The 31 best NBA free agents of 2015

Kevin loveRocky Widner/GettyKevin Love could re-sign with the Cavaliers or bolt to another city.

The NBA’s free agency period begins July 1.

A deep, talented free agent class and the threat of the exploding salary cap in 2016 and 2017 should make this one of the most interesting free agency periods in recent years.

From stars like LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love potentially looking for new teams, to valuable role players looking to join contenders, teams with money to spend should have plenty of options this summer.

Here’s a look at the top free agents this summer.

* = restricted free agent, meaning a player’s original team can match any offer the player receives.

1. LeBron James, F

2014-15 team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Rumoured landing spots: Cavaliers

One thing to know: LeBron is opting out because he can make far more money and put pressure on the Cavs to build the team to his liking. It's almost a definite James returns Cleveland -- this is simply a power play.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF

2014-15 team: Portland Trail Blazers

Rumoured landing spots: San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors

One thing to know: Aldridge appears to be the premier free agent most likely to leave his team. He's been linked to San Antonio to anchor the Spurs in the post-Tim Duncan era, but there are reports that he likes the Lakers, too.

3. Marc Gasol, C

2014-15 team: Memphis Grizzlies

Rumoured landing spots: Grizzlies, Spurs, New York Knicks

One thing to know: It's a long-shot Gasol leaves Memphis, where he went to high school and has played his whole career. He'll still be highly coveted, and teams like the Spurs and Knicks seem poised to try to find other ways to woo him.

4. Kevin Love, PF

2014-15 team: Cavaliers

Rumoured landing spots: Cavaliers, Lakers, Trailblazers, Boston Celtics,

One thing to know: Love met with LeBron James recently and is reportedly expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers. But after a strange first year in Cleveland, Love could still weigh offers to be the star in big markets (LA and Boston) or his hometown (Portland).

5. Kawhi Leonard, F*

2014-15 team: Spurs

Rumoured landing spots: Spurs

One thing to know: Leonard is just 23 years old, with Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year trophies to his name, so the Spurs are almost certain to match any offer he receives.

6. Jimmy Butler, G/F*

2014-15 team: Chicago Bulls

Rumoured landing spots: Bulls, Lakers

One thing to know: Butler reportedly wants to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, but the NBA's rules prohibit him from doing so. Even if Butler wants out of Chicago, the Bulls can match any offer he receives, so his best bet may be to take the $US4.4 million qualifying offer, or re-sign in Chicago short-term.

7. Draymond Green, F/C*

2014-15 team: Golden State Warriors

Rumoured landing spots: Warriors

One thing to know: Green became the heart of the 2014-15 NBA champs and the key to their devastating small-ball attack. The Warriors will almost certainly match any offer he receives.

8. DeAndre Jordan, C

2014-15 team: Los Angeles Clippers

Rumoured landing spots: Clippers, Mavericks, Lakers, Knicks

One thing to know: Jordan's hometown Mavericks are considered the favourite outside team to sign him, but the Clippers can offer him more money and a better roster.

9. Goran Dragic, PG

2014-15 team: Miami Heat

Rumoured landing spots: Heat, Lakers

One thing to know: The Heat traded for Dragic midseason, and must have done so with the understanding that he'd be willing to re-sign. He is reportedly seeking nearly $US100 million this offseason.

10. Paul Millsap, F

2014-15 team: Atlanta Hawks

Rumoured landing spots: Hawks, Celtics, Jazz

One thing to know: After playing on a relative discount at $US10 million per year the last two seasons, he'll likely receive a big offer, from the Hawks or another team.

11. Dwyane Wade, G

2014-15 team: Miami Heat

Rumoured landing spots: Heat, ???

One thing to know: Reports indicate that Wade has opted out, which may put him at odds with the Heat, who wanted him to opt in. If he becomes a free agent, he'll still negotiate with Miami, but his asking price may be higher than they're willing to go.

12. Greg Monroe, PF/C

2014-15 team: Detroit Pistons

Rumoured landing spots: Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks

One thing to know: Monroe is already on his way out of Detroit. He's been linked all year to the Knicks, whose Triangle offence would fit Monroe's skill set.

13. Tyson Chandler, C

2014-15 team: Mavericks

Rumoured landing spots: Mavericks, Bucks

One thing to know: Chandler seems to be low on the Mavericks' list of priorities, which could send him elsewhere. The Bucks are reportedly interested, and he'd provide them with even more defence and length, plus veteran experience.

14. Khris Middleton, G/F*

2014-15 team: Bucks

Rumoured landing spots: Bucks

One thing to know: Middleton will be highly coveted as one of the up-and-coming wing stars of the NBA, but reports indicate that he and the Bucks will come to a quick agreement this summer.

15. DeMarre Carroll, G/F

2014-15 team: Hawks

Rumoured landing spots: Hawks, Knicks, Lakers, Pistons

One thing to know: Carroll became a breakout '3 and D' star with the Hawks, and after making only $US5 million the last two seasons, will reportedly see offers above $US10 million per year.

16. Robin Lopez, C

2014-15 team: Blazers

Rumoured landing spots: Blazers, Celtics, Knicks

One thing to know: Outside of the very top big men, the free agent market for big men is pretty bare. Lopez is a good defender, capable on offence, and willing to do the dirty work, which could make him a coveted center this summer.

17. Wesley Matthews, G/F

2014-15 team: Blazers

Rumoured landing spots: Trailblazers, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, Sacramento Kings

One thing to know: Matthews might have cracked the top 10, if not for tearing his Achilles during the season. Though some teams may be sceptical, he reportedly still wants a big contract.

18. Tristan Thompson, F

2014-15 team: Cavaliers

Rumoured landing spots: Cavaliers

One thing to know: Thompson proved his value in the 2015 playoffs when he filled in for Kevin Love. LeBron has already campaigned for the Cavs to re-sign Thompson, and they share the same agent.

19. Danny Green, G/F

2014-15 team: Spurs

Rumoured landing spots: Spurs, Knicks, Mavericks, Blazers, Pistons

One thing to know: Though Green is a big part of their team, if the Spurs aim for one of the top free agents, they may have to let Green go for financial purposes.

20. Brook Lopez, C

2014-15 team: Brooklyn Nets

Rumoured landing spots: Nets, Bucks

One thing to know: Lopez quietly had a strong finish to the 2014-15 season, and is believed to be a sure-thing to return to Brooklyn.

21. Monta Ellis, G

2014-15 team: Mavericks

Rumoured landing spots: Hawks, Heat, Pacers

One thing to know: Despite being one of the most talented free agents this summer, Ellis may linger in free agency, as teams are hesitant to sign a guard who's historically had trouble fitting in with teams.

22. Brandon Knight, PG*

2014-15 team: Phoenix Suns

Rumoured landing spots: Suns

One thing to know: Knight was traded to the Suns at the trade deadline, and though he played just 11 games there, will reportedly re-sign for five years, $US70 million.

23. Tobias Harris, F*

2014-15 team: Orlando Magic

Rumoured landing spots: Magic, Celtics, Pistons, Knicks

One thing to know: Harris reportedly wants a max contract, and if an outside team offers him one, the Magic might let him go.

24. Reggie Jackson, PG*

2014-15 team: Detroit Pistons

Rumoured landing spots: Pistons, ???

One thing to know: Jackson had a strong finish to the season after being traded to the Pistons at the trade deadline. However, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, the Pistons aren't sure if they want to pay him the going rate of the league's other young point guards.

25. Lou Williams, G

2014-15 team: Raptors

Rumoured landing spots: Heat, Kings, Nets, Knicks

One thing to know: Coming off winning Sixth Man of the Year, Williams could draw interest from lots of teams as a bench scorer and ball-handler.

26. Rajon Rondo, PG

2014-15 team: Mavericks

Rumoured landing spots: Kings, Lakers, ?

One thing to know: The biggest mystery of free agency. Rondo had a miserable stint in Dallas, his game is outdated in the NBA, and even the Lakers, long presumed to recruit him, seem to be moving on.

27. Iman Shumpert, G/F*

2014-15 team: Cavaliers

Rumoured landing spots: Cavaliers

One thing to know: The Cavaliers plan on re-signing Shumpert, who, according to Chris Haynes, will have several suitors and could earn about $US8 million annually.

28. Paul Pierce, F

2014-15 team: Washington Wizards

Rumoured landing spots: Clippers, Celtics

One thing to know: Pierce opted out of a deal with the Wizards, and will likely be pursued by teams looking for a veteran on a young squad or the final piece to the puzzle.

29. Kosta Koufos, C

2014-15 team: Grizzlies

Rumoured landing spots: Grizzlies, Knicks, Kings

One thing to know: After quietly playing well behind Marc Gasol in Memphis, Koufos could get a big offer to start elsewhere.

30. J.R. Smith, G/F

2014-15 team: Cavaliers

Rumoured landing spots: Cavaliers

One thing to know: Smith had some good moments in Cleveland, but had a poor Finals series. Cavs GM David Griffin was only lukewarm on re-signing him.

31. Patrick Beverley, PG

2014-15 team: Houston Rockets

Rumoured landing spots: Rockets, Mavericks

One thing to know: Though Beverley missed the entire postseason with a hand injury, he'll draw interest for his defence and spot-up shooting.

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