Welcome to Agu’s Final Free Agency Predictions where you hear get to someone with no sources, no credibility, and no disposable income give his opinion on some of the most interesting aspects of free agency. Two years ago I made two bets on free agency: Gordon Hayward staying with Utah and George Hill going to the Knicks. I made the second one up based on nothing and a rumor came out they were interested a few days later. How cool would it have been if I was right. Alas, I lost money and now I get to bother you readers with what I think is going to happen regardless. If I get any of these right I expect to be crowned the Hispanic Shams. Cloutless Woj has a bit of a ring to it don’t you think? Let’s get into it.
The mysterious Al Horford team is…Atlanta?!
That’s right guys. Starting off with a banger. When Al Horford opted out of his $35 million player option, it was supposed to be so he could negotiate a longer term deal with the Celtics. However, those talks broke down after Horford was guaranteed a 4 year $112 million contract by a mystery team, which the Celtics refused to match. No one has even an inkling of who this team is. There are a couple teams that make sense. The Lakers have the space and could use a shooter and defender, but they should be focused on guards. The Clippers would love to anchor its defense with Al but they are reportedly trying to get a Kawhi/Jimmy combo. So then I tried to look at teams with big man decisions in free agency that have been equally as quiet. That led me to Denver. Denver has to decide on Paul Milsap‘s $30 million team option and there has been ZERO reporting on it. Maybe they want Milsap’s old teammate next to Jokic instead. I eventually landed at Atlanta, though, and I’ll tell you why. They have all the cap space in the world. They have young guys at every position but need an adult in the room. He is beloved in Atlanta and spent nearly a decade there after being drafted by the Hawks. He is also the perfect fit next to John Collins. A team of Trae Young/Huerter/De’andre Hunter/Cam Reddish/John Collins is a 20-30 win League Pass favorite. Putting Horford in that equation makes it 30-40 with playoff potential. Maybe Al isn’t fully interested in winning, maybe he’d love to settle down in Atlanta with his family before retiring.
D’Angelo Russell goes back to the Lakers
D-Lo is not going back to the Nets. They are getting Kyrie Irving. At this point, that’s not even a prediction. When that happens, he won’t have a lack of suitors. Teams reportedly interested in him are Phoenix, Utah, Indiana, and LA of course. However, none make more sense than the Lakers. Utah just traded for Mike Conley and Indiana is reportedly more interested in Ricky Rubio. While he is good friends with Devin Booker, why choose Phoenix over LA? His one criticizer (Magic “I’m not gon be here” Johnson) is gone, LeBron and AD need help, and he can come back as the prodigal son. On top of that they can give him just as much money as everyone else. I think he’ll get plenty of opportunities as the second option as well, as I imagine AD and LeBron will take some nights off to rest. I’m very convinced of this one.
Dewayne Dedmon is this year’s Brook Lopez
Do you know how many centers this year averaged at least one block and at least 38% from three this past season? I do, three. Myles Turner, KAT, and Dedmon. He’s the only one to average over one steal as well. Speaking of steals, Dedmon is going to be one this off-season. While Brook Lopez only got $3.4 million, Dedmon is going to get the full mid-level exception. He is every team’s favorite under-the-radar signing. It still won’t cover his full value. He is one of the only centers in the game that can shoot threes and give you GOOD defense. He is a starting center that will replicate what Lopez was for the Bucks. I almost want the Bucks (hometown team) to save some bucks (a pun only a mad genius could come up with) and sign DD instead of Lopez. Whoever does sign him, though, will get an absolute steal. I see the Lakers, Nuggets, and Pacers being very interested.
Bradley Beal will remain on the Wizards until the instant they hire a real GM
Everyone is wondering who the next star on the trading block is going to be. Last season saw the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis getting traded. Beal is everyone’s favorite answer as to who’s next. And it makes sense. He has tremendous trade value, is on a team that needs to rebuild, and fits on a lot of teams. But I don’t see it happening soon. Beal, who isn’t super shy in voicing his opinion, hasn’t seemed too upset by his current situation. The Wizards don’t have a GM or a President of Bball Operations. We didn’t see AD moved until David Griffin took over in New Orleans. Expect the new GM or President in Washington to trade Beal within weeks of taking the job. Don’t bank on it happening any sooner.
More than one RFA signs his Qualifying Offer
There is a ton of money open in this free agency. At the same time, though, 40% of the league are free agents. The market is going to become saturated very quickly. We saw it last year with Clint Capela and JaMychal Green signing deals well under their worth. Expect several RFA’s sign short term deals or their qualifying offers as a ‘prove it deal’ for next summer when the free agency pool is not nearly as good. Guys like Delon Wright, Terry Rozier, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Bobby Portis are going to find themselves in this position. Keep an eye out for them staying available until the waning days of free agency.
Clippers hit on their free agents, Mavs whiff
The Clippers are targeting Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. The Mavericks are targeting Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon. I believe the Clippers get them both and the Mavs miss out on both. Here’s why. Jerry West is the most ruthless business man in all of basketball. He could very well be the smartest as well. Even having a meeting with the Clippers seals in Kawhi. He’s an unconventional guy and West will know how to pitch him. If Kawhi is in you can bet Jimmy isn’t turning down an opportunity with that team. The Clippers are getting them both. The Mavericks, however, are getting neither. The Milwaukee Bucks are maxing everyone. Jon Horst has spent a majority of the season and off season offloading contracts because he KNOWS he has to pay these guys. Middleton is getting a 5 year, possible max, from the Bucks. He might be from Dallas but he likes this team and can’t turn down that money. At the same time, Brogdon is a restricted free agent. Do the Bucks have a walk away number? Sure. Do I think the Mavs dare go near it? No. Dallas has significant money tied up in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee. They are fully committed to giving Kristaps Porzingis a five year max deal. They’ve given up three future first rounders in building this team. At the end of the day, Dallas knows it has to slow down before blowing their wad. The Mavs will offer Brogdon a healthy salary but not healthy enough for the Bucks to not match. The Mavs might get other free agents but I think they whiff on these two.
Okay guys. That’s seven-ish predictions. A good three point shooter hits 40% of his threes. Looking to get three of these right. If I do, look to my twitter for the rise of Cloutless Woj.