Day 1 of the 2022 NBA free-agency period didn't disappoint, as there were plenty of agreements and surprises. However, a number of free-agency moves and potential trades are currently on hold thanks to one of the biggest bombshells in recent memory: Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
It remains to be seen how long Sean Marks and Co. will take to find a new home for Durant, but that will certainly have an impact on the rest of the league. Whenever there's a superstar available — either via trade or free agency — that tends to be what teams prioritize.
Still, it's possible we could see some more players come off the board on Day 2. Which notable free agents are still available? Here are some names to keep an eye on.
JAMES HARDEN, UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
James Harden declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and he's now an unrestricted free agent. However, all signs point to Harden remaining with the Philadelphia 76ers on a new deal. The two sides are meeting soon to discuss what his new contract will look like, but it's reportedly expected to pay Harden somewhere around $35 million per year. The 32-year-old struggled during the playoffs, especially in the second round when he averaged 18.2 points, 7.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 turnovers and 2.5 threes, while shooting 40.4% from the field, 33.2% from three and 76.1% from the free-throw line. Perhaps Harden will bounce back and benefit from playing with several of his former Houston Rockets teammates again, but he turns 33 years old in August and seems significantly less explosive.
DEANDRE AYTON, RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Things aren't looking great for Deandre Ayton. He was being linked to the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, but their interest seems to have cooled off. Once Kevin Durant requested a trade, some wondered if he would land in Brooklyn via a sign-and-trade, but multiple reports have indicated that the Nets aren't interested in the 23-year-old either. A return to Phoenix also seems unlikely given recent reports that both sides want to move on. What is the market for Ayton at this point? The Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves were mentioned by ESPN's Brian Windhorst as potential dark horses for Ayton, so perhaps one of those squads could emerge as a sign-and-trade partner. However, it's seeming less and less likely that Ayton will get the max deal that he and his camp have pushed for. Ayton is a young, improving player who is widely regarded as one of NBA's best young centers, so a team will be lucky to add him (especially if they can get him at a discount).
MILES BRIDGES, RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Miles Bridges is coming off of a breakout season, averaging a career-high 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.9 threes and 0.9 steals. It seemed like the forward was due for a massive pay raise and Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak even said that the team was going to re-sign him. However, that was before Bridges was arrested for domestic violence on the eve of free agency, which could absolutely impact his negotiations. Bridges' wife, Mychelle Johnson, spoke out about Bridges' alleged abuse and documented her serious injuries. Not only will this situation likely scare teams away, it's also very possible that Bridges could be suspended by the NBA too.
COLLIN SEXTON, RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Collin Sexton injured his left knee in November, and an MRI revealed a torn meniscus. He had surgery a week later, sidelining him for the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign. It will be fascinating to see what offers he receives on the open market. During the 2020-21 season, Sexton averaged 24.3 points and 4.4 assists while shooting 47.5% from the floor, 37.5% from downtown and 81.5% from the free-throw line. However, he struggled defensively, and the Cavs registered a league-worst 60-159 record over the first three years of his career. With Sexton out of action this season, Cleveland went 44-38 and made the Play-In Tournament. Darius Garland emerged as an All-Star in Sexton’s absence. Because he is a restricted free agent, the Cavs can match any offer he receives.