The 2020 NBA free agency is not as stacked as it was in 2019, however there are still many important players that might decline to stay with their teams or their contracts when this season is over. Here is a list of my top-ten players who will be able to enter free agency in the summer of 2020:
1. Anthony Davis: Has $28.7 Million Player Option
Anthony Davis is not expected to leave the Lakers in the 2020-2021 NBA season, but he might decline his player option to sign a five-year $205 million extension. If Davis did leave the Lakers, the most that he could sign with another team would be a four-year, $152 million deal.
2. DeMar DeRozan: Has $27.7 Million Player Option
In 2020, DeMar DeRozan will be able to exercise his player option for his fifth year in his $139 million contract. It is hard to say whether or not he will use his opportunity to change teams or stay with the San Antonio Spurs. He seems to get along well with Gregg Popovich, but he also hated that he was traded from the Raptors without being informed before the media found out.
3. Brandon Ingram: Rookie Contract Expires
As of 2020, Brandon Ingram’s four-year, $23.8 million contract will have expired. As weird as it is to say, the New Orleans Pelicans have really rolled the dice on him. They have not decided to extend Brandon’s contract and get him to sign in writing that he will stay with the team in the process. In one perspective, this was a smart move — keeping rookie contracts on players can save the team a lot of money, but it also can aggravate them as well. Ingram has superstar potential, he just needs to get out of this injury slump that he has been in for the past couple of years. Once he is completely healthy, many teams will come to him offering large contracts for him to move. The Pelicans are counting on the fact that those teams don’t get to him first and they won’t offer him more money than they can afford.
4. Danilo Gallinari: Contract Expires
When 2020 comes, Danilo Gallinari will have ended his three year, $64.7 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. When he started his contract, he was with the Clippers. Two years passed by and he was traded to Oklahoma City with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first round picks for Paul George. It will be interesting to see if he chooses to stay or leave the Thunder next season. Stay tuned for more info.
5. Andre Drummond: $28.7 Million Player Option
It’s impossible to think of the Detroit Pistons and not think of Andre Drummond. The Pistons signed him back in 2016 to a five-year deal that is worth $127.1 million — with a player option to opt out of his contract in the 2020-2021 NBA season. Drummond will most-likely keep it or decline and use the player option to get a max contract because their current roster has been really good this season. It’s probably hard for him to decline money like that when both Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose are on his team.
6. Gordon Hayward: $34.1 Million Player Option
It has been truly depressing to see Gordon Hayward injured so much while being on the Celtics — particularly in the 2017-2018 season, when he broke both his ankle and his leg. Since then, he has not fully came back as the NBA superstar that we knew while he played in Utah for the Jazz. In the beginning of last November, he fractured his hand in-game. This only took him out for a month, but it was still long enough time to throw him off of his groove. When he moved to the Celtics, Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million deal with a player option during his final season, 2020. It’s hard to say whether or not he will stay, Enes Kanter has taken over the role of big man on the team, and Kemba has been the leading scorer — leaving him to fill in the gaps. We will just have to see.
7. Paul Milsap: Contract Expires
Paul Milsap has brought incredible experience to the Denver Nuggets, especially when they needed it in clutch moments. Last season, when Denver was competing against Portland to get a spot in the Western Conference Finals, Milsap made and delivered impressive shots over defenders in clutch moments to help lead his team to victories (which unfortunately for them was not enough to beat the Trailblazers). He capitalizes over his height advantage by taking hook shots or fades over defenders — and is very consistent. Milsap’s 3-year, $90 million deal with the Nuggets expires at the end of the 2019-2020 season, so there is very much a possibility that he will leave. The one problem with leaving is that it might be hard for teams to find as much interest in him as a player because he is 34 years old, and thus more prone to injuries than he was three years ago. Denver has invested so much in their young lineup that their players have begun to improve dramatically, which means they will need to start focusing their money on their younger players soon. If they don’t, it will be hard to see if they can keep all of the young talent on their roster.
8. Bogdan Bogdanovic: Contract Expires
Bogdan Bogdanovic is on his third year of his $27,000,000 contract with the Sacramento Kings and it is hard to see whether or not he will stay. If he and the Kings cannot reach a deal in the summer of 2020, there will be plenty of teams interested in signing the combo-guard.
9. Jerami Grant: $9.1 Million Player Option
Jerami Grant was a decent basketball player when he began to make a name for himself with the Thunder last season, but when he came to Denver it was a totally different ball game (no pun intended). Now he is showing up regularly on highlight reels for his crazy dunks (to read more about Jerami Grant’s transition from OKC click here). The problem for the Nuggets right now is that the contract he signed with the Thunder was for only three seasons, with a player option to decline in his last. There is a possibility that Grant will decline the option to try and make more money, but in doing so he would be declining $9.3 million of his $27.3 million contract. This would be hard to wager for someone who is on the bench, but it could be done..
10. Montrezl Harrell: Contract Expires
“Trez” has become a staple of the L.A. Clippers franchise and it is hard to think that they would let him go, but it will be hard to pay all of their players with competitive contracts — considering they picked up both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in free agency. At the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season, Montrezl Harrell’s two year, $12 million contract will have expired. Will the Clippers keep him? We will will just have to wait and see.
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA – Anthony Davis, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64951165
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA – Andre Drummond, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54202882
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA – DeMar DeRozan, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67022758
Image by Jim Gade from Pixabay