In his early look at 2022’s top free agents, John Hollinger of The Athletic ranks Bulls guard Zach LaVine as the No. 1 player in next year’s class, ahead of stars like Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Nets guard James Harden. As Hollinger explains, LaVine will be just 27 years old when he reaches free agency, which means his next contract is a good bet to cover his prime years. Beal will be 29 and Harden will be entering his age-33 season, so the final seasons of long-term deals would be a little riskier in those cases — especially for Harden.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Former NBA first-round pick Malachi Richardson is continuing his professional career in Poland, having signed with King Wilki Morskie Szczecin, according to the team. The 22nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, Richardson hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2018/19 season and most recently suited up in Italy.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mexico City Capitanes’ first season in the NBA G League has them based out of an apartment complex in Fort Worth, Texas without a home arena. Scott Cacciola of The New York Times takes a closer look at an unusual start for the G League’s first Mexican franchise, which won’t actually play in Mexico in 2021/22.
- With the Lakers and Knicks set to face one another in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, Sopan Deb of The New York Times explores why Sportico and Forbes have given both teams valuations north of $5 billion and why the value of a big-market franchise like the Lakers or Knicks isn’t really dependent on whether or not they’re winning.