With the NBA Draft in the rear-view mirror, the attention of the basketball community now shifts to trade season and players in free agency. Pieces have already moved on the board as teams made aggressive starts to the trade season, making championship aspirations clear.
NBA 2K23 may still be entertaining fans, but with the season over eyes are already turning to NBA 2K24. With some big names hitting free agency, gamers could see a big change in who the best teams are when the new game comes around.
How Free Agency Will Impact NBA 2K24
With the likes of Chris Paul, Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Marcus Smart relocating to new franchises, the landscape of the NBA and its next video game will look completely different.
After a turbulent start, we take a look at key free-agency players and the teams capable of impacting NBA 2K24's team ratings.
It has been a challenging start to trade season for Washington Wizards fans, as they said goodbye to franchise favourite Bradley Beal and one of their best all-around players in Kristaps Porzingis.
Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, Porzingis now joins the Boston Celtics with his sights set on a championship ring. The move is a positive one for Boston fans, with Porzingis bringing to the table scoring, three-point shooting, and rim protection. As a Power Forward with Center potential, he can easily slot into the five spot to cover Robert Williams III if needed. For gamers, this acquisition is set to make the Celtics an even more explosive offensive weapon, adding a big man with a guard's range.
As a part of one of the greatest 'What Ifs' of the modern-day era, Kyrie Irving parted ways with the Brooklyn Nets, empty-handed, to join Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. There was a lot of hype around the move and expectations were high, but unfortunately, the Mavericks could not land a post-season berth.
Irving's free agency stint is expected to result in him staying with the Mavericks, but outside of Dallas, his best hope for a championship may lie in reuniting with former teammate LeBron James in Los Angeles.
A move of that calibre would be huge in the scheme of NBA 2K24, as it would add a slick scorer and one of the best ball-handlers in the league to a lineup that already includes superstars James and Anthony Davis.
It does not seem likely that James Harden will be exploring many options in free agency and moving on from Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. However, with his signature still pending on the dotted line for the 76ers, speculations continue about other possible suitors for Harden. The most interesting of them? His former club.
The Houston Rockets have one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA, but if they want to make a serious push toward the post-season next year, they will need experienced heads on the court to guide their young core.
While re-signing with the 76ers seems all but confirmed, the narrative of Harden returning to Houston would be huge for the Rockets. In NBA 2K24, it would have an enormous impact on the team's rating and bring one of the league's most prolific scorers and playmakers back to Texas.
Los Angeles Lakers
Pressure continues to build on LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers. After a plethora of trades which saw them part ways with Russell Westbrook and bring in young talents like Rui Hachimura, the Lakers failed to convert on their post-season berth.
After bowing out to eventual champions Denver in a 0-4 sweep, the Lakers fan base continues to urge their stars to hang another banner in the rafters of the famous franchise. If the Lakers really want to improve and win the title in 2024, their best hope is for a reliable guard to help with the playmaking responsibilities.
Should they not re-sign D'Angelo Russell, a push for Kyrie Irving or Fred VanVleet would bring much-needed points from the back-court and championship experience. Either guard would be a great fit for the Lakers side and would make them an even bigger force to be reckoned with in Franchise Mode.
Dallas fans rejoiced at the sight of Kyrie Irving joining the Mavericks mid-way through last season. However, despite the firepower in their back-court, the Mavericks could not seem to put their foot on the gas at the tail-end of the regular season. As a result, they failed to make the playoffs in a shocking finish to the year.
Irving is in the free agency, but re-signing with Dallas seems the most likely outcome for the star guard. This is great for the Mavericks, but they will need to make some big decisions to support Doncic and Irving if they want a championship.
Coming off a career-best season, Washington's Kyle Kuzma would appear to be a great option to bolster Dallas' roster and add some experience to their frontcourt. With a solid scoring and rebounding forward like Kuzma, Dallas would get a boost in overall rating and field a more exciting, well-rounded team for Franchise Mode.
Coming into free agency and trade season, it would appear that Houston does not have a problem. However, if they do not capitalise on their league-high US$64 million of salary cap space, Houston hopefuls will be singing a different tune. With a host of young talent in their roster, it is time for the Rockets to turn their attention to some experienced heads to help develop existing talent.
Two key names on the lips of the Houston front office are Dillon Brooks and Fred VanVleet.
Brooks worked hard last year to establish himself as a league villain, to the extent that it appeared to be more than the Memphis Grizzlies could handle. Despite his polarising personality, there is no denying that his wing defense is solid and his confidence can be infectious for the team.
VanVleet, despite being likely to stay in Canada, would be a massive acquisition for Houston and completely change the look of the Rockets team. This would bode well in NBA 2K24 as a really exciting team could be birthed around VanVleet's elite shooting and playmaking abilities.
Whether they manage to acquire one or both players from free agency, the message in Houston must be clear; they cannot sit on their current roster and win a championship.
For more articles like this, take a look at our NBA 2K page.