In this article, we will take a look at the 2019 free agent class. We will focus on four superstars who are may leave their teams this summer. I will also choose two other teams they would a good fit for as well. These players may have player options, but they are most likely going to decline them to become free agents. We will go from least likely to most likely in terms of the flight risk. Let’s get started with the fourth player on this list.
4. Kevin Durant- Flight Risk Low
Kevin Durant has the lowest flight risk in my opinion. This is because of his situation on the Golden State Warriors. There have been so many whispers, so many rumors saying that Durant has already made up his mind and he is going to New York to play for the Knicks. New York must be very confident because they shed a lot of cap space to potentially sign two very expensive free agents. These are just rumors, but I really don’t see Durant leaving because he is on one of the best teams in NBA history, as well as we have to take into factor that being on this team can also lengthen his career because he isn’t needed every single night to carry a team.
KD has a low in terms of flight risk because I believe if the Warriors lose in the finals, he will leave. What will drive KD to stay is the chance to go for four straight championships. Without that motivation, I think KD will leave because there is no reason for him to stay. He has accomplished so much with the Warriors, and with two championships under his belt, there may be no point to even stay with the Warriors with a finals loss.
First good fit for Kevin Durant: New York Knicks
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. The Knicks are full of young talent in Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox and undrafted rookie stud, Allonzo Trier. So maybe KD wants to be like LeBron James and join a young team, except he joins the East. Kevin Durant is a player that could probably fit on every team in the NBA. He is one of the most dominant scorers to ever play the game. He could be a great mentor to Knox and also you could easily play these two together as well. The Knicks would be a good fit for Kevin Durant, and he may actually take his talents to the East coast.
Second good fit for Kevin Durant: Brooklynn Nets
With this second fit, Kevin Durant stays on the East coast and he goes to another rising team. The Brooklynn Nets have overcome so many hurdles since the ticking time-bomb that were the Brooklynn Nets back in the 2014-15 season. They have bounced back very well and they are now in the race for the playoffs in the Eastern conference. They also have a rising star in D’Angelo Russell, who was a first time all-star this season. Kevin Durant would definitely be a good fit for the Brooklynn Nets, he gives them a secondary scorer that is able to score at every angle as well as play some defense as well.
3. Kawhi Leonard- Flight Risk Medium/Low
Kawhi Leonard was traded this past offseason, he is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Even after he took an entire year off, he has shown that he hasn’t missed a beat this season. He has been everything that the Toronto Raptors have hoped for and they are playing very well this season too. But, as we know, the Raptors have infamously blown up or choked in the playoffs. They hope that Leonard is the answer to their problems in the playoffs.
The Raptors have a great roster full of veteran leader-ship and youth, why would Kawhi leave? There have been many rumors that he wants to play on the West coast, in particular, the Los Angeles Clippers or the Lakers have been mentioned. I also believe the Warriors will be watching Kawhi closely this offseason if KD does end up leaving as well. But, if the Raptors make a deep playoff run or, even win the finals, I could see Kawhi wanting to return to the Raptors. Kawhi will have his fair share of teams lining up to get a meeting this offseason, like Kevin Durant, he will fit on virtually every team because of his defense and his offensive style of play.
Kawhi has a flight risk rating between low and medium. He has a chance to bolt because he wants to play on the West coast. It seems as if he prefers the LA area because that’s where he was born. But he also has a chance to stay in Toronto because of the team they have been able to assemble around him. Trading for Marc Gasol mid-season was a brilliant move, landing Jeremy Lin in a buy-out was an excellent move as well. Pascal Siakam has become a great power forward, Danny Green is a solid three point shooter and perimeter defender. This Raptors team is the best it’s been in a long tome, and it would definitely be a reason for Kawhi to stay.
First good fit for Kawhi Leonard: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have been one of the most surprising teams this season. Even after the Tobias Harris trade, they have been a very good team. They are currently fifth in the Western conference standings. They have a good young rookie point guard in Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and another good rookie in Landry Shamet. Kawhi would fit seamlessly with this team because of his defense-first mentality. But also, Kawhi has the ability to take over the offensive game and carry a team down the stretch late in the game. The Clippers would benefit a lot from this acquisition because of their need for a go-to scorer other than Louis Williams. Overall, I could see Kawhi on the Clippers rather than the Lakers because he doesn’t seem to fond of playing alongside LeBron on the Lakers.
Second good fit for Kawhi Leonard: Golden State Warriors
This fit is strictly if Kevin Durant leaves. They will not be able to afford both forwards this offseason. The Dubs will have a clear need at small forward if KD leaves and Kawhi would be able to slide in immediately because of his play style. With Kawhi’s defense, and the Warriors willingness to go to the hot hand that night, it would theoretically be the perfect fit. I am not too sure if Kawhi would have interest in Golden State, but it would be a very interesting fit.
2. Kyrie Irving- Flight Risk High
Kyrie Irving forced his way out of Cleveland to get out of the shadows that LeBron had cast over him. He now seems as if he wants to maybe rekindle that relationship with LeBron. Or maybe jump ship to go home and play for the Knicks. I do feel as if Kyrie is a star that will be looking for a new home this season because of the Celtics performance thus far this season. Another problem is he doesn’t seem to interested in being a leader for the young Celtics as well. Sound bites from Kyrie seem as if he’s disinterested with the team, or disappointed in the lack of effort from the young Celtics.
I think the major reason Kyrie will leave the Celtics is because he doesn’t seem to like this current Celtics team. They have under-performed all season, getting Gordon Hayward back was supposed to put them over the top and Jayson Tatum was supposed to follow up a great rookie season with an even better sophomore season. Hayward is averaging 10.9 points a game, given he is coming back from a gruesome ankle injury. It wasn’t expected that he’d be the same exact player, but I do think the Celtics expected more. Jayson Tatum has improved almost every stat, but his field goal and three point percentages are both down from last season. Jaylen Brown has also taken a step back in terms of play, so the Celtics have been underwhelming this entire season. With a record of 43-31, I think a lot of people thought they’d be much better.
Kyrie is a high flight risk to me because from the performance of the Celtics this season. But also his comments regarding the team. He seems to throw his guys under the bus instead of lifting their spirits. He has called out his teammates in his post-game interviews as well. That’s not what a leader does. Marcus Morris has even said that the team just isn’t having fun anymore. That’s a really important part to have in a long NBA season. But ultimately, I do believe Kyrie hits the open market this season and he signs with another team.
First good fit for Kyrie Irving- New York Knick’s
This is the obvious selection for the first good fit for Kyrie. He grew up in New Jersey so he may want to go home that area. He would fit very well because let’s face it, the Knicks need so much help at this point. They really have a need at almost every position. A high draft pick and a superstar is a good start but they are far from a playoff team. Either way, Kyrie has been linked to the Knicks for the longest time at this point. It seems as if he has one foot out the door already to New York.
Second good fit for Kyrie Irving- Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have LeBron and a lot of young assets. They seem more inclined to trade those assets away instead of riding it out with them. That means they could look to sign Kyrie and trade those assets for another star. Most likely the trade would be for Anthony Davis. We know how good Kyrie and LeBron are together, so the fit for this team is pretty obvious at this point.
1. Kemba Walker- Flight Risk He Gone
Kemba Walker has been stuck on a mediocre team for his entire career. He was on the Charlotte Bobcats for crying out loud. His talents have been wasted and this season hasn’t been any better. He has had a career year so far this season and it’s being wasted. In his career, Kemba has enjoyed two seasons over .500 and he was also on the Bobcat team that enjoyed SEVEN total wins. Yes the season was 66 games long but seven games is just embarrassing. The point is, Kemba needs to leave this franchise.
Kemba has been great this season. He was selected as an all-star starter and has seen his stats increase in almost every category. Kemba and his talents need to be used by a better team that knows how to assemble talent around a player like Kemba. He is a star in this league but the Hornets have assembled players like Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Bismack Biyomba just to name a few players. These players are past their prime or had good stretches in their careers. Biyomba is one of the most over paid centers in the league and Batum was one of the most over paid wing players as well. The Hornets haven’t made use of Kemba’s prime, and I believe Kemba needs to leave to a team that knows how to assemble talent.
First good fit for Kemba Walker- New York Knicks
Kemba was another guard that was raised in the New York area. He has become one of the most deadly ball-handlers in the NBA, and also one of the most dangerous scorers. The Knicks will consider Kemba this summer, especially if they miss out on the Kyrie sweepstakes. I believe Kemba is a great consolation prize and he would be a great step in the right direction in terms of trying to get back into the post season. Kyrie is the better player, especially because he is younger than Kemba, but I believe either is a good fit for this team. A lottery pick, Kemba and another star player could be able to make it into the post season in the Eastern conference.
Second good fit for Kemba Walker- Indiana Pacers
This is a surprise team for Kemba. But with Darren Collison on an expiring contract, they will be without a starting point guard. They will also get Victor Oladipo back next season so pairing those two together could be great for the Pacers offense. Also with Oladipo’s defense and Kemba’s offense, it should be a good fit. I would take a hard look into Kemba if I were the Pacers. They have had a great season, even with out Oladipo, adding some more fire power never hurt anyone.
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