NBA Free Agents 2019: Rumors, Predictions of Potential Targets in Low Season | Bleacher's report

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Oakland, Calif. - March 5: Kyrie Irving, No. 11 Boston Celtics, and Kevin Durant, No. 35 Golden State Warriors, in the March 5, 2019 game at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO THE USER: The user acknowledges and expressly agrees that, by downloading and / or using this photo, the user consents to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Compulsory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images)

Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

Cue up "Just The Two of Us" by Grover Washington Jr. because for the category of free agents of the NBA 2019, the two biggest names of the board are Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Normally, the news cycle would be overwhelmed by rumors and rumors regarding Irving's and Durant's signature – separately – but everything suggests that they will join forces this summer as a new duo New York Knicks superstars.

Boston Celtics superstars and Golden State Warriors are big fish, but the rest of the class are not exactly guppies.

DeMarcus' cousins ​​Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard are also up for grabs in July, making the epic imminent in the off season.

Last year, the biggest superstar of the league was on the market and Magic Johnson caused a sensation by having it signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The affable Hall of Famer must have this followed by another big signature if he wants to be the one who puts the Purple and Gold back into play.

All of these are great fodder as the tough regular season comes to an end and the future of teams that may not be playing in the playoffs is at stake.

In this spirit, here's a glimpse of the biggest rumors about where the big names will sign on the dotted line.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the dynamic duo?

It goes without saying that the media will ask a player such as Durant to share his imminent free will, as he is arguably the second best player in the league.

But Durant has added fuel to the fire by not closing any free agents' questions.

At best, this strategy proved unwise as it caused a clash between Durant and teammate Draymond Green earlier this season.

Green's insistence that the Warriors "did not need" Durant had only exacerbated the situation and put the latter in the uncomfortable place of having to justify his business as usual for the purpose. # 39; goal of the team consisting of beating three players as NBA champions leading to what may or may not happen this summer as a result of their dusting.

Not only that, but Durant's frustration with the whole process has culminated in the viral speech "I do not trust you" against the media about speculation surrounding his independent agency.

To this end, rumors have been running for some time that Durant will sign with the Knicks.

The fact that Durant's company and trading partner, Rich Kleiman (a big fan of the Knicks), is based in New York adds to the intrigue of this line of thinking.

Another draw string is perhaps the latest in Heavy.com's Brandon Robinson, who reports that his sources believe that Durant had a secret meeting with the Knicks in January, when Golden State was in town.

If this is true, it could lead to serious accusations of forgery.

In addition, Robinson pointed out that another factor in Durant's decision-making might be the Knicks assistant coach, Royal Ivey.

Ivey was Durant's teammate on the Texas Longhorns and the Thunder of Oklahoma City. Now, Ivey is head coach David Fizdale. It should also be noted that Durant is the godfather of Ivey's daughter, Lyric Ella.

This is the kind of close relationship that could make New York a destination of choice for Durant, who after winning the MVP Finals trophy two times in a row, could try to change the story that he can not win "with his own team ".

During the match to bring his unstoppable attack to Mecca Basketball is huge, but when Irving joins him to play Madison Square Garden, it becomes the kind of news that no one can stop talking. sure.

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 5: Kyrie Irving, No. 11 of the Boston Celtics, talks to Kevin Durant, No. 35 Golden State Warriors after the March 5, 2019 game at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO THE USER: The user expressly acknowledges and accepts that by

Noah Graham / Getty Images

Unfortunately, like Durant, Irving let rumors go out of control.

Instead of insinuating any free-will discussion in the bud, Irving answered all the questions, made grinning faces at every opportunity that offered to him and behaved like a s He was already at the door in Boston.

Irving's disengagement would have caused a break in the Celtics' locker room, which has not yet responded to pre-season expectations.

Boston is fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, a turning point since the start of the season, when they were considered the favorites to be the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the East. .

According to Celtics insider sources A. Sherrod Blakely, Irving has been the # 1 target of the Knicks since last summer, but his interest in this company has been overestimated.

He kept his options open, largely because of what happened when he came out of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he made no commitment to a team before duty because, the last one Once, he felt betrayed.

He said it very clearly in February.

"In the end, I'm going to do what's best for me and for my career," Irving told reporters. "I owe nothing to anyone."

Like Durant, Irving is upset by the media, suggesting that they might have difficulty choosing to join the Knicks because the spotlight will be extremely brilliant and the New York media is reputed pitiless.

It is probably for this reason that TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley warned Durant and Irving not to land with the Knicks.

"[They] It's not loud enough to play New York, "Barkley said. Sports IllustratedIt's Jimmy Traina. "I do not think he or Kyrie are strong enough to play in New York."

He continued:

"Kyrie is a very good player. Kevin is a very good player. But I'm not sure that they have the mental structure to play New York. There are many things to play in New York. And these guys are complaining about the media asking questions and things like that. Maybe New York is not for them. New York is a different animal. There are some places where everyone can not play."

NBA fans will have to wait to see if Durant and Irving choose to be part of the Knicks revival this summer, but by then they will have to develop thicker skins.

Prediction: Durant and Irving sign with the Knicks.

Will Kawhi Leonard stay or leave?

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 14: Kawhi Leonard, No. 2 Toronto Raptors, dribbles the ball while LeBron James, No. 23 Los Angeles Lakers, defends in the first half of an NBA game at Scotiabank Arena March 14, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO THE USER: User exp

Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images

Calm and distant, Leonard is the legitimate antithesis of Durant and Irving.

Nobody has any idea what he's going to do this summer and he does not intend to change that.

Still, rumors are circulating about what he could do or rather what he would not do as July 1 st approaches.

According to Michael C. Wright's sources of ESPN, Leonard has no interest in signing with the Lakers.

"No [think he’s interested in the Lakers]"Wright said on Brian Windhorst's podcast." That's exactly what I've said. This is what has been said since last summer. I do not see this as something happening. I think he's going to [Los Angeles] Clippers. "

Before his injuries prevented him from staying on the ground most of last season, Leonard was generally considered the best player in the NBA.

Everyone was a little cool on Leonard, and this seemed to help him avoid all the hype surrounding his upcoming decision.

The star three times is from Los Angeles, so of course there is a lot of speculation that he will not only choose to go home, but will join King James on the Lakers.

Leonard and James would be a great team in the new era of super NBA teams, but the defensive double player of the year is built differently.

He apparently has no desire to join James; he wants to beat him.

That's why the Clippers are favored for landing him with the cap space they've got.

Of course, the Toronto Raptors would like to keep Leonard in the off-season and hope his tests this year will be enough to convince him to stay.

At least that's what the Raptors general manager, Masai Ujiri, is hoping for.

"I just believe, after very well knowing Kawhi and more, that he will make the right decision," Ujiri said, Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown.

Toronto are not playing as well as they would have liked, but they have the league's second best performance and are ready to make noise in the playoffs.

But now, more than ever, the stakes are higher for the Raptors because everything, including Leonard, will be determined by their ability to win.

Prediction: Leonard signs with the Clippers.

Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport