NBA free agency in 2019 has been wild. A record number of All-NBA players switched teams through a combination of trades, sign-and-trade deals and free agent signings in the first days of July. Away from the biggest names, plenty of other significant moves were made with many NBA teams overhauling their rosters.
The 2020 NBA offseason will not be as exciting. There will not be such a ridiculous amount of salary cap space available, and the free agent class is comparatively uninspiring. It’s not without interest, though.
We took the time to rank the top potential 2020 free agents…
If, and it’s one almighty if, Anthony Davis does not re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, his free agency will follow in the footsteps of the 2019 superstars. Davis is far and away the standout name of the 2020 class, but at this point in time, it’s very unlikely he’s anything but a Laker in 2020/21.
Teams will move assets if they can get a run at Davis, like several did in pursuit of the biggest names this summer. It would take a disastrous 2019/20 Lakers season for that to happen, though.
Draymond Green is owed just over $18.5 million for the 2019/20 season. His 2018/19 regular season was not up to his usual standards, but we saw the best of Green in the postseason as the Golden State Warriors battled to Game Six of the NBA Finals despite being hobbled with injuries to plenty of their key men.
His free agency could be made interesting if he qualifies for the supermax. He’ll have to win Defensive Player of the Year, which is definitely possible if he replicates his playoff form. Golden State, who have already committed huge money to Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell, could let Green hit the open market if he demands a supermax.
With a player option for 2020/21, Andre Drummond could become a free agent next summer. An old-school centre, Drummond’s market is hard to judge. He’s a monster on the boards, and will score at will in the paint, but his game doesn’t have the variation that the modern NBA demands of big men.
Barring a leap forward in 2019/20, the Pistons could look to move on from Drummond if he opts out and build a new-look roster around Blake Griffin.
A controversial departure from the Toronto Raptors and a not-great season with the San Antonio Spurs have seen DeMar DeRozan’s stock fall. He’s still a good scorer, though, and could be a bargain in free agency if the market for him is as limited as it seems it will be.
DeRozan isn’t the leader on a contender. It’s been nip and tuck between him and LaMarcus Aldridge for supremacy at the Spurs, but he’s still got value to plenty of NBA teams, whether as a complementary piece to a franchise who already have their star or as a leader for a rebuilder.
Last year was a season of recovery for Gordon Hayward after his horrible leg injury on the opening day of the 2017/18 campaign. Hayward showed flashes of his previous self, and the Celtics will hope for more sustained good form from the former Jazz small forward in 2019/20.
Right now, it’s very unlikely he turns down that $34 million player option. A big year could make him consider it, however, and Hayward at his best will attract plenty of interest in free agency.
In the Los Angeles Clippers’ strong 2018/19, Gallinari had a career-best year, posting his highest PER, points per game, rebounds and three-point percentage. There’s every chance the Oklahoma City Thunder look to move Gallinari this season as they continue their rebuild.
A 6’10” wing, who can shoot the three and defend solidly, if healthy, Gallinari’s market will be significant.
Eric Gordon will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end after earning $14 million in 2019/20. Gordon will be looking for a multi-year deal as a 31-year-old and could get paid if he manages to bounceback form his 36% three-point shooting in 2018/19.
Gordon’s free agency will be impacted by the fit with Westbrook and James Harden on the Houston Rockets. If it works out well, Gordon will get a tonne of open looks and have a very good walk year.
The Raptors are freeing up plenty of salary next summer with Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol joining Serge Ibaka as free agents. Ibaka pips his teammates to this list through his age, however, as the former Thunder forward will only be 30, while Lowry and Gasol will be 34 and 35 respectively.
Ibaka can play the four or the five. He’s a competent three-point shooter, making opponents respect him on the perimeter. He’s unlikely to receive anything near the $23 million he’s due in 2019/20, but teams will be keen to add a versatile big like Ibaka. As with plenty of others on this list, his free agency will depend a lot on what next season holds for the Raptors.
Domantas Sabonis (restricted)
Domantas Sabonis’ future is a story to watch in the NBA. The Pacers have managed to juggle Sabonis alongside Myles Turner so far, but they face a big decision this season. Sabonis will be getting paid as a restricted free agent next summer, and do the Pacers think he and Turner can play enough minutes together to justify that?
If not, we could see Sabonis moved in a trade during the season or perhaps it ends up in a sign-and-trade next summer.
A skilled big man, Sabonis is a lot of fun to watch. It could easily be argued he deserves a higher place on this list, and he may show us that this coming season.
Dario Saric (restricted)
If this was a list of the NBA’s most underrated players, Dario Saric would be here too. Saric was moved by the Sixers in the Jimmy Butler trade last winter and was flipped to the Phoenix Suns by the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night.
Saric’s restricted free agency has warning signs for front offices. Judging his value is hard.
He’s good, he’s an effective stretch four who can fill in at the five when required. There’s so much to like about his game; he can shoot, he’s a sneaky rebounder and he’s a good passer. How much will Phoenix be willing to pay? Will another team come in at over $15 million?
The Croatian forward could be a really nice piece for the Suns alongside DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker. There will be a number where they decide to let him go – Saric could become a key member starter on a contender; there will definitely be interest.
Unsure of the difference between unrestricted and restricted free agents? Why can some players earn more than others? Find out more with out article explaining how NBA free agency works.