Top five free agents to look out for from July 1

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Free agency is such a crucial time for organisations within the NBA. While teams may secure a gala name to lead them into the next generation, they can also lose their franchise player the very same day.

Players hold all the power and as a whole host of teams jostle for the opportunity just to make a pitch, the money soars and temptation takes over.

So many questions spawn: what do the players want? Money? Title contention? Can the franchise make enough room to afford the player? To make things easy for you, we have decided to showcase the top five names hitting the open market this summer.

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The likes of LeBron James and Andre Drummond, who have player options and are restricted free agents respectively, are left off this list due to the likelihood they will resign where they are. However, there are still plenty of names to dream about wearing your team's famous colours.

Kevin Durant

The man everyone is talking about. One could argue KD is just as coveted as King James would be on the open market.

The 2014 MVP is a seven-time All-Star at just 27-years-old and has pioneered the Oklahoma City Thunder to one of the top heavyweights in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

The four-time scoring champion averages 27.4 points a night throughout his career and could literally turn the fortunes around for any franchise.

Where will he land? The Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs appear prepared to reshuffle their already mega-talented packs to fit Durantula in, but Boston, Miami, his current side OKC and the L.A. Clippers all have meetings lined up with the small forward on Friday and Saturday.

A literal game-changer, wherever he goes.

Hassan Whiteside

Dwight Howard is on the market this summer and he is a former number one draft pick who rose to prominence as the driving force behind the Orlando Magic's last Finals appearance.

But, that was seven years ago now and whilst the 30-year-old retains a career average of a double-double in points and rebounds, he's not the best center on the market this summer.

That honour goes to Hassan Whiteside, a true success story who was playing D-League basketball only two years ago. The shot-blocking machine has only just turned 27-years-old and earned under $1 million last season.

He's bound to cash in now after a season sporting averages of 14.2 points a night with 11.8 rebounds and a league-high 3.7 blocks that led to the Marshall-product finishing third in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. He also put up 41 double-doubles last term, which was the eighth most in the whole league.

Miami are desperate to keep him, but with the L.A. Lakers among a host of teams who have made him a priority this summer it's extremely plausible that he jumps ship.

Mike Conley

Some of the media have insisted this is a shallow free agency class, and when compared to Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley might not be a household name with a litany of All-Star honours you'd wish for at the one spot.

But, make no mistake, he's the most talented point guard available this summer and at 28-years-old, he is bringing more to the table than Rajon Rondo.

He has been a pillar of the Memphis Grizzlies for his entire NBA career and along with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol has made the Tennessee franchise a solid playoff outfit.

Career averages of 13.6 points and 5.6 assists an outing aren't ground shaking numbers, but with the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks seriously interested, it's fair to say his numbers could skyrocket with a better supporting cast.

Al Horford

The Dominican forward, who can operate at the four or five spot, is now 30-years-old, but he has shown throughout his career with the Atlanta Hawks he is a serious inside presence who knows where the basket is.

Coming off his first-ever full regular season where he played all 82 games, Horford boasted a career-high 1.5 blocks a night on top of 15.2 points and he also put his best performance on the boards in four years.

Last February, Horford recorded his 200th double-double in the NBA to show how influential he can be. He would be a massive loss in Atlanta, and some contenders might consider the four-time All-Star as someone who could improve their frontcourt this summer.

The Houston Rockets have been credited with the biggest interest in the 2007 third overall draft pick, but one could imagine the Sixers or the Lakers making a serious run at Horford if their top targets don't go according to plan. He could prove to be a reliable outlet for young rosters like those for sure.

DeMar DeRozan

The Toronto Raptors shooting guard is an extremely rare commodity in today's league; he's a guard who doesn't really take three point shots.

He prefers to slash in the lane and either trust his jumper or make layups. According to, last season, he became the first guard in five years to attempt at least 1,300 field goals, yet attempt fewer than 140 three-pointers. Curry scored over 400 three-pointers.

In the playoffs that proved to be his demise as he struggled to truly assert himself on games as the opposition knew he wouldn't take bombs from deep and crowded his likely destinations.

Does that cap his earning potential? He's still destined for big money, and will earn either a max-contract or a shade under it. The Lakers want to bring the 26-year-old back to where he was born and raised, but DeRozan has insisted his preferred option is to re-sign with the Raptors.

After dropping an average of 23.5 points last season, there will be an eager queue waiting should negotiations with the Raptors turn sour.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference

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