The roadmap for this off-season is going to be way different than years prior. The NBPA and owners need to work on the CBA, including salary disputes and the cap for next year. The negotiations surrounding the cap might have an impact on trades as teams might make cost-cutting moves. However, most likely, the cap will stay level to prevent a sudden spike like in 2016.
Nonetheless, these are three moves that NBA teams should look to make this off-season.
1. Pacers Move on From Victor Oladipo
Oladipo played out the 2019-2020 season without coming to an extension with the Pacers. He’s said that he would like to stay with the Pacers, but if they cannot come to a deal, the Pacers would need to get something in return. Additionally, there is a dispute between the NBPA and NBA about whether or not the Pacers should pay Oladipo the $3 million. That might not have an impact, but it’s something to consider.
Pacers are a typical small-market team: not an ideal free agent destination and less capital to work with. However, they’ve also remained competitive over most of the decade with underrated stars such as Danny Granger and Paul George. They’ve built a culture of playing hard. However, they’ve struggled to make it past the first round the past few seasons. The Pacers fired Coach Nate McMillan, possibly as a result of a lack of recent success.
The bottom line is, the Pacers should be skeptical of giving Oladipo a max or close to a max deal. He’s unfortunately struggled with injuries over the past few seasons. Pacers should try to get some value out of Oladipo before he can depart in free agency this off-season.
The Atlanta Hawks should look to target Oladipo. They have multiple young wing players in Kevin Huerter, Deandre Hunter, and Cameron Reddish. They could use one of those guys, along with Dewayne Dedmon’s contract, to acquire Oladipo. This move would pair Trae Young with a defensive-minded guard who can also help with creation.
2. Jrue Holiday to Brooklyn
Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated two-way players in the league. When other NBA players talk about underrated players, they bring up Holiday. His persisting leg injury prevented him from playing for multiple seasons a few years ago, but it seems he’s fully recovered.
Defensively, he is one of the smartest and toughest players. While only standing at 6’4, he can guard a legit 1-4, sometimes even 5, which is unheard of. His I.Q allows him to compete with more physically gifted players, but he also has the length to bother smaller guards.
He can create his shot out of the pick and roll and make the right read on offense. Since 2012, he’s averaged over six assists a game. Holiday plays poised on both ends of the court.
Holiday has never played on a real contender. However, he projects to be the perfect complementary player: good decision making, high-level defender, can create offensively with good efficiency in a secondary role.
It’s been reported that the Brooklyn Nets were looking to add a third star this off-season. Holiday fits perfectly in that in-between role. He’s going to be able to commit more energy on the defensive end with less of a scoring burden. This move has the potential to showcase how elite of a player Holiday is.
The Pelicans likely would want to keep Holiday around, but he is a little past the timeline of the Pelicans core of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson, and Josh Hart. Holiday will make a hefty $25 million over the next two years as well. The Pelicans could look to add a younger player in free agency with that money. A possible scenario is that the Nets come to the Pelicans with Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert in exchange for Jrue Holiday.
Holiday deserves to play on a contending team to showcase his underrated talents.
3. Buddy Hield to the 76ers
The Kings need to choose between their two shooters: Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. The choice might be making itself. After finding himself coming off the bench this past season, Hield has stopped responding to Coach Luke Walton’s messages. He just signed an extension last off-season, but the Kings also need to pay Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Across the country, the Philadelphia 76ers are in dire need of shooting next to Simmons and Embiid. Hield is a great scorer and has expanded his package over the past few seasons. He started as mainly an off-ball threat coming off screens, but he has improved his ball-handling and playmaking coming off dribble handoffs and pick and rolls.
Hield gives the 76ers a perimeter scoring option and a high-level shooter that they desperately. While this deal isn’t necessarily going to make the Sixers championship contenders, it’s a step in the right direction.
A deal surrounding Hield for Al Horford and the Sixers sending a handful of second-round picks and maybe a first if the Kings aren’t budging. That first might have to be included since Hield is under contract for four years. In theory, the Kings could hold onto him against his will.
In terms of fit, Hield adds a scoring threat to the Sixers.