NBA Free Agents 2020: Latest Buzz on Fred VanVleet, Knicks, Cavaliers

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 15, 2020

New York Knicks' Elfrid Payton, right, defends against Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Not every NBA free-agent class is loaded with superstars like last summer's. Then, the market included Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving, among others. This offseason may not be as star-studded, but there should still be some talented players available for teams to pursue.

While the NBA is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic and there's uncertainty about whether the 2019-20 season will resume, it's not too early to start looking ahead to the offseason and considering what moves teams will make to better their rosters for the future.

Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding the upcoming offseason.


What will VanVleet Get During Free Agency?

After spending his first four NBA seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 26-year-old should have plenty of suitors and get a decent-sized contract, as he's consistently improved since his debut. This season, he's averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals, all career highs, over 48 games. And that should benefit him when the offseason arrives, as The Athletic's Danny Leroux recently noted.

"It feels like VanVleet will get about $15 million to $18 million per season, but contract length will be key," Leroux wrote. "That is a totally reasonable price for him over the next few years."

While it would make sense for the New York Knicks to try to sign VanVleet, Leroux added that things "could get thorny" if VanVleet is hoping to sign a four-year deal, something the Knicks may not be willing to offer. Regardless, VanVleet is poised to be one of the top point guards on the market this offseason and should have several other suitors.


Who Else Might Knicks Pursue This Offseason?

So, perhaps the Knicks won't sign VanVleet. What direction will the team take if that's the case?

Leroux thinks that New York should also consider Goran Dragic, Jevon Carter and Shabazz Napier at point guard, "depending on the price point." VanVleet will likely continue to be the best among that group, but the others could be more affordable.

As for other needs, the Knicks could use a wing player to pair with RJ Barrett, their 2019 first-round draft pick. Leroux believes New York should consider Evan Fournier, but it might depend on what the Orlando Magic offer him to return.

There are likely plenty of other players the Knicks might pursue should their primary targets decide to sign elsewhere. Before the season was suspended, New York was on its way to missing the playoffs for the seventh straight year. The Knicks need to add some talented players to complement their young core as the franchise looks to get back on track in the future.


Potential Targets for Cavaliers This Offseason

When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for veteran center Andre Drummond in February, they likely lost cap space for the 2020-21 season. Drummond has a player option worth $28.75 million for next season, and with that payday coming, it seems unlikely the 26-year-old would decide to opt out.

Part of the reason for that, as Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor recently pointed out, is the uncertainty regarding the salary cap for the 2020-21 campaign. It's possible it could stay the same or even go down for next season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If that's the case, and Drummond opts in, Fedor thinks the Cavs will only have their mid-level exception, "which is expected to be around $9 million." And Fedor listed Michael Carter-Williams, Josh Jackson, Derrick Jones Jr. and Harry Giles as potential options for Cleveland to pursue.

With talented young guards (Collin Sexton and Darius Garland) and veteran post players (Drummond, Kevin Love) on their roster, the Cavaliers could be heading in the right direction for success, especially considering they will likely have a top pick in this year's draft. Adding a veteran role player would further improve the roster.