Here are some of the biggest ones, and what uniforms they might be wearing come October tip-off.
The King has opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have been worth 21.6 million dollars. James, ever the businessman, is looking for a raise during the last year of his current contract with Cleveland, followed by an even bigger one after the end of next season. There is little to no chance the King listens to other teams during this process, as this is seen as a procedural move that the Cavaliers were aware of beforehand.
But what of his sidekick, Kevin Love?
Love also opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have been worth 16.7 million. Though the Cavaliers were also expecting this move, and are also anticipating him suiting up for them next season, his roster spot is not as guaranteed as James’. Some potential suitors include the Lakers and Celtics, while another scenario involves a high-profile free agent from Portland.
The Portland Trailblazers don’t seem to think their star big man is going to return. While some of the teams showing interest include the Lakers, Spurs, and Mavericks, the most intriguing possibility is born via Kevin Love NOT signing with the Cavaliers. Love, whose hometown is in Oregon, would make perfect sense for the Trailblazers to pursue once they lose Aldridge. This would leave Cleveland without a third of their three-headed monster, a void filled nicely by LaMarcus.
And there is still another big man for the taking.
DeAndre Jordan, him of the stellar defense and monstrous dunks, is also up for grabs this offseason. While the Clippers do intend to retain their star center, the Dallas Mavericks have emerged as the team most likely to lure him away from Los Angeles.
When July 1st finally arrives, fans around the league will be collectively holding their breath as their stars become available to other teams. The Heat’s all-time leading scorer, Dwyane Wade, also opted out of his contract, though this is seen as a similarly procedural move. Still, Miami must deal with the mind-blowing fact that Wade has never been the highest paid player in a Heat uniform. If they wish to keep him, they must pay the aging, but effective, guard more than he has ever made, which will test Pat Riley’s mettle. If not, he just might be wearing Laker purple and gold next year.
Stay tuned, as the gun sounds on the start of free agency season.