NBA Free Agents 2020: Predictions for Danilo Gallinari, Fred VanVleet, MoreMay 1, 2020
Could Anthony Davis be the top prize on the free-agent market this offseason? It's possible, if he declines his player option with the Los Angeles Lakers. But don't bet on that happening.
Instead, NBA teams looking to make strong additions to their rosters will have to look for other options. And although this year's free-agent class isn't as star-studded as last summer's, when Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard were all available, there should be some solid players for teams to pursue.
Here are predictions for where several top players who are likely to hit the free-agent market will land this offseason.
Danilo Gallinari, PF
During his 11 seasons in the NBA, Danilo Gallinari has had some trouble staying healthy. He missed the entire 2013-14 campaign because of a torn ACL. And he was limited to 21 games in 2017-18, the first of his two seasons with the Clippers.
But when Gallinari has been on the court, like he has this season for the Thunder, he continues to play at a high level. In his first year with Oklahoma City, Gallinari is averaging 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds over 55 games. It's been a strong follow-up year for him after averaging 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 68 games for the Clippers the year before.
However, Gallinari is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason after he was traded to Oklahoma City last July in the deal that sent Paul George to Los Angeles. And as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports pointed out, Gallinari should be "in demand" as potentially the best power forward on the market this summer.
In addition to the Thunder, Smith lists the Heat, Suns, Trail Blazers and Hawks as potential fits for Gallinari. Of those teams, it might make the most sense for Gallinari to sign with Miami, which should continue to be a contender in the Eastern Conference. Gallinari is 31 and has never won an NBA title, so joining the Heat could give him an opportunity to compete for one soon.
Prediction: Gallinari signs with Miami
Fred VanVleet, PG
Early in his career, Fred VanVleet was an undrafted free agent trying to break into the Raptors' rotation. Now, he's their starting point guard after helping them win their first NBA title in 2019. And he's been quite successful in his new expanded role.
In 48 contests this season, VanVleet has averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game, all of which are career highs. He was also on pace to more than double his number of career starts after making only 28 through his first three seasons.
The Athletic's Blake Murphy recently noted that it "should be doable" for Toronto to bring back VanVleet, but he also noted it's difficult to predict the salary-cap situation and how that could be affected by the pandemic and league suspension. So, it's possible the Raptors could use their cap space in a different way, especially if VanVleet gets strong offers from other teams once he's on the market.
One potential fit for VanVleet could be the Knicks, who could add the 26-year-old point guard as a key part of their young core alongside RJ Barrett in the backcourt. It would help New York continue to get better as it tries to turn the franchise around, while VanVleet could get a big salary to assist it in doing so.
Prediction: VanVleet signs with New York
Serge Ibaka, PF
VanVleet won't be the only player who the Raptors could potentially lose this offseason, as power forward Serge Ibaka is also set to become an unrestricted free agent. And although he's now 30, he's been having one of the best seasons of his career in his fourth year in Toronto.
In 50 games this season, Ibaka is averaging a career-high 16 points to go along with 8.3 rebounds per game. He's been valuable to the Raptors whether he's started or come off the bench, and it will likely be a priority for them to try to bring him back for at least next season.
That may not end up not being too tough to do, as Ibaka told Sportsnet's Matt Rodrigo in early April that he's interested in coming back to Toronto. It's easy to see why, considering he's had both personal and team success since getting traded to the Raptors during the 2016-17 season.
Don't be surprised to see Ibaka back in Toronto next season as he again will look to help the team win an NBA title.
Prediction: Ibaka re-signs with Toronto