The 2023 offseason is a year away. We haven’t even started the 2022-23 season yet. However, it’s not too early to look at what players will be on the market for next season. It’s important to recognize who will be available because some of these players will be playing for a contract extension. Some players could be traded before the deadline, so it’s important to know who could also be a trade target.
Assuming that a player stays with their team for the entire year, their team will have to decide on extending them or not. If that does not happen, other teams will be on the market to make some upgrades. At what cost is a question for the offseason. For now, let’s preview the future for what that market could look like.
These are the most important free agents for each team.
Atlanta Hawks – De’Andre Hunter (Restricted Free Agent)
Hunter saw a dip in his overall scoring and rebounding last season, but he improved his three-point shooting. That increased from 32.6% to 37.9% from outside. This is a big season for Hunter in general because he is going to need to prove his worth. Hunter’s most appearances in a season was 63 games during his rookie season. The Hawks will have the choice to match an offer sheet next season. A team could overpay for him if he has his best season, so the Hawks are in a predicament. Let Hunter prove himself worthy of an extension, or sign him now for potentially less.
Boston Celtics – Al Horford (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Al Horford wasn’t the reason the Celtics made the NBA Finals last year. With that said, he was an important factor. Horford averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last season, but what stood out the most was his veteran presence. Horford will be 37 years old going into next season. He is finishing the last season of a four-year $26.5 million contract from 2019. The price will be the biggest holdup in bringing Horford back next season.
Brooklyn Nets – Kyrie Irving (Unrestricted Free Agent)
It’s been a circus with Irving in the fold. It’s been a contender when he plays. That’s the conundrum that the Nets find themselves in. The issue is that Irving wants another max-level contract, and he has played a combined 103 regular season games. That includes injuries, the refusal of a vaccine, and off-the-court distractions. Last year, Irving averaged 27.6 points and 5.8 assists. In 2020-21, he made the 50-40-90 Club. How much is Irving worth? The Nets are going to roll the dice and let him prove that this season.
Charlotte Hornets – P.J. Washington (Restricted Free Agent)
Washington has a chance to capitalize on an opportunity. With Miles Bridges likely gone for the entire year, or the future in general, Washington has been moved to the starting lineup. Washington averaged 10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds as a key reserve. With Washington playing a contract year, he has a chance to show he is worth a multi-year contract worth a high range. Keeping Washington will likely be important given the team’s lack of depth at power forward. The Hornets are known for overspending on players, so it will be interesting to see how other teams run up the price.
Chicago Bulls – Ayo Dosunmu (Restricted Free Agent)
First of all, we need to mention that Nikola Vucevic and Coby White are both free agents, with White being a restricted free agent. But, it’s hard to say they are the most important because all offseason both were considered being traded. Both could still be traded before the deadline. That leaves Dosunmu, who is coming off of an All-Rookie Team season. Dosunmu averaged 8.8 points and shot 52.0% from the field and 37.6% from three-point range. Dosunmu could be the steal of the 2021 draft. If he improves, the Bulls must extend him and keep him in his hometown of Chicago.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Caris LeVert (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Kevin Love’s massive deal will be off of the books, so there will be some money spared in 2023. Love could return on a smaller deal. In regards to the talent on the roster, LeVert could provide Lou Williams-like offense off of the bench. In 19 games, LeVert averaged 13.6 points after averaging 18.7 points with the Pacers. LeVert once averaged 20 points per game. Imagine having to stop Donovan Mitchell in the starting five and then LeVert with the second unit. That could be a tough combo to stop.
Dallas Mavericks – Christian Wood (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The last two seasons have seen great numbers for Wood. That is why the Mavericks sought his services. That includes 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds in 2020-21. Last year, Wood averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds in a career-high 68 games and 30.8 minutes per game. In theory, Wood is the complement to Doncic because Wood can truly space the floor with his career average of 38.0% outside shooting as a center. If Wood can make this work, he will be expecting a big payday from Dallas.
Denver Nuggets – Bruce Brown (Player Option)
The Nuggets do not have a ton of free agents on paper outside of Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, and Ish Smith. Brown averaged 9.0 points and 4.8 assists last year as he went in and out of the starting lineup. Jamal Murray missed all of last season with an ACL injury. We don’t know what that is going to look like this year. It wouldn’t hurt to have some insurance for Murray moving forward after this year, given his injury history.
Detroit Pistons – Hamidou Diallo (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The Pistons acquired Diallo in 2021. Last year was his first full season with the Pistons and he averaged 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals. Diallo is only 24 years old, so he could be a player that is seen as part of the core moving forward. The Pistons have five players with team options: Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Kevin Knox, Saben Lee, and Isaiah Livers. Out of everyone, Diallo appears to be the player most likely to return.
Golden State Warriors – Draymond Green (Unrestricted Free Agent)
While Jordan Poole deserves some recognition, he seems like the most likely player to leave the team in free agency. It’s not because the Warriors don’t value him, but it’s a similar situation to Gary Payton II. It won’t matter if the Warriors win or lose the championship. The team is going to likely look to resign Andrew Wiggins because he has become an All-Star, solid defender, and consistent rebounder. That is all said with Green’s player option that is worth around $27 million. Green could decline it and look for an extension, which would mess up some of the math to retain Wiggins. If he does decline it, it would require the team to work with him to restructure a deal that would allow the team to retain financial flexibility.
Houston Rockets – Kevin Porter Jr. (Restricted Free Agent)
The Rockets have drafted a shooting guard in Jalen Green and their power forward of the future in Jabari Smith. Porter will turn 23 years old this season and is believed to be the point guard of the future. This relationship has to work; otherwise, the Rockets will take a step back in their rebuild. Porter has a great season at 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, and a three-point shooting clip of 37.5%. He needs to take a step forward in his development. With him being a restricted free agent, it could pose a tricky scenario for the Rockets matching. Finding that balance in his worth will be the biggest challenge.
Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner (Unrestricted Free Agent)
With Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, and Domantas Sabonis, that leaves Turner as the next big name to be on the trade block. The Pacers were hopeful to trade him last year, but his injury forced him to miss the rest of the season. The question moving forward will be if Turner is viewed worthy of a first-round pick. The Pacers could probably get one in return. Turner has averaged 2.8 and 3.4 blocks the last two years but has played only half of the season. Both Turner and the Pacers need him to stay healthy, so he can get a hefty payday and the Pacers can get some draft capital.
Los Angeles Clippers – John Wall (Team Option)
The Clippers have only three players set to be free agents in 2023. That’s Reggie Jackson, Moussa Diabate, and Wall. The Clippers were able to bring Wall in on an affordable contract that is in the upper six million range. The team will have the power to bring him back if they choose. Wall did not play last season. There were already questions surrounding his durability. Now, we will see if he can still play at a high level despite a year off. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, this big three with Wall included sounds incredible on paper. After all, Leonard also missed last season, so it will be an evaluation year with Finals expectations.
Los Angeles Lakers – Russell Westbrook (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The Lakers have so many one-year deals that there are 12 players set to reach the market in 2023. The biggest name is Westbrook, who is finishing a five-year $206 million contract extension. His player option worth $47 million strapped the Lakers financially, so the team had to bring in a plethora of veterans on low contracts. Westbrook was supposed to be the third star to get the Lakers to the NBA Finals. Instead, the team won 33 games. Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James are running out of time. If the team can rebound and make a deep run, then they should bring him back. However, will Westbrook do what James Harden did and take less money to help the overall complexity of the team if that happens?
Memphis Grizzlies – Dillon Brooks (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Brooks is finishing up a three-year, $35 million he signed with the Grizzlies in 2020. He has made around $11.6 million for that deal. The last three years have seen Brooks average around 17.0 points and shoot about 42% from the field. He is coming off of a career-high in scoring at 18.4 points but he was limited to 32 games. This is an important year because Brooks has 20-point scoring potential, but could that result in $20 million per year? Do the Grizzlies want to pay Brooks that amount? The Grizzlies are on the cusp of breaking out in the West, but the team will need to make some important business decisions these next two years.
Miami Heat – Tyler Herro (Restricted Free Agent)
The story around Herro is going to be about how much are the Heat willing to pay. Barring any major crisis, there will be teams ready to sign Herro to over $20 million per year. The Heat might have made a mistake and overpaid Duncan Robinson. The team doesn’t want to do that with Herro, but to be fair, the Heat have always seen Herro as a top player. If they didn’t, he would have been traded in the sweepstakes for a James Harden or Donovan Mitchell. Herro won the Sixth Man of the Year last year. He has starting potential in this league. The Heat will want to keep his services in Miami.
Milwaukee Bucks – Khris Middleton (Player Option)
Middleton is one of 11 free agents that includes George Hill, Serge Ibaka, Brook Lopez, and Joe Ingles. Middleton’s player option is worth $40.3 million. That might seem like a lot of money, but Middleton is the steady number two guy on a championship-caliber roster. Middleton could look to decline it and sign a different team, but that is all future talk. In 66 games, Middleton averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. He was snubbed from the All-Star Game. If he wasn’t hurt in the playoffs, the Bucks might have made the Conference Finals.
Minnesota Timberwolves – D’Angelo Russell (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The decision with D’Angelo Russell is going to be an important one for the franchise. The team has Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns locked up through 2025. Russell is playing the final year of his contract and it is worth $31.3 million. Anthony Edwards can have his team option exercised next year and that will be worth $13.5 million, so a deal for him will need to be done soon. The team can afford three players making over $30 million, but not four. This feels like a future sign-and-trade possibility. With that said, Russell is a solid point guard that will be 27 years old in February. There will be some important decisions to be made by the Timberwolves.
New Orleans Pelicans – Larry Nance Jr. (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Jaxson Hayes is going to be a restricted free agent next year but the 22-year-old needs to show he is more than a backup in this league. Nance is someone that could help fortify the bench. In nine games, Nance averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, but he is a solid defender in this league. If he is given a full season, he could prove to be worth a position backing up Brandon Ingram. While both Nance and Hayes are backups on this roster, Nance has more experience in the league. Another shout out goes to Herbert Jones, who is slated to be a starter and has a $1.8 million team option.
New York Knicks – Derrick Rose (Team Option)
There was talk this offseason of Rose being potentially traded but he will remain with his longtime coach Tom Thibodeau. The future of Thibodeau, despite having two years left on his deal after this season, remains murky if the Knicks repeat last year’s disaster of a season. Rose played in just 26 games for the team. At 33 years old and with a long line of injuries in his past, bringing Rose back for $15 million could be a hard thing to sell if he is not on the court for more than a third of the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Darius Bazley (Restricted Free Agent)
The 22-year-old has been a productive player for the franchise for three seasons. Bazley owns a career average of 10.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and a 40.6% field goal percentage. Bazley could be signed by another team this offseason but his worth is up in the air. It must be said that Bazley is getting these numbers on a very bad OKC team. He was a first-round pick by the Thunder in 2019, so there could be some loyalty in bringing him back.
Orlando Magic – Moritz Wagner (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The Magic have four free agents: Terrence Ross, Devin Cannady, Admiral Schofield, and Wagner. The team tried trading Ross at one point but had no success. Wagner is the most likely to be brought back. In 63 games, Wagner averaged 9.0 points and 3.7 rebounds. The 25-year-old is a qualified backup in this league. With his brother, Franz, on the team, it would help the dynamic to bring Mo back on the sidelines.
Philadelphia 76ers – James Harden (Player Option)
Harden restructured his contract to allow the 76ers about $14 million in cap space this past offseason. His player option for next year would be worth $35.6 million, which is a bargain when you look at some of the other contracts around the league. The 76ers and Harden appear to be content with seeing how this season goes. With Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Harden on the roster, the 76ers are seen as a contender to make it out of the east. If this blows up in their face, some important questions surrounding the future of, not just Harden, but the entire team will be asked.
Phoenix Suns – Jae Crowder (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Cameron Johnson is listed as a restricted free agent, but Crowder is an important part of this core. Crowder brings toughness and leadership and is a solid role player. The Suns are not a very big deal. Deandre Ayton is listed as the team’s starting center, but Crowder brings a higher level of strength. Crowder’s first season with the Suns saw him average close to 38% from three-point range. That dipped to 34.8% last year. The Suns were the No. 1 team in the conference last year. Crowder was a big part of that, so it seems more likely the team would want to bring the veteran back given Chris Paul’s window to compete.
Portland Trail Blazers – Jerami Grant (Unrestricted Free Agent)
The Trail Blazers are in purgatory right now. Portland traded away CJ McCollum, Robert Covington, and Norman Powell within the last year. The team traded for Jerami Grant. Is this team competing? If so, they believe Grant is the player that can pair with Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. Grant has been a 20-point scorer the last two years with the Pistons. It all goes back to the idea of numbers on a bad team. Then again, the Trail Blazers could be a bad team, too. Grant’s production and number will likely be evaluated throughout the season.
Sacramento Kings – Harrison Barnes (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Barnes is not here because there is an overwhelming amount of support that believes the Kings will bring him back. It is quite the opposite. The best trade chip on this team is Barnes, who has shot close to 40% from three-point range the last four seasons. This is a player that could help a true contender. Now, the duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have not played a full season. This could be a playoff team based on what Mike Brown brings to the table. If this team falls back to their old culture, with no playoff appearances since 2006, then the Barnes fire sale will be a constant topic.
San Antonio Spurs – Isaiah Roby (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Jakob Poeltl should be mentioned as the 26-year-old is coming off of a season where he averaged 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds. Those were career numbers and he will have a chance to replicate those numbers, but Poeltl’s game is one of a traditional center and not a modern-day shooter at the five. Roby came over to the Spurs via trade in the offseason. He averaged 10.1 points and 4.8 rebounds last year. Roby is 24 years old and could be a cheaper option compared to Poeltl. The Spurs are going to be doing a lot of evaluating this year.
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Player Option)
VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. both have player options after this season. It doesn’t feel like either player would leave, but the most important player out of this group is VanVleet. That is because VanVleet is the face of this organization. He is coming off of an All-Star season. He remains one of the holdovers from the 2019 championship team. VanVleet means a lot to the organization’s fanbase. As previously mentioned, it would be a surprise for him to leave the team, but you can never say never.
Utah Jazz – Jordan Clarkson (Player Option)
As mentioned for some of these other players, Clarkson is going to be a trade chip dangled this year by the Jazz. The 2021 Sixth Man of the Year has an affordable option at $14 million. If the Jazz are rebuilding, why would Clarkson want to stay for that? If the Jazz wants to maximize the value for their situation, they will find a trade partner for Clarkson because he is more than likely going to walk at the end of the year, anyway. Clarkson is 30 years old, coming off of a season where he averaged 16.0 points. He could snag $15 million from another team for multiple years if his shooting averages go back up. Keep an eye on Bojan Bogdanovic, who is set to be a restricted free agent after this season.
Washington Wizards – Kristaps Porzingis (Player Option)
Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma both have player options. Kuzma’s option is worth around $13 million, while Porzingis is worth $36 million. Given that the team extended Bradley Beal, the team’s next play has to be locking down Porzingis. The league is built around star power. Porzingis is a star when healthy, but he hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since 2016-17. In the real world, it doesn’t seem likely he would decline his option based on his injury history. With that said, what if he has his best year yet? He could probably decline his option and get a massive deal. It’s a lot of “what if ” scenarios, but the last four years have been exactly that when it comes to Porzingis.