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 included embattled Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving.
This doesn’t even take into account two players from the defending champion Golden State Warriors in Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole who have progressed big time recently. Here, we look at the top potential 2023 NBA free agents with a position-by-position breakdown below.
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1. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
After picking up his option for the 2022-23 season, it sure looks like the enigmatic Irving will play out the final year of his deal in Brooklyn. As you already know, he’s been the subject of trade talks. Barring something short of extraordinary, he’s going to play out this season in the Big Apple. 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 three-year run in Brooklyn, Irving is averaging 27.1 points and 6.0 assists on 49% shooting, including a 41% mark from three-point range.
2. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks (player option)
Depending on how he performs this season after suffering a knee injury early in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Middleton could very well opt out of his $40.4 million deal for the 2023-24 campaign.
When on the court, this former second-round pick has proven himself to be among the game’s most underrated. Middleton is averaging 19.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 39% shooting from distance over the past five seasons.
3. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
The improvement we’ve seen from Wiggins since Golden State acquired him midway through the 2019-20 season has been astonishing. He’s morphed into one of the better all-around wings in the game. Wiggins’ performance in the 2022 NBA Finals magnified this with the former No. 1 pick averaging 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds while playing elite-level defense.
There’s a good chance that the defending champs will max out Wiggins ahead of opening night. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll be among the most-coveted 2023 NBA free agents. Still only 27 (that’s crazy), Wiggins is just now hitting his prime.
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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 led to speculation that he could be moved this summer.
Despite that, we’re talking about a tremendous two-way big who can hit the perimeter shot and has displayed solid passing skills. It will make him a highly-coveted player on the open market come the summer of 2023.
5. 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.
6. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
With Indiana going into full-scale rebuild mode, Turner is likely going to be the next big-name player moved ahead of the 2022-23 regular season. Whether he signs an extension with a new team remains to be seen.
What we do know is that Turner would be among the most sought-after NBA free agents next summer. Here’s a dude who is averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds over the past six seasons. That span has also seen Turner lead the NBA in blocks twice.
7. Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors (restricted)
Poole, 23, is among the most-talented young guards in the NBA. His combination of speed and three-point shooting was showcased during Golden State’s run to the NBA title in 2022 with the former first-round pick from Michigan averaging 17.0 points on 51% shooting from the field during the playoffs.
It’s highly unlikely that Poole will even come close to sniffing free agency. The Warriors are intent on signing him to a massive extension ahead of opening night. The only question here is whether it will be the max of $190 million over five years.
2023 NBA free agents: Veteran options
8. 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 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds on 39% three-point shooting over the past three seasons with Sacramento. Perhaps, he’s dealt ahead of the 2022-23 season or during February’s NBA trade deadline.
9. D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves
The subject of trade rumors earlier this past offseason, Russell is now likely to run it back for his third full season with the Timberwolves. Still only 26, he fell out of favor in the playoffs a season ago. Russell will have to put up a stellar 2022-23 campaign if he’s going to cash in on another lucrative long-term deal.
10. Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards
One of the centerpieces that landed Russell Westbrook on the Lakers last summer, 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. While the 26-year-old Kuzma will never be considered a franchise cornerstone, he’ll be among the most talked about NBA free agents of the 2023 cycle.
11. Bojan Bogdanovic, Detroit Pistons
The 33-year-old Bogdanovic will be calling another NBA city home next season. He was on the block for some time before being acquired by the Detroit Pistons from the Utah Jazz. The 33-year-old is a career 39% three-point shooter. That type of range will be valuable on the market next summer.
12. 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.
13. Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors
All Trent Jr. has done since coming into the league as a second-round pick back in 2018 is up his game each and every year. With the Raptors in 2021-22, the wing averaged 18.3 points while shooting 38% from beyond the arc. The only question here is whether he’ll ever turn into a good all-around player. There’s issues with efficiency and he’s not the greatest of defenders.
14. 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 in 2022-23. 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.
15. 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 has seen his stock drop big time. Even then, we’re talking about a 20-point scorer who can hit from the outside and average a double-double. A strong performance in 2022-23 could lead to Porzingis opting out of his contract.
16. Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers
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.
Top 2023 NBA free agents: Question marks
17. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Westbrook’s days of cashing in on huge contracts are pretty much over. He was a disaster in his first season with the Lakers, leading to rumors about a potential trade this past summer. Even then, there’s going to be a market for a veteran with playoff experience next summer. If Russ somehow returns to form in 2022-23, said market will be robust.
18. P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte might prioritize signing Washington to an extension given the off-court situation surrounding fellow forward Miles Bridges. If not, he’ll be one of the most-attractive young NBA free agents of the 2023 cycle. Still only 23, the former top-12 pick is averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds on 38% shooting from distance in three NBA seasons.
19. Grant Williams, Boston Celtics
An enigmatic figure, this former first-round pick from Tennessee will have to show more consistency on offense if he’s going to land a good pay day as one of the underrated NBA free agents of 2023. With that said, he’s tremendous defender and played well on the other end of the court during Boston’s NBA Finals run (8.6 PPG, 39% three-point in the playoffs).
20. Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs
There’s a good chance that the 26-year-old Poeltl won’t be long in San Antonio. Entering a contract year, the Spurs likely won’t extend him with them heading into a full-scale rebuild following the Dejounte Murray trade. Either way, there’s going to be interest in him between now and next summer. The former top-10 pick averaged career-bests in points (13.5) and rebounds (9.3) on 62% shooting during the 2021-22 season.
Top 2023 NBA free agents by position
- Eric Bledsoe, Portland Trail Blazers
- Derrick Rose, New York Knicks
- Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Lakers
- Coby White, Chicago Bulls (restricted)
- Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat
- Reggie Jackson, Los Angeles Clippers
- Ish Smith, Denver Nuggets
- Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs (restricted)
- Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers (restricted)
- Jared Butler, Utah Jazz (restricted)
- Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Malik Beasley, Utah Jazz (team option)
- Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
- Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat
- Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs
- Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz (player option)
- Alec Burks, Utah Jazz (team option)
- Danny Green, Memphis Grizzlies
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets
- Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks
- Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons
- Kendrick Nunn, Los Angeles Lakers
- Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers (restricted)
- Lonnie Walker IV, Los Angeles Lakers
- Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee Bucks
- Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets (restricted)
- Max Strus, Miami Heat
- Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
- Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (restricted)
- Will Barton, Washington Wizards
- De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (restricted)
- Joe Ingles, Milwaukee Bucks
- Kelly Oubre, Charlotte Hornets
- Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
- Rudy Gay, Utah Jazz
- Cam Reddish, New York Knicks (restricted)
- Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns (restricted)
- Justise Winslow, Portland Trail Blazers
- Troy Brown Jr., Los Angeles Lakers
- Georges Niang, Philadelphia 76ers
- Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers (restricted)
- Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (restricted)
- Taj Gibson, Washington Wizards
- Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
- Derrick Favors, Houston Rockets
- Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks
- Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets
- Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
- James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors (team option)
- Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks
- Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans (restricted)
- Robin Lopez, Cleveland Cavaliers
- DeAndre Jordan, Philadelphia 76ers
- Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.