NBA Free Agents 2017: Rumors and Predictions for Remaining Available Talent

Gordon Hayward agreed to join his former Butler Bulldogs head coach and the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, ending one of the more peculiar NBA sagas of the season.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes broke the news just after 3:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but then reports started bubbling about Hayward backtracking and “regrouping.”

About five hours later, Hayward tweeted out his Players’ Tribune story informing the Utah Jazz of his decision. It seemed—as many initially speculated—that Hayward’s camp was (clumsily) trying to do right by Utah after Haynes got a leak:

The basketball world collectively exhaled after the exhausting story. But free agency didn’t end then and there. Let’s check in on some of the top remaining talent below.

 

 

 

 

 

Otto Porter Jr.

If you have a valuable, young restricted free agent—especially in the Eastern Conference—the Brooklyn Nets are going to make you pay to keep him.

On Tuesday, second-year general manager Sean Marks agreed to a four-year, $106 million max-deal with Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr., per The Vertical’s Shams Charania:

Washington is expected to match the offer, according to TNT’s David Aldridge and The Vertical’s Chris Mannix:

The Wizards have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday night do so.

It’s a hefty price to pay for Porter, a player franchise cornerstone John Wall threw under the bus when discussing his desire to land All-Star forward Paul George last week, per ESPN’s Marc J. Spears.

“Look at our team. We are one piece away. We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our 3-man [Otto Porter Jr.] did great for us. You can’t take nothing away from what he did. But [George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It’s a piece that you’re going to need to win. If you don’t have a guy who can do that, you don’t have a chance. … You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that’s what it’s looking like.”

Ringing endorsement.

Wall might’ve been overlooking Porter’s contributions as well as his potential. In his third and fourth pro seasons, the Georgetown Hoyas product figured things out. After a rocky start to his career, the 24-year-old posted 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from distance.

He’d be a great fit in Brooklyn, which is in talent-acquisition mode, should Washington not match. Even if the offer is reciprocated, the Nets will still be happy; they’ve successfully made another conference rival fork over a ton of money:

Still, Porter will almost certainly be a Wizard next season.

 

 

 

 

            

Dion Waiters

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the New York Knicks have reached out to free agent shooting guard Dion Waiters.

They must miss J.R. Smith over at Madison Square Garden.

Berman wrote that after making a “lukewarm bid” for Waiters last summer, the Knicks are re-engaging the enigmatic shooting guard, who once insisted his Syracuse Orange teammates refer to him as “Kobe Wade.”

In another report, Berman wrote that Knicks president Steve Mills is “all in for a youth movement, except at point guard, where they are attempting to find a veteran mentor for 18-year-old Frenchman Frank Ntilikina.”

That seems to clash with the initial story on Waiters, but the well-traveled scorer is only 25 years old. It’d still make sense for him to join a team with a better chance at winning now, so this isn’t exactly a match made in heaven. In the same story, Berman wrote that the Knicks are considering trying to tank next season for projected top pick Michael Porter Jr, should they find a way to move Carmelo Anthony.

Talk about a “Big Three”: Kristaps Porzingis, Porter and…Kobe Wade.

 

 

 

 

            

Jamal Crawford

After being traded to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a three-team deal that netted the Los Angeles Clippers Danilo Gallinari via sign-and-trade, Jamal Crawford is looking elsewhere.

According to Spears, the 37-year-old’s preference, once the trade becomes official on Thursday, would be the Lakers.

Crawford wants to play with Lonzo Ball and, as Spears noted, has his family based in L.A. after five years with the Clippers. Spears added that he has a “solid relationship” with Lonzo already, and Los Angeles is sharing his interest.

“The Lakers have strong interest in signing Crawford as well, a source said, and have the money to offer a respectable contract,” per Spears.

J-Crossover would bring some pedigree to a mostly green locker room—so much so that he’d be older than his head coach, Luke Walton:

This is all predicated on Crawford securing a buyout, but USA Today‘s Sam Amick reported that the Hawks won’t accommodate him “unless he gives a lot back.” He seems motivated to stay home, so the perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate seems likely to be a Laker.

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