An Early Look At Top 5 NBA Free Agents For 2023

Free agency has faded to a slow trickle at this point in the summer, but that doesn't mean that NBA teams aren't already making plans for the free agent market next summer.  

With that, let's have an extremely early look at the top 5 free agents available in the summer of 2023.

1. LeBron James

Now, no one expects James to go elsewhere at this point, but the 38-year-old will still be in pretty heavy demand if he gets to free agency. The Los Angeles Lakers do have the option of offering him a 2-year, $97M extension this summer, but no one expects James to lock himself up through the 2024-25 season, which would be his son Bronny's first in the league. We all know about LeBron's desire to play with his son that season. 

2. Khris Middleton (player option)

The 2021 NBA champion has a player option after this season, and at the age of 31 next summer, it's possible he could opt-out looking for another long-term deal. That option, however, for 2023-24, is worth $40M, so there could certainly be some doubt about whether he'd exercise it. 

3. Andrew Wiggins 

After a breakthrough season, in which the former No. 1 overall pick finally blossomed into an All-Star, and was a key playoff contributor on both sides of the ball helping the Golden State Warriors to the championship, Wiggins could be looking at a huge payday in the summer of 2023. 

4. James Harden (player option)

It's reasonable to slot Harden in here, as he does have a $35M player option that he could exercise to become a free agent once again. It all depends, of course, on how things go this season. Will the Joel Embiid-James Harden Philadelphia 76ers reach the playoff pinnacle, or will Harden continue the downward slide he showed last season? There are a lot of factors that could determine if Harden opts out.

5. Kyrie Irving

He opted in to the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, at $36M. And we all know that, in trying to negotiate himself a trade elsewhere in the league, there were no teams interested—other than the Los Angeles Lakers. And the Nets and Lakers still haven't been able to broker a deal. It's pretty safe to say that on the free agent market next summer, if LeBron is still in Los Angeles, that would be the obvious destination for Kyrie. 

The restricted free agents for 2023, at this point, would be Jordan Poole (Warriors), Tyler Herro (Miami Heat), and R.J. Barrett (New York Knicks).

Photos: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports, Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports