Part of an NBA front office’s job is to plan for free agency well in advance. But the circumstances surrounding this season and the next wave of available stars have made things a bit absurd.
In talking to league executives, scouts and agents, it has become clear plenty of teams are focusing heavily on the 2019-20 season even with the 2018-19 season just starting. OK, this isn’t revolutionary. The Los Angeles Lakers were thinking about LeBron James a year ago today. But this is typically a third rail topic, whispered out of the side of mouths and hinted with innuendo. At least until the leaves are off the trees. But even then, it’s often teams who are in tank mode or at least figure on being in tank mode. Now even playoff-level teams peeking ahead.
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Many believe the Golden State Warriors are going to win the title again and will still break up in some way next season. This is essentially a referendum on Kevin Durant’s upcoming free agency, not so much Klay Thompson’s, though some executives also wonder what will happen with Draymond Green. He is eligible for an extension next summer and has made it clear he expects to be taken care of after playing, from his perspective, on the discounted deal he signed before the 2016 cap spike. If he has a great season and makes the All-NBA team or wins Defensive Player of the Year again he’d qualify for a supermax extension, which would really put the Warriors in a tough spot. If Durant leaves, there’d be significant pressure on the Warriors to retain Green.
We could go on with these Warriors permutations. Trust me, their competitors have done so because comparing their current rosters is disheartening. But bottom line, the 2020 title is seen as way more up for grabs than 2019. Plans are being made accordingly.
Many believe multiple top free agents will relocate next summer. This would include Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler (for now) and DeMarcus Cousins. But there are two more names on executive’s lips: Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving.
Davis isn’t a free agent until 2020, but some teams are already mulling trade packages if Davis passes on an extension the New Orleans Pelicans can offer him next summer. This is the option that raises goosebumps among a handful of teams that think they might have a chance at landing Davis. The fact that Davis and the Pelicans are off to a fantastic start and that Davis has continued to be outwardly committed to New Orleans has not slowed this one bit.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap
Now you might be saying why is Irving included? He declared that he’s re-signing with the Boston Celtics and that’s that. Irving seems genuinely happy in Boston and is thrilled with the current makeup and direction of the team. And he’s ready to accept a five-year, $190 million deal. In fact, it seems Irving is in lock step with some front offices in fast forwarding to 2019-20. He told reporters in New York this week that he had already given the Knicks “strong consideration” but had moved on and made up his mind. Next year’s free agency is already moving merrily along with the free agents themselves, it seems.