NBA Free Agents 2020: Contract Predictions for Remaining Available Talent

Martin FennFeatured Columnist INovember 30, 2020

NBA Free Agents 2020: Contract Predictions for Remaining Available Talent

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The dust has mostly settled on 2020 NBA free agency, with teams such as the Atlanta Hawks making the most of cap space and others, like the Los Angeles Clippers, bringing in vets to replace departing players.

    Yet despite all the action in the past few weeks, the top star still remains: Anthony Davis.

    "The Brow" is widely expected to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on a lucrative deal after opting out of his contract for the 2020-21 season.

    Davis' salary has escalators depending on the length of the deal, which figures to be a premium both for his camp and for the Lakers as they work out logistics.

    Here is a closer look at the contracts Davis and a pair of other free agents could be looking to sign.

Anthony Davis

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Davis probably could not have asked for much more in his first season with the Lakers.

    The 27-year-old continued to assert himself as one of the top players in the league, averaging 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists while finishing as the runner-up for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award, posting 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals per night.

    Davis had no trouble fitting in with LeBron James, and he elevated his play in the playoffs as L.A. captured its 17th title in franchise history. The moment was especially sweet for AD, who for years toiled on a mediocre New Orleans Pelicans team.

    The Lakers are hoping to run it back, and they are intent on doing whatever it takes to bring Davis back into the fold. For his part, "The Brow" is not likely to pass up a chance to repeat or keep playing alongside James. The only question is: Will Davis make the long-term commitment?

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Davis could sign multiple deals. A one-and-one would allow him to re-enter the market after the 2020-21 season if he so chooses. LeBron also has a player option for next year, so perhaps that could make the most sense in the event "King James" has an eye on different opportunities.

    However, James' player option for next season is worth over $40 million, and it seems unlikely he would turn that down. This could make a three-year deal all the likelier for Davis.

    A three-year pact would pay Davis slightly more on an annual basis while also allowing him to opt-out and join James on the open market after the second year.

    The length of this contract could also serve as a buffer for the Lakers in terms of hoping to win now while also seeking possible financial flexibility down the road.   

    Prediction: Davis signs with the Lakers for three years, $106 million

Nicolas Batum

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    It is not Batum's fault the Charlotte Hornets signed him to an outlandish contract in the summer of 2016.

    Although the veteran wing never produced to the level of the five-year, $120 million deal the Hornets gave him that summer, he is still a productive player who can defend, handle the ball and shoot threes.

    The Hornets waived Batum on Sunday so as to make room for Gordon Hayward, and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Frenchman plans to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he clears waivers.

    Batum had plenty of time to speak with potential suitors after it became more likely the Hornets would have to stretch-and-waive him to create cap space. Charania reported a number of teams had interest, but the Clippers appear to have struck the winning bargain.

    Los Angeles is prudent to go after Batum. The Clippers have a legitimate shortage of wing assets off the bench after trading Maurice Harkless in order to acquire Marcus Morris and watching JaMychal Green sign with the Denver Nuggets. Green especially is a big loss as someone who rebounded at a high level while providing some floor-spacing.

    Batum offers a similar skill set when healthy. The 31-year-old played just 22 games this season because of injury, but he averaged 9.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the 2018-19 campaign while shooting over 38 percent from deep on 4.0 attempts per game.

    Los Angeles could fold Batum the non-taxpayer mid-level exception.   

    Prediction: Batum signs with the Clippers for one year, $4.5 million

Troy Daniels

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    Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

    Daniels probably should have been more of a staple in the Lakers' rotation this past season. 

    The 29-year-old seemingly gave L.A. shooting and backcourt depth off the bench, something the Lakers desperately needed.

    However, Daniels shot just over 35 percent from beyond the arc, well below his career mark, and was eventually waived. He finished out the year with the Denver Nuggets, though he shot the ball even less effectively to end the season.

    Still, Daniels should appeal to a number of teams still looking to add shooting, which is always at a premium.

    The former VCU product is a career 39.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc on 4.1 attempts per game. Daniels understands his role as a gunner and catch-and-shoot guy, and he plays that role to perfection.

    Daniels' best year as a pro came as a member of the Phoenix Suns, but the Suns appear set after signing Langston Galloway and E'Twaun Moore. The Philadelphia 76ers figure to need as much shooting as they can get, but they also have a number of two-guard options.

    However, Daniels' skills might be most well-suited to the Dallas Mavericks.

    Dallas traded Seth Curry in exchange for Josh Richardson who, while an improvement on the defensive end, is not nearly the same level of shooter as Curry. At the least, the Mavs could use a guard who can space the floor and give Luka Doncic options off the bench, and Daniels makes sense in that regard.   

    Prediction: Daniels signs with the Mavs for the one-year minimum


    All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.