Top NBA free agents for 2024: Some of biggest stars could be packing bags this offseason

In the NBA, next season is never far away.

Even though two months remain in the 2023-24 season, teams are already looking ahead and plotting for next season – searching for ways to improve.

And free agency, which begins shortly after the June draft on July 1, is one way to do that.

Here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • An unrestricted free agent can sign with any team.

  • A restricted free agent can sign an offer sheet from another team but the team he was with the previous season can match the offer and retain him.

  • A player with a player option on the next season can opt out his contract and become a free agent, or he can play out the final season of the contract he is under.

  • A player whose contract includes a team option on the final year of the deal means the team has the choice to keep him or let him become a free agent.

Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up for a dunk during the first half against the Pistons at Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2024.
Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up for a dunk during the first half against the Pistons at Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2024.

Here are the top NBA free agents for 2024:

1. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers, restricted free agent

An All-Star this season and a vital part of the Sixers, Maxey is line for a significant contract, and Philadelphia has no plans to let him go.

2. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, player option

James, who has $51.4 million for 2024-25 left on his contract, indicated at the All-Star Game he wants to remain with the Lakers. But he could opt out and re-sign for a larger yearly amount.

3. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, player option

Under contract for $48.7 million in 2024-25, George can become a free agent. Amid a successful season, the Clippers want to keep the George, 33 years old and a nine-time All-Star.

4. Pascal Siakam, Indiana Pacers, unrestricted free agent

Though he is able to explore options in free agency, all signs point toward Siakam re-upping with Indiana, which acquired him from Toronto in a trade deadline move, on a four-year deal.

5. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls, unrestricted

Another veteran who is still producing, DeRozan is in a good spot to pick the ideal situation.

6. James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers unrestricted

Harden has been really, really good for the Clippers, and a major part of their success at 17.5 points, 8.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game and at 42.1% shooting on 3s. Money and years on a new deal will be the key factors on his next contract.

7. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers, unrestricted

Harris is solid and dependable (17.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 50.7% shooting this season) and will be just 32 when next season starts.

8. Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets, unrestricted

With his legal troubles mostly behind him, Bridges will be in demand. He’s averaging 21.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists and shooting 46.4% from the field and 37.1% on 3-pointers.

9. Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics, player option

Holiday, 33, is due $37.3 million in 2024-25, and if he decides to become a free agent, he will have his choices, including the possibility of another multi-year deal.

10. OG Anunoby, New York Knicks, player option

Acquired by the Knicks at the trade deadline, Anunoby has a player option at $19.9 million. Regardless, Anunoby staying with New York seems to be the play.

11. D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers, player option

Often the subject of trade talks, Russell is due $18.6 million next season. He averages 17.5 points, 6.3 assists and shoots 41.7% on 3s with just 1.9 turnovers per game.

12. Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, unrestricted

Massive big men still have a place in today’s game, and Valanciunas delivers at 13.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 57.3% from the field – in just 25.5 minutes per game.

13. Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets, unrestricted

A double-double guy (12.2 points at 62.5% shooting from the field, 10.2 rebounds per game this season), the 6-11 Claxton is also a rim protector at 2.3 blocks per game.

14. Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings, unrestricted

Monk has solidified himself as one of the best Sixth Men. This season, he’s averaging 15.1 points, 5.3 assists and shooting 37.5% on 3-pointers.

15. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers, player option

Due $4 million in 2024-25 if he exercises his player option, Westbrook could try to get more, and when he accepts his role as a reserve, he can be valuable to a contender.

16. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, unrestricted

Big decisions coming for Golden State and Thompson, one of the game’s great shooters, as a possible breakup looms.

17. Spencer Dinwiddie, Los Angeles Lakers, unrestricted

Dinwiddie is a scorer, and much of what happens for him in the offseason will be the result of what he does with the Lakers the remainder of the season.

18. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets, player option

A vital member of Denver’s 2023 championship squad, Caldwell-Pope can take his $15.4 million for 2024-25 or seek a longer deal for more money.

19. Tyus Jones, Washington Wizards, unrestricted

Jones is a steady point guard who has to make this decision: Go to a contending team with a smaller role or play a larger role for a team that might not be a contender.

20. Bruce Brown, Toronto Raptors, team option

Brown took big money to sign with Indiana (two years, $45 million). He was traded to Toronto, and the Raptors have until June 29 to decide if they want to pick up his option year for 2024-25 or make him a free agent.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Top NBA free agents 2024: LeBron James, Paul George among big names