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  • Writer's pictureJ O'Quinn

2024 NBA Free Agency Frenzy: Where Do the Biggest Names Find Their New Home?

By: J O'Quinn

Bailey Bassett/Clutch Points

Although the Celtics haven't even begun to celebrate their record winning 18th championship, Brad Stevens along with every other GM is locking down and prepping for one of the most influential and league-shaping periods of the off-season: Free Agency. This free agency class is headlined by names such as Paul George, Demar Derozan, and Klay Thompson. However, what sets this free agency class apart isn't the stars. It's the role players who are often underappreciated but prove time and time again to add value even to the best teams. Let's break down some of the most notable members of this class and where we see them ending up.

Paul George - Los Angeles Clippers

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Even if Paul George decides to not exercise his 48-million-dollar player option by the June 29th deadline, I doubt that teams who have a realistic shot at grabbing PG make an aggressive effort to get him. The Philadelphia 76ers are the team who would surprise me the least, but the Clippers can offer George a new contract at a higher value than Philadelphia. Talks of George to the Sixers have been floated for months now, with Joel Embiid hinting at the prospect of playing together. However, it seems as though the Sixers front office has aimed to go in a different direction, utilizing their 65 million dollars in cap to structure a deal for Tyrese Maxey and pursue younger names in the free agent class. Another team to watch is the Golden State Warriors. With the inevitable departure of Klay Thompson, Golden State could pivot to a more athletic wing. At the end of the day, Paul George is 34 and in the later stages of his career. I believe the Clippers end up saving 1/3 of their core and resign George to a 3-year deal to retire in LA.

Demar Derozan - Chicago Bulls

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Demar Derozan is no doubt one of the most prolific scorers and clutch performers in the league. Will this command enough attention from teams with Cap space this summer? I believe the answer is no. It simply makes sense for Derozan to sign with Bird rights and stay in the Windy City because of the direction the Bulls are headed. He can still act as the primary scorer while also being a mentor for the young core of Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and recently acquired Josh Giddey. Be on the lookout for teams like Utah and Orlando, however. Young teams with Cap could very easily make a convincing push for the soon to be 35-year-old star, but does it make a ton of sense to do so? Offering that much money in the situations they are in for a guy like Derozan is very risky. However, Derozan has been one of the most durable players in the NBA even as his career has progressed, so watch out for the Jazz and Magic in the coming weeks.

Klay Thompson - Orlando Magic

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We all used to think about the day that the Splash Bros officially broke up and parted ways. I believe that it's finally time for the Bay to say goodbye to one of their greatest players ever. Thompson is coming off of arguably his worst season since his rookie campaign in 2011, and the Warriors organization is having to wrestle with the fact that his 43/38 shooting splits simply don't demand the money he is seeking in FA. Thompson is far from lackluster, however, and averaged 18 ppg on a down year. A young team like Orlando who has wing depth but is lacking a true sharpshooter seems to be the perfect fit. A veteran guy who can come in and lead this squad is just what the doctor ordered for Jamahl Mosley and company. The difference between Klay and players like Demar and Paul George is that they should be able to get him on a more team friendly contract simply because of worse output comparatively this past season. Don't be surprised to see Klay Thompson rocking the Blue and Black in 2025.

OG Anunoby - Philadelphia 76ers

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OG Anunoby is exactly what you think of when you think 3&D wing. Good size and athleticism paired with exceptional on ball defense makes him a very desirable asset for teams in contention. He was traded this year from Toronto to New York as a part of the RJ Barrett deal, and New York is adamant on keeping him. However, talks as of late have slowed down, and OG declined his option in order to test the waters in free agency. The 76ers are the team to watch to make him a competitive offer this summer. A team with a ton of cap but not a lot of wing depth, especially with the departure of Tobias Harris, is searching for a versatile SF that compliments the play style of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. I would not count out the Knicks quite yet, but the future could be red, white, and blue for the 26-year-old.

Isaiah Hartenstein - Oklahoma City Thunder

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As a Sixers fan, I'm happy if I go my whole life without seeing another left-handed, 6-foot, high arcing floater from Hartenstein. As a basketball enthusiast on the other hand, a lot of teams could use a guy exactly like this. There has been a rebirth in Oklahoma City, and a backup center is the missing piece for Mark Daigneault going into next season. Chet Holmgren is going to be a monster in the next few years, but injury concerns are still there. Hartenstein will provide excellent bench minutes, but he also has the ability to slide seamlessly into the starting lineup should something occur. The Knicks are going to try their best to keep him, but I believe the Thunder, and possibly the Magic, will make more competitive offers.

Miles Bridges - Detroit Pistons

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With all of the controversy surrounding Miles Bridges, it is easy to lose sight of how underrated he is as a player. Bridges averaged 21/7/3 in 2023 and shows no signs of slowing down. The Detroit Pistons could utilize Bridges in their front court by spending some of their cap on him in the next few weeks. A sleeper team to look out for is the Spurs. Devin Vassell and Victor Wembanyama are the beginning of an excellent young team, but an extra piece is required if they want to see success in the next few years. If teams are willing to look past his issues off the court, they might just get a bargain on a great player.

Players like Lebron James, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden, while technically free agents, have given me no reason to believe they will leave their current team. The players listed above are only some of the players on the market who will make an immediate impact wherever they go. With the NBA Draft premiering tonight, be on the lookout for monster trades and signings that could alter the structure of the league. There is no doubt that the 2024-25 NBA season will look a lot different at the end of the Moratorium period.

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