August is almost always the quietest month of the NBA calendar. But this year, some significant moves could ignite some of the hottest NBA summer discourse.

While the shine of free agency has worn off and the excitement of Las Vegas Summer League has dissipated, there are still free agents who haven’t inked deals, and top-tier players who are waiting to be traded.

Dame and The Beard

Obviously James Harden and Damian Lillard top the list when it comes to star-level players that could be on the move this summer.

It’s not a secret that both players want to leave their current teams and that they both have desired destinations. Lillard asked for a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers and wants to play for the Miami Heat and Harden wants to leave the Philadelphia 76ers to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

Though Lillard’s and Harden’s choices of preferred NBA cities come as no shock to anyone, the fact that these decisions are dragging out into the latter part of the offseason does add quite a bit of intrigue.

If Harden or Lillard end up on a team not in Miami or L.A., that could change the dynamic of the NBA and have ripple effects that touch nearly every team. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to do other than wait and see what happens.

Free agents still on the market

This wasn’t the most star-studded offseason in terms of free agents, but there are still some players available that could feature in a starting unit or at the very least are rotation-level players.

At the top of this list is Kelly Oubre Jr., who has spent the last two years in Charlotte and is coming off a career season in terms of production, averaging 20.3 points per game for the Hornets.

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There’s been some rumblings suggesting that the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers have interest in Oubre, but since he’s an unrestricted free agent, there’s no guarantee on where he’ll end up.

Christian Wood remains a free agent, although there are reports that multiple teams could begin a mini bidding war for the big man.

Wood was with the Dallas Mavericks last season, but the Mavericks were rumored to be shopping Wood for most of the season leading up to the trade deadline. Though it’s a bit of a red flag that the Mavericks were uninterested in re-signing Wood and he hasn’t landed a deal yet, there’s still evidence that Wood could be a useful backup four or stretch five.

Over the past five seasons Wood has averaged double-digits in scoring with some impressive rebounding numbers, while also adding a reliable 3-point shot to his game, taking 4.2 3-pointers per game last season and hitting at a 37.6% clip.

The Bulls have also been reportedly interested in Wood along with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell rounds out the top tier of the remaining free agents. The 24-year-old spent his first four years in Minnesota, but is now set to sign a new deal elsewhere and has been linked to the Mavericks, though no offers have been reported.

Nowell averaged 10.8 points off the bench for the T’Wolves last season.

Available NBA veterans

In addition to those listed above, there are also a handful of interesting veteran players that have yet to find a home for the 2023-24 season.

Austin Rivers, Will Barton, Shaq Harrison, JaMychal Green, Hamidou Diallo, Terrence Ross, T.J. Warren, Justise Winslow, Derrick Jones Jr. and Terence Davis are all still available to sign. Whether these players can be had for a veteran minimum or be part of a biannual or midlevel exception deal, they could be useful signings.

Of course, for any of the remaining free agents, the problem is that there is a large chunk of NBA teams that are waiting to see what happens with Harden and Lillard before they finalize their rosters.

Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden plays during the second half of Game 6 of Eastern Conference semifinal, Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. | Matt Slocum, Associated Press