2022 NBA Free Agency Predictions

2022 NBA Free Agency Guide

NBA Free Agency beings on Thursday and there could be some intriguing signings and sign-and-trade deals after 6pmET on Thursday, June 30. Let’s take a look at the top 10 free agents (unrestricted and restricted) and where they might end up. Restricted free agents like Brad Beal and Anfernee Simons should end up re-signing with Washington and Portland respectively because they can make the most money so I didn’t include them. James Harden has a Player Option and if he opts in, he makes $47.4 million with Philadelphia and can an extension for $223 million over four years. But at 33, he might be on the downside.

Here is a link to the NBA Draft Grades

1)Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

LaVine is now 27 and an outstanding athlete who averaged 24.4 points and 4.5 assists last season. However, he’s not a great defender. Yet, the Bulls could sign him to a five-year deal worth $212 million. LaVine can play some point guard and with the injury issues to Lonzo Ball, they’d like to keep him. There are few teams that can afford LaVine so he will re-sign. Projection: Chicago Bulls.

2)Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets, Restricted

Bridges is a 23-year old athletic small forward, who averaged 20.2 points and 7 rebounds last season. The problem is that the Hornets reportedly don’t want to sign him to a max offer. But they can match any offer sheet and losing Bridges would be a disaster for this franchise. Projection: He remains in Charlotte.

3)DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, Restricted

This is a little more complicated because the Suns can match any offer. But they don’t apparently want the 24-year old who averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. The playoffs didn’t end well for the Suns and Ayton seemed to taking a lot of the blame. The fact that he’s not a great defender or a top option without Chris Paul running the offense is a concern. There’s no way he should get anything close to the max from other teams, but he probably will and Phoenix will decline or sign and trade him (John Collins?) with a team like Atlanta. Projection: Atlanta

4)Jalen Brunson, Dallas, Restricted

Here is the problem. Dallas would love to re-sign Brunson, who averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists as a combo guard playing next to superstar Luka Doncic. He was making less than $2 million a year a second round pick, but now he’s going to get $100 million in an offer sheet. He’s good, but not worth that because he’s not a true point guard. The Knicks are making sure they have enough cap room to sign him and will likely end up acquiring him in a sign and trade deal: Projection: New York Knicks.

5)Gary Harris, Orlando Magic

Harris has always been able to score. The problem has been his inability to stay healthy. This year, he actually played 61 games, which was the most he had played since the 2017-18 season. He can stroke it from three (38.4% last year) and at 27, he can be an effective scorer off the bench who can defend. With Danny Green out with an ACL and probably retiring, he’d be a nice replacement in Philadelphia. Projection: Philadelphia 76ers.

6)Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors

The 6-9 center/forward averaged 7.3 rebounds and helped lead the Warriors to the NBA title. His defense and ability to switch is invaluable. He played well in the regular season, but was dominant on the boards in the playoffs. Considering the shaky health of James Wiseman, Golden State doesn’t care about the luxury tax so of course they will re-sign him. Projection: Golden State

7)Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets

Brown is one of those valuable defenders who averaged 9 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Nets last season. But with Ben Simmons around (hopefully), Brown who plays a lot bigger than his 6-4 height, may not be needed. At 25, Brown has become a very solid player who shot 40.4% from three-point range. He was even more valuable in the playoffs (four games), where he averaged 14 points and 4.8 rebounds on 42.9% shooting from 3-point range. Projection: Re-signs with Nets.

8)Kyle Anderson, Memphis,

Anderson is one of those valuable players who can start or coming off the bench. He’s a good defender who averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for Memphis last season. But his three-point shooting accuracy fell off last season and the Grizzlies drafted Jake LaRavia and David Roddy. Anderson is still one of those glue guys who can help a lot of teams. Indiana has plenty of cap room as does Detroit. The Pacers seem like the better fit. Projection: Indiana Pacers

9)Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies UFA

Jones averaged nearly 13 points, 6.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds as a starter when Ja Morant was out. If you are looking for the best bargain as a backup point guard who can start, it’s Jones. Memphis went 19-5 without Morant in the lineup and a lot of that had to do with Jones. He will probably command more than the MLE, which should take Washington out of it, but is Memphis going to pay $15M+ for a backup point guard. I’ll project he goes in a sign-and-trade with the neediest team in the league for a point guard. Projection: Washington.

10)Delon Wright, Atlanta Hawks

Wright is a big point guard at 6-5, who can play shooting guard. He’s also a very good defender, but he’s also 30. He had a poor usage rate of 10.1 percent last season, but was used more in the playoffs. Why? Versatility and defense. He averaged just 4.4 points and shot 45.4% from the field in the regular season, but 8.2 points and shot 51.7% in the playoffs. In a lot ways, he’s very valuable but at 30 won’t command a lot of money. It’s time to go back home. Projection: Toronto

Other notables:

PF P.J. Tucker, Miami Heat. Projection: Philadelphia

C Isaiah Hartenstein, LA Clippers. Projection: Golden State

G Malik Monk, LA Lakers. Projection: Detroit

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Ben Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW