NBA Free Agents 2020: Latest Rumors and Predictions About Anthony Davis, More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 2, 2020

NBA Free Agents 2020: Latest Rumors and Predictions About Anthony Davis, More

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The unofficial slogan of the year 2020—unlike any other—absolutely applies to the latest iteration of the NBA offseason.

    The calendar change forced an abbreviated version upon the Association, as not even two weeks separated the draft from the opening of training camps. While teams have done the majority of their heavy lifting in free agency already, one elite player remains without a contract and several other potential contributors are unsigned.

    We have cobbled together the latest buzz around three hoopers-for-hire and broke out our crystal ball for a glimpse into their futures.

Anthony Davis, Agent Meet with Lakers

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Anthony Davis' first go-round with the Los Angels Lakers was a smashing success punctuated by a world title. He seamlessly fit alongside LeBron James and saw the impact of his already elite statistics magnified by a level of team success he never enjoyed with the New Orleans Pelicans.

    And yet, the big, single-browed baller remains without a new deal. But Davis and the Lakers are working to get one in place.

    "Anthony Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, are scheduled to meet with the Lakers and general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday," Broderick Turner reported for the Los Angeles Times. "... The sort of contract Davis seeks remains a mystery."

    The contract rate isn't in question. Davis is a max-level talent and will be paid accordingly. The unsettled portion is the length of the deal, as a shorter contract could both increase the franchise's flexibility going forward and keep the pressure on the Lakers to maintain proper roster support for Davis as LeBron James plays out the twilight years of his career.

    Unless Davis seeks security, it feels like a short-term arrangement is imminent.

    Prediction: Davis signs a two-year deal with a player option to remain with the Lakers.

Isaiah Thomas Has His Groove Back

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Isaiah Thomas went from eyeing max money to clinging to minimum contracts. Injuries, specifically a hip problem that first surfaced in the 2017 postseason, were the primary culprit behind the staggering plummet.

    He averaged 28.9 points across 76 contests in 2016-17. He was down to 12.8 (on 38.6 percent shooting) in just 84 contests the past three campaigns combined.

    Since the 31-year-old remains unsigned, it seems teams are far from convinced that his injury woes are behind him. Saying that, there are (finally) promising reports around his health surfacing recently.

    "Have been talking to people that have watched or played with Isaiah Thomas in recent months," SI.com's Chris Mannix tweeted. "There's a consensus: That's a different guy. He may never be the player he was in Boston but he is significantly better than the broken down player we saw the last couple of seasons."

    Thomas seems overdue for a get-right contract, and a scoring-starved squad with some win-now hopes could eventually look his way. The Orlando Magic loom as a logical landing spot, since they always need more offense and may not be comfortable with expecting Michael Carter-Williams and rookie Cole Anthony to replace D.J. Augustin's production.

    Prediction: Thomas signs a one-year minimum deal with the Magic.

Jordan McLaughlin 'Still a Possibility' in Minnesota

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Once a wrist injury shelved Karl-Anthony Towns for good in early February, there weren't many reasons for all but the most fervent faithful to pay attention to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    That lack of attention may be the reason Jordan McLaughlin remains without a deal. He sizzled down the stretch last season, but with all eyes elsewhere, he became the proverbial tree that fell in a forest with no one around to hear it.

    Over his final 15 outings, the former USC Trojan tallied averages of 10.0 points, 5.1 assists, 1.4 steals and only 1.3 turnovers in 21.8 minutes a night. More impressively, he converted 55.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 41.5 percent of his long-range looks.

    Only 24 years old, McLaughlin looks like an NBA talent—at least, in the eyes of those who paid attention. The Timberwolves surely did, and since they only gave Rondae Hollis-Jefferson a non-guaranteed training camp deal, "that means Jordan McLaughlin is still a possibility," per The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski.

    The Wolves already have D'Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio in the backcourt, but there's an opening for a third point guard should they choose to add one. While McLaughlin may have had designs of securing a more substantial role, it seems that might be the best option at this stage of the game.

    Prediction: McLaughlin re-signs with Minnesota on a one-year deal.