The bizarre 2019-20 NBA season may have just ended weeks ago in the Orlando-based bubble, but it’s already time for teams to start building toward the 2020-21 season. While the schedule is sure to look a little different because of a later start date than usual, the offseason signing and transactions that basketball fans love following will still play out like any other year.
Currently, the start of the NBA’s free agency period for next season has been proposed for late November. Regardless of when it begins, there will be dozens of experienced players on the market, either looking to re-sign with their previous team or find a new home. Based on stats compiled at Basketball Reference, here’s a look at the best players who could command big money in free agency this offseason.
30. Christian Wood
The Pistons snagged Christian Wood off waivers last season, and he proved to be a great pickup at power forward. Coming off the bench, he gave Detroit 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per night on just 21.4 minutes of work a night. He played in a career-high 62 games — which was all but four that the team played in the shortened year — and shot a career-best .567 from the floor. The sample size is somewhat small, but Wood could be a tremendous value for some team this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
29. Kris Dunn
Former No. 5 overall draft pick Kris Dunn was part of the trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Minnesota to Chicago. He’ll be a restricted free agent this offseason, which means the Bulls have the right to match any offer made to him by another team before he can leave. Injury issues have kept Dunn from playing a full season a couple times in his four-year career but he’s been consistently good when healthy. Over the past three seasons in Chicago, the point guard has averaged 10.7 points, 5.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
28. Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague was an All-Star while playing with the Hawks in 2015 before bouncing around the league a bit and landing back in Atlanta for part of last season. The 32-year-old point guard spent last season coming off the bench for the Timberwolves and Hawks, averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 assists per game, both of which were near career lows. But Teague has been a reliable double-digit scorer his entire career and was averaging around 8.0 assists in the couple seasons before that.
27. Reggie Jackson
Guard Reggie Jackson has bounced around a bit since being a first-round pick for the Thunder in 2011, even spending a little time in the NBA’s developmental G League in 2012. The Pistons waived him in the middle of the 2019-20 season, the Clippers quickly signed him and he averaged nearly 13 points per game in 17 appearances with them. An unrestricted free agent this offseason, the 30-year-old has averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 assists in less than 27 minutes of action per night over the past three seasons.
26. Dario Šarić
After beginning his pro career in Turkey and his native Croatia, Dario Šarić has become a solid starting forward in the past few years. The near 7-footer had a career-best shooting percentage of .476 last season with the Suns and has proven to be more reliable at the free-throw line than other men of his size. His scoring figures were at a career low last year, but he’s given his teams 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per night over the past three seasons. Šarić is a restricted free agent this offseason.
25. Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis has spent time as a power forward and center for three different teams since being drafted late in the first round by Chicago in 2015. He’s consistently been a double-digit scorer, mostly coming off the bench, including last season with the Knicks. In less than 23 minutes per night over the past three seasons, he’s averaged 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The Knicks have a team option on the 25-year-old player, meaning the franchise has the right to either offer him an additional one-year deal at the same salary or let him sign elsewhere.
24. Marcus Morris
Journeyman forward Marcus Morris has been with six different teams since making his NBA debut in 2011, and he’s put up some great numbers over the past few years. Since the 2017-18 season, the 31-year-old has averaged 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per night. Before the Knicks traded him to the Clippers last year, he was putting up a career-best 19.6 points per game, partly because of his improvement at shooting three-pointers. During L.A.’s playoff run, Morris started in all 13 games, averaged 11.8 points and sank 93% of his free throws.
23. Tristan Thompson
Injuries have been an issue for the former No. 4 overall pick, but Tristan Thompson was a key role player in the Cavaliers 2015-16 championship season, when he played in all 82 games. Since the 2017-18 season, Thompson has missed more than 70 games, but he’s been a double-double threat nearly every time he’s taken the court in that span. The 29-year-old has averaged 9.5 points and 8.9 rebounds since then, including averaging a double-double over the past two seasons.
This will be his first time as an unrestricted free agent since he was drafted in 2011.
22. Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson spent time with the Lakers and Cavs before the latter team traded him to the Jazz last season. He’s been a reliable scorer off the bench, averaging in double figures every season since he was drafted in 2014. The 28-year-old hits the market unrestricted this offseason after a seven-game playoff run with Utah that saw him chip in 16.7 points and nearly a steal per game as a substitute.
21. Derrick Favors
Former No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors spent eight years with the Jazz before being dealt to the Pelicans before last season. He played as a smaller center and proved to be an integral part of the team, which narrowly missed the playoffs after being invited to the Orlando bubble. The 29-year-old veteran has averaged 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds on an impressive 58% shooting percentage over the past three seasons.
20. Carmelo Anthony
When the Blazers signed NBA legend Carmelo Anthony to a one-year deal last season, many people thought he’d have little, if any, impact on what was already a good team. Instead, the veteran wound up being a key part of an underdog run into the playoffs. Anthony started in every game that he played in and averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, prompting talk that he was back. The 10-time All-Star is 36 years old, but he’s clearly still got plenty of firepower for any team that wants to take another chance before his pending retirement.
19. Gordon Hayward
Veteran forward Gordon Hayward has a player option this offseason, meaning he can take another year with the Celtics at the same salary he earned in 2019-20, or he can check out his options. Last season, he got back to the kind of scoring output that made him an All-Star before a devastating leg injury sidelined him for the 2017-18 season. Hayward, 30, gave the Celtics 17.5 points per game and matched his career-best shooting percentage of .500. He also grabbed 6.7 rebounds a night, which is by far the best figure of his career.
18. Davis Bertrans
Latvian big man Davis Bertrans picked a great time to have the best season of his career. In 2019-20, right before he was due to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent, the 27-year-old power forward put up career-high marks across the board, including 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. That boost in production came partly from the fact that the Wizards used him more than he’d ever been used. That might change as some team inevitably signs him to be a full-time starter this season.
17. Rajon Rondo
Like Carmelo Anthony, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo saw his career re-energized during the 2019-20 season. In his second season with the Lakers, the 34-year-old proved to be a brilliant option off the bench, helping the team win another championship. He’s averaged 8.2 points, 7.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game over the past three seasons and is simply the kind of player that makes all of his teammates better. He’s got a player option, so it’ll be interesting to see if he re-signs with Los Angeles or takes his talents elsewhere.
16. Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter had arguably the worst season of his celebrated career last year with Boston, but he’s got a player option and could use it to bounce back before seeking more money next year. The center failed to average double digits in scoring for the first time since 2012-13, when he was with the Jazz. In the three seasons before that, Kanter was nearly contributing a double-double every night, averaging 14 points and 9.1 rebounds a game over that stretch.
15. Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter was the No. 3 overall pick for the Wizards in 2013, but he’s been with the Bulls the last couple years. A foot injury sidelined the 27-year-old forward for all but 15 games last season, so he might be wise to exercise his player option before becoming an unrestricted free agent. During the 2018-19 season, Porter gave the Bulls 17.5 points per game and sank nearly 91% of his free throws, both career-highs.
14. Dwight Howard
All that was missing from Dwight Howard’s resume to make him a surefire Hall of Famer was a championship ring, and he finally got that with the Lakers this year. The 34-year-old veteran gave the team a major defensive lift off the bench all throughout the season. Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in less than 19 minutes a game, all while shooting a remarkable 73% from the floor. It’s tough to imagine him getting back to being an every-night player, but he looked like he was in great shape with the Lakers and may still make a very dangerous reserve.
13. Fred VanVleet
A couple years after being relegated to the G League, Fred VanVleet became a key part of the Raptors team that won the franchise’s first championship in 2019. Over the past two seasons, VanVleet has chipped in 14 points and 5.6 assists per game. Last year, he proved himself to be a real workhorse for Toronto, playing nearly 36 minutes a night and averaging a career-best 17.6 points.
During the team’s playoff run in the bubble, VanVleet proved himself even more valuable, upping his nightly figures to 19.6 points and 6.9 assists on a herculean 39 minutes a game.
12. Goran Dragić
Slovenian veteran Goran Dragić was a major part of Miami’s surprising run to the NBA Finals last season. The 34-year-old point guard gave his team 19.1 points per game during the team’s playoff journey. That was up from the 16.2 points he gave them every night during the regular season, where he was mostly used as a reserve player. This may be his last chance to command a sizable contract in free agency, and he certainly gave plenty of general managers something to think about in keeping up what has been a pattern of reliable scoring throughout his career.
11. Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is another guy who’s really proven himself at the game’s top level after bouncing around the league and spending some time in the G League. He’s averaged 17.1 points per game for the last three seasons, which were spent with the Knicks and Mavericks. Last season, Hardaway started in a career-high 58 games and shot .398 from three-point range. He gave Dallas a major lift in the playoffs as well, averaging 17.8 points. Plenty of Mavs fans will likely be hoping he exercises his player option this offseason.
10. Evan Fournier
Native Frenchman Evan Fournier has been a reliable scoring threat since becoming a full-time starter with the Magic during the 2015-16 season. His output ballooned to its best figure ever last season, as he contributed 18.5 points per game on nearly 47% shooting. The 28-year-old guard has a player option he could exercise to stay with Orlando another season, but his value might not get much higher than it is right now after that impressive year.
9. Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell has steadily gotten better every year since he debuted with the Rockets in 2015, culminating in a 2019-20 season that saw him named the NBA’s sixth man of the year. He was excellent off the bench all season, averaging a career-high 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. It seems silly to keep using the 26-year-old big man in a reserve role, and this free agency period will hopefully see him land a big contract and finally make it as a starting power forward.
8. Danilo Gallinari
After starting his pro career in his native Italy, Danilo Gallinari has been a dominant NBA scorer since he was picked with the No. 6 selection in 2008. The veteran forward is hitting free agency after back-to-back seasons with the Clippers and Thunder that saw him putting up some of the best numbers of his career. In 2018-19 with Los Angeles, Gallinari, 32, averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds — both career-best marks — before being traded to Oklahoma City and averaging stats that were close to identical.
7. Mike Conley
Mike Conley has another year on his deal with the Jazz, but he’s got an early termination option, which means he could use it to become a free agent this offseason. It’s been reported that the 33-year-old point guard likely won’t exercise that option, but it would make for an interesting storyline if he did. His first year with the Jazz saw his stats slip noticeably from his days carrying the Grizzlies, but that’s partly because he was playing on an overall better team. For the past three seasons, Conley has averaged 18.3 points and 5.5 assists per night.
6. Serge Ibaka
Any team that signs Serge Ibaka during this free agency period will be getting one of the most dominant defenders in the NBA today. The Congolese 7-footer is a three-time first-team NBA All-Defensive team selection and has led the league in blocks twice since he was drafted in 2008. With the Raptors last season, Ibaka averaged a career-high 15.4 points per game, along with 8.2 rebounds, which is also just off his top mark. His signing will definitely be one of the big stories of this offseason.
5. Brandon Ingram
After being part of last offseason’s blockbuster trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers, Brandon Ingram posted a year full of career-best numbers in his debut with the Pelicans. The 23-year-old rising star is a restricted free agent this offseason, and his stock just keeps getting higher. Last season, he averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, all improvements on his already stellar production from 2018-19. The “Slenderman” was named the NBA’s most improved player for his efforts in New Orleans last year.
4. Hassan Whiteside
For our money, Hassan Whiteside is the best unrestricted free agent hitting the market this offseason. After being traded from Miami to Portland last year, he proceeded to lead the NBA in blocks for the second time in his career. The 31-year-old center has averaged a double-double in every season since 2014, and he even led the league in rebounding average in 2016-17. Over the past three seasons, Whiteside has shot 58% from the floor and averaged 13.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. He should stand to make some serious money on his next deal.
3. Andre Drummond
It looks like Andre Drummond will be staying with the Cavaliers this season, but he’s still technically considered a free agent this offseason. This summer, he announced his intention to exercise his player option and re-sign with the team for another season. Cavs fans would be glad to see him back in Cleveland for a full season after he only played nine games with the team following his trade from Detroit last season, either as the focal point of the team or as a valuable trade asset. The two-time All-Star center has averaged 16.6 points and 15.6 rebounds per game over the past three seasons.
2. DeMar DeRozan
Four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is another great player who can control his contract destiny this offseason. The 31-year-old dynamic scoring threat has a player option left on his deal with the Spurs. He’s averaged at least 20 points per game for every season since 2014, and has been contributing 22.1 points to go with 5.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game over the past three seasons. His eventual decision will be one of the biggest stories of this offseason period.
1. Anthony Davis
In terms of star power and pure skill, nobody else on the market this offseason comes close to Anthony Davis. The seven-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection was a huge part of the Lakers winning the championship this year in the bubble. Coming into the offseason, he had a player option on his deal but reports indicate he will likely opt out of that option and re-sign with the Lakers for a big contract extension. General managers would’ve been killing each other to land a guy that has averaged 26.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game over the past three seasons.