As everyone is aware of by this point, the 2020 free agency class does not boast a lineup of flashy names and under 10 teams will have money greater than any exceptions.
I wrote recently on the tiers of names that are apart of the 2020 free-agent class and every team with the space is sure to offer a max to Brandon Ingram, but this will focus more on the smaller name players that this handful of teams could find themselves competing for.
Atlanta, New York, Miami, Detroit, and Charlotte all can find max cap space with some basic moves. All but one of those listed teams (New York) will have a plethora of guards on their roster this offseason.
Atlanta is confident moving forward with Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, Miami has Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Jimmy Butler. One of the Detroit Pistons’ few young talents is shooting guard Luke Kennard and Derrick Rose will still be under contract for one more season while Charlotte has a slew of guards in the form of Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, and breakout player Devonte’ Graham. New York is the single team mentioned that would jump on signing a young guard, assuming they competently fit alongside RJ Barrett.
So, what are all of these teams likely to be targeting?
Atlanta needs a true power forward, and they want every player on their roster (aside from Clint Capela, apparently) to be capable shooters from range. They also would not mind strengthening their depth at the wing position, or a backup veteran guard.
The Knicks need any talent that they can find at this point that won’t take away from Mitchell Robinson or RJ Barrett. The point guard position is in question, but there is not a lack of candidates for the job with Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, and potentially Elfrid Payton all returning. They need shooting from the three or the four, meaning a wing player.
Miami is the clear team that will be willing to overpay for a one-year impact player. They are striving to save their cap space for bigger fish in the 2021 free agency and will almost certainly land a short term deal with a veteran player on the decline. As for position, a stretch-four, which they nearly acquired at the most recent trade deadline.
Detroit needs someone to play alongside Christian Wood and Blake Griffin when he returns. The Pistons would also not mind deepening their talent pool at the wing which currently is made up of Tony Snell (player-option), and project talent Sekou Doumbouya.
The Charlotte Hornets have no future at the center position. Bismack Biyombo‘s contract expires and they will have just Cody Zeller to man the anchor position, surely they will attempt to acquire an upgrade in free agency. And again, they would not mind adding a few bench wing players.
The most common positions of need among the top potential spenders are power forwards that can stretch the floor, wings players, and a few holes at the center spot.
The pool gets shortened when you consider that Washington will likely not be outbid on Bertans after refusing to trade him at the deadline and New York is reportedly looking to retain Harkless. Portis has a team-option that will almost certainly be turned down and Phoenix likely put up little resistance with Saric’s restricted rights.
Atlanta would love Gallinari’s scoring to raise their floor and make a push for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami, who attempt to snag Gallinari at the deadline, will certainly offer a large one-year deal to him. Both of these teams could be persuaded that Paul Milsap or Marcus Morris is that guy as well. Anticipate the Hawks and Heat competing for these three and it wouldn’t surprise me if both landed one of the above.
Detroit will be looking for younger players that fit the mold such as Saric, Grant, or Portis. I would claim Jerami Grant as the best of that bunch, yet he could also fit in Atlanta or Miami should they strike out on the three aforementioned players.
Expect there to be some competition for Gallinari, Milsap, Morris, and Grant among Atlanta, Miami, and to a lesser extent Detroit. I would assume priority to be placed on Gallinari and Milsap over the additional two suggesting a higher salary.
Saric, Grant, Harkless, and Portis could obtain more modest deals than they may demand since they will be second options to an already limited pool of buyers. Maurice Harkless is the single player that could plausibly warrant a mid-level exception from a contender.
Danilo Gallinari will be a majorly contested target this forthcoming offseason necessitating a pretty penny and those outbid will likely settle for Paul Milsap, Marcus Morris, or Jerami Grant before glancing towards Bobby Portis or Dario Saric.
I anticipate that the Pistons will have their pick of younger players between 26-year old Jerami Grant, 25-year old Bobby Portis, or 26-year old Dario Saric.
Some of these names will be left to dry (my guess is Portis and Saric) while Atlanta and Miami could see Gallinari as a tier above the rest and overpay before they are content with Milsap or Morris.