By Shawn Dennis
The NBA 2019-2020 season has finally come to an end. The wildness of trades, signings, and the Draft is upon us. With not a whole lot of top names becoming free agents, this offseason should be full of trades and surprises. After such a strange season, the possibilities of trade scenarios and random teams trying to become championship contenders are endless. The Bubble has shown what a fanless atmosphere can provide for some players and who is ready to step up on a stage smaller than their high school gymnasium. We’ve already seen the coaches who have been let go after the Covid-season and who their replacements are.
So, let’s take a look at 5 players that are likely to be moved this short offseason.
Buddy Hield: The 27-year old shooting guard has been somewhat of a disappointment for a depleted King’s team. Although he did average a little over 19 ppg in the 19/20 season, the highest of his four-year career, his defensive antics had put him on the bench for the majority of the season. With the playoffs being more than likely out-of-the-picture for Sacramento, the new GM Monte McNair is on the lookout for a doable trade for a rebuilding team. A few teams that have sparked interest in working up a deal for Hield that are worth mentioning are the Sixers and Knicks. Perhaps a different environment with a new head coach can make Hield regain his game offensively, especially with the Sixers in a Doc Rivers system that lacks shooting efficiency from each position. It also depends on if the Kings are willing to eat up Al Horford’s contract for a veteran presence.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yes, the back-to-back MVP could be on his way out of Milwaukee. In retrospect, if the Bucks sense any reluctance from the Greek Freak re-signing next season after butchering yet another playoff run, they need to get something in return now. This has been an unfortunate scenario over the years for several teams as high tier players simply walk away after their contract expires. Of course, the Bucks will be on the losing end of whatever trade is thrown at them, but that will be better than receiving nothing next year when he goes to contend with a different team. Especially if that team is in the East. Being at the peak of his career, if the Bucks plan to go on the rebuild or try to make the playoffs for the years to come, the only time you can realistically trade him is now. So, who can wheel and deal for the reigning MVP? It’s hard to say not a single team wouldn’t trade for Giannis, but the Bucks could be making some calls if they don’t sign another star to keep the MVP around.
Victor Oladipo: Does he want to stay in Indiana? Does he want out? Who knows. Oladipo could be back to full-form this season after rupturing his quadricep during January of 2019 and deciding to play a mere 19 games this season. It’s difficult to tell whether he will get lower, higher, or the same numbers as his first season on the Pacers when he averaged 23 ppg and shot nearly 50% from the field. Regardless, his size and explosiveness at the 1 or 2 spot would be a great addition to any team that needs a spark on offense. His availability on the trade market is still questionable, but with one year on his contract, similar to that of Giannis’ situation, it wouldn’t hurt the Pacers to seek out their options.
Blake Griffin: The lob city days for BG have been long gone. As are the Pistons hopes for making a playoff run anytime soon. With a contract like his and the likelihood that Griffin doesn’t want to end the last 5 or so years he has left dunking the ball and sporadically hitting threes, Detroit is definitely not where he wants to finish out. If it wasn’t for his injuries, his current contract wouldn’t seem so steep to cover as his numbers have been nothing shy from great. A veteran presence and potentially becoming a team’s third big star is what he has to offer. The two teams that need that third guy who’d make the most sense are Denver and Minnesota. Earning a whopping $36.6 million a year, either one of those teams will have to clear cap to make a realistic move for him. Either way, it would be nice to see the high-flyer end his tenure on a high note and play for a chip.
Derrick Rose: Speaking of Pistons players with a history of injuries, D-Rose is arguably the most disappointing player ever in the NBA in terms of a promising future that was ridden by injuries. Not to say that he hasn’t had a successful career, but the discussion of what could’ve been is a sad topic to discuss. In any case, Rose put up a solid stat line in 2019: 18 ppg, 49% from the field, and a little over 5.5 apg in only 26 minutes a game. Derrick Rose when healthy can be such a dangerous playmaker on the floor even at 32-years of age with his medical record. No championship contender would be taking a risk with trading for him as his contract is a dismal $7 million this year. Either Los Angeles team would love to have him as their starting point guard as they need another veteran to keep their championship hopes alive. The Lakers seem to be the frontrunners in this race, but that’s solely dependent on what Rondo decides to do with the hell of a Finals performance he had.