NBA Free Agency is well underway and there have already been some big signings across the league. Today we are going to be looking at some of the biggest deals so far, and how it affects teams, players, and the entire league. There will be more posts in the upcoming days with some of the smaller deals that have been completed. To stay updated on future posts, follow my Twitter here and like my facebook page here.
Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant
The team that made the biggest splash in the 2019 NBA Free Agency season was the Brooklyn Nets. First, the Nets signed Kevin Durant to a 4 year, $164 million contract. KD will miss the entire 2019-2020 season unless he makes a shockingly fast recovery, but when he returns, he will play with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. The Nets will be a strong team net year just with Irving signing, but when Durant returns they will likely be favorites to win the championship. The one thing about this deal is that Irving and Durant are known to often have issues with team chemistry. Durant has also previously said that he wants to be the star player on a championship team, but with Irving being the Nets player next year, will Nets fans care about him more than KD by the time Durant returns from injury?
Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie Irving
Irving also agreed to a 4 year deal with the Nets, his contract being worth $141 million. He will be the teams leader next season with KD out. The Nets will be a superteam for as long as Durant and Irving get along. If anything from their past stays the same, they will have trouble playing together. But they may be able to work together better now.
Golden State Warriors: D’Angelo Russell (Sign and Trade from Brooklyn Nets)
Russell was content on signing a ma contract with the Nets, previously stating that he wanted to be “a Net for life”. But the Nets never offered him the contract, perhaps waiting to see if they signed Kyrie Irving. The Nets did give Russell the contract in the form of a sign and trade, however. They signed Russell to 4 year, $117 million max deal, and traded him to the Warriors for a future protected first rounder.
The Warriors will need a guard next year with Klay Thompson being out for the season next year with an ACL injury. Russell is a point guard, but he will likely start at one of the guard positions and also get minutes at point when Steph Curry is on the bench. There have also been rumors about Russell getting traded again for more players for the Warriors, but I think it would make more sense if they held onto him at least until Klay Thompson is healthy again.
Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker
The Celtics needed a replacement for Kyrie Irving, and they got a pretty good one. Walker is probably the best point guard on the market besides Kyrie. He received a 4 year, $141 million contract from Boston. Walker has played on an average at best Hornets team his whole career. Also playing in a small market, Walker has rarely been on the national TV spotlight. Now, he has the chance to lead a contending team with Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brown, and Gordon Hayward. Kemba scored 25 points a game and had 6 assists per game last year, and if he plays as well as he has to start his career, he could lead the Celtics deep in the playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers: Al Horford
The former Celtics big man opted out of $30 million in the final year of his contract to become a free agent. He then received a 4 year, $109 million deal from Philly. His role on this team will be interesting. Will he play when Joel Embid sits? Embid is injury prone and has never played big minutes despite being a star player. Or will the 76ers start a giant lineup with Horford and Embid both on the floor at once? Either way, Horford will be a great contributor to the 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris used to be a Detroit Piston, and I always thought he was a good player, but I would have never imagined that he would get a max contract. He got a 5 year, $180 million deal. Harris is a great perimeter player who has averaged around 20 points a game in the last couple of seasons. I don’t see why he got this deal unless the 76ers really wanted to keep him.
Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler
Butler now seems content on getting the 8 seed in the playoffs and getting bounced in the 1st round every year so that he can live in a warm city and party hard. This team has no one but Butler. The Heat traded Hassan Whiteside and seem ready to rebuild around solely Butler. Goran Dragic and Dian Waiters are the Heats next best players, and I believe Butler will become one of the leagues best individual players on a mediocre team.
Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton
The Bucks are already starting to secure their star players and preparing for 2 summers from now when Giannis Antetokunmpo will potentially be able to sign the largest contract in NBA history in the 2021 NBA Free Agency season. Middleton is the Bucks 2nd best player, and the Bucks have now secured all the key pieces from last season and will be able to contend for a spot in the NBA Finals. The Bucks locked Middleton up for 5 years for $178 million.
Dallas Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis
The Mavericks acquired Porzingis this winter, but an injury kept him out the rest of the year. He has not played a game for the team yet but the Mavericks still offered him a 5 year, $158 million max deal. He will pair with Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. This team may not be a powerhouse favorite, but they could be an interesting team to watch in upcoming years.
Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson
Thompson was reportedly ready to meet with other teams like the Lakers and Clippers if the Warriors did not offer him a max contract, but the Warriors did not hesitate. Thompson signed a 5 year, $190 million deal. He will still be with Steph Curry when he returns from a terrible ACL injury, but the Warriors will not be a powerhouse team that they were with Kevin Durant. This team will still be good with Draymond Green, Curry, and Thompson, but they are no longer going to be the favorite to win a title every year.
Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard
The Clippers were able to land Leonard on a 4 year, $140 million contract, one of the crown jewels of the 2019 NBA Free Agency season. Kawhi also was able to recruit another big star to the Clippers (even though he wasn’t a free agent). The Clippers and Leonard also convinced Paul George to request a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Kawhi possibly was only willing to join the Clippers because he knew they were going to trade for another star. Kawhi and PG will join Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley on the Clippers.
Thank you for reading my article about all of the big free agency signings so far. Once again, make sure to look for my posts in the upcoming days with some of the smaller signings.