NBA Free Agency SZN is Here
The draft saw a few trades that sent some familiar faces to new places and the free agency period is now open.
In less than a week, we've seen the defending champion Lakers acquire dynamic guard Dennis Schröder from OKC. Chris Paul is now in Phoenix with Devin Booker and the Suns. Jrue Holiday and, well, just Jrue Holiday, is joining Giannis in Milwaukee, and that's just a few of the big moves around the NBA so far.
But with all that excitement comes some bad news as well. Warriors star Klay Thompson tore his Achilles and will miss the entire 2020-21 season. This after the sharpshooting guard missed the previous season with a torn ACL. It's a tough blow for the Dubs as they sought to contend for a title this season, but without Thompson, the odds are against them. General manager Bob Myers wasted no time in bolstering the roster, however:
The Golden State Warriors are finalizing a trade to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre, Jr., for a 2… https://t.co/5VDqSmtyhH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@Adrian Wojnarowski) 1605837968.0
Kelly Oubre, within a matter of days, went from Phoenix, to Oklahoma City before finally landing in the Bay Area. Oubre will be joined by No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.
Point guard Tyrese Haliburton fell into the Sacramento Kings' lap at No. 12 after the Iowa State product was projected to be a top-8 pick. LaMelo Ball will be playing in Charlotte, meaning we might get to see Lavar and Michael Jordan play 1-on-1 after all.
The Clippers traded Landry Shamet to Brooklyn in a three-team trade that puts shooting guard Luke Kennard in Los Angeles. Denver picked up RJ Hampton who could be the Nuggets' next Michael Porter Jr — a guy who was a former five-star recruit in high school and might be the steal of the draft.
But perhaps the biggest winner in this thrilling and unpredictable NBA week so far are the Philadelphia 76ers. No, they didn't get James Harden. But president of basketball operations Daryl Morey showed his worth Wednesday with these two moves:
Morey cleared Al Horford's atrocious contract while adding a veteran 3-and-D wing in Danny Green, later adding an elite shooter in Seth Curry, a career 44% marksman. Surrounding Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with perimeter threats is a recipe for success in an Eastern Conference that is rapidly improving.
Hell, even the Knicks took a step forward by drafting athletic and electric forward Obi Toppin, a Brooklyn Native. That was followed by shedding some salaries to clear up $40 million in cap space:
The Knicks declined team option on Bobby Portis ($15.7M) and waived Taj Gibson ($10.29M) and Elfrid Payton ($8M), s… https://t.co/zV704ACxkP— Shams Charania (@Shams Charania) 1605809488.0
Cap space means potential free agents, and there's a couple New York should be targeting.
The Knicks have money to spend and there's players looking to get paid. This could end well for both parties involved, and Knicks fans might have something to look forward to after years of being a league laughing stock.
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward opted out of his $34 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent. You might think he's dumb for leaving that money on the table, and he might be, but Hayward is looking for a long-term contract, hence why his time in Boston ended. Hayward would give New York an effective playmaker, efficient scorer and veteran presence. He should be their second free agent aspiration, however.
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, at just 26 years of age, is an UFA and is looking for a bag, he said so himself (:40 mark):
Episode 25 is live with @fredvanvleet. Really great interview. Here’s Fred on what he’s expecting this off-season.… https://t.co/WldtraKgvK— TheOldMan&TheThree (@TheOldMan&TheThree) 1605119016.0
VanVleet and Hayward could bring the Knicks back to relevancy and maybe, just maybe, to the playoffs.
Other notable free agents who could be on new rosters soon include:
-Serge Ibaka (UFA)
-Rajon Rondo (UFA)
-Dwight Howard (UFA)
-Demarcus Cousins (UFA)
-Danilo Gallinari (UFA)
-Avery Bradley (UFA)
-Brandon Ingram (RFA)
There's many more free agents than those listed above which is why these next couple days are going to be fun.
Wes Matthews and reigning sixth man of the year, Montrezl Harrell, are expected to sign with the Lakers. Bradley opted out of his deal with LAL as he's looking for a longer deal, and he might get it, but it might not be with the Lakers, as the Warriors will try to lure the defensive specialist to NorCal.
New Orleans will presumably offer Ingram the max money he can earn after his first All-Star selection last season. Joe Harris has reportedly gotten his payday from the Nets with a 4 year, $75 million contract.
The Hawks, like the Knicks, have a bunch of money to spend and could throw some to Rondo who's coming off an incredible championship run with the Lakers. The Clippers will also be in the hunt for the veteran point guard, per reports.
Friday's free agency opening could make for some major power shifts and headlines that would cap off one of the most memorable NBA off seasons in undeniably the most memorable year in recent history.