The NBA season is currently suspended but eventually, it will be over and the 2020 offseason will follow. The offseason includes the free agency period which normally starts on July 1st.
Last season, we had a very wild free agency period where many players hit the market and changed teams. When all was said and done, a total of eight NBA All-Star transferred cities via free agency or sign and trade deals. While that kind of summer is fun, this year won’t have the same flare because it is considered a weak year. Despite that, there are still a handful of big names that will and could hit the free agency market during the coming offseason.
Check out the following names:
Anthony Davis (Player Option)
Anthony Davis is expected to turn down an extension offer from the Los Angeles Lakers so that he will become an unrestricted free agent. But don’t worry Lakers fans. That is just a procedural move on the part of The Brow ( or is it?) He is expected to sign with the Lakers for a five-year Max contract. That isn’t 100% though and stranger things have happened, so keep your fingers crossed.
Brandon Ingram (Restricted Free Agency)
After he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram finally displayed his potential and earned his first-ever All-Star selection during the 2019-20 season. The Slender Man is going to command a max contract this summer and given what the Pelicans were doing shortly before the season was paused, I think management will keep the core together. Ingram is a big part of that core and he should be getting a nice deal from New Orleans this summer.
DeMar DeRozan (Player Option)
DeMar DeRozan had two statistically impressive seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He became a facilitator and playmaker under the guidance of Gregg Popovich. However, the Spurs were not able to continue their winning ways with him and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the team. Had the season not been suspended the Spurs long-standing playoff streak would have ended. There were rumors that DeRozan would be leaving after the 2019-20 season and I think he will go elsewhere. I’m not discounting the idea that he will return to play for the Toronto Raptors.
Danilo Gallinari (Unrestricted Free Agency)
Danilo Gallinari put together an impressive 2019-20 season while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Many thought that he would struggle this year after being traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal. However, the Thunder had a terrific run this year and they were 4th in the Western Conference team standings. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Gallinari were crucial to OKCs season. Gallo will be one of the most sought after free agents and it will be interesting if the Thunder can re-sign him.
Andre Drummond (Player Option)
Andre Drummond has been the NBA’s best rebounder in the last several years and he led the league in rebounding again during the 2019-20 NBA season. This is a guy who averages a double-double easily and is one of the most imposing big men around the league. However, the Pistons traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers for virtually nothing, which makes me wonder about his true value. I know he wants to opt-out because of the situation in Cleveland but put an asterisk on this one because his $25.4M option is also tempting.
Gordon Hayward (Player Option)
We were happy to see Gordon Hayward play better and nearer his All-star form this season. The former Butler star struggled to return to form last season after suffering a gruesome leg injury during the opening night of the 2018 season. Howard looked 100% healthy this season and he looked more confident physically. This year’s class is relatively week so he might consider testing the market. However, given that his 2020 salary with Boston would be $32M, I think Hayward will think twice before hitting the market this summer.
Fred Van Vleet (Unrestricted Free Agency)
Fred VanVleet became a cult figure in Toronto after his remarkable performance during the 2019 playoffs. VanVleet played off the bench but he delivered the big baskets for the Raptors, especially during the Finals. He even finished second to Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals MVP balloting. This season, with Leonard gone, VanVleet moved to the starting lineup. And after gaining valuable experience last season, he’s turned into an assassin for the Raptors. His numbers are up across the board and he’s become a vital part of his team. No question, he will command a huge contract this summer.
Montrezl Harrell ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
Most people point to Lou Williams as a key player on the LA Clippers’ bench. But when you talk about the heart and soul of their second unit, it’s this hard-working, body-banging big man who plays taller than his height. Harrell has become one of the most efficient scorers in the league while playing under Doc Rivers. He has a knack to grab rebounds and score at will from the inside. He put up career-highs in scoring and rebounding this season and should be getting a hefty payday this summer. I’m not sure if the Clippers can afford him though.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Restricted Free Agency)
Bogdanovic gained the attention of the world with his impressive performance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup where he was the tournament’s top scorer while playing for Serbia. This 27-year old combo guard can knock down shots and is also a terrific playmaker. Last season, his poise down the stretch and his willingness to take big shots helped earn Sacramento the monicker “Cardiac Kings”. The Kings have several young players whose contracts are due this summer and they have to make a choice which ones to keep. I have a feeling that Sacramento will get outpriced here and Bogdanovic will end up playing elsewhere.
Evan Fournier (Player Option)
Evan Fournier has a $17M player option in his contract but given that this is a weak free-agent class, he might want to test the waters and get himself a longer and more secure deal. He’s earned the right to choose after he’s settled down as one of the best scorers in the league. Fournier was having career numbers in points, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage. With his 40% three-point accuracy, he will have plenty of suitors if he decided to hit the market this summer.
Joe Harris (Unrestricted Free Agency)
Joe Harris was one of the products of Kenny Atkinson’s farm team. He rose from the ranks to become one of the top sharpshooters in the league, winning the NBA’s Three-Point contest at the 2019 All-Star weekend. Harris shot 47.4% from the three-point area last season and was going at 40.9% from deep this year. Given that the NBA game has moved far back to the three-point line, his is a skill that every team needs. He’s going to get plenty of offers and with Kevin Durant back next season, Harris could be on the move.
Goran Dragic ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
Dragic has been rumored to be on the move since 2019 when he was almost traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He was moved to the bench during the 2019-20 season but as a consummate professional, he took it well and had a very good season for the Heat. Dragic averaged 16.1 points per game while shooting 37.7% from three-ball. Miami has plenty of young shooters on their team but none of them have Goran’s experience. He will be 34 during free agency so it will be interesting to see what Miami does.
Serge Ibaka ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
Like Fred VanVleet, winning the 2019 NBA title did wonders for Serge Ibaka. Once known as one of the league’s best defenders, Ibaka continues to evolve his game and during the 2019-20 season, he became a reliable scorer for the Raptors. He put up career-highs in points and three-point percentage this season and was a key part of the Raptors’ success.
Toronto has plenty of decisions to make this summer and Ibaka is one of them.
Hassan Whiteside ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
Hassan Whiteside put together an impressive season for the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 16.2 points per game while coming in second to Drummond in the rebounding department with 14.2 boards per contest. But he’s put up similar numbers in the past and has always been labeled as an “Empty stats” player because of his lack of impact. Jusuf Nurkic is expected to return for Portland and I’m not sure what the Blazers will do with Whiteside. He’s a traditional big man and in a game where unicorns exist, he might find it hard to get a huge contract this summer.
DeMarcus Cousins ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
Boogie was one of the best centers in the league when he suffered a season-ending injury while playing for the Pelicans. It was supposed to be a contract year but instead, he didn’t have suitors because he was coming off a serious injury. He signed for a bargain with the Golden State Warriors, hoping to prove himself while trying to win a ring. That didn’t work out and he ended up with the Lakers this season. Cousins got injured during training and missed the season. His stock could drop again because of that but if he’s healthy, he’s one of the most talented big men in the league.
Marc Gasol ( Unrestricted Free Agency)
As we said earlier, the Toronto Raptors will have to make some big decisions this summer. Marc Gasol was a key player on the 2019 title team but he had an injury-plagued 2019-20 season. The Raptors kept on winning without him which makes me wonder what they think about his value this summer. Gasol remains a force inside the basketball court. This former Defensive Player of the Year would be needed on a title contender, not necessarily the Raptors.