NBA free agency 2022: The most impactful decisions of the summer

After center Deandre Ayton, 23, posted 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season, the Suns will have to decide this offseason if he's a core part of their future. Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Which NBA free agents will make the biggest impact with their decisions?

The league's rules have made extensions so favorable for veterans during a period where salaries have risen faster than the cap, so 2023 won't feature the star power or depth of past or future free agent classes. Last year, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant signed extensions that took them out of this summer's free agency class along with Patrick Beverley, Malcolm Brogdon, Clint Capela, Dorian Finney-Smith, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart.

Still, a handful of stars will be available when the NBA's free agency officially opens for business on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (Players and teams can agree to contracts during this moratorium period, but can't complete them until July 6.)

All-Stars Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine are the top players sure to be available, while Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets could change up free agency by declining his $36.9 million player option before Wednesday's deadline.

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

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

The player option decisions

James Harden | G | Philadelphia 76ers