Every NBA Team’s Biggest Offseason Priority

While free agency and the start date of the season are still yet to be determined, here is a change every NBA team should consider in the 2020 offseason.

The 2019–20 season will go down as the most unusual season in league history, and the upcoming offseason could follow suit. The futures of several franchises hang in the balance as management and players have to make tough basketball and lifestyle decisions.

There are unanswered questions about the structure of next season in regard to the attendance of fans, the salary cap and the offseason in-person regulations. Regardless of that, it’s important for everyone to conduct business as usual as it pertains to the improvement of the rosters. Establishing the correct priorities for the offseason can be the difference between a playoff berth and a lottery pick.

The 2020 NBA draft is currently scheduled for Nov. 18, which is the latest a draft has ever been held. The date for the opening of free agency, as well as the start date for next season, are still to be determined.

Below is a look at one priority each team should set for the offseason.

Atlanta Hawks

Priority: Veteran leadership

The 2019–20 Hawks left little for fans to hang their hat on beyond the development of Trae Young. Their defensive rating was 114.4, which was bottom five, and they turned the ball over 16.2 times per contest, which ranks 28th, behind only the Cavaliers and the Pelicans. They also ranked near the bottom of the league in offensive rating and rebounding. It’s safe to say they need help in a few different areas.

Their tendency to turn the ball over was spearheaded by Young, as he posted a league-worst 4.8 turnovers per game. Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish and John Collins showed potential to become solid players, but the Hawks need All-Star-level talent to win games. This is a roster whose top five scorers were all under the age of 23, so they have plenty of time to develop, but adding a veteran contributor to the starting lineup could help speed up the process.

It’s not very often that young teams naturally develop to become playoff teams without the aid of established veterans that contribute both on and off the court. The team can’t just wait and hope that the players progress and reach the potential of their draft stock. With no max contracts on the books, the Hawks have some money to spend, and an experienced wing could help push them towards their desired goal of a playoff spot. The frontcourt of Collins and Clint Capela will be legitimate next year, so it’s time to focus on finding a running mate in the backcourt for Young. The Hawks have the sixth pick in the upcoming draft.

Boston Celtics

Priority: Starting-caliber center

The Celtics’ season was on par with what you’d expect from a Brad Stevens–coached team. They finished third in the East and were legitimate competition in all three of their playoff series. They’ve been to the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four years. As the team becomes more experienced, it will be expected to take the next step toward Finals appearances. It will take continuous progression from their young stars, but there are also a few roster changes that can be made.

One thing became apparent as the season progressed: They could use some help at the center position. Daniel Theis is no slouch and the case can be made that he overachieved this year, but there is absolutely some room for improvement. Theis looked overwhelmed by more athletic and physically imposing bigs at times during the postseason, which would result in foul trouble. That caused Stevens to distribute more minutes to Robert Williams and Enes Kanter.

This is a team that has proved its ability to win now. The progression of its young talent along with a few key pieces could be the final cogs in its machine. It’s very likely that the Celtics will have to go through some combination of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid. If they want to be a true contender, a rim protector is a big deal.

Brooklyn Nets

Priority: Re-sign Joe Harris

There are a few uncertainties surrounding the Nets in the upcoming season. Question marks regarding Kevin Durant’s level of play returning from a major injury, not to mention Kyrie Irving and Durant’s ability to play alongside one another, all while integrating into the culture that new head coach Steve Nash would like to implement.

There aren’t many precautions that can be taken from a management standpoint to ensure that all of the pieces fall in line, but one thing that can certainly be done to aid in the team’s success is the re-signing of its best shooter, Joe Harris. Harris is not only one of the best three-point shooters in the league today, but he is one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history on a percentage basis. He finished last season at a 42.4% clip from beyond the arc, which is seventh among qualified players. He also beat Steph Curry in a three-point contest. That has to count for something, right?

Charlotte Hornets

Priority: Find a trade partner for Nicolas Batum

The Hornets franchise has been spinning on the hamster wheel for some time now, and Michael Jordan needs to officially press the reset button. Finding a suitor for Nicolas Batum’s expiring contract will get the ball rolling. Batum signed a five-year, $120 million contract in 2016, hoping to become one of the building blocks for the Hornets in the years to follow. That’s how it started. How is it going? Batum recently issued an apology to the fans for his lack of production.

“I apologize to the people here,” Batum said, “because they put so much faith in me. And it didn’t go well. … It didn’t work out,” Batum said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer.

He averaged 3.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in 22 games this past season. Max contracts don’t always prove to work out for the teams that extend them; in this case, it’s best for both sides if they part ways. The Hornets have some promising talent in Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham. Their best bet is to trade the expiring contract for players that can contribute now, particularly in the frontcourt. The Hornets are a ways away from being a contender, but beginning the “cleaning of the closet” from the previous versions of the team can give fans something to look forward to.

Chicago Bulls

Priority: Move on from Otto Porter Jr.

The Bulls are a very young team; in fact, the second-oldest player on the roster is Otto Porter Jr., who they acquired from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis along with some picks in 2019.

The 2019–20 Bulls campaign was mediocre, to say the least. Their 22–43 record was not good enough to qualify for the NBA bubble, and they dealt with injuries all throughout the roster. Without many indications of the impact Porter has on the roster, it’s time to consider moving him to improve the roster in other areas. To this point, he holds career averages of 11 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. In his first season with the Bulls, he played 15 games, (midseason acquisition) before following that up with a 14-game showing this past season. Billy Donovan has the opportunity to come in and clear the decks to construct the roster in a manner that fits his coaching style.

Porter has a player option due to get him $28.5 million in the offseason. It’s almost certain that he’ll accept it. Once he does so, the Bulls will be over the cap before making any substantial moves in free agency. If they would like to increase their flexibility moving forward, it’s best to get a deal done before the season starts.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Priority: Trade Kevin Love

A few weeks after LeBron declared his departure from the Cavaliers to the Lakers, the Cavs signed Kevin Love to a four-year, $120 million extension to remain in Cleveland. It was a polarizing agreement because, on one hand, you have to ability to keep a former All-Star on the roster for the foreseeable future, but on the other hand, he’s had a laundry list of injuries, and while his on-court performance has been pretty good, it doesn’t appear to have much impact on the win column. In 2019–20, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists, which floats right around his career averages. As it stands, he has three years and $91.5 million left on the deal. It would be a hard sell if the Cavaliers are expecting All-Star-level compensation for Love, but if they enter negotiations with a full rebuild in mind, they could likely move Love this offseason.

Dallas Mavericks

Priority: Add three-and-D wings

Luka Dončić is one of those guys who has no choice but to succeed at this juncture of his career. It’s rare that you have an opportunity to go to “win-now mode” when your best player is 21 years old, but here the Mavericks are. Dončić can do a lot of different things on an elite level, but playing defense is not one of them.

The Mavericks should use this offseason to work on bringing in a perimeter defender that can anchor the defense while Dončić and Kristaps Porzingis carry the load on offense. For a team that has two young stars, a couple of veteran three-and-D guys would be a great addition to this starting lineup. The veteran leadership could also help them get over the hump against more experienced teams in the playoffs and help them navigate the regular season more effectively. They should target someone like Robert Covington in the trade market, or Jae Crowder in free agency.

Denver Nuggets

Priority: Bolster the perimeter defense

Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokić and Michael Porter Jr. are the future of the Nuggets. While this trio has the potential to be a staple in the West for years to come, they’ll need to add some perimeter defense. The Lakers became the measuring stick for their conference. During that particular series, Monte Morris and Jerami Grant were the primary wing defenders, and there wasn’t much depth behind them. From the Nuggets’ perspective, that’s not the best situation to be in. Putting points on the board should not be an issue moving forward. If they make only one move this offseason, it should be to find a wing who can consistently guard the best players from the other team.

Detroit Pistons

Priority: Trade Blake Griffin

The Pistons traded Andre Drummond and bought out Reggie Jackson last season, a sign that they’re switching course. The Blake Griffin experiment began 2 1/2 seasons ago, and this season is probably where it ends. They should focus on the rebuild and find a new home for the oft-injured star. With that being said, Griffin has two years left on his deal, for a total value of $75.6 million if he exercises his option after next season. The Pistons will likely have to pair some assets with Griffin to get a buyer, but it is important that they don’t overpay and damage the outlook of their rebuild in its entirety. He was limited to 18 games in the 2019–20 season due to a knee injury. It will be a tough task trying to move him, but they should make that priority No. 1. It’s very plausible that both he and Derrick Rose will not finish next season as members of the Pistons.

Golden State Warriors

Priority: Find a trade package for Wiggins and the No. 2 pick

The Warriors have placed themselves in a position to reignite their dormant title hopes. Their short-term success is based almost solely on what they’ll decide to do with their draft picks. Ever since they acquired Andrew Wiggins from Minnesota, it seems like the timer was set for him to be dealt again. The second pick in the draft could be a particularly enticing trade piece for a team looking to spark their rebuild. The Warriors will presumably return with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry fully healthy, and, after a year of sitting on the sidelines, they should be as hungry for a championship run as they ever were.

Wiggins appeared in 19 contests for the Warriors and posted 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists. These numbers were not a far departure from his career lines in Minnesota. He has three years and $94.7 million left on his deal. If there is a transaction to be made, fans should expect it to come around or on draft night. Aside from that, the team will likely begin the season with Wiggins starting at small forward. If they are unable to trade Wiggins paired with that pick, they should draft James Wiseman, as he should come in ready to contribute immediately.

Houston Rockets

Priority: Starting-caliber center

During the regular season, Mike D’Antoni appeared to unlock a cheat code in the small-ball lineup. It allowed Russell Westbrook to drive in clear lanes to the basket and created the proper spacing necessary for the Rockets to threaten the single-game three-point record every single contest. The super small-ball experiment was pushed to the limit by the Thunder in the opening round of the playoffs before the Lakers exposed it in the Western Conference semifinals. There is no way the Rockets will run it back with the same five. They must come back with a legitimate starting-caliber center if they wish to compete with the Nuggets, Lakers and other contenders in the West.

The small-ball lineup can still work, but it is likely best used situationally. D’Antoni entered the 2019-20 season without an extension in the works and ultimately decided to part ways with the team after their elimination. General manager Daryl Morey also stepped down, which means the structure and playing style of this team will undergo construction this offseason. Finding a trade partner for Westbrook, who still has three years left on his deal, will be a tough ask, so their best bet is to add the proper frontcourt pieces. Although Westbrook’s drop-in productivity appears to be impeding, they should be right back in the championship hunt next season if they can find their big.

Indiana Pacers

Priority: Trade Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon that ended his 2018–19 campaign prematurely. This past year he appeared in 19 games and showed flashes of his old self, but not quite enough for the franchise to commit max dollars to keep him on board for the long haul. He logged 14.5 points 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

One of the biggest fears for an organization is losing a valuable asset for nothing in return. Regardless of whether he returns to his ceiling immediately, Oladipo is a valuable asset. He’s due to become a free agent in 2021, and it is in the organization’s best interest to explore the market to see what they can get for him. The Pacers are no stranger to this school of thought. They received Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in a deal with the Thunder because Paul George wanted out. The difference between this scenario and the George scenario is the role that his health plays into the equation. Teams could be hesitant to trade significant assets if they feel they could lure him away in free agency next year.

Los Angeles Clippers

Priority: Starting-caliber point guard

When news broke that Kawhi Leonard was to join the solid core of the Los Angeles Clippers, they became immediate contenders. The addition of Paul George minutes later solidified what we knew to be true. Things didn’t work out as everyone expected them to, and there are plenty of reasons why. In the offseason, there is one particular area of improvement that they should place emphasis on: a true point guard. Lou Williams led the team in assists last year at 5.4 coming off of the bench.

Patrick Beverley is a scrappy guard who has shown the ability to leave his imprint on the game in many different ways, but the Clippers could use a lead guard more adept at running the offense and providing a more consistent scoring output. They were known for their team approach in the 2018–19 season, but there were many instances this past season when the ball stopped, and the offense devolved into their version of “my turn, your turn.” After expending a treasure chest of draft capital and personnel for George and Morris, coupled with a relatively thin free-agency pool, a top-tier guard is likely out of the question. Players such as Fred VanVleet and Derrick Rose will likely be sought after by the team.

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Los Angeles Lakers

Priority: Secondary playmaker

Despite entering the bubble with many unanswered questions about the construction of their roster, the Lakers were able to get it done. The reigning champions will have plenty of roster turnover this offseason. Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are expected to decline their player options, also Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris were on one-year deals. Besides re-signing Anthony Davis, depth at the guard spot was a bit of an issue this past season, and they will have to address this spot in free agency or through the trade market. LeBron is certainly capable of running the show, but he shouldn’t have to at all times. Rob Pelinka will almost certainly exhaust every possible way to bring Chris Paul into town, nine years after the infamous Hornets-Lakers trade reversal. That would put them on the fastest track to win back-to-back titles.

Memphis Grizzlies

Priority: Three-point shooters

The Grizzlies were a few bubble wins away from making the playoffs, and it’s possible that those games would’ve swung their way had they not dealt with a slew of injuries. Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Jaren Jackson Jr. couldn’t remain healthy enough to compete in all or even any of the seeding games. The Grizzlies ended up losing the play-in game to the Trail Blazers, but they can be satisfied with their 2019–20 campaign.

Ja Morant had an impressive rookie season, Jaren Jackson Jr. continued to improve, and they discovered several young players that can become meaningful contributors as they plan ahead. With that being said, the Grizzlies can improve in the area of three-point shooting. They finished last season 25th in three-pointers made per game. Jackson does a great job of spacing the floor from the forward position, but they could see a more free-flowing offense and clearer lanes for Morant if they add some wings that can space the floor.

Miami Heat

Priority: Established veteran scorer

The Heat defied the odds to appear in their first NBA Finals since the 2013–14 season. Although they were two wins away from an NBA championship, their postseason run had a bit of a Cinderella feel to it. If they want to replicate this success, they are going to need another high-level player to add to the starting lineup. The Heat will likely bring back Goran Dragic, or at least they should. Dragic led the team in scoring during last year’s playoff run before suffering a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. He will be a great signing, but they need a bit more than that if they want to challenge for a title.

They introduced several rookies that appear to be on the trajectory to stardom. Tyler Herro grabbed the record for most consecutive double-digit games scored by a rookie in league history. Kendrick Nunn was also a finalist for Rookie of the Year. Even though they seem to be headed down the right path, it’s a bit too early for the Heat to put all of their eggs in that basket. Another veteran who can score will take some of the pressure off the young guys and push this team to the next level. Expect the Heat to kick the tires on a trade for Bradley Beal this offseason. Adding a talent like that can push the Heat from a scrappy underdog to a front-running title contender.

Milwaukee Bucks

Priority: Playmaker/shot creator

The last time we saw the Bucks, they were eliminated 4–1 by the Miami Heat in the second round of the postseason. The NBA bubble and the mental toll of the ongoing fight for social justice could’ve played a role in this, but there are some glaring issues that need to be addressed in terms of roster construction, and those changes are mainly on offense. Defense has proved to be a tried-and-true strength for Milwaukee, as it posted the No. 1 defensive rating in the league while having three players (Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez) named to the first and second NBA All-Defensive teams.

They need help scoring, particularly in the high-stakes situations when defenses attempt to wall the back-to-back MVP off from the basket. Bledsoe is a fine player, but he isn’t the model of offensive consistency, nor is he the level of playmaker needed for this team to reach its full potential. The Bucks cannot ask Giannis to be something that he is not. An NBA title will be a tough ask if all the scoring and playmaking responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of Khris Middleton and Giannis. They are both capable of scoring in bunches, but they need that third guy who can put the ball on the floor and consistently create for himself and others.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Priority: Draft Anthony Edwards

The Timberwolves are in complete control of their destiny, as they have two stars in addition to the first pick in the upcoming draft. The D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns pairing seemed predestined, with Russell promising in a preseason interview that he, Towns and Suns guard Devin Booker would eventually team up in the NBA. 

The Timberwolves had to give up Wiggins in exchange for their new point guard, so they’ll want to bring in someone to accompany Russell on the wing. There are two options at the top of this year’s draft for the guard position. Anthony Edwards out of the University of Georgia, and LaMelo Ball from the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League. Edwards edges Ball out in this situation due to his skill set and fit within the Minnesota scheme. Ball and Russell do a lot of the same things, so it would be best for them to add a different component in Edwards. He has a few issues with offensive consistency and defensive engagement, but his upside is undeniable. He garners comparisons to Donovan Mitchell and Zach LaVine.

New Orleans Pelicans

Priority: Re-sign Brandon Ingram

Ingram showed his potential during three seasons in Los Angeles, but his first season with the Pelicans was a true breakout effort. He upped his averages to 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists, a stat line good enough to qualify for his first All-Star appearance. Possessing the ability to score at all three levels, Ingram would be the perfect costar to No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. He is due to become a restricted free agent and make big money in the offseason. The Pelicans should match whatever offer comes their way, as they have only $83 million in committed salary for the next season. The salary cap is still undetermined, but the Pelicans should fall well under the number.

New York Knicks

Priority: Draft well

Can’t really ask much more of the Knicks. For the past few summers, they’ve made free-agent signings that have virtually had no impact on the win column. As we all know, the Knicks cleared enough cap space to sign two max-level free agents (Durant and Irving). After flopping in free agency last offseason, the only thing the Knicks can do is attempt to move some of their expiring contracts and fully embrace the rebuild. They have the sixth pick in the upcoming draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Priority: Trade Chris Paul for younger talent

Just when you thought the Oklahoma City Thunder season was cooked, Paul galvanized the team to make the playoffs in a season when making the postseason was an afterthought. That level of leadership is not often found on the open market, which is why Paul’s trade value is likely the highest it’s been in the past three years. The upcoming free-agent market isn’t the most potent it’s ever been, so teams that want All-Star-level players will have to trade for them. We all enjoyed watching the Thunder capitalize off the underdog role and nearly complete the first-round upset, but there is a glass ceiling on this team that Sam Presti will almost certainly have to rearrange the roster to break through. The Thunder have a mountain of future draft picks that they can likely parlay into younger talent and remain competitive while simultaneously building for the future.

Orlando Magic

Priority: Commit to the development of Markelle Fultz

It seems like forever ago when Markelle Fultz was the first selection in the 2017 draft. Since then, he’s been traded once, but he put together a quietly effective season this past season. The 12.1 points, 5.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds don’t jump off the page, but they do enough for Magic management to keep him around.

He’s only 22 years old, so we can’t say for certain whether the book is written on his production, but if he continues to develop, it’s important for the Magic to remember that he was a first-pick talent. With that being said, they should look to extend him with a team-friendly deal that balances the short-term goals of the team with the long-term ones. If they are right about him, they get a potential star with All-Star games in his future, but if they’re wrong, their future won’t be damaged based on the structure of the deal. The payday could also instill confidence in Fultz and lead to further improvement.

Philadelphia 76ers

Priority: Make a decision about Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid

“The Process” has been a roller coaster, and it seems as though it has finally come to a crossroads. This past season was largely a disappointment for the Sixers. They qualified for the sixth seed before being swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round. The clash of playing styles between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been highlighted as the main reason for this team’s probable departure from their current formula. Embiid is a back-to-the-basket big who commands a large portion of the low-to-high post area to get his offense rolling. Simmons is an oversize guard who relies on getting in the paint to score.

In the words of comedian Kevin Hart: Somebody’s gotta go. Both players have similar ceilings if they reach their full potential; however, Simmons will probably have the edge in trade value due to his track record of health in comparison with Embiid. It’s time to start fresh under Doc Rivers, especially with so many assets tied to Al Horford and Tobias Harris, although he’ll want to give them a try first. The team needs to evaluate and choose their direction. The franchise cornerstones may not be moved this offseason, but Embiid is on the books for two more years, while Simmons is on for four. It’s not really a matter of if, but when.

Phoenix Suns

Priority: Extend Kelly Oubre Jr.

The Suns won all eight of their games in the bubble; however, this late push ended up being too late, as they did not qualify for the postseason. The year was a bit of a roller coaster in terms of continuity within the roster. Directly after their season opener, Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He ended up playing in only 38 of the possible 73 games. In fact, only four Suns players cracked the 60-game mark. Oubre helped contribute to the consistency that they did have, starting in 55 of the 56 games he was active for. During that stretch, he posted career highs of 18.7 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 35.2% from beyond the three-point line before his season ended with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The 24-year-old forward has built great chemistry with Devin Booker, and he fits the style of basketball that the suns would like to play. There are several other decisions to make regarding their overflow of frontcourt players, but this deal should be a no-brainer.

Portland Trail Blazers

Priority: Revamp the formula with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard

It’s hard to judge the Blazers’ season because there wasn’t really a stretch where everyone was available at the same time. Starting small forward Rodney Hood tore his left Achilles early in the year, Jusuf Nurkić spent the majority of the year working back from his lower-leg injury, and when things did appear as though they were going to come together for the seeding games, Trevor Ariza opted out and Zach Collins went down with an ankle injury. Aside from getting healthy this offseason, the Blazers need to focus on getting another guard that can create offense when Dame and CJ aren’t on the floor. The past few years have been a similar formula, and too many repetitions of the same cycle could have management questioning the overall effectiveness of the McCollum and Lillard duo.

Sacramento Kings

Priority: Hold Buddy Hield

The best move for the Kings is to not make a move at all. There have been various rumors regarding the future of Buddy Hield with the team. He lit the league on fire from beyond the three-point line last season, shooting at a red-hot 39.4 percent. Hield’s current extension will go into effect during the 2020–21 season. There is a degree of positional overlap within the organization with Bojan Bogdanovic, and it appears that the coaching staff isn’t quite sure where they want to go with the both of them. One thing is for sure: There has never been a team that has too many shooters. They should lock up Bogdanovic and let the good times roll. Hield holds plenty of value on the trade market, but he holds plenty of value on the court for the Kings as well.

San Antonio Spurs

Priority: Move on from DeMar DeRozan

Two years ago the Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan in what was the best deal on the table. In those two years, the Spurs have made the playoffs once, but aren’t the normal perennial contender they once were. Will Gregg Popovich oversee a complete rebuild? Very unlikely. This means they’ll have to trade him for someone who can contribute to winning immediately. DeRozan will have the opportunity to opt in or out of his $27.7 million player option for next season. While he was their leading scorer, DeRozan would be better off looking for a fresh start. In a weaker free-agency pool, he should have his fair share of suitors.

Toronto Raptors

Priority: Pay Fred VanVleet

The Raptors were not expected to repeat their championship effort this year, especially after the departure of Leonard. They did have a successful season, all things considered. They were one win away from consecutive Eastern Conference finals berths. Many of their issues will be solved by time as it relates to the development of the younger players, but it’s time for Fred VanVleet to get his money. He played a vital role in the Raptors’ title run, and he’s proved to be a true 1B to Kyle Lowry’s 1A in the backcourt.

He’ll qualify for an offer in the four-year, $80 million range. With Kyle Lowry going into Year 15, it makes a lot of sense for them to get the deal done sooner rather than later before they lose him for nothing. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are also unrestricted agents, with no one besides Pascal Siakam guaranteed money beyond next season. They have plenty of flexibility as it stands, and solidifying the structure of the team can improve the level of desirability for free agents in the future. Masai Ujiri is no stranger to paying players when they’ve earned it.

Utah Jazz

Priority: Re-sign Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell put on a show this postseason, putting up video game numbers night in and night out. Unfortunately, his season ended with the first-round exit to Denver. However, this is no time to panic for the Jazz. He averaged 36.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game while shooting over 50% from the field, and around 94% from the free throw line. With a few roster tweaks, they should be right back into the swing of things next year.

The first order of business is to extend Mitchell, who is coming into the fourth year of his rookie deal. That means that he is eligible for the rookie scale extension. This type of contact is rarely ever turned down due to the financial implications. If he signs the contract in the offseason, the extension would begin during the 2021–22 season, with a salary worth up to 25% of the cap, and possibly more if he were to make one of the All-NBA teams next year. The deal is likely all but signed.

Washington Wizards

Priority: Trade Beal and go all in on the rebuild

The Wizards possess arguably the most valuable trade asset in the league this offseason in Bradley Beal. He is a two-time All-Star who just posted his most impressive season thus far. He averaged 30.5 points and 6.1 assists in 57 games this past season. He’s owed $63 million over the next two years with a $37 million player option for the 2022–23 season. Under normal circumstances, trading a contract like that would be a nonstarter; however, John Wall is not guaranteed to come back at anything resembling his similar self after missing nearly two years of basketball. This means there is a strong chance that the team will wait until the season is well underway and they have the ability to judge the effectiveness of their backcourt. They shouldn’t risk the possibility of his stock dropping at all.


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