Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Malik Beasley, Timberwolves, 23, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $7.8MM deal in 2016
Beasley turned down an extension offer with the Nuggets last offseason, which looked like a really bad decision when he struggled to get steady playing time on Denver’s deep bench. Freedom came in the form of a trade with the Timberwolves and Beasley quickly seized the opportunity. He averaged 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 3.0 APG in his first three games with his new team. Of course, Minnesota made an even bigger deadline deal. The chemistry that Beasley forms with backourt partner D’Angelo Russell will determine how much Minnesota would be willing to fork up to re-sign the restricted free agent.

Jordan McRae, Nuggets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.65MM deal in 2019
The Nuggets made a series of minor moves prior to the trade deadline. In the short run, the most significant was the acquisition of McRae, who was quietly enjoying a career year with the Wizards. McRae, who also had stints with Cleveland and Phoenix during his NBA career, was averaging 12.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.8 APG in 22.8 MPG with Washington. Stats with bad teams can be shrugged off but McRae, who missed some games with hand and ankle injuries, has a chance to show that he can be a second-unit factor for a quality team. The Nuggets possess his Early Bird rights, which increases the possibility of re-signing him if they like what they see.

Andre Roberson, Thunder, 28, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $30MM deal in 2017
It’s sad that Roberson hasn’t been able to resurrect his career after suffering a serious knee injury at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena in January 2018. There have been many stops and starts during the rehab process since he ruptured his left patella tendon but Roberson has never been able to reach the point where he could play again. Oklahoma City was unable to move his expiring contract before the trade deadline. The last update on Roberson was that he was continuing his rehab in Los Angeles but there’s a strong possibility that the one-time lockdown defender has played his last NBA game.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Jazz, 23, PG (Down) – Signed to one-year, $1.74MM deal in 2019
Mudiay, the seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, was signed as a backup to Mike Conley and was playing around 20 MPG until Conley returned from his latest injury. Mudiay hasn’t seen the floor for more than 15 minutes since mid-January and that’s not going to change when Conley suits up. Mudiay posted a career year statistically with the woeful Knicks last season but they didn’t make him a qualifying offer, which thrust him into unrestricted free agency. He can stick around the league for awhile if he’s willing to accept short-term, minimum-salary deals.

Mario Hezonja, Trail Blazers, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.66MM deal in 2019
Hezonja was hoping last summer that the Knicks would re-sign him. The call never came and Hezonja, who started 24 games with New York last season, wound up signing a two-year, minimum-salary contract with Portland. Hezonja, who is currently nursing an ankle injury, was playing regularly but not effectively before the team signed Carmelo Anthony. When he’s gotten opportunities to shoot it, he hasn’t been able to knock them down (38.5% overall, 28.4% from distance). Hezonja holds a $1.978MM player option on his contract for next season and it will be interesting to see if he opts in or chooses to see if another franchise will give him a chance to play regularly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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21 thoughts on “Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Northwest Division

  1. harden-westbrook-mvps

    OKC will be under the cap when Roberson and Galli’s contracts expire this summer, so they should be able to stay under the luxury tax quite easily.

  2. x%sure

    Did OKC ever want to package Roberson with anyone at the deadline, like Noel? They wanted to trade Roberson but was hoping to use another’s TPE. Not many chances of that.

    OKC is a small amount over the tax line still I think, that is odd. There must be some way, between the deadline and the last game, to cut about $600k from the roster. Or, really odd.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      It’s only gonna cost them around $2M which is far less than the tax bill they were looking at before the season started.

  3. hiflew

    It’s Mudiay and guys like him that cause me to question the ability of RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball making any real impact in the NBA. Not only does it show a lack of intelligence for not qualifying for a school, but it also shows a lack of character in running away from a challenge. It might seem harsh, but to me these guys seem scared of the spotlight and competition of the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Big East or any other major conference, They’d much rather play “big fish in a small pond” like in high school in some obscure pro league filled with NBA washouts or NBA never-weres instead of challenging themselves to get better.

    When the by far best example of a success is Brandon Jennings, I would try something else.

      • hiflew

        Um, no they aren’t. The best college players usually become the best NBA players, or at the very least become decent NBA players. I think that is better than washouts or neverweres.

        • Appalachian_Outlaw

          In their prime, you realize you could make the best team ever maybe with high school draftees?

          Kobe Bryant G
          Lebron James F
          Kevin Garnett F
          Dwight Howard C
          Lou Williams G

          Point might be a little weak, but if you flip James to point, and take a forward like McGrady, you’re even stronger. College isn’t everything, and produces busts, too.

          • hiflew

            I think I’d take this team over that one.

            John Stockton G
            Michael Jordan G
            Karl Malone F
            Tim Duncan F
            Patrick Ewing C

            Sure college produces busts too. I freely admit that. People think you should let everyone in because Lebron and Kobe did it. But everyone coming out of high school is not on the same level as Lebron and Kobe. It’s the guys like Robert Swift and Korleone Young and Martell Webster and countless others that need to be saved from their own egos. Plus, do you really think Kobe and Lebron and KG would have been worse NBA players if they went to college for a year or two?

            A slight delay on making millions for the top 1% of HS players versus giving more options to the 50% or so that just aren’t going to make it at all. I know which one I am more concerned with helping.

            • Appalachian_Outlaw

              Everyone coming out of college isn’t on the same level as Jordan or Bird was, either. Should they be forced to go play overseas to work on their game? By law, these men are old enough to be sent to war. War. Isn’t it reasonable that they should be allowed to make their own decisions as to what’s best for their basketball careers, and their lives? They don’t need to be “saved” from their own egos if it nets them life changing money.

    • x%sure

      Agree, but I think the NCAA doesn’t want to bend over backwards for diaper dandies anymore, and that they’re trying to back out from the reliance on sponsoring them.
      Probably more and more will skip college.

      I say if they’re only going to be around for a half-year anyway, fine. I wish the NBA required 20 yo though and let them into the DL or GL or whatever.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      I couldn’t disagree more with you. You’re only looking at this through one lense.

      • hiflew

        No, you are the one that is only looking at it from one lens. You are looking at it from the player’s perspective. And not just the player’s perspective, but the perspective of only the best players. Yeah, Lebron did it, so let’s just assume every 18 year old will do the same. Not everyone is capable of doing the things Lebron does.

        In addition there is the perspective that no one really wants to look at. The perspective of the NBA team. High school competition is not that tough in general. I was a starter for two years in high school ball and I don’t even belong on the same court as most D-I players. How can any team determine how good a player a HS prospect is when they are playing against guys like me? I really made some mediocre athletes looks like superstars in my time. Playing at the D-I level will help these teams, that are going invest MILLIONS of dollars in someone, determine whether a player is legit or if they just look good against future YMCA players.

        • Appalachian_Outlaw

          You’re correct, I am looking at it through the eyes of the elite level athletes, because they shouldn’t be obligated to attend college. The onus is on the teams, and the scouting departments to evaluate these talents. If they can’t, then they can’t. Time for a new line of work.

          • x%sure

            The NBA has a monopoly on pro basketball in the USA, whether good or bad. Nobody would support a competitor to the NBA or it’s GLeague. That speaks to what the market value is of the players who might be in a new/minor league employing elite teenagers.

            The team owners like anyone else should be able to do what’s in their best interest, unless congress intervenes.
            If there are different rules for different people, court opinions may intervene.

            The rules supposedly will change for 18 year olds. The reason probably is not what is best for an 18yo; probably it’s an anti-competition measure… Another reason I do not support it.

    • Curtisrowe

      Jennings made 40 million dollars playing basketball. I don’t think that example is going to scare many players away.

      • hiflew

        No he didn’t. That’s what people forget. He GROSSED that much. About half went to taxes. Then another 10% went for agent fees. And then the “NBA lifestyle” probably ate up quite a bit as well.

        But even with that, he did make money. But you need to show me that he COULDN’T make that money if he went to college for a year or two. Or possibly even more by learning how to play the game better from the coaches at Arizona (the school he was going to go to).

  4. Skip, Tampa

    Was strange Thunder didn’t move Robinson. They were even offering a 1st. Knicks should of jumped on that with Ellington, win/win. Still can stretch Burton and PU a buyout player, for help and no Tax problems.
    Not a fan of HS to NBA. They should be able to go to the GL. If a player quits to get ready for the draft they should be required to go to the GL first. If they choose to bypass both, 20 yo minimum should apply.
    Protects everyone from themselves.

  5. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Utah, we have a problem. The Jazz won 18 of their first 21 home games this season, but have now lost 5 of their last 7 while playing in Salt Lake City.

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