Well NBA Free Agency has certainly turned some heads! Some teams got better while others look to rebuild and retool. Here’s a look at what’s happened since July 1…
Malcolm Delaney Signs with the Atlanta Hawks
Last week, I wrote an article about former Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney’s journey to the NBA through the overseas circuit. At 27, Delaney begins a new journey with the Atlanta Hawks after inking a 2 year deal this past Tuesday. Go tell @foe23 congratulations as it should be a whirlwind summer for him adjusting to the NBA life!
If You Can’t Beat Em, Join Em!
Kevin Durant turned the heads of many by joining up with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the Golden State Warriors, leaving behind a legacy in Oklahoma City. Durant dubbed it a new chapter in his career as he looks to turn the proverbial corner and win a ring by signing a two-year, $53.5 million deal. It also left many fans and critics alike scratching their heads wondering why Durant would join the team that eliminated his team in last year’s playoffs after being up 3-1 in the series.
Here’s some perspective. Durant possibly replaces Harrison Barnes, who had an abysmal NBA Finals. Barnes shot 25/71 good for 35.2% from the field. In Game 5, Barnes shot 2-14 in 37 minutes. In Game 6, Barnes shot 0-8 in 16 minutes of play. Maybe replacing Harrison Barnes with Kevin Durant is a good idea after all. Maybe adding Durant to a team that broke the regular season record for wins last season with 73 before losing in the Finals is good for the psyche of this team.
But at what cost? Currently, the Warriors have had to give up Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut in order to make room for Durant. Festus Ezeli is also expected to be let go. However, David West and Zaza Pachulia have both signed veteran minimums to join the Warriors as well. Stay tuned, as more records could be broken this next NBA season on a completely different Golden State team!
Al Horford is a Boston Celtic, Dwight Howard is an Atlanta Hawk
Al Horford is headed to the Boston Celtics on a 4 year max deal worth $113 million after the Hawks failed to find a deal suitable for Horford. The move gives the Celtics some much needed interior star power next to newly acquired guard Jaylen Brown out of the University of California. An argument can be made that Boston is now a contender in the Eastern Conference, however, Horford’s replacement in Atlanta could mean otherwise.
Dwight Howard returns to his native Atlanta hometown after agreeing to a deal for three years worth $73 million. While most fans could dislike the signing, after all, this is Howard’s fourth team in 13 seasons, Atlanta seems like a great fit for Dwight Howard. On a team that commands teamwork and unselfish play, Atlanta could be just what the doctor ordered for D12, he’s still got talent after all.
D. Wade Is Headed to Chicago
Dwayne Wade’s legacy as Mr. 305 has come to an end. Wade’s career in Miami has come to a bitter end as he has announced his plans to sign with the Chicago Bulls. After the Miami Heat signed Hassan Whiteside to a massive 4-year deal worth $98 million, Wade expected his pay cuts in recent seasons to pay off with a huge pay day from Miami. However, Wade felt lowballed by an initial Miami offer and decided to test the free agent market.
Now Wade is a member of the Chicago Bulls, joining Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler and the young & revitalized Bulls roster back in his native hometown of Chicago. Wade agreed to a two-year deal, worth $47 million, after he was unable to come to a deal with the Miami Heat on Monday. After 13 seasons and three NBA titles in Miami, Wade hopes to bring more of the same to Chicago, a franchise looking to bounce back since the arrival and departure of coveted star Derrick Rose.
Watch Out for the New York Knicks!
If this New York Knicks team can stay healthy, look out! Since the end of the season, they’ve traded for Derrick Rose, signed Joakim Noah to a 4-year deal worth $72 million and have also added some guard depth as well with the addition of Brandon Jennings on a 1-year, $5 million deal.
Carmelo Anthony can still play basketball, Derrick Rose needed a new offense to run, and Kristaps Porzingis will develop even more so than last season with this current Knicks roster and that’s been Phil Jackson’s plan all along (I think!). I’m certainly no Knicks fan but their signings have definitely made me believe they at least want to make the Playoffs next season.
Resurgence in Memphis
When it looked like all would fall apart in Memphis, Chandler Parsons saved the day, signing a four-year max deal worth $98 million. Parsons’ signing meant Mike Conley would also stay when most expected him to leave in free agency. Conley then inked the highest paid deal in NBA history to the tune of 5 years, $153 million.
At the end of the season, the Grizzlies fired Dave Joerger after just 3 seasons with the Grizzlies. Rumors of a power struggle with owner Robert Pera always seemed to overshadow anything Joerger did as a head coach and ultimately, it lead to his firing. We’ll see if the addition of Parsons and new head coach David Fizdale can add some new life in to the Memphis Grizzlies as they look to become a power in the West.
Cleveland Reserves Get Paid
Timofey Mozgov signed a massive 4-your deal worth $64 million with the Los Angeles Lakers despite only averaging 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 17 minutes per game this past NBA season. It looks like the championship ring has already paid off for Mozgov despite falling out of the rotation with the Cavaliers schedule this past season. Mozgov joins a Lakers squad in desperate need of star power, let’s hope this contract pays off for Los Angeles.
Matthew Dellavedova signed a 4-year deal worth $39 million to play with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks currently have Greivis Vasquez, Michael Carter-Williams, and Tyler Ennis all under contract for the 2016-17 season so it remains to be seen where Dellavedova fits in with this team, maybe they’ll play a small guard lineup, but hey, DELLY GOT PAID!
Drummond, Derozan Stay Put with their Respective Teams
Andre Drummond agreed to re-sign with the Pistons for 5 years on a deal worth $125 million. Drummond posted career highs in points (17.7) and rebounds (16.2) per game this past season en route to the first playoff series of his young career. Drummond should become a star in Detroit with his latest deal.
Demar Derozan didn’t push any limits this offseason, staying in Toronto for his eighth season in 2016-17. Derozan re-signed with the Toronto Raptors for 5 years for at least $139 million, making it the second largest contract in NBA history. Derozan decided to stay with Toronto and Kyle Lowry in the prime of his young career, which I don’t blame him, considering the level of success Toronto has seen these past few seasons. Losing Bismack Biyombo to the Orlando Magic certainly hurts, but when healthy, this team can be fun to watch.