NBA free agency in 2021 will be shaped by point guard movement

Free agency doesn't technically start until Aug. 2, but in talking to league executives and agents, it's clear negotiations are already well underway.

The lesson so far? The offseason will revolve around a long, complicated game of point-guard musical chairs -- one that could, league executives and insiders say, create moves and countermoves across the NBA in the wee hours of free agency. And not just with free agents -- of which there are many -- but also superstars under long-term contracts, such as Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons.

There are a handful of teams in need of point guards, many of them in desirable big markets. Some have cap space like the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans. Others don't, like the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers.

After watching Chris Paul's incredible impact on the Phoenix Suns -- and on the heels of a similar performance in Oklahoma City Thunder a season before -- teams are looking to replicate that success, sources say, by chasing veteran guards to uplift young, inexperienced rosters.