Durant vs James
Jan 25, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Reuters/David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Among all positions that have available free agents in the 2016 offseason, the small forward spot is the deepest, thanks to the presence of two of the top players in the league today.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers will hit free agency after the 2015-2016 season and are unrestricted FAs, which means they are free to sign with any other team.

While James is widely expected not to jilt his hometown again, Durant’s status is pretty much up in the air as this will be the first time he will hit free agency during his prime.

With a skyrocketing salary cap for all NBA teams due to the new and lucrative TV deals by the league with its media partners, offering Durant and the rest of the free agents big money is not only probable but expected during the upcoming summer.

Along with Durant and James, here are the top free agents from the small forward position in the 2016 offseason:

Apr 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Reuters/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
2015-2016 salary: $15.36 million (AU $22.09M)
2015-2016 stats (30 games): 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game

Parsons signed a short-term but huge contract with the Mavericks in 2014 with hopes that he can get more when he hits free agency again this season. The small forward can choose to stay with the Mavericks and pick up his player option and up his value some more before hitting free agency after next season.

However, depending on the market demand for him in the 2016 offseason, Parsons could leave the Mavericks early and jump ship to another squad that is willing to give him another lucrative deal.

Parsons has struggled with injuries in his Dallas stint but appears on his way back to the form that made him one of the more complete players in the league while with the Houston Rockets in previous years. Should he continue his good play, it’s not improbable to see the small forward join the celebrated free agency of 2016.

Oct 28, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum (5) is pressured by Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Reuters/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets)

2015-2016 salary: $13.12 million (AU $18.87M)
2015-2016 stats (31 games): 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game

Of course, there will be teams who will be missing on the likes of James or Durant and Batum will be a nice fallback option for any NBA squad. After a down year in his final year with the Portland Trail Blazers before he was traded, Batum has returned to the form that put him among the most versatile players in the league.

Batum exploded back into the conversation of top free agents after his good showing in the current season, his first year with the Hornets. Batum is averaging a career-high in scoring making him one of the vital pieces for the Charlotte squad aiming for a playoff spot.

Oct 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks the ball over Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Reuters/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)

2015-2016 salary: $3.87 million (AU $5.57M)
2015-2016 stats (20 games): 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game

Barnes is playing for a loaded and defending champions Golden State Warriors but is due for a huge contract extension for the first time in his career. The Warriors are perhaps willing to give him the max contract but the franchise have to be financially-creative to retain all key guys in the roster.

The rise in salary cap will help their cause but Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry is also due for a big raise after the 2016-2017 season. There are also doubts on how Barnes will perform in a bigger role, as opposed to his usage with the Warriors, where he is the third or fourth option on offence.

Will teams throw max money at Barnes with hopes that he is another case of James Harden, who became a franchise player when he left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Houston Rockets? Is Barnes worth the max contract?

Jan 4, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) dunks to score a basket during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena. Reuters/ Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

2015-2016 salary: $22.97 million (AU $33.04M)
2015-2016 stats (33 games): 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game

James has a player option in his contract for the 2016-2017 season, which means he can delay free agency for another year. It’s also far-fetched to think that the Cavaliers won’t give him the max contract he’ll demand after the season.

Still, this is LeBron James, the player, who has a penchant for drama and who had his own ESPN special when he brought his talents to Miami some years back.This is also the same guy who left buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh even though they were on track to battle for NBA titles with the Miami Heat.

Dec 17, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov (20) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Reuters/David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

2015-2016 salary: $20.15 million (AU $28.98M)
2015-2016 stats (30 games): 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 blocked shots per game

Unlike James and Parsons, both of whom have player options and unlike Barnes, who is a restricted free agent, Durant is an unrestricted FA, which means he is free to sign with any other NBA squad.

Initial rumours from past months have linked Durant to the likes of Washington Wizards (a la LeBron, a homecoming) and Los Angeles Lakers (because of the huge Los Angeles market and history of the franchise), among many other suitors.

How the Thunder fare in this season’s playoffs will most likely play a major role in Durant’s decision to jump ship or ride with the only NBA franchise he has played for. Will his partnership with star Russell Westbrook finally bring a title to OKC? Or will another postseason failure with the Thunder push Durant to a rival squad?

Other notable small forwards in the 2016 free agency include: Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), Matt Barnes (Memphis Grizzlies), Luol Deng (Miami Heat) and Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies), among others.

(All salary figures via spotrac.com, all stats via nba.com)