Who are the Winners and Losers from the First Night of Free Agency?
NBA Free Agency really got going far before the 6:00 PM start time.
As the clock struck 12, signalling the start of a new month, $3-billion dollars has already been committed to NBA stars. Headlined by the signings of the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Al Horford, last night may have marked the wildest start to a free agency in the history of sports.
Everything was happening!
Of course, when everything happens, there are clear winners and losers, and without further adieu…
Winners: Brooklyn Nets
Not a single team had as big of an evening as the Brooklyn Nets.
Only three years ago, there may have not been a deeper hole in the entire league and now, the Nets have the opportunity to take a huge step forward next season, before taking a massive leap in 2020-21 once Durant returns.
The Nets have essentially reshuffled a third of its roster, mainly by adding Durant, Irving, and DeAndre Jordan creating a new superpower in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn also found time to make a minor move yesterday when they ink a reliable role player in Garrett Temple to a two year deal.
While Irving has gotten plenty of heat over the past couple of years, the Nets were 67-points per 100 possessions better last season with D’Angelo Russell on the bench. They have now upgraded Russell for Irving and added one of the greatest players in NBA history in Durant.
This is a huge coup!
Losers: New York Knicks
With two max slots available, Knicks fans were on the verge of celebrating just one month ago, especially when reports surfaced that Durant is looking at the Knicks as a legitimate offense.
The past couple of weeks have added yet another chapter to the never-ending nightmare that is the Knicks franchise. Not only did they miss out on Ja Morant and Zion Williamson in the draft, the Knicks missed out on every marquee free agent and instead have committed over $100-million to Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, and Bobby Portis.
Things can’t possibly go worse for the Knicks, but it truly seems that the negative stigma created by owner James Dolan has pitted the Knicks into a hole they cannot climb out of.
Winners: Utah Jazz
Who would have thought that the Utah Jazz would transform into a Western Conference favourite?
Let alone before the start of July.
The Jazz essentially had two needs heading into the offseason – an additional playmaker to take some pressure off of Donovan Mitchell and some shooting depth. The Jazz have done both without sacrificing their defensive backbone.
The Jazz first traded for Mike Conley on Draft Day and have now signed Bojan Bogdanovic to a four-year, $73-million deal, adding another solid shooter too the wing of a team that may feature a deadly starting five in Rudy Gobert, Conley, Mitchell, Bogdanovic, and Joe Ingles.
The Jazz also replaced Derrick Favours with a cheaper option in Ed Davis. Vastly overrated, Davis is monster on the glass, a good and athletic screen-setter, and an above average defender which will be a valuable backup option to Gobert.
Losers: Toronto Raptors
As virtually every team has been making noise, the NBA champions remained quiet.
While claiming them to be free agency losers may seem rather harsh, the Raptors do have the luxury to play the waiting game unlike most teams. The plan is to bring the band back together and if Kawhi Leonard chooses to return, the Raptors can go on with their offseason stress-free.
Yet, at this point in time, it seems as though Danny Green has received a couple solid offers from the Dallas Maverick and Los Angeles Lakers, and the Lakers look poised to swipe Leonard from the Raptors grasp, which would ultimately leave them empty-handed as many of the big names have already signed elsewhere in free agency.
The Raptors remain confident, but they cannot afford to strike out with The Klaw.
Winners: New Orleans Pelicans
David Griffin is working miracles in his first two months in The Big Easy.
Who would have thought that after trading away franchise superstar Anthony Davis that the Pelicans could establish themselves as a potential playoff team right from the get-go?
After drafting Zion Williamson, acquiring a wealth of draft picks and young pieces of the calibre of a Lonzo Ball and a Brandon Ingram, Griffin moved a deadweight contract in Solomon Hill and has added JJ Redick, Derrick Favours, and international star Nicolo Melli to an already talented group of players.
Watch out for the Pelicans!
Losers: The Month of July
Yeah sorry July, pretty much everything has just happened on June 30th.