2021 NBA free agency primer: Point guards to play musical chairs, the Knicks have cap space!
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) July 31, 2021
Where are all the point guards going?
Chris Paul. Kyle Lowry. Mike Conley. Spencer Dinwiddie. Lonzo Ball. Dennis Schroder. These are all point guards, and these are all free agents.
Some of those players will be on new teams next season. It is difficult to imagine Paul being one of them, since he is coming off his first Finals appearance. Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones said Thursday that he is “confident that we will be able to have a conversation hopefully in the coming days that will make everyone happy,” for whatever that’s worth.
Lowry will have options. The New Orleans Pelicans just freed up cap space, and if they are dreaming of making a Suns-like leap next season, they might envision him as their Paul. The Dallas Mavericks want Lowry, according to Marc Stein of Marc Stein’s Substack. The New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have all been linked to him, too, although Philly would need the Toronto Raptors to agree to a sign-and-trade to make it happen. Miami probably would, too.
The Utah Jazz are going to offer Conley three years and $75 million, per Stein. They are in a weird place after losing to the undermanned Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs, but they need to re-sign Conley (or at least work out a sign-and-trade) because the alternative is losing him for nothing, with no cap space to replace him.
Ball appears close to following Stan Van Gundy, Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams out the door in New Orleans. Everyone knows the Chicago Bulls are a potential landing spot, but if you weren’t watching Stadium’s live draft show, you might have missed Shams Charania reporting that the Raptors and Boston Celtics are interested in getting into the Ball business. Hm!
Russell Westbrook plays for the Los Angeles Lakers now, which might clear the way for Dinwiddie to join the Washington Wizards in a sign-and-trade. Dinwiddie could also potentially wind up in Toronto or Miami if he doesn’t stay with the Brooklyn Nets or jump to the Knicks, per Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic. The Westbrook trade means that Schroder will need to find a new home, too.
This is basically a big game of musical chairs involving hundreds of millions of dollars. And those aren’t even all of the point guards on the market. Reggie Jackson, Cameron Payne, Derrick Rose, T.J. McConnell and Patty Mills are all unrestricted free agents, and Goran Dragic is expected to join them unless the Heat pick up his $19.4 million team option for trade purposes. Devonte’ Graham and Kendrick Nunn are both restricted.
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