The NBA offseason is one of the most interesting times of the NBA calendar.

Aside from the draft and the free-agent market, teams can improve their rosters by engaging other teams in a trade. If teams have plenty of cap space, they can sign free agents. But for the cash-strapped squads in the league, trading would be the option to upgrade their lineup.

The NBA season was suspended last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there is no definite schedule when it will return, if ever. If the season is indeed over, then we are unofficially in the 2020 offseason already.

Let’s take a look at which NBA players are unlikely to return to their teams for the 2020-21 season:

Basketball 1. Zach Lavine

Zach Lavine wasn’t shy to express his frustration with the losing situation in Chicago and I don’t blame him. The Bulls have won just a total of 49 games in the previous two seasons and he’s a guy who has played in a total of six NBA seasons but has yet to play a single postseason game.

The front office situation with Chicago will be key because whoever replaces Paxson and Foreman will determine Lavine’s fate in Chicago. It was obvious that the two former executives were going to trade Lavine soon because they never built a winning team around him. If the new bosses still think the same way, there is no doubt Lavine will be on the move this offseason.

Coby White has proved he can score and despite his size, he can slip to the two-guard spot which will make Lavine disposable. I don’t think that the Bulls will make the playoffs this coming season so Lavine could end up demanding a trade during midseason anyway. I think the Bulls want a veteran who can lead and Lavine is their best trade asset.

Basketball 2. Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal talked about his loyalty to the Washington Wizards earlier this year and he just signed a two-year extension last October so there is no reason to think about Beal heading elsewhere. Or is there?

Beal was having a fantastic 2019-20 season for the Wizards and we saw him drop back to back 50-point nights. That was incredible as the NBA even ended up drug-testing him after the feat. Beal ranked second to Harden in scoring at 30.5 points per game this season but despite his herculean effort, the Wizards had another losing season.

The Wizards advanced to round two of the playoffs in three out of Beal’s six seasons in Washington but the team has posted a combined record of 56-90 in the last two seasons, missing the postseason bus in both years. The Wizard simply doesn’t have enough assets to win and the only way they can be competitive next season is to trade on of their All-Stars and Wall won’t be the guy because he is coming off an injury.

Basketball 3. Kyle Kuzma

After the Los Angeles Lakers protected him from the Anthony Davis trade where the team gave up their young core for a shot at getting AD to play alongside LeBron James, the experiment didn’t work. While Kuzma thrived as the second-leading scorer behind LeBron two seasons ago, he couldn’t get his game going as the third leading man on the team this season.

It didn’t help that Kuz was coming off an injury and he didn’t get to have a full training camp. Whether it was that or the Kardashian curse, Kuzma had a very disappointing 2019-20 season. The kid showed plenty of promise in 2018-19 but merely put up meaningless numbers for the Lakers this season.

The Lakers missed a golden opportunity to win the NBA title this season because of the suspension. It’s not clear when and if the season will return. What’s certain is that they will go for broke next season with LeBron getting older by a year. The window of the King James era is closing and they can’t afford to lose. They need a consistent third force and can’t wait for Kuzma to blossom.

Basketball 4. Kevin Love

Kevin Love recently signed a contract extension with the Cavs but when you look at the composition of the team, it’s one that is looking to rebuild for at least a couple of seasons. Love is the best player in Cleveland but he doesn’t belong to their plans anymore. He’s an accomplished All-Star who helped the Cavs win the title in 2016. He doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild.

Love has been the subject of trade rumors since the 2018-19 season but he’s stayed put. I was expecting him to be traded during the last trade deadline but the Cavs didn’t make their move. According to rumors, Love wants out and the only reason that the Cavs didn’t deal him was that they want to wait for the offseason.

The upcoming free-agent class is shallow and the draft class doesn’t have too many eye-catching players. The teams that need talent will probably have to look for the existing market to add firepower and Love is one of those who fit the bill. I think Love will go to a title contender with Cleveland getting future first-round picks and a couple of serviceable veterans for him.

Basketball 5. Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday is a fantastic player and he has been the veteran leader for the New Orleans Pelicans. But when you look at the rest of the team, he looks like the odd man out. The Pelicans have found their franchise player in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram emerged as an All-Star this season. With a young supporting cast, the Pelicans have their future ironed out already.

Holiday is a player in his prime and he is an excellent scorer, a very good defender, and a terrific floor general but if you add up the numbers, they can’t keep Holiday and Ingram together. I think the Pelicans will want to invest more in Ingram and because Holiday is still young, they will get a good yield if they trade him.

I don’t think New Orleans will play him out next season and let him walk away in free agency after. He’s been a big part of their team but they don’t necessarily need him right now. The Pelicans have plenty of young talent who can carry the team. Holiday could be going elsewhere anyway so they will most probably not let him for nothing.

Basketball 6. Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield signed a four-year extension last summer but if you think that it was a sign of a happy ending, think again. Hield called the Kings’ initial offer an insult but ended up staying with the team. There are rumors that he isn’t in good terms with head coach Luke Walton, who removed him from the starting line-up during the 2019-20 season.

Despite getting booted out from the first five, Hield still played the same number of minutes as he did the previous season when he was a starter. Walton called it a tactical move as the Kings were finding a way to snap out of an inconsistent year. Bogdanovic is as good a shooter and scorer as Hield is so I think the Kings can manage without him.

Hield is a very vocal player and I think he feels that the Kings have done him wrong twice already since last season. The player is upset with his coach and before the situation explodes, I feel it would be of the best interest of the Kings if they will just trade Buddy Hield.

Basketball 7. Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon has always been a talent waiting to break out. But his scoring average has decreased in the last two seasons and the Magic entered this season with high expectations after going 22-9 after the All-Star break last season and making the playoffs.

Orlando has a frontcourt of Nikola Vucevic, Gordon, Mo Bamba, Al-Farouq Aminu, and soon Chuma Okeke. Evan Fournier will have a player option this summer and he will likely want to get paid. Orlando has a guaranteed salary of $100M for next season without factoring Fournier’s extension. Gordon will be the odd man out here.

I think Gordon needs a new start much like what happened to Victor Oladipo. If he lands in a team that can utilize his talents, he is going to become an All-Star. Gordon is a hybrid player who can play both forward spots. He is going to be an asset in the right situation.

Basketball 8. Chris Paul

Chris Paul had a very nice bounce-back season this year. After he was traded from the Rockets, many thought that CP3 would have a rough year with the Thunder. But instead of struggling in a rebuild, Paul led the Thunder to the 4th best record in the West, one spot better than the Rockets.

CP3 played the second-fewest minutes in his carer but he was certainly more effective this year than the previous one. He averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game for the Thunder. Except for the decrease in passing average, Paul had a better season, statistically.

I think OKC will make a run for the playoffs if they keep their lineup but they are not near title contender status. I think Paul wants to give his title aspirations one last hurrah and the Thunder will try to ship him. The main obstacle is his $41M salary but given that he is coming off a very good season, there will be at least one title contender who will take that risk.

Basketball 9. Myles Turner

Myles Turner led the league in blocks last season and ranked 13th in ESPN’s defensive plus/minus in 2018-19. But this season, Turner’s numbers have gone down and there are talks that his relationship with management has gone sour. At the same time, Domantas Sabonis blossomed into an All-Star this season and Turner may have become expendable in Indiana.

One of the reasons why he struggled this year was an ankle injury. It wasn’t serious but his recovery was slow and methodical. And during his lag, it was Sabonis who showed up and impressed the league. Sabonis would be a perfect power forward if the Pacers can find another center. Turner can’t fill the void if the Pacers trade Sabonis and get another power forward.

Turner’s salary and upside make him an ideal target to be moved. He is only 24 years old and could be a defensive anchor for any team in the league. With Sabonis developing, the Pacers can trade Turner for a small forward who will complement their Oladipo-Brogdon backcourt.

Basketball 10. Andrew Wiggins

You can’t trust Steve Kerr who said D’Angelo Russell was a perfect fit and then traded D-Lo at the deadline for Andrew Wiggins. Now you think Wiggins is staying? I don’t think so.

The Warriors got a top-three protected 2021 pick in that trade and Wiggins was just used to match salaries. When you think of it, Wiggins’ game doesn’t fit with the brand of basketball that the trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green play. Wiggins isn’t a three-point shooter and he isn’t the kind of unselfish player that will thrive in Steve Kerr’s system.

Wiggins will only be a distraction to the Warriors trying to get a bounce-back year. There is no question that he has tons of potential and he is only waiting to be unlocked. I don’t think that Kerr is the guy to do that and I don’t think Golden State is the right place for that to happen.

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