Monday , October 18 2021

The NBA Free Agent Class of 2020 looks like a barren wasteland


Considering your penchant for techno foul drawing and destructive defensive detonations of the opponent, "stability" may not be the first word that comes to your mind when you think of Draymond Green. That's what the All-Star forged this weekend, even though it agreed to the terms of a new four-year, maximum-paid contract extension that answers the Warriors' biggest pressing question 11 months earlier – and is in the process of accumulating even more it is doubtful how teams facing their own dilemmas of building a list in the summer of 2020 may try to deal with them.

Golden State now has four of its most important tracks – Green, Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson and newcomer Angelo Russell – under a contract for at least three seasons, giving the Warriors a little more continuity than the contenders could get for the title These days. Green provides a $ 99.7 million a bag guaranteeing the salary and status of a superstar with a franchise he helped build in the dynasty; he also reports I have a player option for the final season, allowing him to hit the market in 2023 if he wished. This is good business for both parties. But while rebooting seems like a win-win for Draymond and the Dubs, it's another L for the 2020 free-agent class and for teams that may be hoping to find a different manufacturer in it.

A former Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection, Green was ready to be the cream of the harvest next summer among players ready to reach the unrestricted market. The projected player pool is deep in veterans offering rich deals, whose best years are probably in the rearview mirror, such as Kyle Lowry, Danilo Galinari, Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, Mark Gasol, Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. It also includes several players who could move the needle for a playoff team at a decent price, such as Eric Gordon, Fred Vanleit, Montrez Harrel, and perhaps again a healthy DeMarcus Cousin. Quality players, yes, but not those who can tilt the franchise's wealth in the same way as the headliners who dominated free agent feeds this summer.

Factoring players who can opt out of their current deals adds depth to the Class of 2020, but only one truly conscientious talent at the core. This player, Anthony Davis, cannot renegotiate or extend his contract until January, six months after his blockbuster trade from New Orleans to Los Angeles became official because of the decision to give up his commercial kicker to facilitate the move. Davis still doesn't say much about the future, but is expected to strike a long-term deal with the Lakers next summer; after all the maneuvers needed to land him with LeBron James, it will probably take a stunning turn of events and complete disintegration on all sides to turn into a search for a new home after just one season in LA (Stunning but not unprecedented .)

If Davis joins Green as he gets off the board before he's really on it, then who will be at the helm of the 2020 class? Andre Drummond? Mike Conley or Otto Porter Jr., who chose to quit after their first full seasons with the teams they traded to? Completely rehabilitated Gordon Hayward, who wants to leave Boston's unpleasant head behind him? DeMar DeRozan Striking In Search Of Another Great Score After Staying In San Antonio? How many teams would be willing to back up a Brinks truck for one of them, believing that they were the missing piece in a championship puzzle?

Not much, I would bet, which is probably one of the reasons so many teams spend so freely this summer, severely limiting how much of them will have significant financial flexibility next year. According to ESPN's Bob Marx, only the Hornets, Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Hawks and Raptors are on the line to make more than $ 25 million next summer. Several other teams – such as the Knicks, who have many players for a team option with no guaranteed deals, or the Suns and Pelicans, who have some decisions to make limited free agents to be – can make their way to spending a lot of energy too . Given the current state of these franchises – all largely either at the beginning of recovery or in the middle of one instead of ready for meaningful disputes – it is possible that vets holding a player option may decide to sit tight, make their money and wait until this can be a more annoyed market in 2021. (For what it's worth: Part of me would be glad to see what Drymond looked like as the power forward / center of the old head when the team came in) The Hawks are designed to mimic what it is helped her out on the bay. Oh, well, here's what 2K guess, guess.)

Since Green is closed and Davis is expected to follow, the most intriguing talent may be in the restricted free agent market. Players like Pascal Siacam, Buddy Hyde, Jason Brown, Brandon Ingram, Karis LeWert and Domantas Sabonis could draw a lot of attention from teams that not only earn their developing talents but also the likelihood of paying for their up or coming seasons. However, the court of limited free agency is that the acting team controls the whole process, whether by signing an RFA to be an extension before the season starts or by exercising its right of first refusal to match any offer sheet that the interested suitor presents . But after the summer, when I saw a few limited free agents, they switched to new registration and marketing teams – Russell to Golden State in the Kevin Durant deal; Terry Rosier to Charlotte in the Walk for Kemba deal; Malcolm Brogden to Indiana, Tomasz Satoranski to Chicago and Delon Wright to Dallas in exchange for drafts – it will be interesting to see if teams that don't know how much they want to engage with their restricted types will continue to be more open to movement they go to the suitors, ready to pay both the loads they have earned to get their players and the big contracts they will need to keep them.

If not, teams looking to make a big comeback next summer will need to work in the trade market, scrambling for talented players who are unhappy enough about the state of their affairs in their city to start looking for a way out, or potentially they are worth more for their franchise as a chip for further rebuilding than as a court associate. Can a quiet summer on the superstar front make someone like Bradley Beale even more attractive and valuable to hang on to the recovering Wizards? Will it attract more spicy deals for a useful but expensive player locked in a long-term deal – for example, Kevin Love, who is under the control of Cleveland in 2023? Can it inspire teams that think they are just one step away from rethinking how old but still very good Chris Paul can be, and whether it's worth finding a way to import the Oklahoma City mammoth contract? Things are changing fast in the NBA; changing circumstances around the league could lead to a whole new crop of reagents that have become a topic of trade negotiations for too long.

Meanwhile, Green's decision to take an extension and stay put, like CJ McCollum before him, highlights the interesting place the NBA is at right now. After all the superstar shakes from June and July, the league is leveling up … Roster Churn is already the rule, not the exception, but with so much All-NBA talent now, at least a two-year deal seems like a team, that we see in October, be more or less than the ones we will look into in the near future. Perhaps this will help champion the aspirations of teams that already have their superstars, with support structures built around them, such as Milwaukee and Denver. Perhaps this will increase the chances of a playoff level of lower-level teams that have already established continuity and can continue to grow together, such as Orlando and San Antonio.

On the flip side, maybe that will make the jump to a competitive level more difficult for teams like Miami or Minnesota, which have one star but failed to land another and may not have much more ability to do so, If the cavalry does not come, you must rely on internal development; perhaps teams with many emerging young players (Dallas, Sacramento) are ready to win as much as those whose stars have already reached their ceilings.

There are many questions that need to be answered on the court, but this is the kind. Without megawatts of superstars, whose free agency is just ahead of the horizon, we can manage to focus our attention on how we know how these teams really fit together and play against each other in NBA games. It's a new concept, I realize, but maybe, like Draymond and the Warriors, a little bit of current stability will do good to the stakeholders and league observers.

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