NBA free agency is wreaking havoc on the NBA landscape in the best way possible. After the draft frenzy, teams are now splurging billions of dollars to construct competitive squads for the 2023-2024 NBA Championship. As fans, we eagerly anticipate the impact of these free agency moves on our upcoming fantasy season. With a plethora of transactions to unravel, let’s dive into the current effects and stay tuned for further updates as situations evolve.
NBA Free Agency Moves
The Big Fish
Kyrie Irving (DAL, PG/SG) Similar Role
Irving returns to run it back as one part of a lethal backcourt in Dallas. In 20 games as a Maverick in 2022-2023, Irving averaged an impressive 27 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and over a steal per game on 50% shooting. Kyrie is elite and hopefully motivated to contribute to a Mavericks team that desperately needs what he provides.
Irving should not be your first-round draft pick but could be a massive steal in the third or fourth rounds, as he could easily have himself a top-10 season.
Fred VanVleet (HOU, PG/SG) New Role
VanVleet took advantage of his NBA free agency and secured a massive payday with a three-year deal with the Rockets. FVV will step into the starting point guard role, tasked with orchestrating an offense that previously lacked structure. He will have the chance to not only facilitate the offense but also thrive as a scoring threat on the wing when the Rockets’ young playmakers take charge.
The upcoming 2023-2024 season holds immense potential for VanVleet, as he could easily average 20 points per game, along with 8 assists, while maintaining his usual elite defense and three-point shooting. With such skills, VanVleet has the potential for first round value.
Kyle Kuzma (WAS, SF/PF) New Role
Kyle Kuzma makes his return to the Washington Wizards, but this time he finds himself in a new role following the departures of teammates Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.
With a significant share of the Wizards’ offensive responsibilities falling on Kuzma and Jordan Poole, Kuzma has an excellent opportunity to further elevate his offensive game. After posting impressive averages of 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists last season, Kuzma aims to take another leap as a scorer.
Anticipate Kuzma flirting with 25 points and 5 assists per game. Although his defensive contributions may be lacking, which could limit his fantasy potential, he remains a fantastic option if you’re seeking offensive firepower in the middle rounds.
Khris Middleton (MIL, SG/SF) Similar Role
Middleton returns to the Bucks, resuming his familiar role with the team. With his health restored, you can confidently expect Middleton to deliver his customary production: 20 points, 2 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal per game. Middleton is poised to have another solid season, easily securing a spot within the top 50 players.
Russell Westbrook (LAC, PG) Similar Role
Westbrook has found himself a home with the Clippers. In 21 games with the Clippers, Westbrook averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. On a healthy Clippers team, Westbrook’s usage may be limited as the ball moves through Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but he should continue to excel in counting stats nightly, with periods of monster usage when Clippers are shorthanded.
Westbrook is no longer a player to build your team around, but if drafted appropriately in the middle/late middle rounds, his production could be a massive weapon for you to deploy.
Impact Role Players Moved in NBA Free Agency
Dillon Brooks (HOU, SG/SF) New Role
Fresh off a disappointing performance in last year’s playoff series, Dillon Brooks embarks on a new journey, aiming to bring an extra spark to the young Rockets.
Previously known as a high-volume shooter and a player who logged over 30 minutes per game, Brooks is expected to see a slight reduction in his role during the 2023-2024 season. Anticipate him scoring in the range of low to mid-teens while contributing a decent number of three-pointers.
While Brooks possesses potential in generating steals, his subpar shooting percentage will limit his overall value to being more suitable as a streamer or an option for deep leagues.
D’Angelo Russell (LAL, PG/SG) Similar Role
The Lakers have re-signed their starting point guard to a two-year deal. During his time as a Laker in the 2022-2023 season, Russell showcased his abilities by averaging 17 points and 6 assists while shooting an impressive 48%.
In the upcoming 2023-2024 season, Russell is expected to remain a key focus of the Lakers’ offense, functioning as a spot-up wing scorer and primary ball handler. With this role, anticipate Russell to maintain his status as a top 100 fantasy player for the upcoming season.
Cam Johnson (BKN, SF/PF) Similar Role
Cam Johnson was resigned by the Nets on a longer-term deal. In his limited time as a Net in 2022-2023, Cam enjoyed a larger role and averaged 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Johnson should continue to get 30-plus minutes in 2023-2024 and have intriguing upside on offense, specifically in points and threes. His value jumps into the top 60 with upside in steals as well.
Brook Lopez (MIL, C) Similar Role
After an impressive 2022-2023 season, there was uncertainty whether another team, particularly the Houston Rockets, would make a substantial investment in Lopez. However, the Bucks ultimately emerged as the leading contender and rewarded Lopez with a two-year, $48 million contract, thereby preserving his role and fantasy impact.
Anticipate another exceptional season from Lopez, who is poised to deliver top-50 value with consistent scoring, three-pointers, and elite shot-blocking abilities from the center position.
Bruce Brown (IND, SG) New Role
After an impressive championship-winning campaign as a role player for the Denver Nuggets, Brown now finds himself in a new and prominent role with the Indiana Pacers.
The versatile guard has upside as a potential starter in Indiana. Running with star point guard, Tyrese Haliburton, expect Brown to score in the early to mid-teens, and post moderate rebounds and assists while knocking on the door of the coveted 1-1-1 (1 three, 1 steal, and 1 block) club.
For fantasy purposes, he is a glue guy to target later in the drafts with moderate upside. Expect him to produce around top 100, but target him starting in the 10th round.
Austin Reaves (LAL, SG/SF) Similar Role
The Lakers made it a priority to re-sign Austin Reaves. Reaves had a breakout season in 2022-2023, particularly in the final months, where he averaged 16 points and 5 assists. Reaves has gained the trust of the team and has shown efficiency as a secondary playmaker and scorer.
Expect Reaves to further excel as a scorer and establish himself with a scoring output in the upper teens, accompanied by five or more assists per game. While his defensive statistics may not be his strong suit, Reaves is still projected to be a top-100 player and a valuable contributor in points, three-pointers, assists, and shooting percentages.
Dennis Schroder (TOR, PG) New Role
Just a few seasons ago, Schroder was touted as the next big thing at the point guard position. Things didn’t quite unfold as expected, and he has since carved out a new reputation as a defensive pest.
After playing a supporting role on the Conference Finals Lakers team, Schroder now has a fresh opportunity to establish himself as the starting point guard for the Toronto Raptors. Expect Schroder to increase his scoring output, returning to the range of 15 points or more per game, while maintaining an average of over 5 assists.
With his added value in three-pointers, Schroder has the potential to provide 10th-round value in the 2023-2024 season, suited as a target in the later rounds of drafts.
Jarami Grant (POR, SF/PF) Similar Role
Minutes after securing Grant with a long-term contract, the Trail Blazers were hit with the news that Damian Lillard has requested a trade out of Portland. While this is disappointing for the team, it presents a significant opportunity for Jerami Grant’s fantasy upside. If Lillard does indeed depart, expect Grant to become one of the primary offensive options, possibly even the first or second option. Building on his offensive surge from the 2022-2023 season, anticipate Grant to maintain averages of over 20 points and 2 three-pointers per game. In addition to his scoring prowess, Grant offers value as an all-around player, contributing nearly 1 steal and 1 block per game. Expect Grant to be in contention for top 60 value.
Jakob Poeltl (TOR, C) Similar Role
Toronto acquired Poeltl in the 2022-2023 season and has now secured the big man on a long-term basis. As expected, Poeltl will continue to excel in his role as a traditional big man, delivering double-doubles with added potential in blocks and field goal percentage.
He is projected to be a top-75 player, making him a viable selection in the eighth to tenth rounds of drafts.
Tre Jones (SAS, PG) Similar Role
The Spurs have re-signed their starting point guard. In his first year as the starting guard, Jones proved to be effective, averaging 13 points and 6 assists. With another year of development under his belt and the addition of a new star in Victor Wembanyama, Jones possesses significant upside as the primary facilitator in San Antonio.
Expect Jones to make strides in his playmaking abilities, potentially reaching around eight assists per game and delivering top 75 value.
Herb Jones (NOP, SF/PF) Similar Role
Herb Jones’ no-frills fantasy game proves to be highly effective. The defensive specialist has returned to the Pelicans and will assume a prominent role as a primary defender. Although his scoring, three-pointers, rebounds, and assists may be modest, Jones excels in steals, demonstrates efficiency in shooting percentages, and avoids turnovers, making him an excellent glue guy for end-of-roster spots and in deeper leagues.
Consider drafting him starting in the 10th round and see if he can deliver a “1-1-1” season in 2023-2024.
Rui Hachimura (LAL, SF/PF) Similar Role
Following his breakout performances in the 2022-2023 playoffs with the Lakers, Rui has been re-signed on a long-term deal, signaling the team’s belief in his potential. In the upcoming 2023-2024 season, Rui is expected to receive significant opportunities to showcase his offensive skills.
While he may be considered a deep league option, Rui has the potential to average over 12 points and 5 rebounds, with an impressive shooting percentage of 48%. Additionally, Rui’s value could see a significant boost if the Lakers encounter injuries in their frontcourt.
Remaining Free Agents
- Kelly Oubre Jr. (Unrestricted)
- Mason Plumlee (Unrestricted)
- P.J. Washington (Restricted)
- Grant Williams (Restricted)
- Christian Wood (Unrestricted)
Dominos to Fall…
- Damien Lillard (POR, PG): Requested a trade from Portland Trailblazers
- James Harden (PHI, PG/SG): Opted-in to the final year of his contract and requested a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers
NBA free agency isn’t done changing the fantasy basketball landscape. FantraxHQ will follow along and break down the impact of every move.