2023 NBA Free Agency: Looking ahead to next summer's free-agent class

2023 NBA Free Agency: Looking ahead to next summer's free-agent class

Entering this offseason, the biggest gripe about the 2022 free-agent class was the lack of star power.

At one point, the class was poised to be loaded, with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Zach LaVine and Chris Paul potentially hitting the market. However, these players ultimately came off the board after signing extensions or new contracts.

Who is poised to become a free agent next offseason? Are there more stars available in the 2023 class? Here’s a look at the top 40 players who could be available next summer. 

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers — Unrestricted

Even though James will be 38 years old when he hits the open market, he will attract a ton of interest from teams since he continues to produce at a superstar level. Last season, James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.9 threes, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on .524/.359/.756 shooting splits. James has said that his ultimate goal is to play alongside his oldest son, Bronny, in the NBA. Due to Bronny’s draft eligibility, the earliest that they can team up is in 2024-25, so don't be surprised when LeBron signs a one-year deal that allows him to hit the open market shortly after the 2024 NBA Draft.

Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks — Player Option

Middleton has become one of the most reliable, consistent players in the NBA. The three-time All-Star helped the Milwaukee Bucks win a championship in 2021, and his absence was felt after he sprained his MCL during the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Last season, Middleton averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.5 threes and 1.2 steals, while shooting 44.3% from the field, 37.3% from three-point range and 89.0% from the free-throw line. Middleton has a player option worth $40,396,552, and plenty of teams will be interested in his services if he chooses to opt out.

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers — Player Option

Harden declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign, and then re-signed with the 76ers on a two-year deal with a player option in the second season. This year, Harden will earn approximately $32.4 million. Last season, Harden averaged 22.0 points, 10.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 threes and 1.3 steals on .410/.330/.877 shooting splits.

The 32-year-old struggled during the playoffs, especially in the second round, where he averaged 18.2 points, 7.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 turnovers and 2.5 threes on .404/.332/.761 shooting splits. Perhaps Harden will bounce back and benefit from reuniting with several former Houston Rockets teammates, but he turns 33 years old in August and seems less explosive.

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets — Unrestricted 

It remains to be seen where Irving will be playing this season, as he’s expected to be traded after exercising his $37 million player option. Once Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets, Irving’s future was tossed up in the air as well. Irving is one of the NBA’s most electrifying players, capable of taking over games and filling the stat sheet. Last season, Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 threes and 1.4 steals on .469/.418/.915 shooting splits.

However, his availability has been an issue, and he played just 29 games last year. After signing a $136.5 million contract with the Nets in 2019, Irving appeared in just 103 of 216 (47%) regular-season games. Over the last three seasons, he has missed games due to his left hamstring, ankle, right shoulder, groin, right knee, quad, left hip, back and left thigh. Back in January 2021, he also had a two-week unauthorized leave of absence. Over the past seven years, Kyrie has averaged fewer than 51 games played per season.

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors — Player Option

Green's résumé is damn impressive, as he's now a four-time NBA champion, four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection, Defensive Player of the Year award winner and seven-time All-Defensive Team selection. Last season, the 32-year-old averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting 52.5% from the field. Green’s stats don’t properly reflect his impact, as there aren’t many players who can match his defense and basketball IQ. Next offseason, Green has a player option worth $27,586,224, but it's tough to imagine him leaving the Warriors.

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors — Unrestricted 

When the Warriors traded for Wiggins in 2019, his contract was widely regarded as one of the worst in the league. However, after fitting perfectly in Golden State’s system, few players have improved their stock more than Wiggins in recent years. Last season, the 27-year-old became a first-time All-Star (doing so as a starter) and helped the Warriors win a championship. Wiggins averaged 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 threes and 1.0 steal per contest, while shooting 46.6% from the field and 39.% from three. During the playoffs, Wiggins contributed 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 threes, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal per game. Now, this coming season, the former No. 1 overall pick enters the final year of his contract.

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks — Restricted

Barrett has a ton of upside and is coming off of the best season of his career, where he averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 threes per game. While he needs to become more efficient — shooting just 40.8% from the field, 34.2% from three-point range and 71.4% from the free throw line — the 22-year-old isn't going anywhere. He’s a cornerstone for the Knicks and will likely get a rookie max extension as soon as he’s eligible in a few months.

Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors — Restricted

Poole is coming off a breakout season in which he won his first championship while averaging career-highs in points (18.5), assists (4.0), rebounds (3.4), threes (2.8), steals (0.8), field-goal percentage (44.8%), three-point percentage (36.4%) and free-throw percentage (92.5%). The 23-year-old emerged as a key contributor for Golden State, and while he'll be a restricted free agent next offseason, the Warriors will surely prioritize keeping him.

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls — Unrestricted 

Last season, Vucevic averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 threes, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal per contest, while shooting 47.3% from the field, 31.4% from three-point range and 76.0% from the free-throw line. After having the offense run through him in Orlando, Vucevic has had to adjust to playing alongside top scorers in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. The 31-year-old was mentioned in trade rumors earlier this offseason, but those rumblings have died down lately. Vucevic will earn $22,000,000 next season and then become an unrestricted free agent.

Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs — Restricted

The Spurs recently traded Dejounte Murray and decided to focus on their young core going forward. However, since Johnson is only 22 years old, he's on a similar timeline as the rest of San Antonio's young players. Johnson is a cornerstone piece for the Spurs, averaging 17.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 threes and 0.8 steals per game on .466/.398/.756 shooting splits last season.

Tyler Herro, Miami Heat — Restricted

Herro stepped up last season, averaging career-highs in points (20.7), rebounds (5.0), assists (4.0), threes (2.7), steals (0.7), field-goal percentage (44.7%) and three-point percentage (39.9%) per game. Herro's name has surfaced in the rumor mill because he is Miami's best trade chip, and Pat Riley is always in aggressive pursuit of star players (such as Durant and Donovan Mitchell). However, the 22-year-old continues to make strides toward realizing his full potential, and he’ll be a restricted free agent next offseason.

Cam Johnson, Phoenix Suns — Restricted

Johnson's future is currently up in the air, as there have been rumblings that he could be included in Phoenix's trade offer for Durant. It remains to be seen if Johnson will remain with the Suns, but the 26-year-old is coming off of a terrific season where he solidified himself as one of the best young shooters in the NBA. Last year, he averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 threes and 0.9 steals per contest, while shooting 46.0% from the field, 42.5% from three-point range and 86.0% from the free-throw line.

De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks — Restricted

Hunter has looked great over certain stretches, but he has dealt with numerous injuries that have held him back. Still, the 24-year-old is a talented two-way contributor who averaged 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 threes and 0.7 steals per game last season, while shooting 44.2% from the field, 37.9% from three-point range and 76.5% from the free-throw line.

Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards — Player Option

Just before the trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks dealt Porzingis to the Wizards in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. After the trade, Porzingis played 17 games with the Wizards, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.7 threes, 1.5 blocks and 0.7 steals per contest, while shooting 47.5% from the field, 36.7% from three and 87.1% from the free-throw line. Porzingis’ numbers were up across the board in Washington, but it remains to be seen if he can duplicate that kind of production over a larger sample size next season. Next summer, the 26-year-old will have a player option worth $36,016,200.

Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks — Unrestricted

The Houston Rockets recently traded Wood to the Mavericks in exchange for Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and the No. 29 pick in this year's draft (which was used to select TyTy Washington). Last season, Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 threes and 1.0 block per game, while shooting 50.1% from the field, 39.0% from three-point range and 62.3% from the free-throw line. Wood has proven that he can post impressive numbers on struggling teams, but now he’ll have a chance to show that he can be a key contributor for a playoff team. 

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers — Unrestricted

The 2021-22 season was an absolute nightmare for the Lakers, who went 33-49 and finished 11th in the Western Conference. They had the NBA's 21st-ranked defense and 23rd-ranked offense. Much of the blame was placed on Russell Westbrook's shoulders after he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.0 steal per game, while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from three and 66.7% from the free-throw line. After opting into his $47,063,478 player option for this season, Westbrook is expected to be traded. We’ll see if he can resuscitate his value before he hits unrestricted free agency next offseason.

Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets — Restricted

Porter has a ton of potential and seems to be a key part of the Houston Rockets' young core, so it would be a surprise if he isn't re-signed when he hits restricted free agency next summer. Last season, the 22-year-old averaged 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 threes and 1.1 steals per contest, while shooting 41.5% from the field, 37.5% from three-point range and 64.2% from the free-throw line.

Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs — Unrestricted 

The Spurs are reportedly open to trading Jakob Poeltl, which isn’t a huge surprise since the team seems to be stockpiling young players and picks after moving Murray. Last season, Poeltl averaged career-highs in points (13.5), rebounds (9.3), assists (2.8) and steals (0.7), while also blocking 1.7 shots per game and shooting 61.8% from the field. The Spurs reportedly received many calls about the 26-year-old prior to February's trade deadline, so there definitely seems to be interest in the big man.

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers — Unrestricted

Turner seems to pop up in trade rumors every year, but he has yet to be moved during his NBA career. Once again, there are rumblings that Turner may get dealt, but it remains to be seen if any team will meet the Pacers’ asking price. Last season, Turner averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.5 threes per contest, while shooting 50.9% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range and 75.2% from the free-throw line. The 26-year-old is arguably the best shot-blocker in the NBA, and there are plenty of teams that could use his services.

Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers — Unrestricted

After shopping Grant over the last two seasons, the Detroit Pistons finally found an offer they were willing to accept. The Trail Blazers gave up the draft rights to Gabriele Procida, a 2025 first-round draft pick, a 2025 second-round draft pick and a 2026 second-round draft pick. Now, Grant joins the new-look Blazers alongside Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Gary Payton II, Jusuf Nurkic, Shaedon Sharpe and Co. The 28-year-old will earn $20,955,000 this season.

D'Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves — Unrestricted 

The Timberwolves have reportedly been shopping Russell this offseason, but it remains to be seen if a trade will happen. Last season, the 26-year-old averaged 18.1 points, 7.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 threes and a steal per game on inefficient .411/.340/.825 shooting splits. Russell struggled during the Wolves' first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, with Jordan McLaughlin closing several playoff games while a healthy Russell watched from the bench (after averaging 12.0 points and shooting 33.3% from the field). Russell will earn $31,377,750 this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Al Horford, Boston Celtics — Unrestricted

Horford is coming off of a fantastic bounce-back season in which he became an important two-way contributor for the Celtics. Last season, he averaged 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 threes per game, while shooting 46.7% from the field, 33.6% from three-point range and 84.2% from the free-throw line. During the playoffs, Horford elevated his game to another level, averaging 12.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 0.8 steals per contest on super efficient .523/.480/.778 shooting splits. He’ll be 37 years old when he hits the open market, but he should draw interest from numerous contenders.

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings — Unrestricted

Last season, Barnes averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 threes per game, while shooting 46.9% from the field, 39.4% from three-point range and 82.6% from the free-throw line. He'll earn $18,352,273 this season — the final year of his contract — then he'll become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Steven Adams, Memphis Grizzlies — Unrestricted

In his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Adams averaged 6.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, while shooting 54.7% from the field. The 28-year-old will earn $17,926,829 this season, then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets — Unrestricted 

Curry has become a valuable role player who can help pretty much any team. In 64 games last season, he averaged 15.0 points, 3.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 threes per contest, while shooting 48.7% from the field, 42.2% from three-point range and 87.2% from the free-throw line. It remains to be seen if the Nets will trade Curry, given everything going on in Brooklyn. 

Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets — Player Option

If you want to find a truly "positionless" NBA player, look no further than Bruce Brown. The 25-year-old shifted fluidly between roles for the Nets — the textbook glue guy that any playoff contender would love to have. In 22 games after the All-Star break, Brown averaged 14.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 threes per game on .530/.472/.775 shooting splits.

During the Nets' first-round series against the Celtics, he continued to produce, averaging 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks per game on .568/.429/.800 shooting splits. After proving he can be an initiator, connective passer, multi-faceted off-ball player and primary defender, the Denver Nuggets signed Brown to a two-year, $13 million deal with a player option in the second season.

Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards — Player Option 

While Kuzma didn't get the same attention last season after leaving the Lakers, he actually took a step forward and produced at a high level with the Wizards. The 26-year-old averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 threes and 0.9 blocks per contest on .452/.341/.712 shooting splits. Kuzma has a player option worth $13,000,000 for next season.

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers — Unrestricted

Last season, LeVert struggled after being traded from the Pacers to the Cavaliers. In 19 games with Cleveland, he averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 threes and 0.8 steals per contest on inefficient .435/.313/.745 shooting splits. As our Spencer Davies reported, LeVert told the organization that he couldn’t get his legs under him after spraining his foot, and he admitted to bringing some of his bad habits from Indiana to Cleveland. The hope is that he can have a strong bounce-back season now that he’ll have a full offseason to get acclimated with the Cavs.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets — Unrestricted

Last season with the Wizards, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 threes, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game on .435/.390/.890 shooting splits. However, Washington ultimately traded him to the Nuggets in a deal that brought back Monte Morris and Will Barton. Now, KCP will get a chance to play for a contender again.

Otto Porter Jr., Toronto Raptors — Player Option 

Last offseason, Porter shocked everyone when he decided to join the Warriors on a veteran-minimum deal despite receiving larger offers elsewhere. His gamble paid off, as he won a championship. Recently, he joined the Toronto Raptors on a two-year, $12.4 million contract (with a player option in the second season). Last season, Porter averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 threes and 1.1 steals in 22.2 minutes per game, while shooting 46.4% from the field, 37.0% from three and 80.3% from the free-throw line. 

Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks — Unrestricted

Lopez missed most of last season due to a back injury. However, he returned for the final 13 games of the regular season, averaging 12.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 threes and 1.2 blocks in just 22.9 minutes per game during the regular season. During the playoffs, he struggled to find his shot (hitting just 21.4% of his threes), but he chipped in 10.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest. He’ll be 35 years old when he hits unrestricted free agency next offseason.

Patrick Beverley, Utah Jazz — Unrestricted

Beverley was excellent with the Timberwolves last season, shifting their culture and averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 threes and 1.2 steals per game. Despite the important role he played last season, the Timberwolves ultimately traded him to the Utah Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert blockbuster trade. It remains to be seen if Beverley will be bought out by the Jazz or if he’ll play out the final year of his contract (which is set to pay him $13,000,000).

Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers — Player Option  

Hart is coming off of a career-year, averaging 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.4 threes and 1.1 steals per game on .504/.343/.758 shooting splits. After getting traded to the Trail Blazers, he made the most of his increased role and played some of the best basketball of his career. The 27-year-old reportedly has a mutual option worth $12,960,000 for next season.

Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans — Unrestricted

Nance has been traded twice in the last year, with the Cavaliers trading him to the Trail Blazers (by request), and then getting shipped to the Pelicans. Last season, Nance averaged 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and a steal per game, while shooting 52.2% from the field. The 29-year-old is widely regarded as a terrific defender and glue guy, so he'll have no shortage of suitors once he hits the open market.

Will Barton, Washington Wizards — Unrestricted

The Nuggets recently traded Barton to the Wizards in exchange for Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Last season, Barton averaged 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.2 threes and 0.8 steals per game on .438/.365/.803 shooting splits. The 31-year-old may get more field goal attempts in Washington, which could help his stock as he approaches unrestricted free agency.

Kelly Oubre Jr., Charlotte Hornets — Unrestricted

Last season, Oubre averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 threes and a steal per contest, while shooting 44.0% from the field, 34.5% from three and 66.7% from the free-throw line. Next offseason, the 26-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent (after earning $12,600,000 this season).

T.J. Warren, Brooklyn Nets — Unrestricted

Warren was outstanding in the NBA Bubble at the end of the 2019-20 season, averaging 31.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 threes per game. With that said, he played just four games during the 2020-21 season and missed the entire 2021-22 campaign. The Nets decided to take a flier on the 28-year-old, viewing him as a low-risk, high-reward addition. This season, he'll have an opportunity to show that he still has plenty left in the tank.

Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat — Unrestricted

After missing most of the 2021-22 season while recovering from surgery on his ruptured quad, Oladipo returned to Miami's lineup for the final eight games of the season, averaging 12.4 points, 3.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 threes per game on .479/.417/.737 shooting splits. Oladipo had several impressive outings, including a 40-point, 10-rebound, 7-assist, 5-three, 2-steal performance in the regular-season finale against Orlando and an efficient 23-point, 3-assist, 3-steal outing in a playoff win over Atlanta. The Heat rewarded the 30-year-old with a two-year, $18 million deal with a player option in the second season.

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