OK, did everyone catch their breath? Did you favorite team land the free agent you wanted? Did your team do nothing and you're angry online? There's nothing quite like the opening day of NBA free agency and the chaos that ensues as soon as the clock hits 6pm. Sure the league may say that's the "start" but we all know every single team in the league is tampering and all this shit is usually worked out well in advanced. That's why once the floodgates open and you start to see the Shams/Woj/Haynes bombs left and right with insane contract numbers it can be a little overwhelming in real time. You don't really get a chance to sit back and digest what the fuck is going on. That's where this blog comes in. Consider it an NBA Free Agency Megablog for everything that happened on Day 1. We saw a lot of interesting deals out there, some shades of the historic summer of 2016 where it seemed like every player in the league got close to 20M a year, so let's take it from the top and work our way through it all
Signed Gorgui Dieng to a 1/4M deal
Signed Solomon Hill to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Nothing overly crazy for the Hawks on Day 1. Gorgui Dieng is a good depth big that can stretch the floor and honestly has been wasting away in MIN/SA for the last few years so I imagine not a lot of people know his game. But at that price, he at least serves as a good pick and pop option for Trae Young. The Solomon Hill shit is mostly whatever, he had some moments in the playoffs I guess, but that's not where the Day 1 substance lives. That, is what the hell happens to John Collins and his restricted free agency. According to Shams, the two sides aren't close, and now that most of the teams have shot their salary cap load, I wonder what his price ends up being to stay in ATL. He's for sure one of the bigger names as we enter Day 2.
Signed Blake Griffin to a 1 year team, terms TBD
The second Blake Griffin stepped foot in Brooklyn, he no longer became washed. It was pretty remarkable and I thought he fit really well into his new role on that team. A solid 10/4.7/2.0 on 49/38% is pretty much all you could want from Blake at this point. His defense was actually pretty damn good in that Bucks series and he did shoot 53% these playoffs. It made sense that he would stick around and give it another go with the Nets superteam, and it'll be interesting to see what the money ends up being because they certainly can't afford a lot. They didn't have either Jeff Green or Blake's Bird Rights and one had one taxpayer MLE to work with, so it's clear they chose Blake. I think he'll be just as good if not better next season with more time in that system.
Signed Lonzo Ball to a 4/85M deal
Signed Alex Caruso to a 4/37M deal
When the Bulls went all in and traded for Nikola Vucevic at the deadline, it was clear that they were tired of missing the playoffs and are committed to building around Zach LaVine. They missed the playoffs anyways which is unfortunate, but these two signings tell us that to get over the hump, they want to improve defensively. While Lonzo is a good defender, he does struggle at the point of attack a little bit, so adding Caruso to the mix defensively is important. He's a legit on ball defender. His price seems a little high, but if you're going all in, you may as well go all in. The Ball/LaVine/Vucevic core should be pretty fun for Bulls fans, and they were already 12th in defense last year so this should have them in that top 10. I'll have Bulls fans no that no team in the top 10 defensively missed the playoffs last year. I'm also interested to see how Lonzo helps their 21st ranked offense now that LaVine is playing next to a better playmaker. We still have to see what they do with Baby Dirk and his restricted free agency, but the Bulls certainly made a splash on Day 1, just like the trade deadline.
Signed Jarrett Allen to a 5/100 deal
This was one of the early "holy shit" tweets we all saw come across our timelines. It's a gamble in some sense considering they just gave 100M to a center who has never made an All Star team, but he is just 23. I felt like it was mostly expected they would keep him, I just was surprised to see that price. Especially when they just drafted Evan Mobley. I suppose the idea is that those two can play together and I wouldn't call this deal "untradable" if it ever gets to that point. You could argue it's not like free agents are lining up to join the Cavs, so locking up a good young player who you like isn't the worst thing in the world. He may not be worth 20M, but that does seem to be the going rate.
Signed Tim Hardaway Jr to a 4/74M deal
Signed Reggie Bullock to a 3/30M deal
Signed Boban to a 1 year team, terms TBD
Once news came out that the Mavs were going to miss out on Lowry, you knew they had to spend their huge chunk of cap space somewhere. They didn't exactly address that wish of adding playmaking around Luka to make things easier on him, but THJ was a big piece of their puzzle and weirdly earned that deal. It's funny that his last deal everyone clowned on, and yet here he is again getting the same deal and most people think it's OK. Reggie Bullock steps in to hopefully bring in some three point shooting that Josh Richardson most certainly didn't after he was traded for Seth Curry, and Bullock did just have a career year shooting the ball for the Knicks. You have to be weary of a guy regressing after getting paid like that, but playing next to Luka he's going to get plenty of open looks. As we know the real issue with the Mavs was their 21st ranked defense, so maybe Bullock can bring over some of that Thibs magic. They certainly need it.
Signed Will Barton to a 2/32M deal
Signed Jeff Green to a 2/10M deal
Signed Austin Rivers to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
When Will Barton declined his player option, almost everyone said it was mostly a formality and he'd be back. He got a slight raise, and I don't think Nuggets fans are complaining right now. They need him especially with Murray out for the year. That's what makes the Jeff Green signing interesting as well. That 2nd year is a player option, but he should fit in rather nicely playing next to Jokic. I will let Nuggets fans know, there will be times when he makes you irrationally angry. One night he's incredible, the next he's nowhere to be found. But as a role player? He'll be fine. Jokic will find him on cuts/weakside threes and as a depth piece you can do worse. Their PG spot is still a bit shaky even with Rivers coming back, so it'll be interesting to see if that's addressed moving forward.
Signed Kelly Olynyk to a 3/27M deal
Signed Corey Joseph to a 2/10M deal
Signed Trey Lyles to a 2/5M deal
I'll be honest, I have no fucking clue what the Pistons are doing. Last year they signed 5000000 centers only to immediately trade one of them this year that they gave 21M to last summer. Now they've decided you know what? It's time to give Kelly Olynyk a shit ton of money. Good for my old friend Kelly I suppose. Corey Joseph was actually pretty good for them once he came over from the Kings last year in his 19 games (12/3.2/5.5) and I guess this is what free agency looks like for a rebuilding team. None of those players "stink", it's mostly just confusing and "meh" when thinking how this changes things. The Pistons success really comes down to Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant and the development of Saddiq Bey. These are some nice depth pieces to add, I'm just not sure how it all fits.
Golden State Warriors
Signed Otto Porter Jr, terms TBD
Chris Haynes said Porter turned down more money to go to GS on the minimum, and fit wise it's hard to argue against. He has stunk a little bit these last few years, but he's also rarely been healthy. Plus, you have to factor in the GS bump. Most guys get better playing next to Steph Curry and Draymond. When you think of what they'll ask Porter Jr to do, he can fill that role. Stand in the corner and make open threes. Book, easy peasy. And for the minimum it's hard to complain.
Signed Daniel Theis to a 4/36M deal
Signed David Nwaba to a 3/15M deal
Happy for Theis that he secured both a nice little chunk of change and 4 years. I only want the best for him and I think he can work in Houston. His best role is a backup center, and given how the Rockets roster looks, that's probably what he'll be. You can play him at the 4 or 5, he can make spot starts for you if you need it, he can stretch the floor, make FTs and is an all around awesome human. He never ever ever gets a call though so Rockets fans will be annoyed with that. Just don't say I didn't warn you. When you combine this with what they did at the draft, I sneaky like what the Rockets have done? They need all the help and talent infusion they can get, and they've had themselves a pretty solid offseason so far.
Signed TJ McConnell to a 4/35M deal
Signed Torrey Craig to a 2/10M deal
The point guard market isn't great, and coming off a season in which he led the league in steals, I had a feeling McConnell was going to cash in. Especially with the up and down health issues of Malcolm Brogdon, this deal made sense to me. He seemed to really fit the Pacers. What was surprising was the Torrey Craig decision. I thought he found a nice home in PHX. He's your quality depth piece that doesn't make a ton of money yet somehow makes an impact everywhere he plays. I was shocked to see this move since they have TJ Warren, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, Caris LeVert, and Chris Duarte on the roster, but maybe they envision him playing some small ball four. Again at $5M it's not like he breaks then bank.
Los Angeles Clippers
Signed Nicolas Batum to a 2 year deal, terms TBD
Batum had a very good year for the Clippers last year, and now with Kawhi out for the year it was pretty important they find a way to bring him back. Obviously the elephant in the room is Kawhi. He turned down his option but where is he going to go now? Batum gives the Clippers a solid role player who fits their system and like Griffin, does not appear to be washed. I thought maybe he'd sign somewhere that might be closer to a title next year given his age, and I'm interested to see what that 2nd year is. If it's a player option I bet he picks it up once Kawhi is back.
Los Angeles Lakers
Signed Kent Bazemore to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Signed Dwight Howard to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Signed Wayne Ellington to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Signed Trevor Ariza to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Yes, the Lakers are old as shit. But when you have a billion dollars tied up in 3 players, this is what your free agency looks like. Remember when we had to talk about if Chris Paul would take the 5M MLE to play with LeBron? That was fun. And while all these guys outside of Kent Bazemore are old, they do address the glaring need the Lakers have which is shooting. Dwight proved he's not going to be a locker room issue and he's for sure better that Andre Drummond. I don't even think he's all that good, but Drummond is that brutal. Remember what we know about playing with LeBron. He makes everything better. While it's valid to wonder how any of these guys will defend in their old age, all they need to do is find open space and knock down threes when LeBron passes them the ball. That's something they can do.
Signed Kyle Lowry to a 3/90M deal
Signed Duncan Robinson to a 5/90M deal
Signed PJ Tucker to a 2/15M deal
Signed Dewayne Dedmon to a 1 year deal, terms TBS
Signed Gabe Vincent to a 2/3.5M deal
Signed Max Strus to a 2/3.5M deal
Extended Jimmy Butler to a 5/184M deal
First things first. Jimmy Butler is going to be making 50M a year at age 36. That is insane. Obviously they had no choice, but still the numbers are jarring
The Lowry S&T wasn't exactly a surprise and is a nice fit for them. He's a guy who will do fine in the #HeatCulture. They needed a point guard upgrade while being in win now mode given Butler's age, so that makes sense for them. Even if they'll be paying for his 37, 38, and 39 seasons. The Robinson deal shouldn't surprise anyone given he's one of the best shooters in the NBA, but the shock is 10000% PJ Tucker. I think we all expected him to stay in MIL right? You have to admit, he's living the dream right now. Got sent to MIL in the warmer months, won a title, and now he cashed in for the full MLE in another warm weather city. Never had to deal with that MIL winter. Got his ring, now it's about securing the bag and enjoying the last few years of your career. The Heat will be one of those teams that enter next season determined to show that what we saw last year was mostly due to the weird covid season. After getting worked by the Bucks this postseason, they went all in for it because their window is these next 2 years. They'll be tough as hell to play defensively with all that physicality, but they are relying on some older players. That's always a question.
Signed Bobby Portis to a 2/9M deal
Signed Semi Ojeleye to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
Bobby Portis is a legend in Milwaukee now so it's cool to see him stay. Reports suggested he turned down more money to stay and that'll just make him even more of a legend to that fanbase. He wasn't about to take his ring and join the next title contender, he's already on one. As we just saw he fits perfectly on that team and in that city, so this was one of the signings I was happy to see. Most guys take a season like Portis just had and try and cash in. He went the opposite way and wants another ring. That's cool. With Semi, they get someone to maybe fill the PJ Tucker role. Guy that goes right to the corner and takes a defense first role.
New Orleans Pelicans
Signed Devonte Graham to a 4/47M deal
Signed Garrett Temple to 3 year/15M deal
The Pelicans are officially on the clock when it comes to keeping Zion happy, and their first big move in free agency was Devonte Graham. That's tough, which is not to say Graham isn't good. He's a streaky scorer who is actually VERY good at taking care of the ball and has decent playmaking, but he's not better than Lonzo in my opinion. They cleared all that space in hopes for Kyle Lowry so they had to salvage that somehow, I'm just not sure this is the type of addition that gets the Pelicans over the hump. They need defenders and that is not what Graham is. It's almost like they learned nothing from the AD fiasco. Unless Zion told them he was done with Lonzo, I'm not sure they are better today than they were before free agency.
New York Knicks
Signed Evan Fournier to a 4/78M deal
Signed Derrick Rose to a 3/43M deal
Signed Alec Burks to a 3/30M deal
Signed Nerlens Noel to a 3/32M deal
No team had more money entering free agency than the Knicks, so you knew they were going to be active. The result is taking care of guys who all had solid years on a surprisingly good season in New York and then giving Evan Fournier a fuck ton of money. The important part of that deal is Year 4 is a team option, but even still that's the only one of those deals that a Knicks fan might have a problem with. They may have overpaid their own guys a little, but there's something to be said about rewarding players that buy into your system and actually had success playing under Thibs. I wonder if they were in on guys like DeRozan and got turned down so they then switched gears to paying their own guys and bringing in a much needed shooter since they lost Bullock. The Knicks enter next season with somewhat higher expectations given the year they just had, and it's not like those are untradable contracts or anything. As a Knicks fan I would actually be excited for the future knowing you can trust that front office with like $58M in cap space and they won't completely fuck it up.
Signed Furkan Korkmaz to a 3/15M deal
While we all wait to see what the Sixers finally get for Ben Simmons and if anyone bites on Tobias Harris and that contract now that it's up for sale as well, they did have some free agent business to take care of first. We knew Danny Green was out, they waived George Hill, so bringing back one of their best shooters on a 15M deal isn't so bad. He doesn't give you shit defensively and they more than 4x his salary from last season, but he is a career 37% shooter from deep. In terms of bringing in a bench shooter, you can do worse than Korkmaz. Sadly, this doesn't really solve any of the main issues with the Sixers roster, but he's a good role player who gives you shooting off the bench. For mid level money, Morey did fine.
Signed Chris Paul to a 4/120 deal
Signed Cam Payne to a 3/19M deal
Signed JaVale McGee to a 1/5M deal
We all knew CP3 was going to sign his extension, but I don't think we saw one paying him until his age 40 season. Good on him for getting every last penny from their cheap ass owner. If there's one thing Paul has proven it's that he has a ton of gas left in the tank and honestly we all knew this was where we were headed as soon as the season ended. I thought he was getting the Lowry 3/90M deal, but he got that extra guaranteed year. That's using your leverage wisely. I also don't really hate that Cam Payne price. He was good for them in their playoff run and has turned himself into an actual playable NBA backup guard. For under 10M a year, I feel like that's good value.
Portland Trail Blazers
Signed Norman Powell to a 5/90M deal
Signed Cody Zeller to a 1 year deal, terms TBD
When the Blazers traded Gary Trent Jr for Norman Powell, they did so knowing that they were going to have to pay that man his money this upcoming offseason. The same was true with Gary Trent Jr, only Powell cost the Blazers a whopping 36M more for 2 more years. This is interesting because as we know, Dame just went on record and said the roster was not good enough to win a title. They couldn't afford to let Powell walk for nothing, so they used their Bird Rights and they snatched him for 18M per. They also needed a replacement for Zach Collins and Cody Zeller isn't "terrible", he's just a Zeller. You know what you're going to get with those dudes and it's OK at best. I imagine Dame signed off on both, but I'm not sure what else they do outside of a trade to convince Dame that the roster is better this time around. Even then, what's the trade?
Signed Richaun Holmes to a 4/55M deal
Signed Mo Harkless to a 2/9M deal
Signed Alex Len to a 2 year deal, terms TBD
Given the money we saw get thrown around to big men, I'm surprised Holmes decided to stay for that low of a number. He's another guy that is way better than you think, you've just never really watched him because he plays for the Kings. I'm a little confused about the Len signing considering the Kings are supposed to be trading for Tristan Thompson, but then again the Kings are going to Kings. I do wonder if this now means Marvin Bagley could be had as well, but I'm happy today as a Kings fan. Holmes at that price is good value.
San Antonio Spurs
Signed Doug McDermott to a 3/42M deal
Signed Zach Collins to a 3/22M deal
I'll be honest, from the draft to free agency, I'm not sure what the hell the Spurs are doing. That's a lot of money to give McDermott coming off a career year and even more money to pay Zach Collins who has a tough time actually staying on the floor. I get they need shooting, but for a team that hates threes I question the McDermott fit. Was that really his market price? No wonder Fournier got 78M. The Spurs are kind of in that weird in between of not making the playoffs and not being truly terrible, but who knows, maybe DeRozan will be back now that all the big money teams are gone.
Signed Gary Trent Jr to a 3/54M deal
Just like with Norm Powell, when the Raptors made this trade you knew they were going to have to pay him this summer. Trent Jr was actually a pretty solid fit to close out the year in Toronto, and now with Lowry gone (and possible Siakam) he'll have even more of the offensive responsibility. At 18M per that's a bit pricey but as we saw was pretty much the going rate for scoring wings this summer, and it's not like they went 5 years. He's only 22 and I do wonder if maybe they got him to that yearly salary average for a potential future trade. We know the Raptors are open for business, so it's something to keep in mind.
Signed Mike Conley to a 3/72M deal
At 33, this was Conley's last chance to cash in. Much like CP3 I don't think anyone ever expected Conley to go anywhere else, and despite a disappointing postseason the Jazz were still very very good this past season. I was surprised to see him get less than Lowry when honestly at this stage he might be better, but this is pretty much the expected price for an All Star point guard in today's NBA. In fact, it might even be a little low.
Signed Spencer Dinwiddie to a 3/60M deal
Well, Dinwiddie got his money. He wanted between 20-25M and he got his 20M. Coming off an ACL injury that's always a risk, but when he was healthy Dinwiddie was a 20/6 guy which in today's NBA is around a 20M player. The bigger question is more around the idea of if this is the type of move that keeps Bradley Beal happy. Who knows, but that's what's at stake. Unless he loves what they did in free agency, this could be the final year in Washington.
PHEW. All caught up? This shit is about 3900+ words so I fucking hope so dude. We didn't even talk about all the rookie max extensions we saw come in late Monday, but I think that's enough for this blog. We're onto Day 2.