Updated NBA Free Agency Predictions and Landings | Bleacher report

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    NBA Free Agency still has some notable players in the market, and there are some potential bargains to be found as well.

    Deandre Ayton has yet to find a home and can be linked to a particular superstar’s trade request. Collin Sexton is the best guard still available (assuming James Harden is a slot to return to the Philadelphia 76ers), while some notable veterans and players who are injured are also looking to secure their next contracts.

    Heading into Day 4 of the 2022 free agency season, some of the most notable names could land here.

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    After taking advantage of their full taxpayer mediocre exception to Lonnie Walker IV, the Lakers are now limited to minimum contract deals.

    A possible target? 24-year-old Bryant, who started his career in Los Angeles in 2017-18.

    Like the LA Times’ Brad Turner reported: “The Lakers have a strong interest in reuniting with free-agent center Thomas Bryant, but since LA has just reached the veteran minimum to offer, he is in no rush to make a decision. In addition, the Lakers have competition for Bryant’s services such as Toronto is also interested.”

    Bryant showed strong potential as a rim protector and three-point shooter before tearing his ACL as a member of the Washington Wizards in January 2021, but he was able to make his return to court this past January.

    While the Lakers may not have the contract he desires, they can promise him something no other team can: a runway.

    If Anthony Davis doesn’t start in the middle, Los Angeles just signed Damian Jones as an option. Veteran Dwight Howard is still a free agent.

    Bryant could try to restore his value as a LA starting center with a minimum deal and try to cash in on the next off-season. Before tore his ACL, he averaged 14.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and shot 42.9 percent from three in his first 10 games 2020-21.

    Adding a big man in the frontcourt alongside Davis would give everyone more room to operate, especially if Russell Westbrook returns.

    Look for Bryant to eventually take a one-year contract from the Lakers and increase his value for next year.

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    With Jalen Brunson, Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones, Delon Wright and other point guards off the board, the floor generals market is drying up fast.

    Even at 36 years old, Dragic still has some gas in the tank as an experienced contender backup.

    A team that could use an extra point guard is Dallas, who just saw Brunson leave for the New York Knicks. Marc Stein reports that the Mavs have expressed interest in Dragic and have an open roster spot available.

    Of course there is the Luka Doncic connection. The two are both from Slovenia and are currently playing together this summer in qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA ​​World Cup. If Doncic wanted to do some off-season recruiting, he didn’t have to go far.

    With Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie now the one and only playmakers on the Mavs roster, it would be an ideal situation for everyone involved to have Dragic as a backup to play 10 to 15 minutes a night and mentor the young superstar. continue to serve.

    While Dallas only has minimum contracts for veterans left, this should be enough for Dragic, who may be entering the final season of his career.

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    It was surprising to see Schroder stay with the Rockets after the trade deadline, as he seemed an ideal buyout candidate to join a contender. As he finalized his contract in Houston, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports that he will likely sign elsewhere now:

    As for their own free agents, Dennis Schroder is loved in Houston, but he is expected to have a new home for the 2022-23 season, sources told The Athletic. Schroder arrived on the February trade deadline bringing professionalism, experience and to a team in need, but with Daishen Nix on tap, as well as Porter, Christopher and Green, there is a real need to free up minutes for the roster’s developing young talent. Schröder is 28, in the prime of his career, and expect to play big minutes and compete deep into the playoffs.”

    Of the teams with at least the mid-level taxpayer exception, Miami makes the most sense for Schroder.

    Kyle Lowry had a rocky first season with the Heat as the 36-year-old missed 19 games and averaged his lowest score since the 2012-13 season (13.4 points per game). While third-year guard Gabe Vincent did an admirable job as a substitute, Miami could use another experienced ball handler as insurance for Lowry and to keep him fresh for the playoffs.

    Schroder averaged 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists between the Boston Celtics and Rockets and is just two years away from winning the Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    He would be a backup to Lowry here, but could still get some good minutes for a team that just made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Look for Schroder to sign a one-year deal against the average $6.5 million taxpayer in Miami to keep Lowry fresh.

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    The number of remaining teams that Sexton can afford above an average exception has fallen to two, providing more evidence that the 23-year-old guard will be back in Cleveland.

    Only the San Antonio Spurs ($38.5 million) and Indiana Pacers ($27.9 million) have more than the $10.5 million average exception, according to Spotrac’s Keith Smith† The Cavs have only part of their mid-level left after signing Ricky Rubio, but have Sexton’s bird rights and can exceed the salary cap to keep him.

    The Spurs could technically use a guard after trading Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, but this franchise appears to be in full tank mode heading into the 2022-23 season. Signing Sexton would help them win, which may not be the goal at the moment.

    Indiana already has its backcourt of the future with Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin, meaning Sexton will likely sign to join Buddy Hield as the sixth man on the team.

    Cleveland is in a much better position to win than either team after coming within one game of the playoffs last season and promising Sexton his job as a starting shooting guard.

    Sexton, although also represented by Klutch Sports Group, will not get a maximum deal like his backcourt-mate Darius Garland just got. He and the Cavs could even negotiate a shorter deal that would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent sooner, akin to the $52.5 million three-year deal Caris LeVert signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.

    With the cap space drying up, find Sexton to stay with the Cavaliers.

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    The buzz around Ayton has been suspiciously quiet lately, which means there could be more going on here.

    With Kevin Durant officially asking for a trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that the Phoenix Suns are at the top of his list.

    This doesn’t mean Ayton would go to Brooklyn, as a sign-and-trade would harden a Nets team that already has $173.8 million in salary. Nearly a third team should be involved for every Durant-to-Phoenix trade.

    This is where the Pacers come in.

    Indiana could be a home to Ayton with Myles Turner only having one year left on his contract. Given Turner’s three-point shooting abilities, the two could also play side by side.

    There’s a basic three-team trade here where Durant goes to the Suns, Ayton is signed and traded to the Pacers and the Nets receive a package based on Mikal Bridges, Turner and a bunch of first-round picks and extra players.

    As the offers for Durant keep rolling in, don’t be surprised if Ayton’s free agency drags on for a while, as the Suns keep their options open. Finally, look for Ayton to land with the Pacers to join a young core that includes Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte.

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