The NBA finished a historic season under unprecedented circumstances — masterfully navigating a pandemic that threatened to prematurely end the season. The uncertainty didn’t end after the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned the champions of the bubble, however, as questions still linger about the start of free agency and next season.
The NBA Draft is scheduled for November 18 with free agency set tentatively some time in December. Nobody knows what the salary cap will be set at. Many teams don’t have the financial flexibility to make big signings — this free agent class doesn’t have as many stars as next offseason, when players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Rudy Gobert can test the market (depending on player options and potential extensions this offseason).
The headliner of the 2020 free agent class is Anthony Davis, but it’s damn-near certain that he’ll re-up with the Lakers on a five-year max deal. Truth be told, there may not be many Woj bombs regarding signings this coming season. The NBA is the best soap opera on television — drama is a given, and there will be plenty of it to serve our basketball itch over the next few months. As a certified lover of some good tea spillage, I, Martian, am here to predict how the offseason theatrics will play out. Join me, will you?
Chris Paul is traded to the Milwaukee Bucks
The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to enter a rebuild — even after a season in which they defied all predictions and made the playoffs as the five-seed in the West behind an MVP-caliber season from point god Chris Paul. Despite being 35 and set to make $85 million over the next two seasons, Paul is a player that can help a team take the next step to the promised land: the Finals. At this point, it’s not speculation that he’s going to be traded; it’s a given. But where, you ask? Look no further than the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks finished the season with the league’s best record (56-17) as Giannis Antetokounmpo won his second consecutive MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Pegged as the favorites to win the championship, they were eliminated in the second round at the hands of Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. The Bucks may have been the best regular season team the last two years, but it’s clear they need another piece that can open up the floor and take some weight off of Giannis — who teams have figured out will slow down a bit in a slow, suffocating playoff environment.
The Bucks can offer Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, and two first-round picks in exchange for Paul. The Bucks get another All-Star that will surely make them the favorites once again and OKC nets an All-Defensive guard, a solid young wing, and more first-round picks —which they already have a plethora of. It’s a win-win for a team looking to win now (and convince Giannis to stay) and a team looking ahead to the future.
Bradley Beal stays put… for now
Bradley Beal was disrespected this year — being snubbed from selections to the All-Star Game and All-NBA teams. He averaged 30.5 points (45.5/35.3/84.2), 4.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists for the 25-47 Washington Wizards. Beal’s name has been floated in trade rumors for years now, and there’s been rumors of him teaming up with Kyrie and KD in Brooklyn or even LeBron and AD in LA. The Denver Nuggets present an intriguing destination, too. There are plenty of teams who would be willing to give up assets in return for one of the top scorers in the league, and they may get the chance to — but the Wizards will hold onto him until (probably) the trade deadline, whenever that may be.