Given the impending trade deadline, attentions are beginning to shift toward the 2021 NBA Free Agency. As teams around the league begin to settle into their ranking, many may already be looking at the players available come the culmination of the 2020-21 season.
The NBA Free Agency lost several notable stars this year such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo prior to tip-off in December. However, there are still players in their prime or with veteran experience that could benefit sides of differing expectations.
This article will look at five such stars who are available in the 2021 NBA Free Agency market, and how they are proving their worth so far this season.
2021 NBA Free Agency: 5 stars who will attract a lot of attention prior to the offseason
#1 DeMar DeRozan
Arguably the biggest name on our NBA free agency list, DeMar DeRozan becomes an unrestricted free agent with the San Antonio Spurs in the Summer. DeRozan is averaging 19.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5 rebounds, and for some, he was snubbed from the NBA All-Star reserves.
Though many thought DeRozan may have moved prior to this season, the forward has instead expanded his game to help the Spurs up to fifth in the West, winning 5 of their 6 previous fixtures.
Next season would be his 13th in the league, and DeRozan still has a lot to offer to a side fighting for a championship. The 31-year-old has made it known that he may want to play in LA, the place where he grew up. He would be an almighty coup for the Clippers in the NBA free agency as a third scorer alongside Leonard and George.
#2 Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry - one of DeRozan's old teammates in Toronto will also be entering the NBA free agency in the offseason. Lowry has proven himself as a standout veteran guard throughout his years in the league and would add championship experience and consistent scoring to any side.
At 34, Lowry is still averaging 17.7 points a game and 1.2 steals while also producing his second-highest field-goal percentage (45.2) and rebounds (5.4). The Toronto Raptors are in a place of building for the future. Therefore, it is unlikely the franchise will offer Lowry another contract when he enters the NBA free agency, particularly given what his asking price will likely be.
#3 Victor Oladipo
While there is a chance the Houston Rockets may offer Victor Oladipo a new contract come the Summer, the shooting guard will still be one of the most sought-after players in the 2021 NBA Free Agency.
Oladipo has impressed this season since returning from injury, though is expected to be playing his basketball outside of Houston afte the Summer. Since returning from injury, Oladipo has shown his flair and form of old, averaging 18.4 points and 4.9 assists with his new side.
One of the most obvious signs of Oladipo's importance to the Rockets and indeed to any prospective side is how they have coped recently in his absence. Houston have conceded 122.5 points per game, slumping to an 11-17 record in the West.
Oladipo is an elite defender who will not demand a max-salary contract in the NBA free agency. Although Houston will be interested in re-signing, the likes of Miami Heat and New York Knicks are very much in the market for Oladipo's signature.
#4 Mike Conley Jr.
Mike Conley has settled into his role with the Utah Jazz and has been one of the franchise's pivotal stars in their successful campaign to date. Conley has improved his numbers across the board after his first season with the Jazz and is averaging 16.4 points and 5.6 assists.
As a veteran guard, he has been the perfect partner for Donovan Mitchell in the Jazz' backcourt and can make up for Mitchell's deficiencies on defense. Conley is currently averaging 1.4 steals a game.
However, he is also being paid $34.5m this year, so the franchise will have a big decision to make come the 2021 NBA free agency. While Conley has announced how happy he is in Utah, circumstances change frequently in the league. There will be plenty of suitors looking at the veteran after his performances for the high-flying Jazz.
#5 LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge would be an excellent back-up center for any competing sides next season. The 7-time All-Star will be entering the NBA free agency unrestricted and could play significant minutes and provide double-digit points to a playoff contender.
Even though he is not having his most productive season with the San Antonio Spurs, Aldridge is averaging 14 points and 4 rebounds on 26.7 minutes per matchup. He is guaranteed to have a new contract after the NBA free agency.
He is a floor-spacing vet who could easily provide end-of-game playing time off the bench and enable shooters around him. Aldridge is taking a career-high 5 three-point attempts per 36 minutes which would leave additional space to drive for others.