2020 NBA Free Agency: Predictions for Anthony Davis, Top Potential Free Agents

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10:  Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks at the Brooklyn Nets bench after his three pointer during a 104-102 Nets win at Staples Center on March 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Harry How/Getty Images

Much like the 2020 draft class, the 2020 NBA free-agency class is short on superstars. However, in the quest to build a championship contender every step is important, and the contracts given out this offseason will still shape the title race. 

2020 is set to be a bit of a gap year. After the 2019 offseason shifted the entire balance of power with guys like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler changing uniforms, the 2020 class is expected to generate ripples, not tremors. 

Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram and DeMar DeRozan are the biggest names that could be available but for varying reasons, they likely won't end up switching teams. 

Let's take a look at why all three are likely to stay put and a top free agent who could benefit from the lack of franchise cornerstones available. 


Anthony Davis

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 3: LeBron James #23, and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers smile during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 03, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

If Anthony Davis were to hit the open market, he would easily be the biggest free agent in the class. He's one of the league's premier talents and is still producing at an elite level. 

However, it's unlikely that he actually opens up recruitment to other teams. According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Davis declined a four-year, $146 million extension offer from the Lakers in January, but that's no reason for Lakers fans to panic. 

Davis has a $28.7 million player option for the 2021 season should he want to exercise it. However, it's more likely he will decline his option and technically hit the open market when the Lakers would be able to offer him a five-year, $202 million contract. 

He could also sign a two-year deal with a player option for a third and hit free agency again in 2022 when he would be eligible for an even bigger contract with 10 years of NBA service. 

Regardless of which way he goes, the LeBron James-Anthony Davis experiment has been a success. Before the league was put on hiatus Davis was averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals a night. 

The Lakers were also 5.5 games ahead of the Clippers for the top seed in the Western Conference. With the possibility of no champion being crowned this season, Davis will have unfinished business in the Purple and Gold. 

While The Brow hitting the market would make the offseason much more compelling, all signs point to him being in Los Angeles to stay. 

Prediction: Davis declines player option, signs a two-year deal with a third-year option.


Brandon Ingram

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 06: Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts against the Miami Heat during a game at the Smoothie King Center on March 06, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

On the other side of the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade, Brandon Ingram is the second-most valuable player that could hit the market this offseason. 

Ingram is finally showcasing his potential as an elite scorer in his fourth NBA season and first with the Pelicans. In 56 games this season, he has posted career-highs in points (24.3), rebounds (6.3) and assists (4.3). 

The 22-year-old has established himself as part of one of the most exciting young cores in basketball in New Orleans. With Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball all under contract through 2020, Ingram is the only element of that core they have to worry about this offseason. 

Ingram will be a restricted free agent meaning the club will have the opportunity to match any offer he receives. It's likely that will be a large offer. Zach Harper of The Athletic reported in January that league executives expect Ingram to get max-contract offers from teams this offseason. 

His play hasn't done anything to change that. Given the dearth of top-shelf talent available this offseason, teams will undoubtedly make it as expensive as possible for the Pelicans to retain their budding star. 

Prediction: Pelicans match max-offer sheet to retain Ingram on a long-term deal. 


DeMar DeRozan

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MARCH 08: Rudy Gay #22 helps DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs as he reacts during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on March 08, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Sp
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs made an interesting trade when they dealt Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors and got DeMar DeRozan in return. The deal obviously worked out for Leonard and the Raptors as they teamed up to win the title. 

However, the fit is still weird on the Spurs end. DeRozan is shooting even fewer three-pointers than ever in his career and is continuing to ply his trade as a mid-range maestro. He has set a career-high in effective field-goal percentage this season, but it's fair to wonder what he's doing to the development of Bryn Forbes, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. 

The 30-year-old's timeline doesn't exactly fit in with the franchise's young, developing core. However, it's not going to be a franchise decision as to what DeRozan does next season. He has a player option that would pay him $27 million next season. 

This offseason is going to be filled with uncertainty. There's no way to know at this point how the suspension of play will affect the salary cap next season and how many teams will have cap space. 

However, the market for a wing who doesn't space the floor isn't guaranteed to bring him more money than he would make with his option. He'd be better off to attempt to make things work with the Spurs one more season and hit the market next season when teams are likely to have more cash. 

Prediction: DeRozan opts-in to the final year of his contract. 


Danilo Gallinari

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 8:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against the Boston Celtics on March 8, 2020 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

One player who could take advantage of the shallow class is Danilo Gallinari. The sharp-shooting forward has put together a great run in Oklahoma City, but that may not be his long-term home. 

He's scoring 19.2 points per game while shooting 40 percent beyond the arc and bringing down 5.5 boards a game. However, the Thunder were reportedly in discussion with the Miami Heat to deal the forward at the trade deadline, per Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. 

Although the potential deal never materialized, it's believed the Heat could remain a player for Gallinari next season. Pat Riley has never been afraid to be aggressive when acquiring talent. 

A familiar face could also be in the running for the 31-year-old. Scotto also linked the Knicks with Gallinari based on new president Leon Rose's connections with CAA, the agency he used to work for also represents Gallinari. 

Gallo started his career with the Knicks before being traded to Denver in the famed Carmelo Anthony deal. It would be fitting if he would find his way back in the Big Apple. 

The Knicks would be a good fit for Gallinari as they figure to be one of the few teams with cap space. RJ Barrett's success as a rookie paired with Mitchell Robinson and another lottery pick give the franchise hope of moving forward, and the veteran would be a good piece to offer some floor-spacing and leadership to a relatively young roster. 

Prediction: Gallinari signs with the New York Knicks


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