NBA Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Buzz on 2020 Free Agents and Team Draft Plans

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks carries the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney.  LaMelo Ball's bone bruise on his left foot is expected to keep him out of the Illawarra Hawks lineup for the remainder of the National Basketball League season in Australia. The 18-year-old American, who joined Illawarra as part of the NBL's Next Stars program, is expected to be a first-round pick in this year's NBA draft.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA offseason is looming. While there isn't a timetable for the draft and free agency, it could occur before we're deep into fall.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburn, the NBA is eying a return to play by the end of July. Depending on the length and format of the postseason, the offseason could start in September—or perhaps even August if the postseason is expedited.

This means that teams not likely to make a run in the playoffs—and those that won't qualify—should be 100 percent focused on what they are going to do in free agency and the draft. Deciding on what to do could take a little work too, as there isn't a consensus No. 1 prospect for the draft.

"Most evaluators are very quick to note that they believe the first pick will be heavily influenced by who wins the lottery," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote. "This is not like 2019, [when] whoever got the pick got the right to select Zion Williamson. Rather, NBA team draft boards are all over the place right now."

However, there are some intriguing options scheduled to hit the free-agent market or rumored to be available via trade.

One of the potential trade options, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, is flattered by the notion he could be acquired.

"It's interesting," Beal said, per ESPN's Jackie MacMullen. "To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I've been doing good things and guys want to play with me."

Beal's comments come in the wake of a report that the New York Knicks are eying Beal in a trade. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Nets "are in the market for a third star and view Beal as an option.

In terms of free agency, the Knicks appear locked in on players who can mesh with rookie RJ Barrett—specifically shooters.

"The obvious [need] for New York this season was outside shooting," SNY's Ian Begley wrote. "That's why some in the organization see finding a lead guard who can knock down a shot as a priority for the offseason. ... One person in touch with members of the organization at the time said part of the thinking for the club's offseason was centered around finding players who complement rookie RJ Barrett."

While NBL standout LaMelo Ball might not be a knockdown shooter, he could be an option for the Knicks at the top of the draft. He's a fantastic point guard prospect who would be a nice counterpart to Barrett on the court.

Ball would also be willing—and perhaps eager—to join the Knicks organization.

"Some league sources believe the Ball camp will try to steer the 18-year-old point guard to the Knicks, though such a maneuver will seem difficult if Leon Rose's club doesn't rise into the top four in the lottery," Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote.

Of course, as noted, Ball is not the consensus top option, and teams do have concerns about his NBA potential.

"Plenty of concerns from NBA teams about him," NBA insider Chad Ford said on his NBA Big Board podcast(h/t HoopsHype). "He's not an explosive athlete. He's been a really streaky shooter with poor form on a shot. He struggled as an on-the-ball defender, and he carries some of that baggage of the Ball name with him as well. And that certainly is working against him."

This could leave the Knicks—and other teams that could earn the No. 1 pick—to view Ball as an option rather than a surefire target.

Some teams, such as the Golden State Warriors, appear content to wait until after the draft lottery to begin homing in on a top option.

"The Warriors haven't formed a draft board yet, sources said," The Athletic's Anthony Slater wrote. "Abstract thoughts and opinions haven't yet become prospect rankings."

In other words, while the offseason is approaching, we're still a long way away from knowing how it will unfold.