NBA Trade Rumors: Free Agency Predictions for Every Top Player

The summer of 2019 has long been seen as a potentially pivotal moment for the NBA. With a number of All-Star caliber players entering the market, the upcoming free agency has the potential to significantly shift dynamics across the league for a long time.

The fact the Los Angeles Lakers jumped the gun and traded for Anthony Davis earlier this month only adds intrigue to the next few weeks.

Here, Newsweek looks at the free agency rumors swirling around the league.

Kawhi Leonard

The best player in the NBA and arguably the most important domino in the free agency set-up, Leonard will receive offers from every team with even a slim hope of landing him.

On Monday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the reigning NBA Finals MVP would decline his 2019-20 player option and become an unrestricted free agent.

Crucially, Haynes also suggested Leonard was "seriously considering" re-signing with the Toronto Raptors, the only team who can offer him a five-year, $190 million Supermax deal.

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers will leave no stone unturned in a bid to bring him back to his native southern California, while the New York Knicks will also be in the running.

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after his team defeated the Golden State Warriors to win Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty

Kevin Durant

This was supposed to be the summer when Durant would wave goodbye to the Golden State Warriors and take his talents elsewhere, namely New York.

However, while the Knicks have long been considered favorites to land the two-time NBA champion, the Brooklyn Nets have recently forced themselves into the reckoning.

According to Bleacher Report, Kyrie Irving has also set his sights on a move to Brooklyn and has repeatedly tried to convince Durant to join him in the Big Apple.

Alternatively, the two-time NBA Finals MVP can opt in with the Warriors and pocket $31.5 million next season, or re-sign a long-term deal with Golden State.

His situation is complicated by the fact he will spend most of next season out injured after tearing his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Kyrie Irving

One of the few certainties of this free agency seems to be that Irving will leave Boston following two difficult seasons.

Earlier this month, The Athletic reported Irving had been "communicative and forthright" with the Celtics, telling the franchise he will leave this summer.

The Nets are thought to be his preferred destination but the Knicks could also bid for his services, particularly if they deem Durant's injury too much of a risk.

Brooklyn, however, remains the front-runner to land the 27-year-old.

Al Horford

Like Irving, Horford also looks set to wave goodbye to Boston after ESPN reported last week the 33-year-old and the Celtics were no longer discussing a deal.

The Ringer indicated the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers were interested in the Celtics big man, while NBC Sports Boston suggested the Nets were also in the running and USA Today identified the Philadelphia 76ers as a potential suitor.

One thing appears certain, the big man should get paid this summer.

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics, Al Horford
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics dribbles past Al Horford #42 during the first half against the New York Knicks at TD Garden on October 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty

Jimmy Butler

From the Houston Rockets, to both Los Angeles teams, to the Knicks and possibly the Nets, Butler will be a man in demand this summer.

He has been deliberately coy on his future and has not ruled out extending his sojourn in Philadelphia, particularly as the Sixers already have a solid enough platform to launch a title bid.

If Butler does leave Pennsylvania, his destination might hinge of those of Durant and Irving. The team or teams that land either or both are unlikely to sign Butler.

Tobias Harris

Like his teammate, Harris could also wave goodbye to Philadelphia after less than a year. From the Knicks and the Nets, to the Lakers and the Clippers, Harris is unlikely to be short of options.

Harris is from Long Island, so the former pair could have a bigger appeal than a move to California.

Kemba Walker

As with Butler, Walker is just below the upper echelon of free agents. The Charlotte Hornets are the only team that can offer Walker a Supermax, although he has already said he would be willing to make a financial sacrifice to help the franchise build.

Walker isn't on the level of Durant and Irving but could be perfect for a team with championship aspirations needing a second star. Or a third star, in the Los Angeles Lakers' case.

The 16-time NBA champions are desperately trying to clear cap space and Walker would complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis beautifully. That would still leave the Lakers with a painfully thin roster, but that's a story for another time.

D'Angelo Russell

Russell is a restricted free agent but could still find himself playing for a different franchise by the time next season gets underway.

His future is directly linked to that of Irving and Durant and if the Nets land both, they will in all likelihood have to part ways with Russell.

Should that happen, the guard wouldn't be short of suitors, with the Knicks, Boston Celtics and just about any other team with enough cap room likely to pitch to him.

Klay Thompson

Like Durant, Thompson will spend a large chunk of next season watching on from the sideline after rupturing his left ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Unlike his teammate, he will be an unrestricted free agent—but it's hard to imagine him leaving the Bay Area.

On Tuesday, ESPN reported Thompson was expected to meet the Warriors and it seems likely he will be offered the contract he wants to remain with the team.

NBA Trade Rumors: Free Agency Predictions for Every Top Player | Sports