Free Agency Aftermath

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Who Are the Winners and Losers of the NBA Offseason?

NBA free agency began a few weeks ago and very quickly the entire landscape of the NBA changed.

New contenders have risen while other teams have very quickly faded out of the playoff picture. Despite all the moves, the NBA offseason remains one of the most exciting in all of sports. The drama is unparalleled and the star-power on the move along with the millions of dollars spent is pure entertainment.

So let’s jump into who are the winners and losers of this exhilarating part of the NBA calendar.

Winners – Los Angeles Lakers

After an injury-riddled end to their 2021 season, the Lakers have reloaded in a huge way, assembling the NBA’s newest Big-3 in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.

With most of their salary cap tied up to three superstar players, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office continued to add intriguing pieces on short-term cheap deals to help round out a roster that will surely be in contention for another NBA championship this coming season. Moving some of the team’s younger players, Pelinka brought in veterans Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza, while also adding some exciting youth in Malik Monk and extending Talen Horton-Tucker.

While it is far too early to tell how Westbrook will fit into this new-look Lakers roster and if the Lakers will have enough dependable shooters, the upside of this team is unquestionable championship calibre.

Losers – Toronto Raptors

As painful as it is to write, the Raptors championship window has closed – at least for now.

After losing franchise cornerstone Kyle Lowry at the start of free agency, the Raptors have made a batch of uneventful signings while prioritizing youth and development.

Some of those uneventful signings included Sam Dekker, Isaac Bonga, and Ishmail Wainright – all names that no one should realistically be remotely excited about. The Raptors would also cut ties with Deandre Bembry, Aron Baynes (thankfully), and Paul Watson as the team will have a far different look from years past entering this coming season.

It’s been a fun decade in Raptors basketball, but now it is time to start from scratch and build back up.

Winners – Miami Heat 

The Miami Heat are ready to compete once again with the signing of All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.

Barring any issues with the recent tampering probe, the Heat look to have one of the more intriguing and exciting rosters entering next season. With an extra year of development from Tyler Herro, extending Duncan Robinson, and bringing on PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris, the Heat have one of the more well rounded teams in the entire NBA.

With one of the game’s best coaches manning the bench along with a top front office, the Heat now have the ideal point guard to lead an offence and some tough-minded veterans to round out what will surely be a tough defensive unit.

Losers – Dennis Schroder 

You knew this one was coming.

Dennis Schroder took a hard gamble on himself and it didn’t pay off in the slightest. This is the issue with confidence that people do not talk enough about.

In the middle of last season, Schroder turned down a four-year, $80 million extension with the Lakers, expecting to be worth far more on the open market following the conclusion of the season. As the year went on, his value began to decline and completely plummeted after a miserable playoff stint. With no long-term contract offered, Schroder opted to sign a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Boston Celtics.

And that ladies and gentleman, absolutely sucks!

Winners – Brooklyn Nets

The Nets may have not made any huge additions this offseason apart from Patty Mills, but they have locked down their superstar long-term.

Following the completion of the Olympics, the Nets finalized a four-year extension with Kevin Durant and now shift their focus on extending both James Harden and Kyrie Irving. According to numerous reports, there is a growing expectation that the latter two stars will agree to an extension with the team.

Something tells me the Nets will remain a powerhouse in the league for many years to come.

Losers – Philadelphia 76ers 

The Sixers need to figure out this Ben Simmons situation.

According to reports, Simmons has cut off the entire organization and as training camp creeps closer, the Sixers need to either mend their relationship with the young All-Star or cut ties and find a trade. Either way, this entire process has been front and center throughout the Sixers offseason and while other teams have focused on getting better, the Sixers are still in need of a solution.

They have been linked to Damian Lillard all offseason, but to this point the Blazers appear very hesitant to move their superstar point guard which means the Sixers must quite simply, figure it out.

The Andre Drummond signing will not push the needle.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Portland Trail Blazers (Losers)
  • Phoenix Suns (Winners)
  • New Orleans Pelicans (Losers)
  • Chicago Bulls (Winners)
  • Andre Drummond (Losers) 
  • New York Knicks (Winners)

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