2020 Free Agents

Natalie Wells

First things first, congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers on their hard-fought championship. But now that the Finals are past us, the 2020 NBA offseason has officially begun. When the offseason begins, so does the speculation about that year’s class of potential free agents. From superstars to role players, each decision has its own impact on the league. Here’s a look at the 10 best free agents in this year’s shortened offseason.

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Situation: Player option ($28,751,775)

Davis can opt-out of his player option, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and listen to suitors across the league. However, opting out doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to leave the Lakers especially since he just won a championship in L.A. It’s for the raise; he is eligible for a five-year extension although the payout of $202 million may decrease because of COVID-related loss of income. Perhaps it is in Davis’s best interest to accept the $29 million this season and renegotiate next year.

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Situation: Restricted free agent (Qualifying offer – $9,481,458)

It is expected that Ingram will stay put in New Orleans as the front office is planning to offer him a 5-year max contract. However, several other teams will also be extending max money in offer sheets to the 23-year-old. One team that has been connected to Ingram is the Atlanta Hawks; they are in need of someone who can make plays from the wing position. Just don’t expect the Pelicans’ young core to break up any time soon.

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

Situation: Unrestricted free agent

This last season was VanVleet’s audition to demonstrate his continued growth as both a scorer and a playmaker. He was able to improve in every major statistical category while enjoying his most efficient year yet. VanVleet will get looks from teams that need a point guard who can both set up his teammates and provide a scoring punch when needed. It seems that he should be able to build even further upon last season’s averages of 17.6 points and 6.6 assists. He said that in a “perfect world,” he would resign with Toronto, but teams like the Knicks and the Pistons could take a long, hard look at him.

Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

Situation: Player option ($34,187,085)

At 30 years old and having lost step due to injuries, Hayward no longer has the responsibility of carrying the offensive load for his team like he did with the Jazz. The Celtics already have three offensive threats in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker, so all Hayward has to do is prove his reliability when called upon. He would be wise to opt-in to his player option as few teams are likely to devote over $34 million in their salary cap to a player on the wrong side of 30.

DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

Situation: Player option ($27,739,975)

DeRozan has found himself caught in a transitional period in San Antonio. They missed the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons and are beginning to look as if they might begin to rebuild. DeRozan will most likely opt-in, but it is highly possible that San Antonio deals him away before next season’s commencement. He’s already 31 and beginning to exit his prime in terms of athleticism, one of his primary weapons early in his career.

Jerami Grant, Denver Nuggets

Situation: Player option ($9,346,153)

Grant’s impressive performance in the bubble earned him a payday this offseason, and he knows it. He averaged almost 12 points per game in Orlando while proving his ability from behind the arc and his defensive versatility. Grant will most likely opt-out of his player option making him available for a significant raise. Denver is already a bit tight on cap space, so it is also possible that they re-sign the forward before he enters free agency.

Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers

Situation: Unrestricted free agent

After the Clippers’ unexpected exit from the playoffs in the second round, reports soon emerged about the team’s apparent lack of chemistry. There have been rumors that Harrell would resign a max contract with Los Angeles, but a few other suitors are more than eager to bring an energizer like him onto their roster. Expect teams looking for big depth like the Suns, Knicks, Raptors, and Hornets to offer Harrell a substantial contract.

Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder

Situation: Unrestricted free agent

Gallinari is a sweet-shooting forward who can provide his team with 15 to 20 points per night. In the 2018-19 season with the Clippers, Gallo’s 43.3% shooting from 3-point range seemed to be an outlier. He proved that he could maintain that efficiency, shooting 40% from behind the arc on 1.6 more attempts. Although he’s 32 years old, shooting touch is something that can only be refined with age. He admitted that he would like to sign with a contender as he is beginning to enter the twilight years of his career: “I’m no longer 20,” Gallinari said. 

Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers

Situation: Player option ($28,489,238)

If you’re in need of rebounds, Andre Drummond is your man. Drummond has led the league in rebounds per game four times with a career average of 13.8. The center can opt-in and stick with Cleveland-a young team plagued with growing pains. Drummond could also hit the open market and look for long-term salary security with a lower annual payout. He will most likely stick it out with the Cavs where he will be one of the featured pieces.

Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards

Situation: Unrestricted free agent

Bertans is a flamethrower from deep, giving his team an immediate impact coming off the bench. He’s proven that he can boost his scoring output with consistency, averaging a career-high 15.4 points last season in Washington. The Wizards are somewhere between rebuilding and competing, so resigning Bertans likely wouldn’t be a priority. Teams looking for more bench scoring like the Celtics and the Hawks will have their sights set on the 27-year-old.