The NBA free agency frenzy is almost here. Which stars will be on the move, and which teams will turn themselves into contenders for 2023-24?

Several players — such as Minnesota Timberwolves big man Naz Reid — have already opted into their contracts, taking them off the board for prospective teams looking to shake up their rosters.

But the NBA could look vastly different when stars such as the Portland Trail BlazersDamian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, LA Clippers guard Russell Westbrook and Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving make decisions on their future.

The league’s free agency negotiation period officially begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday, ahead of the league’s annual moratorium period beginning Saturday at midnight ET. Deals can be agreed to during this period but can’t be officially signed until July 6.

Our NBA insiders (Tim Bontemps, Kirk Goldsberry, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon and Ohm Youngmisuk) take a look at this summer’s player movement landscape and dive into free agency’s biggest storylines as we gear up for one of the offseason’s most emphatic periods.

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Who has won the NBA offseason so far?

Kirk Goldsberry: The San Antonio Spurs are BACK. They may not win another title for a while, but acquiring Victor Wembanyama is by far the biggest offseason acquisition thus far. Despite San Antonio entering the lottery with only a 14% chance of landing the first pick, the Spurs beat the odds, and now the entire vibe around the team has shifted.

Tim MacMahon: The Spurs, by the length of Wembanyama’s astoundingly wide wingspan. The franchise that gets to select a player who would have been the top pick in any of the last 20 drafts, at least, wins the offseason. That’s especially true with the Spurs, who have had a lot of success with big men who went No. 1 overall, as a couple of Wembanyama’s recent dinner companions can attest.

Tim Bontemps: The Spurs. Getting Wenbanyama in the door is the kind of franchise-altering move that every team dreams about, and the Spurs are living it. Free agency hasn’t even begun, but it’ll be difficult for any team to surpass San Antonio’s summer.

Andrew Lopez: In the non-Spurs category, how about the Boston Celtics after dealing for big man Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards? Boston was able to help Washington work out a deal that also netted them two first-round picks (one of which they flipped for a number of second-rounders). Despite losing Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the deal, the addition of Porzingis gives the Celtics more offensive firepower as they chase another Finals run.

Ohm Youngmisuk: The Phoenix Suns, who got a player that has been coveted by so many teams for so long in Bradley Beal. Sure, they largely gave up control over their draft, but Beal will come in reinvigorated and motivated to win. The same should be said for Devin Booker and Kevin Durant after how things ended so poorly in the second round against the Denver Nuggets. It remains to be seen how long center Deandre Ayton stays a Sun and what new coach Frank Vogel does at point guard, but the Beal acquisition shows that new owner Mat Ishbia wants to do whatever it takes to win. Phoenix has as potent of a trio as anyone.

The upcoming free agency period will be _____.

Bontemps: Confusing. The new collective bargaining agreement, which will go into effect Saturday, still hasn’t been disseminated to teams yet in full. Everyone is still adjusting to life under the new rules. There will be bumps along the way as franchises build their rosters.

MacMahon: A whirlwind, as usual. It already has been with a bunch of big names — Beal, Porzingis, Smart, Chris Paul, John Collins and Jordan Poole — being moved. This isn’t considered to be an especially talented free agent class, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a busy and impactful summer transaction season.

Youngmisuk: Telling. With the new CBA and how strict it can be for tax-paying teams such as the LA Clippers, it will be telling to see how many teams operate not only for this season but with the future in mind. A team like the Clippers, typically ready to do anything it takes to upgrade the roster, has to walk the line of trying to win a championship with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard while making sure they don’t saddle themselves with bad contracts and a diminishing product down the road.

Lopez: Cap-driven. I think we’re going to continue to see teams trying to maneuver around the new CBA rules regarding the first and second aprons. We’ve already seen it with the Collins trade to the Utah Jazz, which gave Atlanta some salary cap breathing room.

Goldsberry: A relative snoozefest. Nothing is for certain, but it doesn’t seem like this offseason will include the kinds of Woj Bombs that make us jump out of bed and run to Twitter. Most of the league’s biggest superstars are locked into deals that extend beyond this summer, and the trade demand front has also been kind of quiet.



What’s next for Damian Lillard after not requesting a trade?

Brian Windhorst details the latest on Damian Lillard, who did not request a trade after meeting with the Trail Blazers.

What team will Damian Lillard be on to start the 2023-24 season?

MacMahon: Miami Heat. It’s extremely difficult to see a realistic path for general manager Joe Cronin to construct the contender-caliber roster that Lillard has clearly stated he needs to be comfortable staying in Portland. If Cronin can’t pull off a miracle, it’s no secret that Lillard would prefer a move to Miami, which could make an offer of reasonable value to get an elite scorer and creator to play alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Goldsberry: Portland Trail Blazers. This is the safe choice here, but it’s also the best bet right now. Lillard’s contract is enormous, and includes a player option for the 2026-27 season that could pay Lillard over $60 million at age 36. Yikes. Sure, a team like Miami or the Brooklyn Nets could decide to make a big move for him despite that giant cap hit, but Portland will expect a large return to export the best player in franchise history out of Oregon.

Bontemps: Trail Blazers, because it feels like we are going to be stuck in permanent limbo when it comes to this storyline. (I’m only half-joking at this point.) If Lillard does get traded, though, Miami feels like the only logical endpoint.

Lopez: Trail Blazers. The Blazers and Lillard are committed to seeing how free agency will play out. If Portland can bring back free agent Jerami Grant and make another splashy move, Lillard will be in Portland.

Youngmisuk: Trail Blazers. Lillard continues to give Portland every benefit of the doubt. Perhaps a few more veteran acquisitions can satisfy him. They have young talent that needs to be groomed and could be a few seasons away, but until Lillard comes out and demands a trade, it just feels like he will be a Blazer to start 2023-24.

Name one player we’re not talking enough about this offseason?

Goldsberry: Draymond Green. It’s not that nobody’s talking about Golden State’s fiery big man, but his choices this offseason demand even more attention, because they could spell the end of one of the modern NBA’s great dynasties. Team president Bob Myers, who helped build the roster, is already out, and if Green departs too, it’s hard to see the Dubs returning to the Finals anytime soon. If Green stays, Golden State has a real chance to contend in 2023-24.

Lopez: Dillon Brooks. After an unceremonious divorce from the Grizzlies, Brooks is going to hit the free agent market. It feels like he’s been somewhat under the radar because of the tumultuous end of the Grizzlies’ season, but he’s a prime target for a team looking for a All-Defense-caliber player — bear-poking aside, that is.



What moves should the Lakers make this offseason?

Brian Windhorst details some of the roster moves the Lakers can make this offseason.

Bontemps: Anthony Davis. For all of the discussion about extensions and free agency, it will be interesting to see what happens with Davis and LeBron James, both of whom can become unrestricted free agents a year from now. But while James may want to keep options open with his son Bronny possibly entering the league next year out of USC, whether Davis signs an extension when he becomes eligible could be a sign of things to come in Lakerland.

MacMahon: Brook Lopez, because of the potential domino effect his departure could have in Milwaukee. The same is true of Middleton, but I’m more confident that the Bucks will keep him. If Lopez leaves, it’s hard to imagine how the Bucks continue as a legitimate contender. If that’s the case, rumblings will begin about Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future.

Youngmisuk: Brook Lopez, who can really bolster a team looking to make a leap to contention with his ability to stretch the floor and be a Defensive Player of the Year-level anchor.

What team has the most to prove during the upcoming free agency period?

Bontemps: The Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo can sign an extension this fall. Will he? And what will happen with Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez? If both remain with the Bucks, they enter next season as a championship favorite. But if either leave, Antetokounmpo’s future will come under immediate scrutiny. No team has more at stake in free agency as a result.

Youngmisuk: Sacramento Kings. I’d love to see them make a big move. They can create $36 million in cap space by renouncing Harrison Barnes and Trey Lyles, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Kings showed they can contend, gained valuable playoff experience and now are in position to add an impact player to build on the momentum they created this past season.

Goldsberry: Sacramento Kings. The Kings were a great story last season, at least on one side of the ball, pairing the NBA’s top-ranked offense with the 24th ranked defense. That defensive efficiency marker is the stat to watch with them going forward. The big question for Kings’ fans is can the front office import some new talent during free agency that can help them get more stops? If they can, they will light the beam even more in 2023-24.

Lopez: Sacramento Kings. They’ve been tied to a number of forwards this summer, including free agent Draymond Green, but exactly how they use that space will be an interesting subplot over the next few weeks.

MacMahon: The Houston Rockets, who have the most salary cap space at a projected $64 million and an owner who believes that the painful part of the rebuilding process is in the past. Tilman Fertitta, who signed off on a three-year rebuild when James Harden forced a trade three years ago, expects a team that has drafted in the top four the last three years to be competitive in coach Ime Udoka’s first season. A reunion with Harden seems less likely than it did weeks ago, but expect Houston to target veterans such as Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez.

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NBA free agency 2023 – Our insiders dissect the biggest storylines