Though the timeline remains unclear, the 2020 NBA offseason is in the not-too-distant horizon. The draft buzz has already been building, and now, the trade buzz is beginning in earnest.
What is perhaps the first concrete trade rumor of the coming offseason involves the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal. Brooklyn is expected to have a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2021 and appears interested in adding Beal to the equation.
"Immersed in their championship window, the Brooklyn Nets are in the market for a third star and have internally discussed avenues of acquiring Wizards guard Bradley Beal," wrote Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Adding the standout shooting guard would make sense for the Nets. It would potentially form a new Big Three, and Beal's long-range shooting—he's shot 45.5 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc this season—would complement Irving and Durant well.
Of course, the Wizards would have to be willing to deal Beal—a prospect that isn't going to happen, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.
"There are no Beal Sweepstakes and that's why he re-signed with the Wizards," Bartelstein said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes.
Beal signed a new two-year extension with Washington back in October. While this would seem to indicate that the Florida product is happy where he is, the future outlook for Washington and the prospect of playing for a ready-made contender could alter his perspective.
Warriors Not Rushing Their Draft Decisions
The Nets could be legitimate title contenders next season. The Golden State Warriors almost certainly will be. While Draymond Green is a pending free agent, the Warriors should have, at minimum, a core of Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and a healthy Klay Thompson.
The Warriors could also add a premium draft prospect to their core. They currently own the worst record in the NBA and have a tremendous shot at landing a lottery pick.
However, Golden State has not zeroed in on top draft options just yet. According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater, the Warriors are instead waiting to see how the draft lottery unfolds.
"As per the new pandemic rules, the Warriors have been allowed four hours per prospect for Zoom calls, but most of those, sources say, have been with non-lottery, non-first round prospects, allowing them to gain a wide view of the draft landscape and sharpen up their virtual process before the lottery happens, their exact position is known and the real pre-draft fun begins.
" ... The Warriors haven't formed a draft board yet, sources said. Abstract thoughts and opinions haven't yet become prospect rankings."
This strategy makes sense for a couple of reasons. For one, the Warriors don't know where they'll be selecting and which prospect may fall into their draft range. It's highly unlikely that they'll trade up for a prospect, as there isn't a consensus No. 1 in this draft class.
Secondly, Golden State may choose to trade away its pick to add a veteran to its current group. The Warriors are likely putting more work right now into weighing their trade options.
Thibodeau Could be a Top Knicks Candidate
While the Nets and the Warriors are busy trying to build contenders, the New York Knicks are in the process of yet another rebuild. New York named Leon Rose team president back in early March, and Rose has been working to assemble a new front office.
New York has yet to determine its head coach for 2020. Mike Miller is leading the team as interim coach, but he is no lock to maintain the job into the offseason.
The Knicks could have a front-runner in mind, however, according to SNY's Ian Begley:
"Last month, agents and other coaches with a vested interest in the Knicks' coaching search said they believed Thibodeau is the most likely hire if Rose decides not to retain Miller. Rose and Thibodeau have a close relationship.
" ... Thibodeau, according to sources, was open to coaching the Knicks in the 2016 offseason without the title of team president."
Thibodeau was fired as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and has been out of work since. Now, he may have a shot at a job that intrigued him four years ago.