NBA’s Top 10 UFAs of 2020: Davis, Green, DeRozan, Lowry lead class

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis reacts after making a 3-point shot. (Scott Threlkeld/AP)

With the dust somewhat finally settled on the wildest free agency period in NBA history, it’s time to look ahead to next year’s class.

Though not as prolific a class as the one that just completely reshaped the balance of power within the league last week, 2020 will still feature a number of high-end players who can and will impact the fortunes of their future teams.

Here’s a little more on the NBA’s top-10 unrestricted free agents or player-option-eligible players of 2020.

1. Anthony Davis
Age on June 30, 2020: 27
Position: Forward/Centre
2019-20 salary: $27.1 million
Free agent status: Player Option ($28.7 million)
Career accomplishments: Six-time NBA all-star (2014-19). Three-time All-NBA First Team selection (2015, 2017, 2018). 2018 NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. 2017 NBA All-Star Game MVP. 2013 NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. 2012 NCAA National Champion. 2012 NCAA consensus national player of the year. 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

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Anthony Davis, wearing a ‘That’s All Folks,’ T-shirt under his jacket, exits the floor, possibly for the last time at a Pelican. (Scott Threlkeld/AP)

The Skinny: Nearly five months after he informed the New Orleans Pelicans that he had no intention of signing a contract extension with them and he requested a trade out of the Big Easy, Davis and super-agent Rich Paul got their wish, landing with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis has a player option for next season, but the assumption is he’ll waive it as he’d likely be line for an approximately $35.1-million max starting salary should he hit the open market again in 2020. This in all likelihood is a price the Lakers are going to have to pay as you don’t force that kind of trade to your preferred destination and then leave the team that traded for you high and dry.

2. Draymond Green
Age on June 30, 2020: 30
Position: Forward
2019-20 salary: $18.5 million
Free agent status: Unrestricted
Career accomplishments: Three-time NBA champion (2015, 2017, 2018). Three-time NBA all-star (2016-2018). Three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (2015-2017). 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. 2016 All-NBA Second Team selection. 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green reacts after making a three-point basket during the second half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)
Warriors forward Draymond Green reacts after making a three-point basket during the second half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Rockets, Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)

The Skinny: A former second-round pick, Green was underpaid to begin with entering the league in 2012, took a sizeable discount to help the Warriors’ team-building when he signed an extension in 2015 and aid the team win three titles in five years. But he will finally have to take care of himself in 2020.

Like Davis, Green will be in line for a starting salary in the range of $35.1 million next summer, money he absolutely shouldn’t pass up if there’s a team out there who will offer it to him. He’s already sacrificed a lot of money – both in contract negotiation and on the court picking up techs – in pursuit of championships. Next off-season will be the time to try to make all that cash back.

3. DeMar DeRozan
Age on June 30, 2020: 30
Position: Guard
2019-20 salary: $27.7 million
Free agent status: Player Option ($27.7 million)
Career accomplishments: Four-time NBA all-star (2014, 2016-18). 2018 All-NBA Second Team selection. 2017 All-NBA Third Team selection. 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) drives around Blazers guard Rodney Hood. (Eric Gay/AP)

The Skinny: DeRozan is an interesting case because, while all signs point to him opting out and testing free agency, it’s not a sure thing that he’ll just get a full max due to his lack of three-point accuracy, willingness to even take the shot and his below-average defence.

He’ll have another year with the San Antonio Spurs to potentially show teams he is actually a modern NBA guard, but 10 years of service to the contrary, in addition to an estimated $40.95 million starting salary max contract, he could be in line for will make teams think twice about DeRozan.

With that said, as long as he finds a team that will pay him the same amount or get some kind of raise, opting out will be worth it for the former Raptor.

4. Andre Drummond
Age on June 30, 2020: 26
Position: Centre
2019-20 salary: $27.1 million
Free agent status: Player option ($28.7 million)
Career accomplishments: Two-time NBA all-star (2016, 2018). 2016 All-NBA Third Team selection. 2013 NBA All-Rookie Second Team selection. 2014 FIBA World Cup gold medalist.

NBA-Pistons-Drummond-grabs-rebound
Pistons centre Andre Drummond grabs a rebound. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

The Skinny: In the summer of 2016, the Detroit Pistons made an ambitious commitment to Drummond when they signed him for five years at $130 million. Drummond was coming off an all-star year and led the NBA in rebounding so it seemed like a good idea, except for the fact he’s a classic plodding big man who already was beginning to show his ineffectiveness when put on the floor against smaller, better-shooting lineups.

This is the conundrum of Drummond. A good player who, unfortunately, is playing in the wrong era. As such, that $28.7-million player option looks like it’ll be very intriguing for Drummond as there’s certainly a chance the market he’ll be looking for as an unrestricted free agent may not develop.

5. Kyle Lowry
Age on June 30, 2020: 34
Position: Guard
2019-20 salary: $33.3 million
Free agent status: Unrestricted
Career accomplishments: Five-time NBA all-star (2015-19). 2016 All-NBA Third Team selection. 2019 NBA champion. 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

NBA-Raptors-Lowry-reacts-after-Game-6-of-East-Finals
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after making the NBA Finals. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Skinny: Lowry was probably already the greatest player in Toronto Raptors history when he first signed that big, three-year, $100-million contract in the summer of 2018 and got paid handsomely because of it.

Next summer, however, at 34 years of age, it’s highly unlikely he’s ever seeing a payday like that one again – the solidified Raptors GOAT or not.

Therefore, the bigger question in regards to Lowry is whether or not he’ll want to finish his career with the Raptors. For purely goodwill purposes, Toronto might be willing to overpay for him and it’s likely that Lowry would be open to offer Toronto a discount as well to help the team out with the transition as he moves into the twilight of his career.

Either way, it’s just more logical that Lowry’s final contract would be with the Raptors.

6. Gordon Hayward
Age on June 30, 2020: 30
Position: Forward
2019-20 salary: $32.7 million
Free agent status: Player option ($34.2 million)
Career accomplishments: 2017 NBA all-star. 2010 NCAA Tournament runner-up.

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) gestures after hitting a three-point basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The Skinny: Hayward is a difficult player to assess because of how his entire Boston Celtics tenure has gone. He missed all of his first season with Boston after suffering a horrific ankle injury in the first game of the season and looked to still be getting his sea legs under him after returning last season.

As such, this season will go a long way toward determining what his free agency might look like in 2020. If he’s once again the poor player, who only averaged 11.5 points per game in a role mostly coming off the bench next season, then he won’t even make this list and will absolutely pick up that big player option of his.

On the other hand, should Hayward return to all-star form he’ll probably immediately figure to be the third or fourth-best free agent this summer and will be chasing another mega contract.

7. Otto Porter
Age on June 30, 2020: 27
Position: Forward
2019-20 salary: $27.2 million
Free agent status: Player option ($28.5 million)
Career accomplishments: 2013 No. 3-overall draft pick. 2013 Big East Player of the Year.

bulls-hawks
Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and forward Lauri Markkanen (24) react after going ahead in during the fourth overtime of an NBA basketball game.
(John Amis/AP)

The Skinny: Taken third overall by the Washington Wizards in 2013, Porter proved himself to be a high-end, three-and-D commodity during his tenure in D.C. before he was flipped at the trade deadline this past season to the Chicago Bulls where he flashed the star potential that made him a No. 3 pick to begin with.

Counted on as a top offensive option for the first time in his career, Porter averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 48.8 per cent from three in 15 games played with the Bulls this past season.

A small sample size it may be, it still proves there is some method behind the Wizards’ madness when they maxed him out in 2017. And if Porter should manage to replicate or even exceed his productivity in just 15 games with the Bulls, he’ll almost certainly decline his player option and go hunting for another huge max contract on the open market.

8. Eric Gordon
Age on June 30, 2020: 31
Position: Guard
2019-20 salary: $14.1 million
Free agent status: Unrestricted
Career accomplishments: 2017 NBA Sixth Man of the Year. 2017 NBA Three-Point Contest champion. 2009 NBA All-Rookie Second Team selection. 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medallist.

kyle-lowry-defends-eric-gordon
Rockets guard Eric Gordon, front left, dribbles past Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)

The Skinny: Like J.J. Redick this summer, Gordon’s ability to make threes at a high volume will make him a very hot commodity next summer.

Every team in the league – especially contenders – could always use more shooting, and Gordon should be paid handsomely for being able to do just that, even if his defence is a little suspect.

9. Danilo Gallinari
Age on June 30, 2020: 31
Position: Forward
2019-20 salary: $22.6 million
Free agent status: Unrestricted
Career accomplishments: Made the second most three-pointers in the 2009-10 season (186). Has averaged more than 19 points per game in three of the last four seasons. 2008 Italian League MVP.

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Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari (8) reacts after sinking a basket. (Seth Wenig/AP)

The Skinny: A talented shooter/scorer, Gallinari had what was perhaps his best campaign yet last season, averaging 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and shooting 43.3 per cent from deep in 68 games played with the Clippers.

Now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder after bringing part of the massive blockbuster that brought Paul George to the Clippers, it’s unclear whether Gallinari will be able to be as productive in what appears to be a very volatile situation in OKC with the team clearly beginning to deconstruct and Gallinari a prime trade candidate.

Regardless what happens with Gallinari in OKC, however, as long as he can get to the summer of 2020 healthy he’ll be in for another lucrative payday because he’s a good player who can shoot and fills that combo-forward role that teams crave when they want to go small.

10. Serge Ibaka
Age on June 30, 2020: 30
Position: Forward/Centre
2019-20 salary: $23.3 million
Free agent status: Unrestricted
Career accomplishments: Three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (2012-14). 2019 NBA champion. 2012 Olympic silver medalist.

Raptors centre Serge Ibaka reacts after making a basket against the Magic in Game 3. (John Raoux/AP)

The Skinny: Things weren’t looking good for Ma Fuzzy Chef’s 2020 free agency until this past season when Raptors coach Nick Nurse managed to revive his career by splitting him up from Jonas Valanciunas and later Marc Gasol.

The result was his highest scoring (15.0) and rebounding (8.1) average as well as field-goal percentage (52.9) since his 2013-14 season with the Thunder.

Ibaka proved himself to be a valuable pick-and-pop partner, making up for some dismal three-point accuracy at times with a very consistent mid-range jumper that defenders had a hard time guarding for fear of leaving the paint.

It’s uncertain whether Ibaka will get a raise over his current salary, but last season did a lot to repair his market value and another year like that could certainly set him up for another big contract.

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