The 2020 offseason is a terrible time to be an NBA free agent, but sign-and-trades could be those players' saving grace.
Even if the 2020-21 salary cap remains at the latest projection of $115 million, only six teams are projected to have any cap space, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. That means a majority of teams will be limited to some variation of the mid-level exception, whether it's the non-taxpayer MLE ($9.755 million under a $115 million cap), taxpayer MLE ($6.025 million) or room MLE ($5.023 million).
The COVID-19 pandemic looms as another complicating factor for 2020 free agents. If the 2020-21 salary cap declines from the $115 million projection, the six teams with cap room will have less space than expected. Other teams may be more reluctant to use their MLEs if they're approaching (or well over) the luxury-tax threshold.
Since so many teams project to be over the cap regardless of where it lands, those that hope to make a free-agent splash could turn to sign-and-trades if their MLE isn't enough.
P.S. I hope we re-sign Malik and Juancho for team-friendly deals