Which NBA free agents will have the most impact with their decisions?

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League rules have made renewals so favorable to veterans during a period when salaries have risen faster than the cap, so 2023 won’t have the stellar power or depth of past or future free agent classes. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant signed renewals last year that took them out of the free agent class this summer, along with Patrick Beverley, Malcolm Brogdon, Clint Capella, Dorian Finney-Smith, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart.

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However, a few stars will be available when the NBA free agency officially opens Thursday at 6:00 pm ET (players and teams can sign contracts during this moratorium period, but can’t complete them until July 6).

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All-stars Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine are the best players sure to be available, while Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving could opt out of free agency by giving up his $36.9 million player option before Wednesday’s deadline.

Aside from the stars and restricted free agents (led by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton), there is a group of useful role players whose decisions in the coming days could help shape the 2023 title race.

Here’s a look at this summer’s most important free agents:


Player choice

James Harden | g | Philadelphia 76ers