The 2022 NBA Free Agency Period has already begun and blockbuster acquisitions are starting to take hold. Teams such as the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and the Oklahoma City Thunder have been making waves of their own, while young players like Ja Morant, Darius Garland, and Zion Williamson have all signed max contracts for the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Orleans Pelicans respectively.
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Donovan Mitchell are among the top names in the free agency period and many are speculating where any of them could possibly land. For Durant, there are several teams that are attached to him, including Memphis, Toronto, Boston, Dallas, and even Miami.
Durant has expressed much disdain for the Brooklyn Nets in the past few seasons, from citing chemistry issues with teammates, most notably Irving and Harden, to frustrations in the playoffs. Durant wants to play for a team that is positioned to win. The Nets will pull off a sign and trade deal for Durant, but the question is which team will give the right offer to acquire the two-time NBA Champion?
While on the subject of Brooklyn Nets players looking to play elsewhere, Kyrie Irving is also looking to make an exit of his own. Much like Durant, Irving is also looking to be a part of a sign and trade deal, but there is one team that appears to be interested.
The Los Angeles Lakers are linked to a possible sign and trade that would see Irving reunited with LeBron James in Laker Land in exchange for Russell Westbrook reuniting with Durant, should he remain in Brooklyn. Irving spent much of last season not playing with the Nets because of COVID-19 vaccination mandates and being unvaccinated before returning back to the team as a part-time player and making his eventual debut in January.
It appears that the Brooklyn Nets super team seems to be finished, but even then, what will happen for them down the road? Will they still have Ben Simmons? Will they acquire another star?
With Rudy Gobert acquired by the Minnesota Timberwolves, this leaves the Utah Jazz with Donovan Mitchell as their main star, but with how Utah performed in the playoffs and looking to unload this offseason, Mitchell is surely leaving. Among the teams interested in acquiring Mitchell are the New York Knicks, and especially the Miami Heat.
Mitchell’s name has been linked to Miami many times before and during the free agency, but it will require a sign and trade deal. One name that keeps popping up in the would-be deal for Miami is Tyler Herro. Herro, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award for Miami, could be the key for the Heat to acquiring Mitchell, but one thing Miami must ask itself? Are they willing to give up Herro for another star?
New York, on the other hand, can open the door for Mitchell to be the star of their team and the focal point of their core, which also features RJ Barrett, Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, and Julius Randle.
Having already acquired Jalen Brunson, who had a breakout postseason with the Dallas Mavericks, New York acquiring Mitchell would be a big surprise for the free agency period. It would also put New York back in the playoff picture for next season.
The NBA Free Agency Period still marches on as players and teams negotiate and re-negotiate where they will be playing for the next couple of years.
While new acquisitions are being made and players earn their big-time contracts, the focus is still on the four aforementioned players who can shake up the free agency period and change the landscape of the NBA.