NBA Free Agents 2020: Latest Predictions for Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague, MoreMay 18, 2020
For teams to win an NBA championship, it typically requires having a star player. But top teams also need a strong supporting cast of role players who fit in nicely around their top scorer, featuring a mix of veterans, youngsters, 3-point specialists, quality defenders and more.
This offseason's free-agent class isn't going to be as star-studded as last year. Anthony Davis could be the top available player, but it's likely he'll work out a deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, there will still be other solid players on the market for teams to consider adding to their rosters.
Here are predictions for three veteran players who could hit the free-agent market this offseason.
Tristan Thompson, C/PF
When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for veteran center Andre Drummond in February, they added him to a roster that already included Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in the post. So, will there still be room for all three in the 2020-21 season?
Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and although he may not cost as much as his previous deal ($82 million over five years), the Cavs may want to clear some cap space to potentially add players at other positions. Of course, their mindset could change if Drummond doesn't accept his player option for next season.
If the 2019-20 season isn't resumed, then Thompson may have played his final game for Cleveland. But he recently told reporters that hasn't been on his mind during the downtime.
"I don't like to think too far ahead or think maybe or what-if," Thompson said, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. "I just try to look at it, just the reality of everything now, what's in front of us."
If Thompson heads elsewhere, one potential fit could be with the Clippers, who might lose Montrezl Harrell in free agency. This season, Thompson is averaging a career-high 12 points per game to go along with 10.1 rebounds per contest, and the 29-year-old might fit in nicely with a veteran core in Los Angeles that features stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Prediction: Thompson signs with Clippers
Jeff Teague, PG
Jeff Teague had played only 25 games in his return to the Atlanta Hawks when the NBA season was suspended. After playing the first seven seasons of his career in Atlanta from 2009-16, he came back to the Hawks in a January trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And although Teague has a track record of being a solid point guard, he averaged only 7.7 points and 4.0 assists per game after arriving back in Atlanta.
"I think Jeff struggled getting comfortable in the role he was in here," Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said last month, according to The Athletic's Chris Kirschner. "... He even said to me that, 'I feel like a rookie out here. I'm playing nervous.' I don't know if we ever saw the real Jeff Teague."
Despite Teague not playing his best, Kirschner wrote that he believes there's a 50 percent chance of the 31-year-old returning to the Hawks in his look at their pending unrestricted free agents. And there are reasons to think Teague might be sticking around in Atlanta for a bit longer.
Teague has played 543 of his 771 career games with the Hawks, and his lone All-Star appearance came while playing for them in 2014-15. He could also be an affordable option to serve as the backup to Trae Young, perhaps agreeing to a short-term deal. So, don't be surprised if Teague is still wearing an Atlanta uniform for the 2020-21 season.
Prediction: Teague re-signs with Hawks
Paul Millsap, PF
At 35, Paul Millsap may be entering the final stage of his NBA career. The 14-year veteran is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason after spending the past three seasons as a solid starter at power forward for the Denver Nuggets.
During his time in Denver, Millsap has averaged 12.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in 152 games (143 starts). And The Athletic's Nick Kosmider recently wrote that he believes Millsap will be back with the Nuggets to help them try to pursue an NBA championship.
"In the end, there should be motivation for both sides to have Millsap in a Nuggets uniform, perhaps for the rest of his career," Kosmider wrote.
Playing for the Jazz, Hawks and Nuggets in his career, Millsap is a four-time All-Star and a former All-Defensive team selection. However, he's never won an NBA title. Neither have the Nuggets, who also haven't reached the Western Conference Finals since 2009.
Expect Millsap to return to Denver as he likely tries to end his career by celebrating the franchise's first championship.
Prediction: Millsap re-signs with Nuggets