Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
The free NBA agency took on a new form in 2020.
As the NBA prepares for a reboot in Orlando, Florida, the league has opened up a new transaction window allowing players to quit and sing.
As a result, countless important names have been discussed. A lot of free-agent dominoes have already fallen, like Tyler Johnson joining the Brooklyn nets.
With the teams trying to complete the rounds before a season-end sprint, here are the predictions for some of the biggest names.
Scott R. Galvin / Associated Press
It seemed only a matter of time before JR Smith’s name appeared again.
Smith is one of the biggest names widely available since he last played during the 2018-19 season, where he accumulated 6.7 points per game in 11 games with Cleveland Cavaliers.
Second ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, Smith is the main target of the Los Angeles Lakers after Avery Bradley has announced that he will not return for the resumption of the NBA season. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times he noted that Smith had recently trained with Lakers players.
Smith, 34, makes a lot of sense as a rotational depth option. It is a career shooter of 41.9 percent and 37.3 percent from three points, so even the smallest minutes will see the opposing teams respect the space threat it presents.
And while Smith may unleash a bidding war as other teams seek help, previous ties to LeBron James and likely the desire to win now mean that the Lakers or bust probably.
Prediction: Smith signs with the Lakers
Matt Slocum / Associated Press
Trey Burke’s former top 10 is all 27 and last year had a short spell with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 5.9 points and 2.1 assists over 25 games averaging 13.1 minutes .
Now Burke’s name has come up with the Dallas Mavericks, a team that has lost Jalen Brunson to surgery and won’t have Willie Cauley-Stein after the center has decided to give up on the season.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported the news:
Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Source: Mavs has an interest in signing PG Trey Burke before restarting the NBA. Burke, who gave up on the 76ers in February, averaged 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 25 games for Dallas last season. Mavs needs PG depth with Jalen Brunson out due to shoulder surgery.
Burke had a decent stint with Dallas two seasons ago, still playing 25 games but averaging 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 17.4 minutes.
And again, this wouldn’t be a huge move to replace a starter. But Burke has a solid recent experience in Dallas and can sit on the bench behind the likes of Luka Doncic.
Prediction: Burke signs with the Mavericks
Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
By far one of the biggest names potentially up for grabs before the season starts again, DeMarcus Cousins remains somewhat of a question mark.
While Shams Charania by The Athletic reported that his cousins will not play for the rest of the season while reigniting the ACL injury he suffered last August, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times noted that the center agent said he was available to sign with a team.
Translation? Boogie may be willing to return if the offer is right.
It’s a complicated topic because while players with long-term injuries have an unexpected chance of returning to the field, it’s a risk to stop rehab for training and go back to playing 100% at an unorthodox moment.
However, some contenders – like the Lakers – would love to have it. We are still talking about one of the best if healthy. Boogie racked up 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 30 outings averaging 25.7 minutes with the Golden State Warriors in 2018-19, and averaged 21.2 and 10.9 points per game per game and rebounds, respectively.
But the Lakers are the only team that makes sense for this unlikely scenario. As Ganguli noted in his paper, Boogie renewed the team structures while they were open and remains on the group texts, which means that he is still essentially a teammate. If he feels comfortable continuing rehab for a minimum of 15-20 minutes per game, it makes sense.
Prediction: The cousins sign with the Lakers