NBA Free Agency 2020: Predictions for Top Names Ahead of Tuesday's Deadline

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington. The Warriors won 126-118. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

NBA teams don't have long to fill out rosters by utilizing the new transaction window ahead of the league reopening in Orlando, Florida. 

The window shuts 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday, which might explain why ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Los Angeles Lakers and free agent JR Smith are nearing a deal. 

Smith is one of several big names who was a bit of a question mark. While recognizable, it wasn't known if the veteran would even participate if teams reached out. 

Elsewhere, the following players could pop up in headlines before the window closes.

    

Iman Shumpert

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Shumpert has big name recognition even if he isn't a stat-sheet-stuffing presence. 

That's why the 2011 first-round pick has had steady work in the league with a handful of teams, most recently with the Nets for 13 games in 2019-20. 

He put up 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds over 18.5 minutes, but Shumpert again proved a stellar defender. 

And those types of players can't go overlooked given the nature of the bubble and sprint to the postseason. A team like the Lakers just had a key defender in Avery Bradley opt out of the season restart. Smith isn't exactly the perfect replacement in this regard, but it wouldn't be a surprise to find out the Lakers were interested in Shumpert, either. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Some team is bound to find value in a strong rotational defensive presence. A reunion with the Nets might make the most sense. Brooklyn just replaced Wilson Chandler, who decided to opt out of the restart, with Justin Anderson, per Wojnarowski, but the Nets might also have to compensate for the fact Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19, according to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania

Prediction: Shumpert signs with the Nets

     

Jamal Crawford

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Crawford is one of those wild cards who may be mentioned in this sort of scenario. 

He may be 40 years old, but we're talking about a shoot-first guard whose last game in the NBA featured him putting up 51 points for Phoenix against Dallas. 

That was last year, when Crawford played 64 games with the Suns, averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 assists over 18.9 minutes. This sort of resume, including the fact he's been the NBA Sixth Man of the Year three times is why it seemed like the Lakers might consider him. 

After all, quick scoring off the bench that keeps opposing teams' second units on their toes is a deadly thing to have in a sprint to the playoffs. 

But with the Lakers looking at Smith, Crawford might make more sense for another potential contender like the Philadelphia 76ers. The Ben Simmons-led squad couldn't hurt to have a secondary rotation that features a shoot-first player like Crawford playing with a savvy veteran like Al Horford under the basket for 15 or so minutes a night. 

Crawford's resume would be nice to have off the bench in Orlando. 

Prediction: Crawford signs with the 76ers

    

DeMarcus Cousins

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

There's not a bigger name on the free-agent market than DeMarcus Cousins, but there might not be a bigger question mark, either. 

The 29-year-old is on the mend from an ACL tear and might be a candidate to suit up for a team in Orlando. It would make sense if he didn't—but Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported the center's agent says he'd be open to a deal with a team. 

And that would be quite the boon for almost any team off the bench. Cousins wouldn't put in a ton of minutes given his current circumstances, but he's still a guy with career averages of 21.1 points and 10.9 rebounds, never mind the command of the paint he provides on defense, which is at least somewhat summed up well by the 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. 

Of course, the only real team that makes sense for Boogie is the Lakers. If he's coming back and risking suiting up while he recovers, it's surely going to be with LeBron James and Co. while going all-out for a title. 

It helps Boogie hasn't really left the Lakers as it is, which is something Ganguli mentioned, as he's still been a part of team group texts and was using the facilities even after the team waived him.

This feels like the only scenario when the NBA woos Boogie back to the court this year, and from a Lakers perspective, making it work could provide key depth that pushes them over the proverbial edge. 

Prediction: Cousins signs with the Lakers

Related

    New @BR_NBA Top 100 Series 📝

    🗓 Monday-Friday: Top 15 at each position ⭐️ Saturday: Top 100 players this season

    @AndrewDBailey and @danfavale start by ranking this season's top 15 PGs ahead of the restart ✍️

    NBA logo
    NBA

    New @BR_NBA Top 100 Series 📝

    Andy Bailey and Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    30 Teams, 30 Days: Cavs ✍️

    WTF are the Cavs doing, you ask? @davidgardner tries to figure it out 📲

    NBA logo
    NBA

    30 Teams, 30 Days: Cavs ✍️

    David Gardner
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Kings Shut Down Practice Facility

    Sacramento closes its facility after receiving positive COVID-19 test within team's traveling party

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Kings Shut Down Practice Facility

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    How Many Future HOFers on Each Roster?

    B/R predicts the number of players who can reach basketball immortality

    NBA logo
    NBA

    How Many Future HOFers on Each Roster?

    Greg Swartz
    via Bleacher Report