We see it every season. There’s always that group of guys who, despite being good, are not being as impactful as they really are. It’s for a variety of reasons, and more often than not, it’s the environment they’re in, either they don’t fit the system or plan, there’s a logjam in the position, or the team’s mediocrity is concealing their true effectiveness.
Well, that’s what the free agency and trading period are for, and it’s starting on November 23rd. Let’s take a look at key players that need a new home for the 2020-21 season:
DeMar DeRozan – San Antonio Spurs
The longtime West powerhouse Spurs are officially entering rebuild mode after snapping their 22-season playoff streak, and someone like DeMar DeRozan shouldn’t be in there. The veteran swingman is now 31 years old, still ringless, and on the last 2-3 years of his prime. He should be on a team that has a better chance at winning a championship. He deserves to win a ring as a solid contributor, and not one where he just rode someone/others’ coattails really hard.
Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
Once among the top fantasy basketball darlings out there, Kevin Love, who’s soon turning 33, is now the veteran big man who’s best-suited to be a third scorer on a contending team – yes, not even second fiddle, although it is clear that he’s one heck of a third option. He can still deliver a healthy 20-10 stat line fairly well.
Similar to the Spurs, though, the Cavs are simply not a good team to be in right now as they are in a tough climb back into relevancy. Love put up 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.6 threes per game this past season, and a handful of playoff squads need that type of production.
Chris Paul – Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder’s future is actually looking pretty good, undoubtedly miles better than what the Spurs and Cavs have. They have a nice roster and a collection of first-round picks from previous trades.
It’s still not enough for a 35-year-old star like Chris Paul, though. While he’s currently beating father time, there’s no good reason for him to be with an upstart team. The Point God needs to be a Point God where he can really reign over the opposition.
Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans
As one of the best two-way point guards in the league, Jrue Holiday had a great role with the young Pelicans team in 2019-20. He was the group’s floor general and defensive ace, and also co-mentored the young core of Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Lonzo Ball.
It’s nice and all, but that core is talented enough and it will grow with or without him, so it’s probably best that he goes somewhere where he can shine more, somewhere where he won’t be snubbed for a spot in the All-Defensive team.
Gordon Hayward – Boston Celtics
The journey of Gordon Hayward has not returned to its original path ever since that gruesome foot injury in 2017. Although he’s become healthy in wide stretches, every facet of his game has considerably slowed down. However, it may also be because he’s taken a backseat to the younger, upside-filled forward duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Despite all that, Hayward did log 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game on 50% shooting this past season, so we’ll likely see a good uptick if he goes to a team that doesn’t have a logjam at the three slot.
Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers
Speaking of injuries and taking a backseat: Kyle Kuzma! He had a foot injury right before the 2019-20 campaign started and the team brought in superstar center Anthony Davis.
Once heralded as the most exciting young Laker, Kuz is now just as an okay role player that will contribute 20, 25 points on a good day, which is usually when Davis and/or LeBron James are sidelined or both having an off-night.
Kuzma is only 25 and still has great potential. The draft steal that averaged 16.1 and 18.7 points in his first two seasons is somewhere in there, still ready to breakout. No one knows if it’ll show up again with Davis and James at the helm, but it sure can return under a more welcoming system.
Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have been eliminated in the first round in four-straight seasons with Myles Turner being the supposed defensive minister in the paint. This is not to say he isn’t a good defender, but a string of failures simply calls for a change. It may be beneficial for both sides.
It also didn’t help that the team’s other big man, Domantas Sabonis, has emerged to become an All-Star, and newcomers Malcolm Brogdon and TJ Warren have also been more productive than expected.
Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon’s time in Orlando has ran out – and it’s not exactly his fault. It doesn’t feel or look like there’s any upside left. Whatever plan the Magic have just isn’t working out.
The offense isn’t aggressive or explosive enough to cater to Gordon’s strengths, and it’s tough to see because the 25-year-old is a 6’8, athletic freak that can shoot from the outside.