2020 NBA Free Agents: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Market's Buzzing NamesMay 21, 2020
In the NBA, the rumor mill rarely stops buzzing. Discussions are always taking place about which players could be traded or leave for new teams in free agency, and it's always exciting to think about all the possibilities.
Even with the 2019-20 season suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, it's hard not to look ahead to the uoffseason and the major changes that could occur. And while it likely won't be as chaotic as last year, when numerous top stars changed teams, you never know what will happen when the offseason arrives.
Here are some rumors and predictions for several top players who could become free agents this offseason.
Latest Rumors, Predictions
It's clear that Anthony Davis is the best player who could be on the free-agent market this offseason. Things may not get that interesting, even if Davis declines his player option with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2020-21 season and becomes an unrestricted free agent.
That's because it seems unlikely that Davis will be playing with a team other than the Lakers next season. Although Davis declined a max extension offer from Los Angeles in January,according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, and the league's salary cap could decrease as a result of the pandemic, Davis' return to L.A. still seems likely.
Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register wrote that "most in league circles" believe that the Lakers' work on getting Davis to sign a long-term deal is "largely done." Davis likely wants to keep playing in Los Angeles, and why wouldn't he? The Lakers are a top NBA title contender, and he will get to continue to play alongside superstar LeBron James.
Of course, with nothing official, a surprise could always come. But this storyline seems unlikely to change. Davis will be back with the Lakers next season.
The Toronto Raptors are going to have some key players hitting free agency this offseason, including veteran post players Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. That group will also include point guard Fred VanVleet, who has emerged as a solid player the past few seasons.
Not only did VanVleet play a big role in the Raptors winning the 2018-19 NBA title, but also he's been even better this season, averaging career-best totals in points (17.6), assists (6.6), rebounds (3.8) and steals (1.9) per game. He's started all 48 games he's played in after starting only 28 in his first three seasons.
While it's not yet apparent which teams could have interest in VanVleet this offseason, The Athletic's Danny Leroux is forecasting the 26-year-old point guard to get a solid payday: "It feels like VanVleet will get about $15 million to $18 million per season. ... That is a totally reasonable price for him over the next few years."
Although the Raptors should have interest, the prediction here is that VanVleet will sign with the New York Knicks, who need a starting point guard and could have a bright future with a core that will also feature RJ Barrett and potentially their first-round draft pick from this season.
Tristan Thompson isn't thinking about where he will play after this season, which he recently told reporters, including Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, stating that he doesn't "like to think too far ahead."
There's a possibility that Thompson will be playing for a team other than the Cleveland Cavaliers next season after spending the first nine years of his NBA career in Cleveland. If Andre Drummond accepts his player option for 2020-21, then Thompson may not have a starting spot with the Cavs with Drummond and Kevin Love in the post.
Plus, there's a possibility that Cleveland will also look to get younger in the frontcourt and use its first-round draft pick, which will be an early selection, on a post player. With all that being said, it could be difficult for the Cavaliers to justify spending a lot to keep Thompson on the team.
There will be other teams interested, though, especially after Thompson averaged a career-best 12 points per game along with 10.1 rebounds per contest over 57 games this season.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Los Angeles Clippers consider bringing in Thompson if they lose Montrezl Harrell in free agency. Thompson likely would have interest in providing a veteran presence below the basket for a top team that features Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The prediction here is that Thompson will sign with the Clippers this offseason.