How free agent players can make an impact on the NBA’s biggest markets

The free agent market is getting bigger and bigger each summer, and each year we see players emerge from the shadows of the previous year’s crop.

As we approach the first week of the 2018-19 season, I’m looking forward to seeing how the 2018 free agent class looks heading into the season.

The 2017-18 class featured the likes of the Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic, the New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, the Denver Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Murray, the Charlotte Hornets’ Marvin Williams, the Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Montrezl Harrell.

Those players are now in the first wave of free agency.

Here’s a look at the other four big-name players who are set to enter the free agency process this summer: NBA.com’s Dion Waiters has a big list of upcoming free agents, which includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, Derrick Favors, Chris Paul, Paul George and Kevin Durant. 

As for the rest of the free agents currently on the market, there are some interesting names that are expected to make an immediate impact on their respective teams. 

Here are the players that have been linked to the Los Angles Clippers, New York Giants, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, as well as the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets: Goran Dragic (Lakers): The Slovenian big man has been linked with the Clippers since his arrival in Los Angeles in 2018, but the Lakers have a history of making big moves at the deadline, signing a number of big names including LeBron James, Pau Gasol and Russell Westbrook to long-term deals in the past. 

Guanja Tsotsis (Giants): Tsotsias will be entering the final year of his contract with the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, but it is expected that the 35-year-old will be staying in New York with the Knicks. 

The Knicks already have a pair of big-time wingers in Al Horford and Marcus Camby, so the arrival of Tsotsys could boost their frontcourt, as both are coming off their first All-Star seasons. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Grizzlies): The Grizzlies have one of the best backcourts in the league in Courtney Lee and Zach Randolph, so it’s expected that their top two scorers will stay with the team. 

Metta World Peace (Heat): The New Orleans Lakers have been one of basketball’s biggest disappointments this season, but they are still hoping to land the veteran All-NBA center, and that’s a huge opportunity for their big man. 

Jordan Clarkson (Hawks): Clarkson will be coming off his best season, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he fits into the new Hawks system.

He is an extremely versatile offensive player, so he’s likely to have a big role with the Hawks this season. 

Nikola Mirotic (Laker): The 29-year old will likely have a major role with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasole in the Lakers, so his presence will be felt. 

Dewayne Dedmon (Cavaliers): The 27-yearold is coming off a breakout season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and his free agency could give the Cavs more depth. 

David West (Hornets): West is coming over from the Houston Rockets after being drafted fourth overall in 2017, so if he’s still on the radar for the Cavs, the veteran big man could be the steal of the trade. 

DeMar DeRozan (Lemurs): The veteran forward is coming from the Toronto Thunder after finishing his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Marcus Smart (Lebron James): The big man will likely be a top priority for the Cavaliers, and he could be on the move. 

Kevin Durant (Heat and Cavaliers): The Warriors star could be a big factor in the Cavs rebuilding efforts, as he has the potential to help them get back to their NBA championship glory. 

Antonio Daniels (Bucks): The Milwaukee Bucks will likely look to add some veteran help to the backcourt after losing Kevin Durant, but Daniels could be another big addition for the team, as the veteran guard is coming out of retirement. 

Josh Hart (Lavs): The Indiana Pacers are hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive by bringing back their franchise center, but if the Bucks are still looking for some veteran leadership, they may look to move Hart, as his versatility could be an asset. 

Michael Beasley (Heat, Cavs): Beasley is coming to Cleveland, but he’s coming off the best season of his career. 

Tim Hardaway Jr. (Liam Gallagher): Gallagher is coming