The play-in tournament is complete, and the 16-team field for the NBA playoffs is now set. On Saturday, the postseason will get underway, and the battle for a championship begins. But only one team will get to celebrate with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in June.
For the other 16 teams in the league, the offseason has arrived. And it's time to start thinking about what moves they should make to try to avoid missing out on the playoffs again next year.
There could be some talented players on the free-agent market this offseason, and it won't be long before they're working out deals and signing with teams for the 2022-23 season, and potentially longer.
Here's some of the latest free-agent buzz, along with predictions for where some key players could land.
Bridges Likely to Get Big Payday This Offseason
Miles Bridges couldn't get the Charlotte Hornets past the play-in tournament, but his fourth season with the team was still a successful one. The 24-year-old forward averaged career highs in points (20.2), rebounds (7.0) and assists (3.8) in 80 games while shooting 49.1 percent from the field.
According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, Bridges declined a four-year, $60 million contract offer from the Hornets last fall. And it seems that was a wise decision because Fischer also reported that Bridges is "expected to command a maximum salary that could total five years, $173 million this summer."
Not only that, but Bridges, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason, may not be going anywhere.
"League personnel believe the Hornets will match any offer sheet for Bridges," Fischer wrote. "That could either dissuade teams from making an earnest attempt at signing him, unnecessarily tying their hands for 48 hours. Or it may encourage a rival suitor to force Charlotte to pay his full max."
So don't expect Bridges to end up leaving Charlotte. Instead, the Hornets will pay him and continue to build around him moving forward.
Prediction: Bridges re-signs with Hornets
Will Monk Be Back with Lakers Next Season?
After spending four seasons in Charlotte, Malik Monk switched teams for the first time in his NBA career last offseason when he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 24-year-old guard went on to average a career-high 13.8 points in 76 games during the 2021-22 season.
It's possible that Monk will be back with the Lakers for the 2022-23 campaign, but it appears he'll have other options this offseason, when he'll be an unrestricted free agent. Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported that he heard from an NBA general manager that the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks could have interest in Monk.
Of those four potential suitors, one may be an early front-runner to bring him in.
"The team to watch, if he is going to leave the Lakers, which he obviously should, is the Knicks," an NBA GM told Deveney. "They had interest in him last year, and some of it might depend on what happens with Evan Fournier, do they keep him or move him?"
While it's possible that Monk returns to Los Angeles, the prediction here is that he won't. New York needs to improve its backcourt, and it will do so by inking Monk to a deal.
Prediction: Monk signs with Knicks
DiVincenzo Unhappy with Kings Heading into Offseason
Amid his fourth season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo was traded. On Feb. 10, he was sent to the Sacramento Kings as part of a four-team trade.
DiVincenzo went on to average 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 25 games for the Kings. But it doesn't seem like the 25-year-old guard enjoyed his time in Sacramento, as it appears he could soon be on the move again this offseason.
"DiVincenzo and his group, his team, are not at all happy with the Kings," Kings insider James Ham said on the Kings Beat podcast (h/t Adam Hermann of NBC Sports Philadelphia). "They believe that the Kings very specifically did not start him down the stretch of the season to limit his value in free agency."
Even though DiVincenzo is a restricted free agent and Sacramento can match offer sheets that he receives, that may not lead to a reunion. Instead, expect DiVincenzo to end up signing elsewhere this offseason.
So, where could DiVincenzo end up? There are plenty of potential fits, but an early prediction is that he could sign with the Atlanta Hawks, who could benefit from adding him to their backcourt rotation.
Prediction: DiVincenzo signs with Hawks