Even without the season up in the air, this summer’s free-agency period was chock full of questions. The NBA suspension adds even more fuel to the fire.
The loss of revenue from the regular season and potentially the post-season as well, will unquestionably have a significant impact on the salary cap. What does this mean for the free-agency?
Long Term Deals
I would personally bank on very few long term deals, with little to no chance that we see any max contracts. Players will likely take smaller 1+1 (One guaranteed year & a player option) deals with the intention of seeking out a long term contract during a more stable off-season.
This could result in a significant amount of roster overturn. Logically, most players will go for larger one or two year deals that have the most financial security. It’s important that I iterate; I have no idea how things will actually turn out, this is just speculation that I have after putting a good deal of thought in. These are unprecedented circumstances. Maybe players take deals that are much lower than expected, I thoroughly doubt that due to league history, but crazier things have happened.
You know all those guys we thought would opt out of their player option’s this summer? Yeah, NOPE.
Anthony Davis, opting in.
Andre Drummond, opting in.
DeMar DeRozan, opting in.
Gordon Hayward, DEFINITELY opting in.
However, players who are coming off of rookie deals or who own smaller player options are in murkier water.
Brandon Ingram’s Free-Agency
Ingram’s rookie deal ends this off-season and the Pelicans have his bird rights. His play and potential demands no less than a max deal. Derrick Favors’ 17.6m comes off the books, as does E’Twaun Moore’s 7.2m which opens up a max spot.
J.J. Redick’s entering the last year of his deal next season and Lonzo Ball’s rookie contract ends next season as well.
I’m 99% sure New Orleans will commit everything they have to re-signing Brandon Ingram. That being said, they have a lot of contracts that need to be handled over the next few seasons. The structure of Ingram’s deal as well as how it’s handled may send ripples throughout the Pelicans’ cap sheet in later years.
This team is full of young talent with loads of potential, but that talent has to get paid. It’s one of the less immediate stories, but the future implications are worth noting.
Denver’s Frontcourt Debacle
Jerami grant has a 9.1m player option this summer. Paul Millsap is coming off of his deal and has been a key part of Denver’s defensive system and does much more for the offense than the box score shows. Michael Porter Jr. is ripening into a potential star. But, all three need to play the majority of their minutes at the four.
Grant is a versatile defender and has developed into one of the best floor spacing forward’s in the league. In a year bereft of big name free agents, Grant is likely to net a sizable deal. Teams may not be willing or able to go overboard given COVID-19’s impact on the salary cap. Grant has shown that he is a deserving starter. Whether it’s in Denver or elsewhere, I’d bet my money that Grant signs a deal rather than opts in.
Injuries have shortened every season Millsap’s played in Denver so I doubt teams are extremely willing to dig into their pockets to pay the 35 year old. However, he is still a very high level player.
MPJ has shown flashes of stardom in very limited and spotty minutes this season. Obviously, injury is a concern when it comes to Porter, but the talent is there. If he’s going to grow, he certainly requires an increase in minutes.
This presents a tough decision for Denver. Three players, all in different stages of their career who are deserving of the starting four spot. Grant and Millsap push the needle today, while moving forward with Porter at the four is a move looking to the future.
It’ll be very interesting to see how Denver handles the off-season, as it will be indicative of their plans for the present and future of the organization; Do they think they’re contenders now?
This will be a very intriguing off-season to follow along with. There is rarely certainty when it comes to front office moves and player movement, but this year takes uncertainty to the max.
What do you think about this year’s free agency and how it may be impacted by the suspension? Let me know down below!