NBA free agency starts on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET and between now and then there's sure to be all sorts of rumors flying about what teams and players intend on doing. While free agency starts Friday evening, it's important to note that no deals can become official until July 6, so anything can happen during that six-day span. We've already seen some trades take place around the league, most notably the Warriors picking up for Chris Paul and the Suns acquiring Bradley Beal. And as we prepare for free agency the biggest names to watch on the market are James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet.
Though aren't a ton of headliners in this summer's slate that doesn't mean we won't witness some blockbuster trades. It's the season of unpredictability in the NBA, and as the hours dwindle down we're continuing to monitor the latest rumors around the league.
Kyrie Irving to meet with Suns at start of free agency
Despite the constant reporting that there's no market for Irving, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reports that the mercurial guard intends to meet with the Suns at the start of free agency. The Mavericks will also meet with him, and the Houston Rockets could potentially be on that list as well. Meetings are expected to take place in Los Angeles when free agency begins on June 30. However, despite Irving taking meetings with other teams, Marc Stein reports that "prevailing expectation" is for Irving to return to Dallas, but the length and for how much are still undetermined. The Suns wouldn't be able to sign Irving out-right, so perhaps a sign-and-trade could be on the table between the two teams. For the Rockets, they've been linked to Irving as a backup option if they miss out on James Harden.
Lakers confident they can sign Bruce Brown from Nuggets
After winning a championship with the Denver Nuggets, Bruce Brown has become a hot commodity around the league. The Lakers reportedly feel "increasingly confident" that they can sign Brown with their $12.4 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception. Los Angeles would have to decline Malik Beasley's $16.5 million team option and waive Mo Bamba's $10.3 million non-guaranteed contract, the latter being a move that has already happened, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, Stein reports that Brown may command more money than the MLE that the Lakers and several other teams could offer, which would put them out of the running to sign him.
James Harden expected to re-sign with 76ers
Following all the speculation as to Harden's next team, it turns out that he may just re-sign in Philadelphia after all, according to Stein. The exact figures of the deal remain to be seen, but if winning is the top priority for Harden, then the Sixers offer the best avenue for that over the Rockets who were the rumored other team trying to sign him. While Harden's public adoration for the city of Houston is well known, it just doesn't make a ton of basketball sense for him to go back to a team that is in the midst of a rebuild. We'll have to see if anything changes on this front, but it appears as though Philly will be running it back with Harden and MVP Joel Embiid for the foreseeable future.
Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks expected to sign with Rockets
The Rockets clearly want to make a splash this summer, and if they lose out on Harden it appears they're pivoting elsewhere. Stein is reporting that many teams around the league are seeing it as a foregone conclusion that VanVleet and Brooks end up in Houston. VanVleet is expected to get a two-year deal worth $83.6 million, per Stein, while Brooks could net a two-year deal for around $14-$16 million a year. If that is what ends up happening, the Rockets would immediately vault themselves into the playoff conversation for next season. VanVleet could help set the culture for a young, inexperienced team that has struggled to create an identity over the last couple years, and Brooks brings the defensive intensity that could help Houston be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. There's obvious questions about the younger guys on the roster and how they'll fit around these potential free agent signings, especially in the backcourt where Houston already has two high usage guards in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., but my guess is Porter gets pushed to the bench with Green manning the backcourt with VanVleet.
Houston favorites to land Kyle Kuzma
The Rockets sure do plan to have a busy summer. Also on their radar is Kuzma, who has also drawn interest from the Sacramento Kings. However, Houston is viewed as having an "edge" to signing the forward, per Haynes. The Rockets could certainly sign two of these three players -- VanVleet, Kuzma or Brooks -- with their over $60 million in cap space, but not all three. So it seems like perhaps the Rockets have a list of players they're targeting and whichever two-player combination they can get they'll be happy with it. Kuzma, like VanVleet, has been part of a championship culture and can help set the tone for a young team. He averaged a career-high 21.2 points last season with the Wizards, and is a versatile defender on the other end of the floor. Adding him to the Rockets, along with either VanVleet or Brooks would make Houston a far more competitive team next season.
Dallas expected to sign Andre Drummond
While the focus of Dallas' free agency seems to center on what Irving intends to do, Stein reports that the Mavericks are expected to sign veteran big man Andre Drummond in free agency, assuming he declines his $3.36 million player option with the Bulls on Thursday. The Mavericks have said that they intend to remake their center rotation, and they started by drafting Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 pick last week. Adding Drummond for bench depth is understandable, but if Dallas intends on starting him then that's another thing. We'll have to see what else the Mavericks have up their sleeves to fully understand this potential move, because right now it's not making a ton of sense when there's obviously far more pressing things to worry about with this roster.