NBA FREE AGENCY WINNERS
The Lakers, most importantly GM Rob Pelinka, went right to work after winning the championship in a short offseason making big moves by bringing in PG/SG Dennis Schroder from the Thunder for SG/SF Danny Green and a draft pick, as well as, C/PF Montrezl Harrell who just won 6th man of the year award, with the Clippers, at a decent price capping the market for all other players at the position who also received 2yrs/19mil. Schroder can provide instant offense, passing, and defense off the bench or starting while replacing Rajon Rondo. Harrell can provide post offense and instant toughness inside, while replacing C Dwight Howard. Bringing back 3 and D specialist SG/SF Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a decent 3yr/40mil deal was also a nice move, as most free agents are getting overpaid for their shooting.
The Lakers also added veteran 3 and D specialist Wesley Matthews (1yr/3.6mil) from the Bucks, veteran C Marc Gasol from the Raptors, and received SG/SF Alfonzo McKinnie and C Jordan Bell, who was waived, from the Cavaliers for C Javale McGee. Matthews will replace Danny Green and should provide similar production and same for Gasol with McGee, although Gasol can add more in passing and offense than McGee who is a better rim protector. McKinnie is a younger prospect with 3 and D skills and playoff experience who should provide nice depth on the wing as well. The Lakers have gotten younger and more athletic, while giving their bench the 6th man of the year and the runner up, so the offense doesn’t get stagnant behind Lebron and AD; they are poised to make another run at the championship.
The Hawks used their cap space to fill the roster with veterans that help their deficiencies and provide experience to their younger players mostly star PG Trae Young, but also young SFs DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish. The Hawks added SF/PF Danilo Gallinari (3yr/61.5mil) from the Thunder and SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (4yr/72mil) from the Kings to provide instant improvement in 3pt scoring. Gallinari can teach the younger SFs along with defensive specialist SF Tony Snell from the Pistons, acquired for C Dewayne Dedmon’s bad contract. To teach Young, the Hawks added PG Rajon Rondo fresh off a Lakers championship and PG/SG Kris Dunn who was number #2 in steals per game, from the Bulls; both can provide a defensive presence off the bench.
Adding C Onyeka Okongwu, out of USC, early in the draft was another plus as he has a skill set comparable to C Bam Adebayo, as an athletic rim protector/shot blocker, but he does not have to play big minutes right away. The Hawks now have veteran experience, great roster versatility, and depth to shield against injuries allowing them to make a nice playoff run while their young players can learn how to win along the way.
The 76ers made smart moves of bringing in Coach Doc Rivers and GM Daryl Morey to instantly improve their team and Morey went to work making moves per his reputation. Morey was able to move Al Horford’s bad contract and a draft pick for shooters in Danny Green and SG/SF Terrance Ferguson from the Thunder. SG Josh Richardson was traded with a draft pick for SG/PG Seth Curry from the Mavericks and young SG prospect Zhaire Smith was traded to the Pistons for C Tony Bradley. Green and Ferguson are both 3 and D players with playoff experience who can provide instant shooting next to PG Ben Simmons. Curry was the highest ranked 3pt shooter by percentage and he also can provide instant offense off the bench or starting. Tony Bradley is a young prospect who did not get to play much, as the backup to Rudy Gobert, but he has shown an ability to provide quality minutes. The 76ers also added C Dwight Howard, fresh off a Lakers championship, to backup and provide knowledge to star C Joel Embiid, mostly on defense and conditioning.
The 76ers also added 3 young prospects in the draft in G Tyrone Maxey, out of Kentucky, SG Isaiah Joe, out of Arkansas, and C/PF Paul Reed, out of DePaul. Maxey is known to provide instant offense and play tough-nosed defense, but he needs to improve as a shooter and add more weight to his frame. Joe is one of the top 3pt shooters in the draft with good size, but he needs to improve on the defensive end. Reed is a defensive specialist with the footwork to even matchup on smaller players, but he needs to improve on the offensive end and continue to add weight to his frame. The 76ers added shooters around Simmons, removed Horford’s contract, and added depth inside and along the wings without losing any key players, as they seem ready to make a strong playoff run.
The Suns landed the big fish in free agency as teams knew that PG Chris Paul would not stick around for a rebuild with the Thunder due to his age and contract. The Suns gave up PG Ricky Rubio, G Ty Jerome, G Jalen Lecque, a future 1st round draft pick, and F Kelly Oubre. Chris Paul helped a young Thunder team make the playoffs and contend, which a more talented Suns team is hoping for even better results as Paul has shown he still has gas in the tank. While the loss of Oubre was the main loss, the team played most of last season without him and was able to keep their young core intact while resigning veteran F Dario Saric (3yr/27mil) who provides good size, versatility, and 3pt shooting. The Suns replaced Oubre by bringing in veteran F Jae Crowder (3yr/29mil) from the Miami Heat who continues to be one of the better glue guys in the league bringing solid two-way play and the ability to guard multiple positions, whether starting or coming off the bench.
The Suns loss C/F Frank Kaminsky, who was also mostly injured, and productive backup C Aron Baynes via free agency, but they added PF/C Jalen Smith, out of Maryland, with the #10 overall pick in the draft. Smith should fill in as the backup Center, as he is a good shot blocker and rebounder, but he has a nice shooting stroke with range, so he should be the long-term PF; they hope he can learn a lot from Paul, as well. The Suns also resigned PG Jevon Carter (3yr/11mil) and G Cameron Payne (2yr/2mil) who have proven to be solid contributors off the bench. The Suns should make the jump from fringe playoff team to playoff contender, but if their younger players can take the next step, they will be a team no one wants to run into.
The Blazers were surprisingly active which should give them a slight boost going into the season, as they were able to resign veterans F Carmelo Anthony (1yr/2.6mil) and SG/SF Rodney Hood (2yr/20mil). While also bringing in F Robert Covington, from the Rockets, for SF Trevor Ariza and a 1st round pick and bringing back former C Enes Kanter, from the Celtics, in a three-way trade with the Celtics and Grizzlies. Covington should be a nice upgrade at either forward spot as he was a solid 3 and D contributor at the PF position for the small ball Rockets. Kanter proved to be productive in limited action with the Spurs and will help replace Hassan Whiteside as the backup Center, along with C/PF Harry Giles (1yr/1.6mil), from the Kings, who should continue his development as an offensive big man with some rim protection skills, who needs to prove he can stay healthy.
The Blazers also signed athletic SF Derrick Jones (2yr/19mil), from the Miami Heat, the former Slam Dunk Contest champion is a good defender who can defend multiple positions and slash to the basket offensively, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy and continue to improve his 3pt shooting. The Blazers have kept their playoff team together, except for Whiteside, while adding a key starter in Covington, a wing defender in Jones, and inside depth in Kanter and Giles which should make this one of the deepest Blazers team with good versatility.