2020 NBA Free Agency Preview: Ranking The Centers Available

 2020 NBA Free Agency Preview: Ranking The Centers Available

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Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five

Montrezl Harrell #5 of the Los Angeles Clippers celebrates after a dunk against the Dallas Mavericks … [+] in the second half in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 25, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

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After previously ranking the top point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards set to hit the open market this offseason, the last group left to highlight are the best centers up for grabs:

1. Andre Drummond – Player Option – Cleveland Cavs:

While it’s not yet official, it has been widely assumed for months that Drummond would wisely pick up his $28.7 million option for the 2020-21 season. Marc Stein of the New York Times confirmed Monday that league sources expect Drummond to opt-in. Considering the diminishing value of back-to-the-basket big men in today’s NBA, the decision is a no-brainer. 

2. Montrezl Harrell – Unrestricted – Los Angeles Clippers:

Harrell averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots in 27.8 minutes per game for the Clippers last season, which earned him the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. ‘Trez will be looking to cash in and become a starter when he officially becomes a free agent and can sign a lucrative new long-term contract this weekend. 

3. Serge Ibaka – Unrestricted – Toronto Raptors: 

With Marc Gasol sidelined for much of 2019-20, Ibaka stepped in and stepped up for Toronto, averaging a career-high 15.4 points to go along with 8.2 rebounds and 1.3 made three-pointers. Raptors president Masai Ujiri has said that re-signing Ibaka would be a priority for the franchise this offseason. However, several other clubs, including the Lakers, are expected to make a serious run at the established, versatile veteran. 

4. Christian Wood – Unrestricted – Detroit Pistons:

Wood is arguably the biggest wildcard among all 2020 free agents. Last summer, he had to settle for a non-guaranteed one-year contract. Yet, after the Pistons dumped Drummond in a mid-season trade, Wood was inserted into the starting lineup and put up some awe-inspiring numbers. Over the final 13 games of 2019-20, Wood averaged 22.8 points (on 56.2% shooting), 9.9 rebounds, 1.7 made 3-pointers, and 1.0 blocks. Were these numbers an aberration, or is the 25-year-old Wood the real deal? Which team is willing to roll the dice to find out?

5. Hassan Whiteside – Unrestricted – Trail Blazers: 

Whiteside put up some terrific individual statistics for the Blazers during the 2019-20 regular season. In 67 appearances, he averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 30 minutes a night. In the process, he became just the second player in league history to achieve those per-game averages in those categories while also shooting north of 60% from the floor. Yet, with Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins under contract, and the Blazers having traded for Robert Covington earlier this week, the writing’s on the wall for Whiteside in Portland. He’ll land somewhere else next season. 

Best of the Rest:

Marc Gasol – Unrestricted – Toronto Raptors

Tristan Thompson – Unrestricted – Cleveland Cavaliers

Aron Baynes – Unrestricted – Phoenix Suns

Dwight Howard – Unrestricted – L.A. Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins – Unrestricted – L.A. Lakers

Chris Boucher – Restricted – Toronto Raptors

Dario Saric – Restricted – Phoenix Suns

Jakob Poeltl – Restricted – San Antonio Spurs

Kelly Olynyk – Player Option – Miami Heat

JaVale McGee – Player Option – L.A. Lakers

Nerlens Noel – Unrestricted – Oklahoma City Thunder