There was not a lot of drama in the NBA this season, since the Golden State Warriors disposed of the Cleveland Cavaliers to the win the NBA title and fulfilling exactly what everyone thought was going to happen. However, the offseason has been a different story. With the league scrambling to figure out how to stop the Golden State juggernaut, several interesting trades were made and notable free agents signed. Below is my recap of the top NBA free agency signings.
Jimmy Butler traded to Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and Lauri Markannen
This is a great trade for a young Timberwolves team that is quickly on the rise. Butler will provide some veteran leadership and contribute on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball while reuniting with coach Tom Thibodeau.
Chris Paul traded to Houston Rockets for 7 players, 2018 1st round pick, cash
This was a monster trade and caught a lot of people off guard. After telling the Clippers he would opt out of his deal and become a free agent, many people still thought he would resign with LA for the supermax. The Rockets were the 3rd best team in the NBA last year and are adding one of the premier point guards in the league. However, questions will come regarding how Harden and Paul, who both need the ball in their hands all the time, will co-exist together on the court. The Clippers are certainly pleased with the deal.
Ricky Rubio traded to Utah Jazz for a 2018 first round pick, Jeff Teague signs 3 year deal with Minnesota
Rubio has been in trade rumors for awhile, so it’s no surprise that he finally got dealt. Being traded to the Jazz indicates that Utah does not expect to resign free agent point guard George Hill, who had a great season last year. Meanwhile, Minnesota quickly filled its point guard hole by signing Jeff Teague to a three year $57 million deal. Expect the Timberwolves to be a competitive force in the West next year.
Andre Iguodala resigns with Golden State Warriors for 3 years $48 million
It’s easy to overlook bench players on the Warriors superteam, but Golden State is way too smart to do that. That is why they made a determined effort to bring the 2015 NBA Finals MVP back to the bay area. Iguodala will rejoin a Warriors bench unit that has also brought back Shaun Livingston and David West.
Paul Millsap signs with the Denver Nuggets for 3 years $90 million
With Millsap claiming that the Hawks never even made him an offer, it is clear that Atlanta has finally pulled the plug and gone into rebuild mode. While Millsap will end the deal at 35 years old, he has still proven that he can be a consistent contributor over the last few years. Pairing him up with Denver’s current star big man Nikola Jokic could make Denver a fun team to watch in upcoming years.
Kyle Lowry resigns with the Toronto Raptors for 3 years $100 million
Despite rumors that Lowry was interested in jumping to the Western Conference, it made the most sense for both sides to keep him in Toronto. One of the best backcourts in the league will be kept in tact, and with resigning of Serge Ibaka the Raptors will be right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference once again.
Blake Griffin resigns with the Los Angeles Clippers for 5 years $173 million
Despite losing Chris Paul and JJ Redick, the Clippers were clearly not looking to blow up the team just yet. LA went all out to sign Griffin to a max deal, after rumors of the Celtics, Nuggets, Suns, and Thunder were all in play after he opted out of the final year of his current contract. For such an injury prone player, this was a huge risk and a ton of money. However, the 28 year old will be a multiple time All-Star if he can just stay healthy.
Stephen Curry resigns with Golden State for 5 years $201 million
After being the biggest bargain in the NBA (by far) for the last several years, Stephen Curry finally gets what he deserves. He signed the first “supermax” contract and richest deal in NBA history, which will earn him an average of $40 million per year after being paid just $12 million last season. It appears that Kevin Durant, who is also an unrestricted free agent, will resign with the Warriors for less money and enable the superteam to be competitive for at least a few more years.
Paul George traded to the Thunder for Domontas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo
Perhaps the most stunning move of the offseason so far has been the Paul George trade. Cleveland, Boston, and the LA Lakers were all rumored destinations for George before he surprisingly ended up on the Thunder. Rumors surfaced after that the Pacers GM was determined to trade PG13 to the Western Conference even if it wasn’t the best offer. George and Westbrook will be an electric duo in OKC. However, they will have to convince him to stay beyond next season since that is when his current contract expires.
Gordon Hayward signs 4 year $128 million deal with the Boston Celtics
After some drama late Tuesday evening, the last big free agent finally made his decision. Gordon Hayward will reunite with his college coach Brad Stevens and team up with Isaiah Thomas on the Boston Celtics. This is a great fit for a Celtics team that needs more scoring from their forwards. However, Boston must make some decisions with their roster in order to clear enough space for Hayward. Amir Johnson is already gone to Philly, and Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, and Jae Crowder could all be gone before the season starts. In the end, this move does make the Celtics a better team even if they lose a few key pieces, and should at least make things interesting in the Eastern Conference.
Let me know your thoughts on free agency in the comments down below.