The NBA transfer market opens this Monday at 6 p.m. (French time), a few days before the draft and the famous « free agency » period for free players. Update on hot issues.
It’s on for one of the craziest weeks of the year for NBA fans. While the prestigious American League will restart on December 22, part of the coming season should be played in the coming days. Why? Because the draft will already take place on Wednesday. Because players and franchises only have a few hours to activate (or not) the optional contract years, before the start of the « free agency » (for free players) on Friday, and because the transfer market between stables officially opens this Monday at 6 p.m. French time. Here are some hot topics to follow.
On the French side: Batum and Fournier have extended, Gobert pending
Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets) and Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic) were in the same situation: at the end of the lease, the two French internationals had either the possibility of activating their « player option », an additional year of contract, or of leaving. free, in « free agent », and to test the market from Friday. They both opted for the first solution.
For Batum (31), it’s not a big surprise. Even if he has not played since January and that he should not replay (except surprise) in December, the winger was not going to deprive himself of a last year at $ 27 million (22.9 million euros), a salary that no other team would have offered him if he were free. Fournier (28) would probably have had suitors. But the rear has made the choice of stability in Orlando, with a last year at 17 million dollars (14.5 million euros). Note that the two can still be exchanged by their franchise. But their salary will not be changed.
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), one year from the end of his contract, can claim a big extension. But knowing that the franchise of Salt Lake City visibly wants to extend Donovan Mitchell (which will put a blow to his salary cap), an exchange this fall is not to be ruled out. Twice the league’s best defenseman, the 28-year-old pivot should not lack courtiers.
Lakers set to welcome new point guard, but will have to fight for Davis
New playmates for LeBron James? Recent NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers could strengthen a little more during this offseason. According to ESPN, the Californian franchise has an agreement in principle with Oklahoma City to obtain the trade of German international leader Dennis Schröder, in exchange for the player it will take in the draft, as well as Danny Green.
In parallel to this file, the Lakers will have to take out the checkbook to keep the All Star Anthony Davis inside. Unlike Batum and Fournier, « The Brow » did not wish to activate its option, according to Yahoo. He will therefore be free from Friday. To go where? To the Lakers, probably. Davis has repeatedly said his intention to stay, but he just wants to negotiate a new contract, with more than the $ 28 million salary his option guaranteed. Smart.
The Rockets could lose big … and the Nets build a seductive trio
What if, in a few days, the Houston Rockets found themselves orphaned by their two stars? This disaster scenario is gaining in depth. Only a year after his arrival in Texas, the leader Russell Westbrook – tired of the upheavals at the head of the franchise – would indeed like a change of air, and would have let his management know. If it were to give way, however, it would be necessary to find a training capable of supporting its 40 million dollars a year. The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets were cited as potential destinations.
The other problem is called James Harden. The famous bearded full-back, 2018 MVP, was initially announced as staying in Houston. But Sunday night, ESPN set fire to the powder by ensuring that the player wonders about his future, and that he is now considering a departure… with the Brooklyn Nets. Where he would be associated with his former comrade Kevin Durant, but also with Kyrie Irving. All with Steve Nash as a trainer. Enough to make the New York franchise one of the sexiest in the entire NBA.
Can Antetokounmpo leave the Bucks?
Double outgoing MVP, the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo has one more year of contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. What to anticipate a departure this fall? This is not the preferred hypothesis, but in his case too, it is not to be ruled out. To tell the truth, the Greek has several choices: ask for an immediate exchange, wait until the end of the season to go away freely, or sign a big contract extension today.
The strong winger, according to recent information from the « insiders », would see himself staying in Wisconsin. But he would see himself, too, become NBA champion … If they want to keep their jewel, the leaders of the Bucks will have to give him a little reinforcement. The trail to point guard Chris Paul (Oklahoma City) had reportedly been considered, but The Athletic wound it up. The latest rumors evoke the names of Victor Oladipo (Indiana) – who himself said he wanted to stay with the Pacers – and Jrue Holiday (New Orleans). To be continued, therefore.