Kevin Durant may be a nice guy, but it’s not like him lately to be shy with the media.
Taking a page out of the Kawhi Leonard playbook, Durant said all the right things when asked about his one-and-done contract status without actually saying anything.
Wanting to keep his “options open” — i.e. run to the next championship team if the Dubs falter — Durant had this to say about his player option next summer and free agency to a USA Today reporter.
“Just one of those things where you’re confident in your skills and taking it year by year. And keeping my options open was the best thing for me. I could have easily signed a long term deal but I just wanted to take it season by season and see where it takes me. And I think this year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all. I’m looking forward to just focusing on that and we’ll see what happens after the year.”
K.D. isn’t the only big name looking at free agency next season, whether unrestricted, restricted or contracts with player and team options for the 2019-2020 season.
Here is each team’s biggest free agent and the decisions that need to be made by the player or team either now — think contract extension or trade — or next summer. With other notable free agents in italics.
Atlanta Hawks – SG Kent Bazemore
Bazemore has become more valuable to the Hawks with each passing season, but with the team in rebuild mode, he may opt out of the option year of his contract next summer. He is the highest paid player on the club currently and will make a shade over $18 million this year and if he exercises his option, will be paid just over $19.25 million in 2019-20. Last season the 29-year-old undrafted swing man out of Old Dominion had his most complete season as a pro, his fourth with Atlanta and sixth overall. Bazemore established career highs in points per game (12.9), steals (1.5), assists (3.5) and three-point shooting percentage (39.4). The team could maximize his value and deal him to a contender for prospects — likely — since he doesn’t have a very friendly contract. However, they could keep him to help guide the youngsters along. Notable free agent: C Dewayne Dedmon.
Boston Celtics – PG Kyrie Irving
The big question mark surrounding Kyrie Irving is his health as he heads into the second last season on a contract that will pay him a shade above $20 million this season and, if he exercises his player option, $21.3 million in 2019-20. The Celts just had their media day and it seems that fans and the team need not worry, as he let it be known he loves the city and a team that is going places in the NBA. Ever the subject of trade rumors, Irving played like an All-Star when he was in the line-up last season, averaging a team high 24.4 points per game in 60 contests. A knee injury sidelined him for the playoffs and he should be healthy for the upcoming campaign. The five-time All-Star and NBA champ is still just 26 and heading into his eighth season. Notable free agents: Al Horford (player option); Marcus Morris (UFA); Terry Rozier (RFA). Notable free agents: Al Horford (Player) and Marcus Morris (UFA).
Brooklyn Nets – SG Allen Crabbe
The Nets are in a permanent kind of mediocre stasis, not really getting any better, or worse, since last going to the playoffs in 2015. They have only two homegrown players in the line-up and one is 2018 first round pick Dzanan Musa. Otherwise they have an assemblage of spare parts, with one, Allen Crabbe, being a quite expensive one at $18.5 million in 2018-19 with a player option for 2019-20. While the former second round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers did become a starter last season at shooting guard, he’s not top tier material. But, neither is he of little value, especially from a shooting perspective. Crabbe started the most games of his career in 2017-18, 68 (out of 75), and averaged career highs in points (13.2), rebounds (4.3) and assists (1.6). Crabbe also fired at will from three-point range, launching 532 bombs and dropping 201 for a 37.8 average. Question is, then, do the Nets extend the 26-year-old past 2020 or deal him if the season goes sour? Notable free agent: DeMarre Carroll (UFA).
Charlotte Hornets – PG Kemba Walker
Not two days ago, two-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker said all the right things in a press conference regarding his impending unrestricted free agency. He emphatically stated he wants to stay, but the cost could cause the team to trade him before he gets there. The sixth highest paid player on the Hornets roster at $12 million, Walker is by far the club’s best baller and will be due a raise that could easily double his salary — and then some. The Bronx native has played each of his first seven seasons in the league with Charlotte after being taken ninth overall in 2011 and has never reached UFA status. He had another stellar season in 2017-18, averaging a team high 22.1 points, along with 5.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 38.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Decisions, decisions. Notable free agents: Bismack Biyombo (Player) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Player).
Chicago Bulls – SG Justin Holiday
Just think of Justin Holiday — brother of Jrue and Aaron — as one of those “diamond in the rough” guys. The journeyman shooting guard was undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2011 but caught on initially with Philadelphia and then had stops with Golden State, Atlanta, Chicago, the New York Knicks and then back to the Windy City in 2017-18. He finally became a starter with the Bulls last year and elevated his overall game. Holiday established career highs in games started (72 out of 72), minutes (31.5), three-point shooting percentage (35.9), rebounds (4.0), assists (2.1), steals (1.1) and points (12.2). He will be unrestricted at season’s end and for now is an inexpensive starter at $4.4 million. The Bulls will probably make a decision on him next summer, we suppose. Notable free agents: Robin Lopez (UFA) and Jabari Parker (Team).
Cleveland Cavaliers – PF/C Kevin Love
With Bron Bron now in L.A. we believe the Cavs are going to shed money and aging players and rebuild. One big chip they have to part with is Kevin Love, who is now the team’s highest paid player at a smidge over $24 million, with a player option for 2019-20 at nearly $26 million. We also believe it’s going to be a long, long year in The Land and come the trade deadline in the new year, Love could fetch a nice return for the re-jigging of this team. His skill set as a power forward/center is exceptional, in that he is a big man who can shoot. Last season, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and shot an outstanding 41.5 percent from three-point territory (137-for-330). Love is also a five-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA and a champion in 2016.
Dallas Mavericks – C DeAndre Jordan
After 10 years of slugging it out for the hapless L.A. Clippers, DeAndre Jordan took his act to Dallas, signing a one-year deal for $22.9 million. He is one of the game’s premier defenders and a very accurate shooter and should help the Mavs escape the basement after a 24-58 record in 2017-18. Twice he has led the league in rebounds and it’s interesting to note that after posting a career high 15.2 last year, he wasn’t the leader. Jordan also led the NBA for five straight seasons in field goal percentage, with a high of 71.4 percent in 2016-17. Twice a member of the All-Defensive team, Jordan has averaged 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 750 NBA games and has averaged a double-double in the last five seasons straight. The Mavs finally got their man after he famously snubbed them 2015. What remains to be seen is if he stays with them beyond 2019. Notable free agents: SG Wesley Matthews (UFA), PG J.J. Barea (UFA) and Harrison Barnes (Player).
Denver Nuggets – PF Paul Millsap
The Nuggets are an exciting young team on the way up. So, it will be interesting to see which way the team goes with their highest paid player, Paul Millsap. Our guess is that the 33-year-old veteran forward helps the young Nugs to the post-season and then the club exercises the $30 million team option for 2019-20. However, the Western Conference is a tough neighborhood and there is no guarantee the Nuggets even make the post-season, especially since they didn’t with a winning record in 2017-18 (46-36). If things don’t go the way they expect, the Nuggets have nice young assets at power forward in Trey Lyles, Tyler Lydon and rookie Jarred Vanderbilt who could get more floor time if Millsap was either dealt at the deadline or let go at season’s end. Watch and see, we say. Notable free agent: Isaiah Thomas (UFA).
Detroit Pistons – SF Reggie Bullock
It’s put up, or shut up time for sixth-year man Reggie Bullock. One of the NBA’s premier three-point shooters finally got his act together in 2017-18, just in time for another year to prove his worth before becoming UFA in 2019. Injuries stubbed his growth for most of his career, but last season the former first round pick of the L.A. Clippers played his most games ever (62), started 52, and established personal highs in points (11.3), rebounds (2.5) and shooting a ridiculous 44.5 percent from three-point range (125-for-281) which put him second overall in the NBA. He did all that on the first year of a bargain two-year deal that pays him $2.5 million per season. The conundrum for the Pistons, who missed the playoffs and haven’t won a post-season game since 2008, is what they can pay Bullock going forward. They already have uber-expensive starters in Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, so there may not be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for Bullock. Notable free agents: Ish Smith (UFA), Jose Calderon (UFA) and Zaza Pachulia (UFA).
Golden State Warriors – SF Kevin Durant
As we noted above, we’re not sure if by his remarks that K.D. is wanting to impress his current club, the champion Warriors, or auditioning for the next big thing out there (like the Lakers or Sixers or any team pretending to be a contender). He’s bolted a good club before in OKC, so there is no telling what Durant will do when his player option for $31.5 million for the 2019-20 season kicks in. For now, Durant is a superstar on a team chock full of them, including bargain signee DeMarcus Cousins. An All-Star for the ninth time in 2017-18, Durant averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. He chipped in 29.0 PPG, 7.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists during the Dubs run to the title, too. It’s going to be a very interesting season in the Bay Area. Notable free agents: Klay Thompson (UFA) and Cousins (UFA).
Houston Rockets – PF/C Nene Hilario
There aren’t any superstars hitting impending free agency for the Rockets, but there is a complementary piece in Hilario who has a decision to make on his player option. Hilario has been a useful sixth man of late after breaking in with Denver in 2002. Over the course of his 923-game NBA career, the native of Sao Carlos, Brazil has averaged 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Last year in a depth role behind Clint Capela, Hilario appeared in 52 games, starting four and playing 14.6 minutes on average. He scored 6.5 points and grabbed 3.4 rebounds. He still holds down the no. 2 spot at center, but at 36 his time is growing short. His contract pays him a team friendly $3.65 million and he holds the option for another season at $3.825 million.
Indiana Pacers – SG/SF/PG Tyreke Evans
For former Rookie of the Year swing man Tyreke Evans, his $12.3 million one year contract with the up-and-coming Pacers represents a shot at redemption. A prolific three-point shooter who set a Memphis Grizzlies record last year with 28 games with at least one three-pointer, Evans has missed significant time to injury the last three seasons, sitting out 129 games total. Last season, in 52 games, 32 of them starts, Evans had his second most points per game with 19.4 (he had 20.1 as a freshman), and added 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.1 steals and shot a career best 39.9 percent from three-point territory. He joins a dynamic young team with a budding superstar in Victor Oladipo and should be a stabilizing veteran presence. The Pacers will have a pretty big decision to make on his unrestricted status come next spring, among a few others. Notable free agents: Thaddeus Young (UFA), Bojan Bogdanovic (UFA), Darren Collison (UFA) and Cory Joseph (UFA).
L.A. Clippers – C Marcin Gortat
From top to bottom, this is a completely Clippers team that used to boast a great “big 3” in DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. After a major overhaul that saw all three either traded or gone in free agency, the team welcomes many new faces, not the least of who is “Polish Hammer” Marcin Gortat. After several seasons of mixed results with Orlando and Phoenix, Gortat found his stride in Washington, becoming a durable and dependable presence in the Wizards line-up for five seasons. The last two, he started all 82 games and put up solid numbers. Last season, he saw his minutes trimmed by six from 31.2 in 2016-17 to 25.3, but still registered 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. The Clips dealt Austin Rivers to the Wiz to get him knowing full well they will have to go to the bargaining table with him next summer. Notable free agents: Tobias Harris (UFA), Boban Marjanovic (UFA), Wesley Johnson (UFA) and Luc Mbah a Moute (UFA).
Los Angeles Lakers – SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
There aren’t many “second tier” players who have been as consistent as the Lakers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been in his first five seasons. He’s missed just 22 total games and has only failed to average double digit points once, that being in his rookie season (5.9 PPG with Detroit). Selected eighth overall out of Georgia by the Pistons in 2013, Caldwell Pope made a great first impression with the Lakers in 2017-18. He was let go in free agency by Detroit in 2017 and with L.A. started all 74 games he appeared in, averaging 13.4 points, a career high 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals and a 38.3 success rate from beyond the arc. After making $18 million last year, he re-signed for a relative bargain at $12 million for 2018-19. With LeBron James in the fold and the complexion of the team changed, Caldwell-Pope will need to shine if he wants a long-term deal going forward. Notable free agents: Rajon Rondo (UFA), Lance Stephenson (UFA) and JaVale McGee (UFA).
Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol
A changing of the guard is taking place in Memphis, but there is still a place for useful veterans like three-time All-Star and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. He has a year at just over $24 million left on a five-year contract, with a player option for 2019-20 at $25.6 million. He is 33, but has shown no signs of slowing down. Last year he started 73 games and averaged 33 minutes of floor time, which is just a tick lower than his career minutes of 33.7. He’s a big man who can beat teams from the outside too, having added three-point shooting to his repertoire in the last two campaigns. Put it this way, in his first eight seasons with the Grizz, Gasol took all of 66 three point shots and was successful on 12 of them. In the last two years, he has launched 588 and hit 213 for a 36.2 percent success rate. Last year, in addition to his improved touch, he averaged 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
Miami Heat – C Hassan Whiteside
Is Hassan Whiteside more than just a regular season player? Has he maxed out on potential? These are questions the Heat could be asking themselves right now, especially with the defensive-minded center entering the decision year on his contract. The one-time rebounding and blocks leader will be paid just under $25.5 million this season, with a player option for 2019-20 at a shade over $27 million. He’s been an average scorer and outstanding defensive presence for the Heat since 2014-15, averaging 14.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 252 games. But he disappeared in the 2018 post-season with just 5.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in five games. With Bam Adebayo not far from being able to take over at center, Whiteside’s days as a member of the Heat may be numbered. Notable free agents: Goran Dragic (Player), Justise Winslow (Player) and Tyler Johnson (Player).
Milwaukee Bucks – SF Khris Middleton
Now in his prime at 27 and arguably the Milwaukee Bucks second best player after Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks would be wise to start contract extension talks with Khris Middleton sooner, than later. He is in the fourth year of a five-year, $70 million deal that pays him $13 million this season and another $13 million in his option year of 2019-20. Middleton really brought it in 2017-18, averaging a career high 20.1 points while starting all 82 games in a season for the first time ever. He added 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals and shot 35.9 percent from three-point range. Middleton was outstanding in the Bucks seven playoff games too, scoring 24.7 PPG, with 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists and 61 percent shooting from beyond the arc. There is little doubt Middleton will stay, but he could get paid big elsewhere. Notable free agents: Eric Bledsoe (UFA) and Brook Lopez (UFA).
Minnesota Timberwolves – PG Jeff Teague
The obvious Timberwolves player to put here would be Jimmy Butler, but he’ll likely be traded in the next few days, sorting out his impending free agent status somewhat. The next best player in line, and who could opt out in 2019 is All-Star point guard Teague, who may not be heartened by how T-Wolves management are handling the Butler situation. Teague, in his first season with Minnesota last year after seven with Atlanta and one with Indiana, was a great ball distributor, logging 7.0 assists. He averaged 14.2 points and 1.5 steals, as well as 36.8 percent shooting from three. His numbers in the playoffs were close to those, with 13.0 points, 5.8 assists and 38.9 percent shooting from three-point ranged in five games. Notable free agents: Taj Gibson (UFA), Anthony Tolliver (UFA) and Derrick Rose (UFA).
New Orleans Pelicans – PF Nikola Mirotic
The big Montenegran with a deft touch from three-point territory and one of the best sixth men in the NBA is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season. Where he falls, then in the New Orleans Pelicans pecking order remains to be seen. He is making $12.5 million this year and is worth that amount, considering his willingness to shoot along with decent defensive ability (7.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in 55 games last year). Between the Chicago Bulls and the Pelicans, Threekola averaged 15.6 points and 37.7 percent shooting from three in those 55 contests, 14 of them starts (11 with ‘Nawlins). Mirotic had an even hotter hand in the playoffs, where threes were concerned, dropping 22 of 51 attempts in nine games (43.1 percent). Notable free agents: Julius Randle (Player), Elfrid Payton (UFA) and Darius Miller (UFA).
New York Knicks – C Enes Kanter
Thrust into a starting role with the struggling Knicks last year, former Thunder and Jazz center Kanter rose to the occasion. After starting just one game with OKC in two seasons previous to 2017-18, Enes the Menace started all 71 games he appeared with the Knicks and recording 14.1 points, career high 11.0 rebounds and 59.2 percent field goal shooting. The problem for the Knicks, who may want to add a high priced free agent or three is that Kanter is their highest paid at $18.6 million and may be asking for at least that when he is UFA next summer. While he is a prolific rebounder, his other numbers are middle of the pack and with the Knicks being mentioned in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes — among other high profile players — Kanter may be seeking employment elsewhere. Notable free agents: Mario Hezonja (UFA) and Trey Burke (UFA).
Oklahoma City Thunder – SG Alex Abrines
With ‘Melo gone, the Thunder don’t have a lot of decisions to make on free agents in 2019 and they have a lot of money tied up in their top five. Next tier with OKC are bench depth guys like Spanish national Abrines and Raymond Felton. Abrines, taken 32nd overall in 2013 by the Thunder, is an excellent perimeter shooter who slots in behind Andre Roberson. Abrines has made the most of his limited floor time in two seasons with OKC, averaging just 15.3 minutes per game but scoring 5.3 points and shooting 38 percent three point range. He was better in a reserve role in the playoffs against Utah. He averaged over 18 minutes per game and dropped six of 13 three-point attempts, including a 3-for-5 performance as OKC won the first game before bowing in six. Notable free agents: Raymond Felton (UFA).
Orlando Magic – C Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic has been a part of the very fabric of the Magic since being traded to Orlando in 2012. The former 16th overall pick has averaged nearly a double-double every season of six in a Magic uniform, just falling short in 2017-18 with 16.5 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. He’s also shown some smarts in the passing game, logging a career high 3.4 assists per game last year, along with 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks. He also shown a willingness to launch from three in the last couple of seasons and hit 64 of 204 attempts in 57 games last season for a fair average of 31.4 percent. He is in the final year of a four-year, $48 million contract and depending on how the Magic do, or don’t, he could be trade bait at the deadline in 2019 — especially with first round pick Mohamed Bamba pushing him at center. Notable free agent: Terrence Ross (UFA).
Philadelphia 76ers – SG J.J. Redick
He might be 34, but J.J. Redick has shown no appreciable signs that his hoops game isn’t still tight. In his first season with Philly last year, and 12th in the NBA, Redick had a career high in points per game with 17.1 and shot over 40 percent (42.0) from three-point range for the fourth year in a row and sixth time in his career. There were few players who launched over 400 bombs like Redick did and he sank 193 of 460 attempts for the Sixers last year. The long-time veteran signed a one-year deal in the off-season for $12.25 million and if he is true to form, should help Philadelphia to a winning record and maybe a deep post-season run in a wide open Eastern Conference. However, Redick could be one-and-done, depending on Philly’s fortunes. They have capable youngsters coming up at shooting guard like T.J. McConnell and rookies Zhaire Smith and Shake Milton. Notable free agents: Wilson Chandler (UFA), Jerryd Bayless (UFA), Amir Johnson (UFA) and T.J. McConnell (UFA).
Phoenix Suns – C Tyson Chandler
With first overall pick DeAndre Ayton now in town, veteran Tyson Chandler will likely occupy the second spot in line at center for a rebuilding Suns team. It’s not necessarily a bad arrangement for Chandler, who will get to mentor the prodigy and less wear and tear on his 36-year-old body. Chandler has battled injuries the last couple of seasons, too, missing 71 total games. He is still a rebounding machine, but is now a few seasons removed from his last double-double season, 2014-15 with Dallas, where he averaged 10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds in 75 games. Last year, Chandler logged 6.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and shot 64.7 percent from the field. He is in the last year of a four-year, $52 million contract and we are betting he is on the trading block in early 2019, since he could still fetch a draft pick or prospect in return.
Portland Trail Blazers – PF Al-Farouq Aminu
He’s not the Trail Blazers biggest name, but Al-Farouq Aminu has played an integral part in whatever success Portland has had the last three seasons. Drafted eighth overall out of Wake Forest in 2010, Aminu bounced around a bit before finding a more permanent home in the American Northwest. He’s played his finest basketball with Portland, averaging 9.5 points in 212 games, 174 of them starts. He’s also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 35.7 percent shooting from three-point territory. The “Chief” has been full value for the Blazers in three straight playoff appearances, too, recording 14.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 41 percent three-point shooting in 19 total games. Aminu, who is right in his prime at 28, is UFA in 2019 and on the last year of a relatively inexpensive four-year, $30 million contract. The Blazers would do well to re-sign him. Notable free agent: Seth Curry (UFA).
Sacramento Kings – C Willie Cauley-Stein
If Cauley-Stein continues his fair upward trajectory, he is going to make it a bit hard on the Kings to re-sign him as a RFA next summer and match what others may offer him. For that reason, the former sixth overall pick out of Kentucky should be re-upped before he can hit the open market. He’s still only 25 and coming off a third straight season that saw improvement in every category. He averaged 12.8 points per game in 28 minutes of floor time, along with a 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks. The only thing blocking Cauley-Stein from getting an extension for this year’s Oct. 15 deadline is his mouth and the fact he inflates his self-worth. He said to reporters recently that he is “ready to get paid.” The results, for sure, have to be there. Notable free agents: Iman Shumpert (UFA), Zach Randolph (UFA) and Kosta Koufos (UFA).
San Antonio Spurs – SF Rudy Gay
It will be a reunion of sorts in San Antonio this year as Rudy Gay gets set to play with former Raptors teammate DeMar DeRozan. However, it could be short-lived, since Gay is on a one-year deal for a shade over $10 million. Depending on how slightly revamped Spurs do early in the season, Gay might be a relatively inexpensive trade chip for the Spurs at the deadline. The 32-year-old veteran of 12 seasons is slotted in at no. 1 at small forward, but will be pushed hard for playing time by Marco Belinelli. Last season, Gay had to get used to a reserve role for the first time since his rookie campaign, starting only six of 57 contests. He wasn’t as productive as usual, then, averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. Gay, who missed 25 games last year due to injury, is reportedly healthy for camp.
Toronto Raptors – SF Kawhi Leonard
With all the laser focus the Raptors executive has, they need to find a way to convince the notoriously quiet Kawhi Leonard to stay in Toronto. All the upheaval in the off-season saw face of the franchise DeMar DeRozan, along with up and comer Jakob Poeltl, depart for San Antonio, bringing impending free agents Leonard and Danny Green to “The Six.” Leonard, who is one of the game’s premier small forwards, appeared in just nine games for the Spurs last year. He has said all of the right things in Toronto so far, but the prevailing thought is he would like to return to his L.A. roots on his next contract. For the time being he is on the fourth year of a five-year, $94.34 million contract, with a player option for 2019-20 at $21.3 million. However, he is good enough to get a max deal and depending on how his season goes, may opt out. Notable free agents: Danny Green (UFA), Jonas Valanciunas (Player) and C.J. Miles (Player).
Utah Jazz – PG Ricky Rubio
One of the surprise teams in the NBA last season, the Jazz will look to improve on a second-round appearance. One of the players who helped Utah post-Gordon Hayward was former fifth overall pick Rubio. The Barcelona native started all 77 games he appeared in during his first campaign in a Jazz uniform, averaging a career high 13.1 points to go along with 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals and improved three-point shooting to the tune of 35.2 percent. His lower assist total (he averaged 8.5 per game in six seasons with Minnesota) was probably due to a shoot-first mentality, as seen by his three-point exploits. Rubio no doubt benefited from being teamed in the back court with freshman sensation Donovan Mitchell last year, which freed him up to shoot more and pass less. Notable free agent. Alec Burks (UFA) and Ekpe Udoh (UFA).
Washington Wizards – PF Markieff Morris
Say one thing for Washington Wizards‘ outspoken King of Nasty Markieff Morris, he’s not afraid to get inside the heads of Eastern Conference foes. In the the six-game playoff against Toronto (won by the Raptors in six), Morris was a general pain in the arse, especially defensively. Then just a couple of days ago at Washington’s media day, he threw shade at the consensus number one team in the east, the Boston Celtics, who he said “have never been better than us (Wizards).” That’s what you call a shot across the bow of team that is lumped in with Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia as the class of the Eastern Conference. As for Morris’ contractual status, he is in the last year of a four-year, $32 million contract and is UFA at the end of this season. Statistically speaking, Morris started 73 of 73 games last year, averaging 11.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 36.7 percent shooting from three. Notable free agents: Austin Rivers (UFA), Dwight Howard (Player), Tomas Satoransky (UFA) and Jodie Meeks (UFA).