Winners and Losers of NBA Free Agency
Arguably the most craziest free agency in NBA history has left the NBA perfectly balanced. In this blog I recap the winners and losers of free agency. I will also recap those who had an okay free agency in being neutral nor winning or losing.
Los Angels Clippers
Well of course they are winners of NBA Free Agency. They got Kawhi Leonard and Paul George while maintaining Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac. The Clippers are now instant title favorites and maintained their core to go after multiple championships.
You can argue they as well might have had the best free agency as well. They landed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Deandre Jordan. It cost the Nets DeAngelo Russell in the process but a small price to pay as they still maintain their some of their young core. Once Durant is healthy expect the Nets to be towards the top of the East contending for a title.
Hello there Jazz, welcome to the party in the Western Conference! Not only did they add Mike Conley but also signed another shooter in Bojan Bogdanovic. Oh do not forget they added the ageless wonder in Jeff Green as a key role player as well. This adds onto to a core of Donavon Mitchell , Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert. Expect the Jazz to be the sleepers of the NBA next year and contenders in the West.
Pat Riley you genius, just when NBA twitter counted you out you make a big splash move. That splash move is signing Jimmy Butler to a max contract. The Heat are slowly trying to build a contending team again in the East. Bringing Jimmy Butler aboard with their young assets is a start. Oh and bringing in a solid role player in Myles Leonard also helps. However the Heat were not done, they got rid of Hassan Whiteside awful contract to give themselves cap flexibility to go out and grab another superstar. Who will that superstar be however for the Heat to trade for? Well Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are the two best options to pair with Jimmy Butler. Either way the Heat are well on their way to being one of the winners of free agency.
New York Knicks
Imagine two months ago dreaming off a big three of Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Then back to reality and you miss out on all three. You trade Kristaps Porzingis to get cap space to spend big money on free agents. However you end up using it on the likes of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Elferd Payton etc. If you watch Stephen A. Smith past couple of days you will know how bad the Knicks free agency was.
Oh Michael Jordan what have you done? You let Kemba Walker the star of your franchise walk for nothing because of the luxury tax? So now as a result you have regressed to the bottom of the NBA. You also overpaid Terry Rozier and have a bunch of bad contracts on your current roster. Oh did I already mention you let your superstar walk for nothing?
All this cap space you opened up and what do you do with it Vlade Divac? You sign Harrison Barnes to $90 million and not go out and get one big free agent. I am not even sure one big free agent even considered the Kings either. They still have a great young core but it felt like they took one step back by not pushing the right buttons. Kings fans may like the moves they are making but I do not.
The Wolves had a chance to get DeAngelo Russell to pair with Karl Anthony towns as a superstar duo. However they let the Golden State Warriors pull of a sign and trade for Russell instead because they had no cap. The Wolves also lose veteran role players like Taj Gibson and the resurrect Derrick Rose. To make matters worse they are still stuck with Andrew Wiggins contract as well and it is costing them big time.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Well the past 24 hours have changed the Thunder franchise for years to come. Let me make this clear the Thunder are currently losers. In eight years from now I could be wrong but for now I will have them as losers. Simply because sitting in luxury tax hell and with first round exit after first round exit. Sam Presti has finally given up after Paul George demanded a trade. The Thunder received a historic haul in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five future first-round picks, and two pick swaps. However as of now you have no clue how that will turn out for the Thunder in the years to come. The dream of becoming Western Conference contenders with Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams is over. Now Westbrook is possibly being traded as well sooner than later. It truly is an end of an era and now the Thunder begin to tank and rebuild with their assets.
Los Angeles Lakers
Yes I know they missed out on their main target in Kawhi Leonard. Also because of waiting for Leonard decision they missed out on other big free agents. However hear me out they still got Anthony Davis and went out and got some role players in Danny Green Demarcus cousins and Quinn Cook. They also retained Javale McGee and Rajon Rondo. The only signing I do not like is bringing back Kentavious Caldwell -Pope. You also know that possibly J.R. Smith and Kyle Kover are on the way as well. So I put the Lakers in the neutral category as they did not get their big goal but settled for a consolation prize.
There was a lot of change for the 76ers this offseason. Jimmy Butler left for the Miami Heat and JJ Reddick left for the New Orleans Pelicans losing shooting in the progress. However they also acquired Josh Richardson and signed Al Horford for $97 million. 76ers were not done however and overpaid Tobias Harris a max contract of five years $180 million. However this is an overhaul of their core and lineup. They will be among the best defenses in the NBA and are still contenders in the East. However the 76ers will miss the shooting they will lose in Butler and Reddick and Butler ball handling. So as a result I have them as neutral and still not a fan of their bench depth outside of Mike Scott. Their young players will need to step up such as Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle to give quality minutes off the bench.
Golden State Warriors
Of course they lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and Demarcus Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. To go along with that they traded away Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzles and lost some other key role players. Normally that means they are one of the losers of free agency. However the Warriors always reload when they need too. By reload I mean bringing back Klay Thompson, trading for DeAngelo Russell, resigning key role player Kevon Looney and signing Willie Cauley Stein. Warriors still have some bench depth to fill out but the Warriors are not going away from being contenders.
There has been a big chance in Boston this offseason. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris are among the departures leaving for other teams. However the Celtics brought in Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter as replacements to keep a contending team in the East. Just a reminder they still have Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum.
Well the past year has been a lot of developments for the Pacers franchise. With Victor Oladipo on the way back from injury they need to get Oladipo some help and scoring. Well they started off bad by letting Bojan Bogdanovic sign with the Utah Jazz. Bogdanovic just happened to be their best shooter and scorer outside of Oladipo. Another role player in Thaddeus Young also signed with the Chicago Bulls along with Cory Joseph signing with the Sacramento Kings. It also did not help that Darren Collison had a sudden retirement from the NBA as well. However what saves them from being a part of the losers of free agency. Is the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb and T.J. McConnell. All three will play key roles for the Pacers alongside Oladipo and Myles Turner to keep them towards the top of the East. So in reality it was an okay free agency for the Pacers.
By Ashkan Motamedi
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