The NBA Finals are set to kick off in a few days, signaling that the NBA season is coming to a close soon. The 28 teams not in the Finals are focused on the NBA draft and pending free agency, trying to build rosters and improve for the 2023-24 season.
A few former Michigan Wolverines are set to become free agents and could be changing teams this off-season. Let’s break down the contract situations for Michigan players in the NBA, and break down which guys are most likely to be on a different team soon.
Pending Free agents
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
Mo Wagner, Orlando Magic
Isaiah Livers, Detroit Pistons
Moussa Diabate, Los Angeles Clippers
Out of these 4 guys, Caris LeVert is probably the one most likely to change teams. The Cavaliers will likely be making some tweaks after losing in the first round, and with the new penalties for high-spending teams with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, LeVert may not be a part of Cleveland’s future plans.
LeVert showed this postseason he can be a valuable scorer off the bench; he had 14 or more points in four of the Cavs five playoff wins, including 24 points in their only postseason win. He could be a valuable pick-up for a playoff team looking to add more bench pieces, like the New York Knicks or the Philadelphia 76ers.
Like LeVert, Wagner will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but I think the Magic would try to re-sign him. He made $3.6 million over 2 years in his last deal, so I’d think he’d be affordable to re-sign given that he’s embraced his role as an energetic backup big who occassionally shoves Pistons players into the bench.
If the Pistons don’t exercise Livers’ $1.8 million club option by June 28, he will be an unrestricted free agent. I’d be shocked if the Pistons don’t pick up the option; it wouldn’t cost them much, and Livers is a valuable role player who is clearly part of the Pistons young core.
Diabate will become a restricted free agent if the Clippers decide to extend his $1.77 million qualifying offer. He only played in 22 games with the Clippers, spending most of last season in the G-League.
Players still under contract
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Caleb Houstan, Orlando Magic
After being a staple of Miami’s rotation for three seasons, Duncan Robinson saw his minutes cut into this year. He missed some time with various injuries this season, only appearing in 42 games and playing 16.5 minutes per game. His 6.4 points per game was the lowest total since his rookie season.
Robinson has 3 more years left on his $90 million dollar deal, and he’s proved his worth this postseason, scoring double-digit points in 8 of his 18 games and being a valuable bench scorer for a Miami Heat team making a surprise run to the Finals.
With how expensive his deal is, it would be tough for Miami to deal Robinson away. I’d think it’s likely he stays on the Heat next season, given his postseason contributions.
After a breakout 2021-22 season, Jordan Poole saw his efficiency dip last season and he had some abysmal postseason showings for a Warriors team who has an uncertain future.
Their team president and GM stepped down earlier this week, and being that the Warriors are in cap hell, Poole is a likely candidate to be traded. A fresh start with a new team could be great for him.
Hardaway Jr. was the 5th-leading scorer for the Mavericks last season. Dallas does not have a lot of cap space, so they may deal Hardaway Jr. to accommodate that, but I’d think he’s likely to return if the Mavs don’t re-sign Kyrie Irving.
Wagner will be available for a contract extension in the summer of 2024; signing him to a big-money extension should be a priority for the Magic. Wagner improved a lot in his second NBA season, showcasing All-Star potential this season, averaging 18.6 points per game and being the team’s second leading scorer.
Caleb Houstan is entering the second year of his rookie deal and isn’t set to be a free agent until 2026. In 51 games this season, he averaged 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15.9 minutes, shooting 33.8% from three.