The 2020 NBA offseason is going to be a unique experience and one that we're not going to see for some time yet. The draft isn't scheduled to take place until October 16, with free agency kicking off two days later.
For teams who won't be involved in the NBA's restarted season in Orlando, the offseason is essentially here. Only the top 22 teams are being invited to the restart, so teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are out.
This means that the decision-makers and players involved with these teams have plenty of time to ponder their possibilities.
Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, however, does not need that time. He has already announced his plan to opt in for next season.
"Yeah, it's going to be hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still," Drummond told ESPN's Le Batard & Friends Network podcast.
The next step for Drummond and the Cavaliers will be deciding whether to sign an extension. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, both sides are interested in doing so.
"At this point, sources say, both sides have shown interest in an extension. But there's so much to figure out before late October, when Drummond could technically sign a new deal," Fedor wrote.
Cleveland's direction in free agency and the draft could impact Drummond's future with the franchise. For now, though, the Cavaliers should feel good about having Drummond on the roster for the 2020-21 season.
Jayson Tatum Leaning Toward Max Deal
The 43-21 Boston Celtics will be part of the NBA restart, so they can put off the offseason for the time being. However, the C's can still be concerned about the long-term outlook for its biggest rising star, Jayson Tatum.
The 2017 third overall pick emerged as an All-Star this season after averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He also has one year remaining on his contract with a club option available for the 2021-22 season.
While the Celtics should be quick to exercise that option, they would likely feel better if they could simply get Tatum under contract long-term. Fortunately, that appears to be what Tatum has in mind as well.
"From what I'm being told, Jayson at this point is leaning toward signing [a] max deal when he's eligible and going from there." NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely said on the Celtics Talk podcast.
Tatum will be eligible to sign a max contract this offseason, though as Blakely pointed out, the financial impact of COVID-19 could impact his decision-making.
"Tatum's got to make some decisions," Blakely said. "Do I sign for your four- or five-year extension? Or do I play it out and just become a restricted free agent and hope that the cap goes up afterward, so then I can sign a max still for more money?"
For now, it appears that Tatum is ready to go ahead and get a deal done.
JR Smith Has Been Working Out with Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are also going to be part of the restart and have a good shot at playing for a title. One potential issue, though, is that guard Avery Bradley has decided to opt out of the Orlando tournament.
This leaves the Lakers with a roster spot to fill—and DeMarcus Cousins isn't coming to fill it. He'll instead focus on making an NBA return next season.
However, former LeBron James teammate JR Smith could step in and fill the last slot on the Purple and Gold's roster. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Smith has been working out with "several" Lakers players in recent weeks:
Brad Turner @BA_Turner
Sources: Free agent guard JR Smith is a possibility for the Lakers to sign in wake of Avery Bradley opting not to play in NBA restart. Smith has been in LA working out with several Lakers in past few weeks. He had worked out for the Lakers before they signed guard Dion Waiters.
This, along with his previous experience playing alongside James, would be a strong indication that Smith would bring more chemistry to the Lakers than any other street free agent they might consider.