The 2023 NBA free agent class could very well be among the most stacked in the history of the Association.
Even without four-time NBA champion LeBron James on the market, there’s several franchise cornerstones. That includes embattled Dallas Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving. The likes of James Harden and Fred VanVleet also have player options that they are likely to decline.
Here, we look at the top potential 2023 NBA free agents with a position-by-position breakdown below.
Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2023
1. Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks
After picking up his option for the 2022-23 season, Irving appeared set to play out his final season in Brooklyn. But Irving suddenly requested a trade a week before the NBA trade deadline and got sent to the Dallas Mavericks to pair with Luka Doncic. After that, it’s anyone’s best guess what might happen.
Despite the drama Irving brings to the table, he’ll still be among the top NBA free agents in the summer of 2023. During his four-year run in Brooklyn, Irving averaged 27.1 points and 5.8 assists on 48% shooting, including a 39% mark from three-point range.
2. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (player option)
Harden has a $35.64 million player option for next season. When he signed his current deal in Philadelphia, most believed that Harden would opt in. Now, we’re not too sure.
In reality, it seems as if the former NBA MVP wants to cash in on one final long-term deal in his career. Harden is 33 years and in the back end of his prime. Thus far this season, he’s averaging 21.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 10.8 assists on what would be the second-best three-point percentage (39%) in his career. The dude is still doing it.
3. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors (player option)
VanVleet has a player option of under $20 million for next season, one that the former All-Star will certainly decline. Despite some issues shooting the ball this season (39%), the guard is going to draw a nice amount of interest. Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, VanVleet is averaging nearly 20 points to go with 6.6 assists and 1.7 steals. Some team will back up the Brinks Truck for the veteran.
4. Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
Acquired by Chicago midway through the 2020-21 season, Vucevic has not seen the same production that defined his Orlando Magic career. Last season saw the skilled big average a nine-year low 17.6 points. It even led to speculation that he could’ve been moved ahead of the in-season NBA trade deadline.
Thus far this season, Vucevic is putting up 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 52% shooting for a disappointing Bulls squad. He’ll be among the most coveted NBA free agents. We’re just not too sure whether that will lead to a return to Chicago.
Related: Updated 2023 NBA power rankings
5. Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers
Set to become one of the top NBA free agents this summer, Grant is vastly underpaid in the grand scheme of things. In fact, the three-and-D wing is earning a mere $20.96 million in 2022-23. That will change big time once the summer comes calling. Grant is averaging north of 20 points on what would be a career-best 41% shooting from distance this season.
6. Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards (player option)
One of the centerpieces that landed Russell Westbrook on the Lakers during the summer of 2021, Kuzma put up a heck of a first season in the nation’s capital. The forward averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 45% shooting from the field.
He’s done even better this season in D.C, averaging what would be a career-high 21.5 points to go with 7.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists. This type of all-around performance will be rewarded on the NBA free agent market should Kuzma make the smart decision to decline his mere $13 million option for next season.
7. Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards (player option)
It was back in 2018 that Porzingis found himself as one of the best young players in the game. Fast forward nearly a half-decade, and that’s no longer the case. Injuries coupled with ineffective defense had seen his stock drop big time. Not so much right now. Porzingis is in the midst of a career resurgence that is seeing him average 22.8 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 37% from distance. Still only 27, he’s going to be in high demand should the big man decline his player option.
8. Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks
Acquired by Dallas in a blockbuster trade with Houston, it will be interesting to see how Wood performs with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving moving forward this season. It will tell us all we need to know about whether he’ll be one of the highly coveted NBA free agents of the 2023 cycle. Primarily, the high-scoring forward must improve on the defensive end of the court to get paid big time.
9. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (player option)
The 32-year-old Green is now likely to opt out of his contract rather than return to Golden State at a cost of $27.59 million in 2023-24. To an extent, he’s returned to form as one of the best all-around defenders in the game.
Green is also averaging 8.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists on a solid 52% shooting from the field. This would represent his best statistical season since back in 2017-18 when playing with Kevin Durant in the Warriors’ frontcourt. The question here is whether Green’s on-court attitude and specific fit with Golden State will turn some teams off.
10. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks (player option)
Depending on how he performs to conclude the regular season, Middleton could very well opt out of his $40.4 million deal for the 2023-24 campaign. At issue here are recent injuries that have limited Middleton to 17 games on the campaign.
When on the court, this former second-round pick proved himself to be among the game’s most underrated. Middleton averaged 19.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 39% shooting from distance over the past five seasons. Unfortunately, he’s averaging under 14 points on just 42% shooting from the field in 2022-23. At 31, we’re not too sure what type of market Middleton will be met with. It leads us to believe he’ll opt in for 2023-24.
2023 NBA free agents: Veteran options
11. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
As underrated as they come, the 30-year-old Barnes would likely want to join a contender after he won a title with the Golden State Warriors earlier in his career. The wing is averaging 15.5 points and 5.4 rebounds on 39% three-point shooting over the past four seasons with Sacramento. Given the way his Kings are constructed right now, a return to California’s capital city seems unlikely.
12. D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
The subject of trade rumors this past offseason, Russell is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers following a blockbuster three-team trade with Minnesota and Utah. He has a chance to up his value in free agency while playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to close up shop on the 2022-23 campaign.
13. Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Horford was merely a means to an end when Boston re-acquired him while moving off Kemba Walker’s contract ahead of the 2021-22 season. It seemed that the five-time All-Star had seen his best days.
Not so fast. En route to helping Boston to the 2022 NBA Finals, Horford averaged 12.0 points and 9.3 rebounds while connecting on an otherworldly 48% of his three-point shots in the playoffs. A perfect fit with the Celtics, it would be a surprise if he landed anywhere else next summer after continuing his excellent play in 2022-23.
14. Josh Hart, New York Knicks (player option)
Pretty much an afterthought in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade to the Lakers back in 2019, Hart has morphed into a darn good player. The 27-year-old wing averaged nearly 20 points per game on 50% shooting with Portland after being acquired in the CJ McCollum trade last February. He’s now doing his thing in New York and could up his value big time moving forward.
15. Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors
Re-acquired by Toronto at the NBA trade deadline, Poeltl remains one of the most-underrated big men in the game. He’s averaging 12.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists since the start of the 2021-22 season. The 7-foot-1 center has also shown improvement on defense with a positive defensive plus-minus every season outside of his rookie campaign back in 2016-17. He’s one of the most intriguing NBA free agents of the cycle.
16. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks (player option)
Bogdan Bogdanovic has not necessarily progressed at the level Atlanta had hoped for when it brought him in back in 2020-21. He’s averaging what would be a five-year low 14.6 points per game in 2022-23 while adding a mere 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He’s also a net-negative on defense. Even then, teams will show interest in a career 38% three-point shooter who stands at 6-foot-6 from the two-guard spot and can hit with defenders in his face.
17. Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies
Call him an enigma. Say he doesn’t have great shot selection. That’s fine. We are also talking about one of the better wing defenders in the game and someone who brings passion to the court. It should also be noted that the 26-year-old Brooks averaged a career-high 19.4 points a season ago. Though, his market as one of the top two-way NBA free agents this summer could be impacted by regression in 2022-23 (14.8 PPG, 39% shooting).
18. Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (player option)
There was some talk about Trent Jr. being dealt ahead of the trade deadline. The wing has an $18.56 million player option for the 2023-24 season. He’ll likely decline it. Even as a one-dimensional player, Trent Jr. provides what teams look for from a scoring standpoint. He’s averaging 18.5 points on 38% shooting from distance over the past two seasons. At issue here is lackluster defense (1.4 defensive win shares in 2022-23) and a lack of other production (2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists).
19. Russell Westbrook, Utah Jazz
Westbrook’s days of cashing in on huge contracts are pretty much over. He was a disaster during his stint with the Lakers before heading to Utah in a trade deadline deal. Westbrook will likely be bought out by the Jazz and join another team. There’s going to be a small market for a veteran with playoff experience next summer. With that said, Westbrook’s name recognition will not make him one of the most sought after NBA free agents available.
20. Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (player option)
This former hero at Villanova signed a two-year, $9.23 million contract with the defending champs last summer. Said deal included a player option ($4.73 million) in 2023-24. Given what we’ve seen from DiVincenzo this season, it’s safe to say that he’ll opt out. The wing has been tremendous for Golden State, averaging 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in just 25 minutes of action per game. He’s also shooting a career-high 42% from three-point range. Unfortunately for Golden State, it will not be able to re-sign him in free agency.
21. Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
Even at the advanced age of 34, Lopez continues to play stellar basketball. He’s actually morphed into a top-end defender and could be an NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2022-23 (3.0 defensive win shares thus far). Offensively, he’s still a dynamic big who can stretch the floor (14.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 37% shooting from distance).
22. Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz (player option)
At this point, it stands to reason that Clarkson will opt out of his contract and become one of the most underrated NBA free agents of the cycle. He’s set to earn $14.26 million in 2023-24 and continues to outplay that number. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year is averaging a career-best 21.0 points to go with 4.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists while hitting on 45% of his shots from the field.
23. Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic
A first-round pick of the Lakers back in 2018, Wagner has actually seen his game improve leaps and bounds recently. Since the start of last season with Orlando, the Michigan product is averaging 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while hitting on nearly 50% of his shots. Teams will have interest in a 25-year-old big who has his game on an upward trajectory.
24. Naz Reid, center, Minnesota Timberwolves
Speaking of upward trajectories, what this former undrafted free agent out of LSU has done in Minnesota is nothing less than extraordinary. Over the course of his career, Reid is averaging nearly 10 points and 4.3 rebounds. This season alone, he’s shooting 53% from the field and averaging north of 10 points in just 17.7 minutes of action. Some team will give him an expanded role on the open market.
25. Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
A severe leg injury and other health issues have impacted LeVeret’s progression on the court. He’s now 28 years old and looking to find a home in free agency while being in the midst of his worst season since the wing was a rookie back in 2016. Even then, we’re talking about a guard who averaged nearly 19 points and 4.6 assists from 2019-22. There will be a market.
The best of the rest: Top 2023 NBA free agents by position
- Derrick Rose, New York Knicks (team option)
- Reggie Jackson, Denver Nuggets
- Cory Joseph, Detroit Pistons
- Patrick Beverley, free agent
- George Hill, Indiana Pacers
- Ty Jerome, Golden State Warriors
- Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers
- Jevon Carter, Milwaukee Bucks (player option)
- Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets
- Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat
- Miles McBride, New York Knicks (team option)
- Malik Beasley, Los Angeles Lakers (team option)
- Will Barton, free agent
- Terrence Ross, Phoenix Suns
- Josh Richardson, New Orleans Pelicans
- Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz (player option)
- Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons (team option)
- Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat
- Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets
- Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
- Lonnie Walker, Los Angeles Lakers
- Justin Holiday, Dallas Mavericks
- Kendrick Nunn, Washington Wizards
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Josh Okogie, Phoenix Suns
- Max Strus, Miami Heat
- Danny Green, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Kelly Oubre, Charlotte Hornets
- Jae Crowder, Milwaukee Bucks
- Joe Ingles, Milwaukee Bucks
- Rudy Gay, Utah Jazz (player option)
- Otto Porter Jr., Toronto Raptors (player option)
- Torrey Craig, Indiana Pacers
- Stanley Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
- Keita Bates-Diop, San Antonio Spurs
- Derrick Jones, Chicago Bulls
- Justise Winslow, Portland Trail Blazers
- T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns
- Kevin Knox, Portland Trail Blazers
- Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans (team option)
- Jalen McDaniels, Philadelphia 76ers
- Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Dario Saric, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Danilo Gallinari, Boston Celtics (player option)
- Jeff Green, Denver Nuggets
- Georges Niang, Philadelphia 76ers
- Markieff Moore, Dallas Mavericks
- Trey Lyles, San Antonio Spurs
- Taj Gibson, Washington Wizards
- JaMychal Green, Golden State Warriors
- Blake Griffin, Boston Celtics
- Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
- Nerlens Noel, Detroit Pistons (team option)
- Mason Plumlee, Los Angeles Clippers
- Dewayne Dedmon, Philadelphia 76ers
- Mike Muscala, Boston Celtics (team option)
- Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets
- Andre Drummond, Chicago Bears (player option)
- Robin Lopez, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns
- DeAndre Jordan, Denver Nuggets
- Thomas Bryant, Denver Nuggets
2023 restricted NBA free agents
- Coby White, guard, Chicago Bulls
- Tre Jones, guard, San Antonio Spurs
- Austin Reeves, guard, Los Angeles Lakers
- Coby White, guard, Chicago Bulls
- Matisse Thybulle, guard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Ayo Dosunmu, guard, Chicago Bulls
- Keldon Johnson, guard, San Antonio Spurs
- Rui Hachimura, forward, Los Angeles Lakers
- Cam Reddish, forward, Portland Trail Blazers
- Cameron Johnson, forward, Brooklyn Nets
- P.J. Washington, forward, Charlotte Hornets
- Grant Williams, forward, Boston Celtics
- Jaxson Hayes, center, New Orleans Pelicans
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.