The combination of a short offseason and the financial hit that team owners have taken — both due to the coronavirus — could mute the wild player movement we crave from the NBA once the season ends. A lot of teams will be standing pat, or trying to dump big contracts, not making bold moves once NBA free agency hits on Oct. 18.
Still, there will be trades, and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon could be the biggest name on the move.
Sean Deveney of Forbes got that tidbit from an Eastern Conference executive.
“They were really trying to deal him before the deadline but they weren’t getting the assets back they wanted. It will be easier to move that contract when it’s only got two years left. He’s probably the most likely big name to be traded. He’s a good gamble—he is only 24.”
Gordon brings 14.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, plus quality defense, to the table, and makes a reasonable $34.5 million total over the next two seasons. There would be a healthy trade market for him, and he doesn’t appear to be part of the Magic’s long-term plans.
However, most teams will be looking to keep their powder dry financially, looking at the current economic state of the league — will there be games in arenas next season, or will the NBA return to a bubble — and a much deeper free-agent class in 2021.
A few other trades that will be rumored and could happen this offseason include:
• Golden State’s first-round pick, which will be top five, but the Warriors are in win-now mode and would prefer veterans who could help now.
• Kevin Love in Cleveland. Even though Cavaliers management is insistent they want to keep him to mentor their young talent, what they really need is more young talent and a Love trade could help with that. The problem is Love is owed $91.5 million, fully guaranteed, over the next three years and at age 32 can’t be counted on to stay healthy for a full season. Other teams will want a sweetener for taking on that contract.
• Jrue Holiday in New Orleans. The Pelicans reportedly listened to offers for him at the trade deadline and would listen to offers this summer. Holiday fits in well with a New Orleans franchise looking to make the playoffs next season, but Holiday’s versatile combo-guard game and good defense would fit on any roster, and he could help some win-now teams. New Orleans isn’t giving him away, but for the right deal something could get done.
• There will be Bradley Beal rumors, but the Wizards are not going to make that trade (yet, at least, they want to make a run of it with Beal and Wall next season). Zach LaVine rumors will pop up, although a lot of what happens depends on the fate of coach Jim Boylen and the direction Chicago wants to go, something that is not yet decided.