With a maximum of just six games left this season, it is time to start giving free agency more and more of our attention. While nothing will compare to last summer’s
sweepstakes, there are still some pretty big names who will be looking for new contracts soon.
According to a report on Friday evening, one of those players will be
, as the
guard is reportedly planning to opt out of the last year of his deal with Miami in order to become a free agent. Coming off an impressive season in which he put up 15.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.3 rebounds, and shot just under 40 percent from downtown, there are sure to be plenty of suitors for the 25-year-old.
As crazy as it would have sounded just a few years ago, Waiters will likely be one of the most sought after shooting guards of this free agent class — especially if teams believe his performance this season was not an outlier. So, what teams could be in play for Waiters?
First, let’s try to figure out what he might make. The
a four-year, $75 million deal last summer, which the
Portland Trail Blazers
matched, and J.R. Smith signed a four-year, $57 million contract with Cleveland right before the season began. Judging off those deals for a baseline, let’s estimate somewhere around a four-year $60 million deal for Waiters.
OK, on to the teams.
- Miami Heat: This is obvious, as the Heat have just seen first hand what Waiters can do, and losing his ability to get buckets would really hurt, especially if they’re trying to make a run for the playoffs again next season. Waiters has also expressed interest in returning to Miami, so it won’t be surprising at all if he ends up staying in South Beach.
: Waiters is a Philadelphia native with “Philly Cheese swag,” so there’s already a connection here. Plus, the Sixers could use Waiters’ scoring and playmaking ability. And still only 25 years old, he fits in with their youth movement as they build for the future.
: The Mavs have hardly any money on the books for next season, and aside from
(assuming they re-sign him), are basically a blank slate moving forward. Plus, they’re always in the market to make a splash in free agency, and while Waiters isn’t the biggest name ever, he could add some much-needed scoring to the backcourt.
: Dion Waiters and
on the same team would certainly be interesting, but the Pacers could absolutely use Waiters’ next season, especially if they end up losing C.J. Miles.
is clearly past his prime, and Waiters could give them a second scoring option to go next to
— if he’s even still on the roster by the time the season starts.
- Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are in one of the strangest situations any franchise has ever been in, given their lack of talent and draft picks, so it’s hard to predict what they may do, but I think you have to throw them in here as a wildcard. They made big offer sheets to both Allen Crabbe and
last summer in an effort to add some young talent to their backcourt, and perhaps they’ll try the same with Waiters this offseason.