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NBA Unrestricted Free Agents to Watch

NBA Free Agents
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The NBA off-season is now in full swing, and there are some NBA Unrestricted Free Agents to watch. 

The free agency period is set to begin on Friday, June 30, at 6 pm ET.  The 2023 class of free agency sees plenty of big names available to grab. One of the bigger names in this year’s block is guard Kyrie Irving. This article will detail specifically some of the big-name NBA Unrestricted Free Agents and where may be potential best fits.

NBA Unrestricted Free Agents to Watch in 2023

Option No. 1: Kyrie Irving

As he prepares to enter his 13th season in the NBA, Kyrie Irving still has some gas left in the tank. Statistically speaking, Kyrie is one of the more dynamic offensive players in today’s game. In the 2022-23 season, between the Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, Irving put together a healthy 27-5-5 stat line on 49-38-90 shooting slashes. An exciting three-level scorer who can go off just about any night, Irving would be a great piece to any offense. In the past few seasons, he is learning to become more of a No. 2 scoring option.

Of course, playing alongside Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic will help a player’s cause to lead an offense. Similarly, seeing those names as teammates give other teams thoughts on what he can be like as a leader. Irving, in the same vein, is well-known for his ability to facilitate his team’s offense, whether it be as a scorer or as a passer.


Rumors are going around that Kyrie may want a reunion with the Mavs during the off-season. There are, however, a couple of  sleeper teams that could emerge as potential suitors. One of those sleepers is the Los Angeles Lakers. If Irving does take his talents to Hollywood, he could reunite with LeBron James. Those two were keystone pieces in the 2016 championship run for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Another potential Wild Card in this position is the Chicago Bulls. Not only does Chicago appear to be an up-and-coming team, but they need some help at the lead guard position. Irving can be that guy for the Bulls, and, likewise, he can provide some stability at the point.

Best fit for Irving: Mavericks

Option No. 2: James Harden

Another guard bound for a big payday is James Harden. Harden is planning on opting out of his current contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Harden Details

Harden’s play style is similar to that of the aforementioned Kyrie Irving. Irving and Harden were also once teammates on the Nets. Those days are since long gone. But, unlike Irving, Harden works as more of a passer. James averaged 21 points, six rebounds and almost 11 assists a contest last year. However, he will be going into his age 34 season in 2023-24.


The 76ers are actively pursuing to bring back Harden on a more team-friendly deal to free up some cap space. One other team looking for a reunion is the Houston Rockets. Arguably, Harden’s statistically best years were as a part of Houston. But with their young core, would they be willing to sacrifice a youth movement for an all-in championship window? Plus, there is the topic of chemistry issues that could get a look.

Best Fit For Harden: 76ers

NBA Unrestricted Free Agents in 2023, Option No. 3: Fred VanVleet

One of the under-the-radar names to watch will be guard Fred VanVleet. The six-year veteran is coming off of a year in which he set career-highs in two-point field goal percentage (.455) and free-throw percentage (.898). VanVleet is someone with a championship pedigree, and he can be a unique leader for any team.

What Will VanVleet Bring To The Table?

As a part of the 2019 championship with the Toronto Raptors, VanVleet can be a key glue guy for a team. He has some solid passing skills, and can also be a pest on defense. When he’s on his game, he can be a matchup nightmare.


The Raptors are definitely wanting to bring back VanVleet. But one other team who is making a serious push are again, the Houston Rockets. To build the young core, VanVleet would be a nice fit with Houston. Especially with his bulldog mentality. He could help push the Rockets to at least be a play-in team.

Best fit for VanVleet: Rockets

Option No. 4: Khris Middleton

An unexpected name on this list is Khris Middleton. Middleton, alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, are the heart and soul of the Milwaukee Bucks.

What Will Middleton Bring to a Team?

Despite missing a good chunk of last season due to injury, Middleton is a guy who can give steady production as a starter or in a sixth man role. He averages about 17 points a game in Milwaukee for his career, and knocks down about 39% of his threes. Middleton is a viable contributor who can be a great piece to complement any unit.


At this point, it almost seems certain that the Bucks will be retaining Middleton. But if the plans fall through, one team that could emerge to acquire him would be the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento is looking for a big splash to prove that they are a true competitor.

Best Fit For Middleton: Bucks

NBA Unrestricted Free Agents Option No. 5: Jakob Poeltl

Another sleeper name to watch will be big man Jakob Poeltl. After being mostly a bench guy for his first couple of seasons, Poeltl is slowly emerging into a nightly double-double threat. In 72 games with the Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs last season, the Austrian native averaged 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds a contest, which are some pretty solid numbers to help an up and coming team.

What Will Poeltl Bring to a Team?

Right away, Poeltl brings an immediate post presence who can lock down the boards every night. He plays more of a traditional big man role, which is becoming a lost art in today’s NBA.


There are at least a couple of teams who see some value in Poeltl’s services. The Raptors are definitely interested in re-signing him to keep the core bench intact. Another team showing interest is his former team, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs may be looking to reunite with Poeltl so he can partner with prized draft acquisition Victor Wembanyama. A third is the Houston Rockets.

Best Fit For Poeltl: Spurs

Option No. 6: Draymond Green

The final intriguing name on this list is Draymond Green. Green declined his player option and will be testing the waters. The true glue guy behind the dynasty with the Golden State Warriors, Green posted a career-high in field goal percentage last season (.527) and efficient field goal percentage (.570).

What Does Green Bring?

Once Draymond steps on the court, he is a vocal leader. His style of play is very gritty, but he acts like a leader. Sure, he might not be a number one scoring option, but his all-around contributions are valuable to any team.


The majority opinion has Green returning to the Warriors, but there are other options, according to SB Nation. One is the Kings, especially considering the ties to former coach and now current Kings head coach Mike Brown. A sleeper option would be the Detroit Pistons, considering Green is a resident of Saginaw, Michigan, and he went to college in Michigan. A long shot option would be the Portland Trail Blazers. It would depend on cap space and what Portland wants to do with their current roster.

Best Fit for Warriors: Toss-Up Between Warriors and Kings

NBA Unrestricted Free Agents Honorable Mention: Bruce Brown

One of the under-the-radar additions to the NBA championship-winning Denver Nuggets, Bruce Brown quietly goes along his game and can be an unexpected source of steady offense off the bench. Brown posted a career-high 11.5 points per game in 80 contests last season.

What Will Brown Bring?

As a part of the recent championship win, Brown is a guy who can emerge as a versatile do-it-all type of player. He can play the one, the two, or the three, and he can help take some pressure off a star’s scoring load in the second unit.


A couple of teams are showing interest in Brown. The Lakers are one of the names in the running. The Mavericks are in the hunt, with the Nuggets also pursuing a chance to resign him.

Best Fit for Brown: Nuggets or Mavericks

These are just some of the big-name NBA Unrestricted Free Agents to watch as the free agency clock ticks toward June 30. Where these names go could create a major shake-up in a team’s landscape for the 2023-24 season. Only time will tell where everyone will end up going.



Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience, and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate also works as a bar trivia host and can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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