The 2020 class doesn’t have the best free agents ever but it certainly involves some valuable players, some of whom will almost definitely be making a change of scenery. Here are some predictions for each of the top 2020 NBA free agents’ potential destinations.
Andre Drummond: Charlotte Hornets
2019-2020 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 15.3 RPG, 2.7 APG
Andre Drummond finally got his ticket out of Detroit at the trade deadline, going to Cleveland for John Henson, Brandon Knight and a second-round pick. A seemingly minuscule return for a two-time All-Star and the best rebounder in the NBA. Detroit was forced to sell low because it was clear to everyone that he would not be resigning with them this offseason.
Drummond has a $29 million player option for next season but he is expected to decline it in hopes of landing a lucrative long term deal. Cleveland is hoping to convince him to re-sign but that is looking tenuous and it is debatable whether Drummond really wants to be in Cleveland. Rumors from last month suggested that he was not impressed with Cleveland’s coaching situation, although Drummond denies these rumors.
If he were to enter free agency this summer, only a few teams would have max level money to offer him a big deal. Among those teams, the Charlotte Hornets seem to be the most likely to sign Drummond considering their current starting center is Cody Zeller, not exactly confidence-inspiring. The Hornets have made big splashes on free agent centers in the past with Bismack Biyambo and Al Jefferson come to mind, and center is a position that they have been weak at for years. If Charlotte thinks that Drummond can be their center long term expect them to make a big offer.
Montrezl Harrell: Miami Heat
2019-2020 Stats: 18.7 PPG 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG
Over the past few seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers Montrezl Harrell has blossomed into an elite bench player on both sides of the ball. He’s a top candidate for the 6th Man of the Year Award along with teammate Lou Williams and is a valuable piece on the Clippers bench, which currently ranks as the best bench in basketball.
The Clippers would love to keep Harrell as part of their future plans but the reality is they just don’t have the money. He’s currently on a very team-friendly two-year, $12 million contract which expires after this season. The Clippers have no cap space to speak of and Harrell is probably going to ask for at least $20 million.
An intriguing option for Harrell, especially if he wants to stay on a contender, would be the Miami Heat. Miami is set to have over $30 million in cap space and Harrell would be a wonderful fit for their defensive-minded scheme.
Pairing him next to Bam Adebayo would make for a dynamic defensive duo. There would be concerns about their relative lack of height but both players are very effective rebounders, especially for their size. Harrell is a sneakily good offensive rebounder, as this season he ranks 16th in the NBA in offensive rebound rate. Miami would do good to go all-in on signing Harrell this offseason, he fits well with their scheme and is well within their price range. It will come down to whether Miami wants to spend the money this offseason or save it for a much larger 2021 free-agent class led by the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Fred Van Vleet: New York Knicks
2019-2020 Stats: 17.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.6 APG
Okay, this is a bit of a long shot but it might not be as improbable as most would think.
This season Fred Van Vleet has cemented himself as one of the NBA’s premier guards, averaging career highs across the board. He had an incredible run in last season’s playoffs that helped bring the city of Toronto it’s first sports title in 29 years and is currently helping lead the Raptors to the second seed in the eastern conference.
It’s not a guarantee that Van Vleet will re-sign with Toronto. Although they have the cap space to do so, Toronto might balk at offering Van Vleet the max that he is expecting. Van Vleet might also be looking to run his own offense. He’s been sharing the backcourt with Kyle Lowry this season who is signed through next season and is the team’s primary ball-handler. If Van Vleet wants to fully control the reins of an NBA offense his best bet might be signing elsewhere.
That’s where the Knicks come in. They have plenty of cap space to work with this offseason, especially if they decline Bobby Portis’ option, it will be more than enough to offer Van Vleet the contract he’ll be looking for.
The Knicks are stuck in point guard hell and have been for years. It’s concerning that the best Knicks point guards of the past decade were Jeremy Lin and Raymond Felton. If they want to solve what has been a huge hole in their team for years Van Vleet is a great and reliable option who has his prime ahead of him. If Toronto wavers on resigning him, expect the Knicks to try and pry him away.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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