51 wins and the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. One of these years, their fortunes are due to turn around. Right?

The Clippers’ big three may not be good enough to take over the Golden State Warriors for league supremacy, but what team is?

Given the extra money, coupled with the team’s success together, expect the core to stick together.

Prediction: Clippers

      

Paul Millsap

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported that the Denver Nuggets could be looking to land Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap in free agency:

Denver’s interest in Millsap was also reported by Stein and Haynes.

While the Denver Nuggets could use a star-caliber power forward to pair with center Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt, expect the Houston Rockets to ultimately win the bidding war for Millsap.

First, the 32-year-old Millsap, who has played in the league for 11 seasons, is on the back end of his career. At this point, he may be looking for his best opportunity to win a championship.

That opportunity won’t be in Denver, which is a team on the rise but is still at least a few pieces (in particular a point guard) away from contending for the Western Conference crown.

Rather, Houston seems like the best bet. The Rockets won 55 games last year with new coach Mike D’Antoni and they are primed for another big season next year, but they need a couple more pieces to crack the top two in the Western Conference.

Paul Millsap is a great fit. He can slot next to Clint Capela in the backcourt and provide the team with scoring, rebounding, passing and defensive help. Millsap is a jack of all trades, and he can even shoot the three-pointer, which Houston does seemingly every possession.

While Millsap had a great tenure in Atlanta, chances are that he’ll be moving west.

Prediction: Rockets

     

J.J. Redick

The free-agent shooting guard, who has played with the Los Angeles Clippers for the past four seasons, may soon find his way east.

Per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are expected to go after Redick.

Although Redick has enjoyed much success in Los Angeles, and while the prediction here is that the Clippers’ core three players (Paul, Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan) will return next season, Philadelphia seems like an perfect fit for Redick, so much so that the 76ers should break the bank for his services and make him an offer he can’t refuse.

First, the 76ers are building around a core of Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. The average age for those players is 21 years old. Combined, they have played just 112 NBA games.

The Feds, as they are calling themselves, need some veterans in the locker room to help guide them as they develop their games and navigate life as NBA players. Redick, who has been in the NBA since 2006, can certainly be that mentor for them.

Second, the 76ers have a hole at shooting guard alongside those four players. Furthermore, Philadelphia was one of the worst shooting teams in the league last year, making just 44.2 percent of their field goals (fourth-last in the NBA) and 34.0 percent of their three-pointers (sixth-last in the NBA).

Redick has been fantastic from beyond the arc the past two years, hitting 45.1 percent of his threes, per Basketball-Reference. He would be a great addition to a team looking for a veteran leader and outside shooter.

Prediction: 76ers

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