NBA teams can officially start negotiating with free agents Monday night as some of the league’s best players seek new contracts. Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry lead the 2021 free agency class, and the latest rumors give indications as to where they might sign for next season and beyond.

Leonard reportedly turned down his $36 million player option with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Chris Paul reportedly declined his $44 million player option with the Phoenix Suns. Kyle Lowry is an unrestricted free agent after spending the last nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors.

It would be a surprise if the top-two players on the market head elsewhere. Lowry’s days in Toronto, on the other hand, could be numbered.

The Clippers and Leonard are expected to agree on a new deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Leonard can sign a four-year deal worth up to about $176 million. Leonard also has the option of signing a one-year contract, which would make him eligible to ink a five-year, $235 million deal next summer.

A torn ACL could cost Leonard most, or even all, of the 2021-22 NBA season. Leonard has been an All-NBA First Team and Second Team selection in his two seasons with the Clippers.

Leonard left Toronto for Los Angeles in 2019 on the heels of winning the NBA Finals MVP award.

Paul is in a similar situation as Leonard, who watched from the bench as the Suns defeated the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals. The point guard is expected to return to his current team, and there are rumors that the Suns are close to officially bringing back the veteran.

In his first season with the Suns, Paul led Phoenix to Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Paul finished fifth in the 2021 NBA MVP voting. The 36-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 8.6 assists and 2.2 turnovers in 20 playoff games.

The New York Knicks have been viewed as a long-shot suitor for Paul. With plenty of cap space and the need for a point guard, the Knicks could pursue Lowry. The New Orleans Pelicans are another candidate to spend big money on a free-agent point guard.

The Miami Heat appear to be the frontrunners to land Lowry, according to Wojnarowski. Miami has picked up the $19.4 million option on Goran Dragic’s contract, allowing the Heat to offer Dragic to Toronto as part of a sign-and-trade for Lowry.

The Dallas Mavericks planned to pursue Lowry, but they’ve shifted their attention with Miami likely to acquire the veteran, according to Marc Stein. The Philadelphia 76ers have been viewed as a sign-and-trade candidate for Lowry, as well.

Lowry was an All-Star each year from 2015-2020.

 Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the second half of game five of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks Photo: Getty Images | Christian Petersen