It appears a lot of big names will be on the open market come July 1.
Where will those players end up?
Here are my predictions.
Marc Gasol is the best two-way center in the NBA. He can score, rebound, pass, and block shots. He is a difference-maker in the middle. However, he is already 30-years old and is hitting free agency for the first time in his career.
He has fallen in love with Memphis and everybody knows it. He will receive a maximum contract from any team that can afford to offer him one. If he happens to leave Memphis, where might he end up?
There has been a lot of talk about the New York Knicks, but I don’t see him taking that big of a risk, especially with New York’s roster situation. He would be a great fit for the triangle offense, something Phil Jackson is trying to implement with Derek Fisher at the helm. However, I don’t see Gasol wanting to play with an aging Carmelo Anthony.
New York is out of the picture.
The San Antonio Spurs could become a favorite for Gasol. San Antonio will have plenty of cap space, even though Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are expected to come back next season. I can bet that both players will take a pay cut. Gasol would give the Spurs a viable center for the first time since David Robinson played for them. Adding him would make the Spurs the favorite to win the Western Conference.
The Los Angeles Lakers would be interesting, but I don’t think Gasol would be interested unless the Lakers signed a player like Kevin Love to compliment him.
Some other interesting possibilities could be Cleveland and Boston.
If Gasol cares about winning, I believe he will leave Memphis. It has already proven hard to win there in the playoffs. If winning is second on his list, Gasol will re-sign with Memphis. I don’t think he will sign with a team that didn’t make the playoffs in 2015.
There are rumors on the Internet saying LaMarcus Aldridge might be looking to sign with the Spurs. That would be a dynamite addition for a team that is in need of some help.
Aldridge would be more than “some” help, though.
While I’m sure he has enjoyed his time in Portland, I think he knows that Portland will never really contend for a title. As good as Damian Lillard is, he isn’t a championship-caliber player, yet. One question we will never know the answer to is “What if Wes Matthews didn’t get hurt?”
Aldridge is nearing the age of 30 and has made it out of the first round one time in nine years. He has been a 20-10 player the last two seasons and an All-Star the last four.
If Aldridge wants to win, he will strongly consider teams like San Antonio, Atlanta, Orlando, (don’t sleep on them) or Boston. Heck, even Phoenix would be a great option to consider.
I don’t think Aldridge will consider any team that doesn’t have a legitimate shot to win a title. He is at the point in his career where the money doesn’t matter anymore because he has already made $85 millions-worth.
That’s all I have for today.
I’ll be sure to highlight some more players in the coming days or weeks.