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NBA

Ranking the NBA's best free agents in 2020

Free agency will be here before you know it.

Right now, the last day of the 2020 NBA Finals, which will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, is scheduled for October 13. Five days later, on October 18, free agent negotiations will begin.

This year's free-agent class isn't as star-studded as previous years, but there are still some notable players who will be available. It's a list headlined by Anthony Davis and Brandon Ingram, both of whom were All-Stars this season, followed by the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Fred VanVleet, Montrezl Harrell and Davis Bertans.

With that in mind, here's one person's opinion on who the best free agents are in this year's class...

1. Anthony Davis, F/C, Los Angeles Lakers

Status: Player option

The expectation is that Davis will opt out of his player option for next season to sign a new contract with the Lakers. Assuming he does re-sign with the Lakers, it'll be interesting to see if he takes the full five years he will be eligible for or pushes for a shorter one so that his next contract aligns with LeBron James'.

2. Brandon Ingram, F, New Orleans Pelicans

Status: Restricted

Ingram proved himself this season with averages of 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, making him a strong candidate to take home the NBA's Most Improved Player award and likely earning him a max extension. A restricted free agent, expect New Orleans to match any offer he receives. He figures to be a big part of the team's future with Zion Williamson.

3. DeMar DeRozan, G/F, San Antonio Spurs

Status: Player option

DeRozan is in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career. He's reached a new level of efficiency and continues to grow as a passer, although his weaknesses - 3-point shooting and defence - make him a little bit of a tricky player to build around in today's NBA. He has a $27.7 million player option for next season. Time will tell if he picks it up or declines it to test free agency.

4. Fred VanVleet, G, Toronto Raptors

Status: Unrestricted

VanVleet might not have the name recognition as some of the other players at the top of this list, but he's as solid as they come. He's improved each season of his career, to the point where he started in all 48 of the games he appeared in with the Raptors this season. A knockdown shooter, improving playmaker and pesky defender, a lot of teams could use VanVleet.

5. Montrezl Harrell, C, LA Clippers

Status: Unrestricted

One of the leading candidates for Sixth Man of the Year, Harrell is among the league's best rollers and cutters. He's not a traditional anchor, but his rim protection numbers this season stack up with some of the league's best. A strong postseason could make for an interesting market for Harrell this offseason.

6. Andre Drummond, C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Status: Player option

Drummond once seemed destined to turn down his player option for next season to become a free agent. Now? Not so much. In a recent interview, the two-time All-Star said it's "going to be pretty hard to give up" the $28.8 million remaining on his contract, so he'll likely be in Cleveland for at least another season.

7. Gordon Hayward, F, Boston Celtics

Status: Player option

Hayward seems like a safe bet to pick up his $34.2 million player option for next season as well. He's looked more like his former All-Star self for a large chunk of the season, posting averages of 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, but he's once again missed some time with injuries.

8. Bogdan Bogdanovic, G, Sacramento Kings

Status: Restricted

The Kings have already committed to Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox's extension is looming, meaning Bogdanovic could be the odd-man-out in Sacramento. He's already 27 years old, but Bogdanovic has shown his potential this season with averages of 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game since being inserted into the starting lineup.

9. Danilo Gallinari, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

Status: Unrestricted

Gallinari has strung together a pair of impressive seasons to the tune of 19.8 points per game as a member of the Clippers last season and 19.2 points per game as a member of the Thunder this season. Injuries will always be a concern with Gallinari, but he's a proven veteran and one of the best stretch fours available in free agency.

10. Davis Bertans, F, Washington Wizards

Status: Unrestricted

The best stretch four in free agency? That would be Bertans, who shot 42.4 percent from 3-point range this season. The only players in NBA history who have done what he has this season - shoot at least 42.0 percent on a high volume of 3s - are Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Duncan Robinson. Pretty good company.

11. Paul Millsap, F, Denver Nuggets

Status: Unrestricted

Millsap's scoring has dipped for the third season in a row, but he's canned 44.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and the numbers point to him being the key to Denver's success on defence. His days of being an All-Star might be over, but the days of him still being a solid contributor aren't, health provided.

12. Evan Fournier, G, Orlando Magic

Status: Player option

Fournier has bumped his scoring to a career-best 18.8 points per game this season. He has a player option worth $17.0 million in his contract for next season. If there wasn't so much uncertainty as to how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the salary cap next season and beyond, he might've given some real thought to declining it to become a free agent.

13. Serge Ibaka, F/C, Toronto Raptors

Status: Unrestricted

He's not the defender he once was, but Ibaka has grown into one of the best scoring bigs in the league. He's averaging 16.0 points per game this season on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and 39.8 percent from 3-point range. This might be his last chance at getting another big pay day.

14. Marcus Morris, F, LA Clippers

Status: Unrestricted

A solid 3-and-D player for any team looking for help on the wings. Prior to joining the Clippers this season, Morris averaged 19.6 points on 43.9 percent shooting from the perimeter with the New York Knicks.

15. Joe Harris, G/F, Brooklyn Nets

Status: Unrestricted

One of the league's premier 3-point shooters. Harris led the league in 3-point shooting last season and is among the league leaders this season. He can do it from a standstill and on the move, trailing only Terrence Ross in points scored off of screens this season.

16. Goran Dragic, G, Miami Heat

Status: Unrestricted

Like Millsap, Dragic's days of getting All-Star consideration might be over, but he reinvented himself as a sixth man this season on one of the best teams in the league. As long as he can stay healthy, he still has plenty to give.

17. Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors

Status: Unrestricted

What a year it's been for Gasol. After winning a championship with the Raptors, he led Spain to Gold at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, earning a place on the All-Tournament Team along the way. He's dealt with injuries this season and is averaging career lows almost across the board, but he's still one of the best passers, shooters and defenders at the centre position.

18. Aron Baynes, C, Phoenix Suns

Status: Unrestricted

Any team in need of a centre should give Baynes a long hard look. He's a mean screen setter, capable 3-point shooter and all-around solid defender. The only concern? Injuries. He missed 31 games last season and 23 games this season.

19. Christian Wood, F/C, Detroit Pistons

Status: Unrestricted

Any team signing Wood will be hoping that the 22.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks he averaged as Drummond's replacement in Detroit's starting lineup after the trade deadline is a sign of what's to come.

20. Tristan Thompson, C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Status: Unrestricted

It came down to Thompson and Hassan Whiteside for the final spot. Thompson gets the edge because he's a safer bet. You know what you're going to get with him - rebounding, finishing, defence - whereas there is still some emptiness to Whiteside's game, as good as he's been in Portland this season.

Other notable free agents

  • Hassan Whiteside, C, Portland Trail Blazers (Unrestricted)
  • Mike Conley, G, Utah Jazz (Player option)
  • Jerami Grant, F, Denver Nuggets (Player option)
  • Derrick Favors, C, New Orleans Pelicans (Unrestricted)
  • DeMarcus Cousins, C, Los Angeles Lakers (Unrestricted)
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., G, Dallas Mavericks (Player option)
  • Jordan Clarkson, G, Utah Jazz (Unrestricted)
  • Malik Beasley, G, Minnesota Timberwolves (Restricted)
  • Dwight Howard, C, Los Angeles Lakers (Unrestricted)
  • Chris Boucher, F/C, Toronto Raptors (Restricted)
  • Carmelo Anthony, F, Portland Trail Blazers (Unrestricted)

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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