NBA free agency has started off strong this year. The league is already beginning to be reshaped by the massive names that are shifting teams and conferences. Although one superstar has remained mysteriously quiet, most of the big names have already decided where they’re going to play next season. Some teams that went for these superstars fell flat on their faces while other teams landed stars or ended up building a solid team through smart contracts and quality trades.
If you’re wondering where all of this information is coming from, just check ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s twitter feed.
The Pacers did lose some pieces. Bojan Bogdanovic signed with the Utah Jazz. Thaddeus Young is headed to Chicago and Cory Joseph will land in Sacramento. However, the team got better on the first day of free agency. Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb will be joining the Pacers. Between them and the trade done for T.J. Warren during the draft, the Pacers have built up a competitive team capable of creating some havoc in the playoffs.
Anyone who landed the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving package was going to be a winner. Not only did the Nets get Durant and Irving though, they also added DeAndre Jordan as well. All three contracts are for four years.
The Jazz added Mike Conley in a trade not too long ago. They added Bogdanovic from the Pacers the other day. Last season, Bogdanovic averaged 18.0 points per game while shooting 42.5% from three and 49.7% overall. The Jazz now have a team with decent depth and a starting lineup capable of supporting Donovan Mitchell.
The 76ers won’t be bringing back all of their starters from last season. Starting shooting guard, J.J. Redick is headed to New Orleans on a two-year deal that was probably too steep for the 76ers anyway. Jimmy Butler is determined to get to Miami, and it looks like a sign-and-trade will be done with Philly to get him there.
That might not seem like such a positive start to free agency, but the 76ers did bring back Tobias Harris and have agreed to a deal with Al Horford. Horford’s deal is for four years while Harris’ is for five. Power forward Mike Scott is also returning to the team on a two-year deal.
The Butler trade to Miami has gotten messy since it was initially reported, but the 76ers probably want it to go through. If it does, Philly will receive Josh Richardson from Miami. Richardson is an improving shooting guard who averaged nearly 17 points per game last season. He will be turning 26 this year and is a bargain compared to the money Butler wants.
The Pelicans are winners in the offseason overall. They turned a terrible Anthony Davis situation into one of the quickest rebuilds in recent history. I’m not a huge fan of the two-year $26.5 million Redick deal, but I do think it fills a need for the team. I’m excited to see where the team will go this year.
Golden State Warriors
I was getting very excited to see some new teams rise in the West, and then the Warriors went out and agreed to a sign-and-trade deal for D’Angelo Russell. Russell will be making $117 million on a four-year max contract. The Warriors will also receive Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier.
I put the Warriors in limbo because I really can’t say how Stephen Curry and Russell will coexist. Also, the team has to give up some pieces like Andre Iguodala. Iguodala will be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with three first round picks to make room for Russell! I guess he shouldn’t have talked about the Warriors medical staff. Because of the cap strain generated by the Russell move, the Warriors won’t have room to retain Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins, and other free agents.
The Bucks did a decent job retaining their free agents. The team managed to bring back George Hill, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton. They didn’t hang onto Brogdon, but I expected at least one of the well-known free agents would leave Milwaukee and, in the days leading up to free agency, it seemed like that player would be Brogdon. The team gave out a lot of money though. Hill got a three-year $29 million deal. Lopez’s is for four years and $52 million. Middleton came out of free agency as a huge winner, getting a five-year $178 million deal.
Is this Bucks team any better than it was last year though? I’d argue it’s actually worse without Brogdon. That’s why I’m putting this team in limbo.
They’re all waiting on Kawhi Leonard to decide the fates of their franchises. The Lakers are generating plenty of rumors though and it seems like, if they lose or even win the Leonard sweepstakes, they’ll be in the best position to scoop up some remaining free agents.
That other New York franchise
Oh, Knicks fans. I don’t know what you expected. By now I think you’d be used to empty promises and coming up short in the offseason. Instead of Durant and Irving, the Knicks ended up with Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and Julius Randle, and then had the nerve to say they didn’t offer Durant a max contract anyway because of injury concerns. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how not to run a franchise.
Randle actually isn’t a bad signing. He shot over 52.4% from the field last season and averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He’s also only 24 years old. The issue with Randle being your big signing is that he pales in comparison to Durant and Irving. Knicks fans got none of what their organization promised them this summer.
Here’s a video of Stephen A. Smith raging on ESPN’s The Jump for your entertainment. Here’s another.
They wanted Butler, badly. Now, it looks like Butler is headed to South Beach and the Rockets are left with a bunch of players they tried to trade away. I guess it’s time to try and mend bridges with Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker. The team did manage to reach deals with Gerald Green and Danuel House. I’m not so sure that will get them to the Finals though. Enjoy your second round exit next season Houston.
Speaking of second-round exits, hello Boston. While the Celtics did add All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker, we all know he’s a level below the man he’s replacing. Irving might not have fit in Boston, but he was a champion. Walker hasn’t won anything yet. His signing feels less like a move to set the team up for a playoff run and more like one designed to pacify fans for a few more months.
The Celtics also said goodbye to Horford and Terry Rozier. Even in his backup role last season, Rozier scored 708 points. That’s production that will have to be replaced somehow. Then there’s Horford, the aging, dynamic defender. He was a grinder for Boston, doing everything the team needed him to. Without him, the Celtics are missing a huge piece of their core.
So you signed Rozier to three-year $58 million deal. You also lost Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker. Well, I guess this is why people sometimes forget this franchise even exists.
Paying Rozier $58 million is bad, paying Ricky Rubio $51 million on a three-year deal is worse. Weren’t we fantasizing what a backcourt with Devin Booker and Ja Morant would look like just a month ago? This is why this franchise won 19 games last season!
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