The 2022 NBA free agency period opens at 6 p.m. ET on June 30, which means it’s time to grab your popcorn and watch the madness unfold over the next few days. Compared to years past, the 2022 free-agent class doesn’t carry quite the same amount of star power. However, you can expect a number of massive trades to go down. You can also expect players to opt out of player options only to return to their same team on a restructured contract. While it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen, let’s take a look at NBA free agency odds and a few of the big names expected to make some noise.
Nine-time All-Star James Harden has opted out of his $47.4 million player option with the Philadelphia Sixers for the 2022-23 season and will return to the franchise on a free-agent deal. What does this mean for the Sixers? President Daryl Morey and the team will have the greater financial flexibility to upgrade their roster in hopes of winning a championship next season. With Harden taking a pay cut, the Sixers are able to bring in a free agent on a mid-level exception. It also means that Harden is finally putting the team above the money. Throughout his entire career, Harden has always been about securing the max contract. And while he has been very deserving of it for nearly his entire career, he is finally realizing that his window for winning a championship is getting smaller each year. After making it to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, the Sixers are currently +800 to win the East next year and +1600 to win the title of NBA.
In a decision that many saw coming, Bradley Beal also opted out of his $36.4 million player option with the Washington Wizards. With that decision, Beal becomes one of the bigger-name free agents available when we look at the NBA free agency odds board. Unfortunately for other teams, they don’t stand much of a chance to land him. His decision to become an unrestricted free agent means that he is able to restructure his contract with Washington and earn a much larger salary. The Wizards now have the ability to offer him a max contract of $251 million over five years, which equates to an average salary of $50.2 million. That’s quite the increase from the $36.4 million he made last season.
However, if Beal decides to shock us all and explore the free-agent market, the betting market believes that Beal would land in Boston. The Celtics are the odds-on favorite at +300 to become Beal’s next team if he does not re-sign with the Wizards. The Portland Trailblazers are a close second at +400, followed by the Miami Heat at +500. Nevertheless, save your money because it’s highly unlikely that Beal will be playing anywhere other than our nation’s capital next year.
Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and there is no doubt he will be looking for a max contract. Phoenix can offer him a max contract worth $176.9 million over five years. However, unfortunately for Ayton, it doesn’t look like that offer will be coming… at least not from the Suns. If another team decides to offer Ayton a contract, Phoenix has the ability to match it and keep him in The Valley. The most likely scenario that would benefit both parties is for Ayton to agree to a sign-and-trade with the Suns. This way Ayton can get his max contract and Phoenix can get a few assets back.
So, where might Ayton be headed next? If you’re looking bet on NBA, the Indiana Pacers are the clear favorites right now at +185, followed by the Pistons at +250. Another potential suitor could be the Toronto Raptors, and at +1200, this is a spot where I see a lot of value. The Raptors could use a big man and Ayton would fit nicely in the pick-and-roll next to Fred VanVleet. Toronto would have to give up quite a bit, which could include some combination of OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, or Pascal Siakam.
Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine is an unrestricted free agent this summer and all signs point to him returning to the Windy City on a new five-year max contract. The market has LaVine priced at -2000 to be in Chicago again next season, which means there is absolutely zero value to be had there. When it comes to NBA players who know how to score, LaVine’s name is definitely up there; however, many question whether the two-time All-Star can lead the Bulls to a championship as the team’s primary option. Yet, the Bulls front office has stated on multiple occasions that they would like to work out a long-term deal that would end in LaVine remaining a member of the Chicago Bulls.Follow us on Twitter