Next-level look at 2015 free agency

Kevin Love is the big name, but here are some other key takeaways

Originally Published: July 28, 2014
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

Kevin LoveSteve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsNext offseason may be another "Summer of Love," if the big man hits the free-agent market.

With the main course of 2014 free agency completed, it's not too early to look ahead at the menu for next summer. Last week, Insider's Amin Elhassan broke down his top 2015 free agents. Now, I'm going to provide a statistical perspective.

As with my ranking of this year's free agents, I've generated projections using a combination of my wins above replacement player (WARP) ratings and the development of players of the same age from the SCHOENE projection system, as well as ESPN's real plus-minus (RPM), projected using a standard aging adjustment. The result is an estimate of how many WARP each free agent will produce during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Those projections yield three primary takeaways:

1. Kevin Love is far and away the most valuable free agent potentially on the market

The gap between Love's 25.7 projected WARP and the next-best free agent (DeAndre Jordan at 18.5), more than seven wins over the two seasons, is as large as the gap between No. 2 and No. 20 on the market. Not only has Love been the most productive of the 2015 free agents, but his age (25) means he's more likely to maintain his value over the next three seasons. The class would take a big hit if Love opts into the final season of his contract as a condition of a trade.