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Potential free agents to target in 2024

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson are among players who could possibly hit the open market next summer.

Could both LeBron James and Anthony Davis be in different uniforms in 2024?

With 2023 free agency winding down, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2024. And if your team missed out on this year’s class, it may find something it likes among potential free agents for next summer.

Some of the following players could sign contract extensions between now and July 1, 2024,  but as things currently stand, they’re all potential free agents.

1. Anthony DavisLeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Update: Davis has signed an extension with L.A.

James’ son, Bronny James, will be Draft-eligible next year, and dad has a player option for 2024-25, allowing him to become a free agent and sign anywhere. Davis could have done the same via an early-termination option.

The Lakers have, essentially, reshuffled their roster four times since they won the championship in 2020. The only players remaining from that team are the two stars. And the biggest shake-up of all could come in 2024.

2. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Update: Brown has signed an extension with Boston.

Brown is not a player you’d want to lose for nothing, so the Celtics would surely like to sign him to an extension this summer. While the Celtics have the most wins (regular season and playoffs) over the last six years, they don’t have a championship to show for it, and Brown’s flaws have been exposed in later rounds of the playoffs. But he’s still an incredibly talented and versatile player, and the Celtics are trying something different with the offseason addition of Kristaps Porzingis.

3. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Toronto starters Pascal Siakam (left) and OG Anunoby will hit the free agency market in 2024.

With Fred VanVleet gone, there seems to be doubt about the future of Siakam (the last remaining piece from the 2019 championship rotation) in Toronto. If he doesn’t ink an extension, the Raptors run the risk of losing another key veteran for nothing. So there could be a lot of trade chatter (and/or a trade) before he hits free agency. He had a strong season in ’22-23, averaging career-highs in points (24.2) and assists (5.8) per game.

4. OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors

Anunoby hasn’t quite reached his perceived ceiling as a do-it-all wing with size. But he was second team All-Defense while shooting 38.7% from 3-point range in 2022-23. He’s also three years younger than Siakam, so the Raptors would value him more if they’re planning on being a team of the future instead of the present. Anunoby has a $20 million player option for 2024-25 that he will most likely decline for a bigger payday.

5. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers

James Harden (right) and Tyrese Maxey have not signed contract extensions, which makes them eligible to become free agents in 2024.

Harden surprisingly exercised his player option for the 2023-24 season, and he reportedly wants a trade out of Philly. If he doesn’t sign an extension (with whatever team he’s on) prior to next summer, he’ll be a free agent.

It’s not clear why Harden would want to leave what was the third-best team in the regular season. But the Sixers certainly can’t afford to take a step backward with the reigning Kia MVP in his prime, and Harden (though his own finishing ability has diminished over the last two years) is a big reason why Joel Embiid is the league MVP in the first place.

6. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

So far, five first-round picks from the 2020 Draft have signed rookie extensions: Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Isaiah Stewart and Desmond Bane. Maxey is the best of the rest, a list that also includes Devin Vassell (Spurs), Immanuel Quickley (Knicks) and Jaden McDaniels (Wolves).

Any of those players that don’t sign an extension this summer will be a restricted free agent in 2024. That may likely be the case with Maxey if the Sixers want to preserve flexibility. Currently, they have just four players (including Embiid) under contract for 2024-25, with Harden, Tobias Harris and De’Anthony Melton all being unrestricted free agents (unless they sign extensions).

7. Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets

Nicolas Claxton had a breakout season in 2022-23 and looks to be a key part of Brooklyn’s future.

Claxton is one of the best bargains and most improved players in the league, in the middle of a two-year, $17.3 million contract. He’s a bouncy big who led the league in field goal percentage and can defend both inside and out. He’s just 24 years old and due for a big raise (as an unrestricted free agent) next summer. But the Nets (who don’t have much else on the frontline) won’t want to let him get away.

8. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

DeMar DeRozan is entering his 15th NBA season, and his 3rd with the Bulls in 2023-24.

DeRozan will be 35 years old at the start of the 2024-25 season. But he remains a bucket, he’s missed just 14 games in his two seasons with the Bulls, and ’22-23 was the second most efficient (true shooting percentage of 59.2%) of his 14-year career. It will be very interesting to see what he wants to do (in regard to contention, location and compensation) a year from now.

9. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Will Klay Thompson remain part of Golden State’s core next summer?

This coming season will be the 11th with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Thompson together, with Green having signed a new four-year contract this summer. Thompson is next up in regard to free agency, with one year left on the five-year, $190 million contract he signed (with a torn ACL) in 2019.

Since returning from a two-and-a-half-year absence in January of 2022, Thompson has played in 136 (84%) of a possible 161 games. He took only 21% of his shots (the lowest rate of his career) in the paint in 2022-23 and will turn 34 in February, but he did shoot 41% from 3-point range.

10. Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers

Buddy Hield shot 42.5% from 3-point range in 2022-23.

Hield is, simply, one of the best shooters in the world — and not just off the catch. Among 95 players who attempted at least 75 pull-up 3-pointers this past season, only Curry and Malcolm Brogdon shot them better than Hield (43.8%). Every team needs shooting and Hield (31 in December and having missed just six games over his seven-year career) still has plenty of tread on his tires.

11. Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets

Bridges missed all of last season and is suspended another 10 games to start 2023-24. Having signed the Hornets’ qualifying offer, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The last we saw him, Bridges was a Kia Most Improved Player candidate, averaging 20.2 ppg for a top-10 offense. Without him this past season, the Hornets ranked dead last in offensive rating, having seen the league’s biggest drop in points scored per 100 possessions.

12. Caleb Martin, Miami Heat

Martin busted out in the playoffs, almost winning the MVP award for the Eastern Conference Finals, having averaged 19.3 ppg on 60% shooting as the Heat beat the Celtics in seven games. He’ll be 29 years old at the start of the 2024-25 season, so his ceiling probably isn’t much higher than the player he is now. But Martin is the kind of versatile wing that every team would love to have.

A few more possibilities: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard & Jrue Holiday

Paul George (left) and Kawhi Leonard could possibly be free agents in 2024, too.

One franchise has a title in hand, while the other has never reached the NBA Finals. But the Bucks and Clippers might both be in “Let’s try this one more time” mode with their veteran cores.

The Clippers made a huge splash when they added both George and Leonard in the summer of 2019. But in the four years since, the two stars have played just 142 (41%) of a possible 347 games together, including just 38 (none in the playoffs) over the last two seasons. The Bucks, meanwhile, had their four core players on the floor together for just 195 total minutes (including playoffs) this past season.

All three of these guys have player options for 2024-25 and, given their ages and/or injury histories, it would be hard for them to decline a $49 million (George and Leonard) or $39 million (Holiday) salary. That’s why they’re down here instead of in the list above. But maybe one will be looking for either long-term security or a change of scenery.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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