Free agency is just around the corner, and the NBA will shift quickly. Many top name superstars are free agents and can easily change the momentum and future of the NBA. However, each player has a fit that makes more sense for their style. Here are my perfect fits for the top free agents in the offseason and some sleeper names that could make a big difference on the right team.
1. Kawhi Leonard - Raptors
I feel like this one is easy. The Raptors are coming off one of the best playoff runs in the past decade and successfully revolved their system around Kawhi and his game. There is no reason for Leonard to leave when the Raptors give him all the keys they can. Additionally, the Raptors can offer a five-year $190 million contracts, and the Clipper can only give four years 140 million contracts. It does not make sense for Leonard to leave success and money on the table to go to Los Angeles and would be a wrong move for his future career.
2. Kevin Durant - Warriors
Unfortunately, Durant will probably not be able to play next year due to his torn Achilles suffered during the NBA Finals. He just opted out of his $31.5 million player option with the Warriors and is prepared to hear many teams out and is open to many leagues. However, the Warriors system is perfect for Durant. He can get all the shots he wants, and they can offer him $70 million more than any other team. All the places he is looking during this offseason are at the cusp of dominance and sitting out the year may mean losing parts of their roster that seems enticing now. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA, and Durant would also receive the best care for his rehabilitation and could explore a trade after if he desires to leave Golden State that badly. Also, Golden State was the best team in the NBA with Durant on the floor. They shot 58.4% from the field (2% higher than when Durant was off the floor) and had a higher OFFRTG by 14. Although Brooklyn and Los Angeles seem enticing, Durant's best option is to stay put in Golden State for success and help with the longevity of his career.
3. Kyrie Irving - Brooklyn Nets
One of the most confusing players in the NBA today, Irving can be a top 5 player for a team or be a locker room cancer. His tense demeanor is delicate to contain and puts into question if he can win by himself. That is why somewhere with two max slots makes the most sense. Irving going home to a young, thriving team in Brooklyn makes the most sense but only if someone goes with him to help out the chemistry and locker room. Brooklyn led the NBA in pace last year at 105.50 and Irving is best in transition so that fit makes perfect sense and can help the Nets come back to prominence.
4. Jimmy Butler - Los Angeles Clippers
Jimmy Butler had an up and down year with Minnesota and Philadelphia. However, one thing did not change, and that is his clutch gene and ability to take continue to take over games when he is hot. The Clippers have a great young core and are using this offseason to find a go-to scorer that can take over games and command the fast-paced offense. Jimmy Butler has led the team in miles ran four times and is a downhill player that fits perfectly into an efficient and fast offensive system like the Clippers. The Clippers ranked second in pace and third in OFFRTG last year and is a perfect destination for Butler. Jimmy gets the fame of LA and a fantastic coach and system in the Clippers.
5. Tobias Harris - Los Angeles Clippers
27-year-old Tobias Harris is one of the most intriguing and dark horse free agents. The power forward fits perfectly into this modern NBA as a dynamic stretch four. His ability to run the floor and bring the ball up in transition. His first step and finesse in the post in one of the best in the league and can propel a team when putting in the right place. I loved the pairing of Jimmy and Tobias, and I think if the Clippers miss out on Kawhi, this is a perfect idea for an intriguing long run in the wide-open Western Conference.
Sleeper Free Agents
Patrick Beverley - Chicago Bulls
Drafting Coby White 7th overall, the Bulls are showing reasons to believe they may be done waiting on Kris Dunn's development. However, bringing in Beverley to compete with these two young point guards would be fantastic for their development, and Pat Bev would instantly become the leader of this young team, just like in LA. With $23 million in cap space, the Bulls could offer Pat his desired three years $40 million.
Nikola Vucevic - Boston Celtics
With Al Horford all but gone, the Celtics should look at the center position, and there is a clear #1 center. Vucevic would fit perfectly in the Boston system and be a go-to scorer when Tatum and Hayward are having off nights. He would upgrade their starting lineup and help them make a case to be a top-3 team in the Easter Conference still.
Julius Randle - New York Knicks
Randle has shown that it is a pure scorer but also a black hole at times. His ability to score all over the court is impressive but cannot be surrounded amazing talent because when Randle gets the ball, it usually is the last person to touch it. In New York, he would get all the shots he desires and would be great for his development and give the Knicks a small prize after an already failed free agency.