Wednesday, June 28, 2017

NBA Free Agency Heats Up

By Marc James

With the NBA preparing for the start of this year's free agency, the culmination of at least a couple of years of planning will see a host of star players make decisions over where they will be playing next season. While Golden Warriors' championship-winning duo Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are the biggest names set to enter the free market, both are widely expected to re-sign for the current champions. But, even without the prospect of signing either Durant or Curry, if both remain with Golden State, teams across the NBA won't have a shortage of top names still available this summer.

Coming off their second NBA championship in three years, the Warriors are being tipped to be the dominant force again next season. But for teams like Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and the Boston Celtics, this free agency will offer a great chance to strengthen their rosters ahead of the new year. With the birth of the smartphone and alternative payment methods such as bitcoin, people betting on basketball games will be paying close attention to how the bookmakers see the odds after the free agency has closed.

So, let's take a look at some of the hottest property set to hit the free agency.

Chris Paul

It's probably fair to say that Chris Paul will be one of the biggest stars in this free agency. Despite being 32, there will be a number of teams desperate to sign the nine-time all-star. Coming off another sensational personal season for the Clippers, one in which he averaged over 25 points a game in his team's postseason series against the Utah Jazz, Paul is entering the free market with a considerable amount of options open to him. Having opted out of his contract in Los Angeles, the veteran's next move could be his last big one, and Paul will know he will be able to take his pick from a host of teams this summer.

Kyle Lowry

After playing a major role in the Toronto Raptors becoming an established NBA playoff team, Lowry is expected to leave Canada after five successful years. The 10-season veteran is playing at the top of his game despite being the wrong side of 30, coming off a campaign in which he averaged a career-high 22.4 points-per-game in the regular season. The point guard might not have the same amount of teams as Paul courting him this summer but expect Lowry to be playing for a top team next season.

Blake Griffin

It shows the sheer depth of this year's free agency that Blake Griffin's impending departure from the Clippers hasn't gained more headlines. On the back of a string of injury problems, the former No. 1 draft pick's status might have dropped somewhat but there is no denying that Griffin isn't still one of the most intriguing options in the upcoming free agency. At 28, the power forward is entering his peak and any team that signs him will be hoping that Griffin finally does fulfill some of the potential that some feel he has so far failed to live up to.

For teams across the NBA, the free agency is an opportunity to add a key piece of their plans for the upcoming season, and this summer could have a significant bearing on how next year's championship race ends up.

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