Monday, July 22, 2013

Looking Ahead To 2014 NBA Free Agency

Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant join LeBron James and other big names as free agents in 2014. (

This year's NBA free agency period has been far from quiet, with Dwight Howard's move to Houston highlighting a busy month that highlighted some big names on the move, including Howard and players like Josh Smith.

If you enjoyed what this season's free-agent market brought, you'll be in for a treat next year. It will automatically be a bigger spectacle after one free-agent name, LeBron James, given that he is the best player in the world and we learned from the last time that people are interested enough in his decision to make a hour-long TV special out of a sentence-long answer.

But it won't just be LeBron. A pool of stars all have contracts that end in 2014, which means the moves made next summer can completely change who the contenders will be from then on out. Here's a look at some of the teams whose lineups can shift and the big-name players that could find new homes.

Miami Heat - 
Sure, James is the focal point, but pretty much the entire Heat team joins him on the free-agent market. This includes, but is not limited to, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem (James, Wade and Bosh all have early termination options in 2014). Obviously, this doesn't mean all of them, or any, are leaving, but the possibility is there for the Heat to look like a completely different team in 2014-15.

Los Angeles Lakers - 
The Lakers are another team with a large chunk of the roster with expiring contracts next season, although the majority are role players. Still, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are on the list, and it wouldn't be shocking to see the Lakers clear some space to try and land LeBron.

Indiana Pacers - 
The Pacers have announced themselves as a contender in the Eastern Conference, pushing Miami the last two years in the playoffs, but many have wondered how the Pacers will be able to afford keeping their current lineup as their talent grows. Paul George has turned into a star and should be the player the Pacers wrap up into a new deal first next season. Also with expiring contracts are Lance Stevenson and Danny Granger. Indiana made its playoff run this year without Granger, so it will be interesting to see if he gets dealt away to free up space for George and others.

New York Knicks - 
Like the Heat, the Knicks' star players, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, have early termination options in 2014. Anthony and Stoudemire have yet to get the Knicks deep into the playoffs. Would Anthony be interested in being part of a new Big Three somewhere else?

Dallas Mavericks -
The Mavericks' core is aging quickly, and Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion will all be unrestricted free agents in 2014. It will be interesting to see how Mark Cuban reloads the team, especially if Nowitzki (35), Carter (36) or Marion (35) hang up the jersey after next season.

Sacramento Kings - 
A handful of high draft picks has yet to pull the Kings out from the bottom of the conference standings and now some of those picks will be restricted free agents. DeMarcus Cousins has had plenty of issues to make it not surprising if the Kings want to part ways with the troubled center, while Isaiah Thomas, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez could also be on the move.

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