How much traction the 2020 NBA offseason sees may depend on certain clubs’ abilities to move on from some of their rather questionable signings in recent years. Some contracts, while smarter at the time, have become some of the worst signings in recent history. Other contracts simply declined in value due to aging by certain players.
While some players on undesirable contracts still possess great talent, it becomes quite a challenge in terms of moving enormous money over to another team for said talent. Most clubs, in a majority of those cases, will go into this offseason knowing that they’ll have to open the vault and let go of a few treasured pieces in order to finally rid themselves of certain contracts that’ve hindered their trading and free agent signing potential.
With that, here’s a few of the better trades that can be offered this offseason to clear some of the worst contracts off of certain teams’ books.
1. Kevin Love (Three years, $91.5 million remaining)
Cavaliers get: Julius Randle, Bobby Portis
Knicks get: Kevin Love
The New York Knicks are done with babysitting a roster full of youth. It’s honestly not where they thrive at, and shouldn’t be where their aim is either. The Knicks have long prided themselves on being a premier destination for marquee free agents, and that tactic shouldn’t stop this offseason.
Kevin Love has just been accumulating rust as the lone remaining star from the trio that won Cleveland a championship. His recent contract signing with the Cavs was another questionable move that their front office has deployed in recent years. At 32, Love still has a decent amount of playing years left in him. His style of play also caters to his increase in age as a spot up shooter that can occasionally make big plays in the paint as well. Somehow in his transition from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cavs, he became less of a focal point, even now with a team compiled mostly of lottery picks.
If the Knicks are gearing up to add big name players in the future, having Kevin Love come to the Big Apple and improve his value once more could be a huge talking point. For the Cavs, Love is off the books, and you obtain two younger players in Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, both of whom are 25. Portis also only has one year remaining on his deal.
2. Al Horford (Three years, $81 million remaining)
Sixers get: Dwight Powell, Delon Wright, Justin Jackson
Mavericks get: Al Horford, 2020 first-round pick (via Oklahoma), 2021 second round pick (via New York)
For Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers, getting out of Horford’s contract takes immediate precedence at the start of free agency. The Sixers will have to ship out some picks in order to entice any party to take on Horford’s hefty contract. The Dallas Mavericks would be a good place to start with. The Mavericks were reported to be the other team that wished to offer Horford a maximum contract in the offseason.
With Porzingis being injury prone at times during the season, Horford could offer additional help in the frontcourt. Embiid and Horford share a similar style of play, which often made it difficult for the two to share the floor together. Shedding his contract along with his presence could be beneficial for Embiid.
The Sixers would also obtain some moveable pieces in a future deal as they scope out the talent to add alongside Embiid and Ben Simmons.
3. Chris Paul (Two years, $85.6 million remaining)
Thunder get: Bobby Portis, Frank Ntilikina, Julius Randle, 2021 first-round pick (via Dallas)
Knicks get: Chris Paul, 2024 second-round pick (via Memphis)
The Knicks have been reported to be willing to take on bad contracts in exchange for absorbing assets. While they likely won’t use half the draft picks that they obtain in any trade, they certainly can load up on arguably the most from Oklahoma City. The Thunder just recently completed a heist off unloading Paul George to the Clippers while retaining a boatload of draft picks in exchange.
While New York would obtain a high-end star in Paul, they’d also began stockpiling picks to use in the event that another monumental trade swings their way.
Even though the Thunder are obviously grateful for Paul turning around what was a sure to be a lottery season, his talents don’t fit within the scope of a their timetable that’s scheduled for a rebuild in the near-future.
4. Eric Bledsoe (Three years, $54.4 million remaining)
Bucks get: Victor Oladipo
Pacers get: Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, 2020 first-round pick (via Indiana) and 2022 second-round pick (via Indiana)
The Bucks need a star, and they won’t be getting it with Eric Bledsoe. The University of Kentucky product came into Milwaukee becoming the ideal point guard that they’d coveted for so long—until the playoffs came. Bledsoe’s postseason averages have gotten historically worst over the last three years, going from 13.6 points per game in 2018 to 11.7 most recently in the NBA Disney bubble.
Where Bledsoe shines is through his defensive tenacity and interior scoring, which signaled that he may not be the best option for a Bucks squad that has enough inside scoring from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who primarily occupies the paint. He would join a squad with a young center in Myles Turner and a budding, go-to scorer in TJ Warren. They would also benefit from obtaining Donte DiVincenzo, a two-year guard with tremendous upside from long range.
The Bucks would also be testing the waters with Oladipo, who’s trade value has taken a reasonable hit due to his injury. If it pays off well, the Bucks would obtain another All-Star to pair with Antetokounmpo that’s capable of running the offense from the backcourt.