On Day 1 of NBA Free agency, we saw a total of over 37 deals. Some were surprising, some were no brainers, and some were massive extensions that we all knew were coming. I wouldn't exactly say we were given the level of chaos we were hoping for, but it certainly was an interesting day. The Kevin Durant news probably had something to do with what we ended up see happen, but I figured with so many signings it made sense to run through everything we got. It's the Friday before 4th of July weekend, you want to work? Of course not. So let's go ahead and get started
Nicolas Claxton - 2/10M
Patty Mills - 2/14.5M
Obviously, the only thing that really matters for the Nets on Day 1 of Free Agency is the Kevin Durant trade. Until that happens, it's the biggest story in the NBA. That's basically how it's going to be for the next few days until we know how that thing shakes out. In terms of their other moves yesterday, neither are really all that surprising. Both guys elect to stay in BKN with short term deals and a raise, which I suppose is good for the Nets if they are even on this roster moving forward. I was wondering if Patty Mills opted out of his player option so he could find a different situation since it looked like the Nets were about to blow things up, but nope he just was about to get a slight raise. Good for him.
But with all this KD stuff flying around it's hard to even know what the hell the Nets are doing or will look like in a week. From a value standpoint those are two value deals, but who knows if it even matters.
Andre Drummond - 2/6M
The Bulls only made one move on the opening day of free agency, and it was to give Andre Drummond part of their non taxpaying MLE money. I think most Bulls fans will tell you their frontcourt depth was a bit of an issue last season, so in some ways Drummond helps address that. For example, the Bulls were 28th in rebounding last season. That's bad. Andre Drummond is a fantastic rebounder, so that's good. He also isn't the worst passer in the world for a center so that should help as well.
The issue with this is we know that Vuc has a really hard time guarding players in space. Once you get to the playoffs, that's something that gets exploited. Andre Drummond is also very bad in space, so the Bulls did not fix that problem. You get either in a P&R situation and it's automatic buckets. For this to work you need really high level defense from your perimeter point of attack players. That means guys like Lonzo, White, Caruso, and Ayo are really going to have to hold things down, because all the bigs on this roster struggle in drop.
But the fact of the matter is Drummond is better than Tony Bradley and most certainly better than Tristan Thompson so it's not the worst thing in the word. It's mostly a "meh" deal for me
JaVale McGee - 3/20M
The fact that the Mavs went out and got a center wasn't too surprising to me. I watched the 2022 playoffs. The Mavs needed to get bigger, and so far this offseason they've brought in Christian Wood and JaVale McGee. That's certainly one way to address your size issue.
The surprising part was that it was the reporting that McGee was going to the Mavs with the intention of starting, which makes me wonder what their starting lineup might even look like? Would it be Luka/Bullock/DFS/Wood/McGee? That's certainly bigger, but not really the formula that made the Mavs successful last season. I thought McGee was more of a depth piece, but apparently not? That's a little confusing. Is it a case of that may be his intention but that's not what is going to happen? Do they feel that Wood is a good enough 3pt shooter to warrant playing those two bigs together? I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Davon Reed - 2/4M
DeAndre Jordan - 1/2M
Nikola Jokic - 5/270M
Alright, what the hell are the Nuggets doing. What you can't tell from here was the DeAndre Jordan signing was one of the first Shams/Woj bombs we got once we hit 6pm. It's like the Nuggets couldn't wait to bring in legitimately the worst center in the entire NBA
I just don't understand the move. You want some center depth behind Jokic? Great! There had to be better options than the worst center in the league. Could they really not find anyone else? A day after I thought they made a good trade with WSH to help their perimeter defense and shooting they go and do that to open free agency. Very strange.
With Jokic, obviously you give him that max extension. In fact, it's the largest contract in NBA history. Not sure if you knew, but he's a 2x MVP. That earns you a decent extension that you don't even think twice about.
Marvin Bagley - 3/37M
Kevin Knox - 2/6M
Nothing splashy, but there is the potential for upside with both of these moves. Bagley showed some stuff last year once he came over from SAC and is only 23, so there's a chance that salary number ends up being worth it. He was a restricted FA so maybe his agent brought a similar offer sheet to the Pistons and they just matched it, but 12M a year is nothing to sneeze at for a guy that has shown potential but has been stuck on shitty teams. Now in a new situation, he looked a whole lot better. They had the cap space so why not roll the dice?
The same is true for Kevin Knox. Is he good? Probably not. Could he be? Maybe! We've basically never seen him play and honestly he probably won't even play that much on the Pistons. They aren't really lacking for wings right now, but who knows he could always just be salary filler in a potential deadline deal.
The Pistons have had a pretty interesting offseason that started with the Jerami Grant trade, they landed a great player in the Draft and now they didn't make a mistake with all that cap space to open free agency. Seems like they finally know what they're doing which makes me happy for Pistons fans.
Jae-Sean Tate - 3/22M
This is a good number for a player that most people probably don't watch but is actually pretty good. It was the Rockets only move of Day 1, and as a RFA I imagine there had to be somewhat of a market for a two way player like Tate. He's entering his prime at 26-27, isn't expensive and if they need to, has a movable contract if the right situation comes up. Deals don't have to be blockbusters or big names to be solid, and that's how I would describe this. It's a solid move that you like to see a rebuilding team make because it continues to give them options.
Los Angeles Clippers
Amir Coffey - 2/11M
Nicolas Batum - 2/22M
I'll be honest, it feels like the Clippers have 10000 players on their roster. Their depth is insane, and it looks like it's going to stay that way after bringing back two of their own guys. We know Ballmer doesn't give a shit about the tax or money or any of that shit, and as a result the Clippers probably have the most wing depth on the planet. Just go through the list. There's PG/Kawhi/Kennard/Mook/Powell/Coffee/Batum/Mann/Covington. That's basically their entire roster outside of Wall/Jackson/Zubac. If you need wing help, call the Clippers immediately because maybe something could be worked out.
Even though Batum opted out of his player option, all signs pointed to him coming back to the Clippers and you can see why. A nice little pay bump for him and a chance to play on a team that could contend for a title. That seems like an easy decision.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lonnie Walker IV - 1/6M
Damian Jones - 2/4M
Troy Brown Jr - 1/1M
Juan Toscano-Anderson - 1/1M
In just 24 hours Laker fans went from Kyrie was going to play for the MLE to the reality of Lonnie Walker IV playing for the MLE. That's quite the drop off. I like Lonnie as a young guy with potential who is certainly athletic as shit offensively, but there's also this to consider
For a team that needs to address their defensive issues, that's….not great.
The funniest part of their entire day though was the fact that pretty much all these dudes are Klutch clients. If you don't think it's funny that a team with no space is able to bring in all these guys on low money deals who also happen to be part of the LeBron/Rich Paul agency, I dunno what to tell you.
Do any of these guys really make a difference? Maybe Walker if a change in scenery helps. He could have a Malik Monk (who the Lakers lost) type year where he outplays his deal. I won't rule that out. But the rest? Meh.
Tyus Jones - 2/30M
Ja Morant - 5/193M (could be 231M)
The second the Grizzlies traded DeAnthony Melton you should have known that meant Tyus Jones wasn't going anywhere. Especially when he got a pretty massive pay bump doubling his salary. He was so good for them all year, is one of the best AST:TO point guards in the entire league, and someone you know can be effective in the event he has to fill in for Morant at any point during the year. Just a solid point guard in every sense, so it's something that works for both sides.
With Morant, yeah no shit you're giving him a max rookie extension. He's Ja Morant. I'd be pretty confident he's going to hit the requirements to get that 231M too. Again, he's Ja Morant.
To be honest, the biggest news of the day for the Grizzlies might be JJJ's foot surgery that's going to have him out 4-6 months. That's kind of a big deal.
Dewayne Dedmon - 2/9M
Victor Oladipo - 1/11M
Udonis Haslem - TBD
Alright, how did the Interest Kings do on Day 1? Well, they didn't bring in anyone new, instead choosing to bring back Dedmon/Oladipo on pretty low money. No issues with those deals from a financial standpoint. I will say it's a little sad they spent their free agency doing this
I'm sorry, but this is sad. #HeatCulture might be a sickness and it's definitely a cult. Why are you still wasting a roster spot on Udonis Haslem? Can you not just make him a coach? Meanwhile you lost PJ Tucker and haven't really replaced him yet. That seems like an interesting move.
Of course MIA is probably focusing on a KD trade at the moment so we'll see with that, even though their path to pulling that off is pretty tough given Bam's contract rules. I just think it's a little funny that for weeks leading up to free agency we hear about how many players the Heat are "interested" in, and once they had a chance to sign these players, that's what they came home with yesterday.
Bobby Portis - 4/49M
Joe Ingles - 1/6M
Jevon Carter - 2/4M
Wesley Matthews - 1/2M
A big theme of Day 1 was guys simply staying with their current teams, and that was certainly the case for much of what the Bucks did on Day 1. I love that Bobby Portis deal at that number, even if it was technically the highest he was allowed to get. That's still great value for a guy that took a paycut last year and is legit one of the most beloved Bucks not named Giannis. You pay that guy whatever to keep him in MIL and that's what the Bucks did.
I like the Ingles move for the price, but it's certainly a question as to what he looks like coming off injury, and the other two are low money depth pieces that were on the team last year. My question is if the Bucks will actually play Carter this time around. For whatever reason they stopped doing that in the playoffs and it certainly was confusing at the time since Grayson Allen kept getting destroyed.
I don't think anyone thought the Bucks had to do anything crazy this summer, so locking up a key piece and sprinkling in some low cost depth feels like a pretty good day for a team we all expect to contend for the title next season.
Kyle Anderson - 2/18M
KAT - 4/244M
Really like what the Wolves did on Day 1. Kyle Anderson is a perfect fit for what that roster needs, especially if he continues to improve defensively like he did this past season. You can play him at multiple positions, he's an old school type player and a great ball connector for that offense. You heard in the weeks leading up to FA how many good teams and contenders were in on Anderson, and that's because he's pretty damn good. This may have been one of the few signings yesterday that the collective basketball world all liked. Tim Donnelly is pretty good at his job I'd say.
The big news here is KAT though. Not that the extension was in question, but at least now Wolves fans won't have to hear about the KAT leaving bullshit for at least a little while. That has to feel great considering they've been dealing with it his entire career. I know the move is to sign the extension and then demand a trade, but let Wolves fans have this moment. I'm not sure why he would even want to leave considering what the Wolves are building and the fact that they are sneaky pretty good already. Now that they don't have to worry about their foundational piece, they can focus on other things to help their forward progress.
New York Knicks
Jalen Brunson - 4/104M
Isaiah Hartenstein - 2/16M
This may sound nuts, but the Knicks actually did OK? Dare I say good? I know people will give them shit for shelling out 100M+ for Jalen Brunson, but Jalen Brunson is good. That's just the market rate for a starting point guard in 2022. The interesting part of his deal was he was able to negotiate that final year to be a player option. That's huge. He probably leveraged the Mavs 106M offer in order to make that happen and the Knicks obviously weren't going to lose their #1 target over something like that. Brunson was a clear position of need for the Knicks, we all knew this was going to happen for weeks, and I dunno I don't really hate it like others might.
The Isaiah Hartenstein move is also pretty solid. Good money for a guy many Knicks fans probably didn't watch since he played in LA, but he's a solid reserve big. With an expanded role, he could be even better and it didn't take an outrageous deal to bring him in. That's a movable salary should they need to moving forward, but for now they get a good young player who helps fill a need since Noel is gone.
It may feel weird, but this was not "the same old Knicks". At least on paper. We'll see how it plays out.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Lu Dort - 5/87M
I love Lu Dort. Ever since I first laid eyes on him at ASU, I've been a gigantic Lu Dort guy. I am still very upset that Danny Ainge didn't draft him in the second round and he found his way to OKC as an undrafted FA. He rules. An unreal defender who really improved his shot last year, I love this for him and OKC.
I get it, 87M is a shit ton of money but what else were the Thunder going to do with all that cap space? If they one day want to go star hunting, Dort's $17.5M should help money wise. There's nothing wrong with paying market rate for a guy you love who clearly is pretty damn good. That's what teams should be doing.
I just love the Dort/SGA/Giddy backcourt trio. Who knows if Sam Presti's experiment works out, but there's no denying this team is loaded with intriguing young talent. If all these projects develop like Dort has, this team is eventually going to kick serious ass.
Mo Bamba - 2/21M
Garry Harris - 2/26M
Like I said, a huge part of the day yesterday was guys simply staying where they are. With these two, I feel like most thought both were on the way out. Given who is on the roster and who they drafted, I'll admit I was surprised to see both stay.
The Gary Harris price shocked me too considering he was talked about as a potential MLE guy, and he basically got double that. Shit, the same was true for Bamba. I'm not really sure what the plan is here for the Magic, maybe these are guys that will be moved at the deadline and this just allowed them to get the bag now, but I do know that fans who were hoping to maybe snag one of these guys with their MLE money walked away disappointed.
PJ Tucker - 3/33M
Trevelin Queen - 2/3M
Danuel House - 2/8M
Did you at one time in your life play for the Houston Rockets? Congratulations! Daryl Morey found you and has brought you to Philadelphia. Even someone like Queen who only played 10 games last year as a Rocket fit the bill. Obviously Tucker and House played with Harden during the Morey Era. There's a reason they now go by the Philadelphia Rockets, because that's who they now are, plus Embiid.
Would this team be awesome in 2018? Maybe. The Tucker move gives them an elite spot up shooter from the corners for Embiid to find when he gets doubled so there's value in that. He's just old as shit and this year's playoffs weren't exactly pretty. I like House on that money as a versatile depth piece, but I don't know how many of the Sixers questions were answered on Day 1.
They're being rumored as a KD trade partner so maybe that's the real story of their summer, but you have to admit just like the Lakers only bringing in Klutch guys, it is a little funny that Daryl is only bringing in his former Rockets, even if it is 4 years later.
Devin Booker - 4/224M
Uh yeah, no shit. Just like with KAT/Morant/Jokic, this deal was a no brainer. If they could have paid Booker more, they would. He's a stud. Unfortunate timing for Kendall Jenner that she split with Booker right before he signed this deal, but something tells me she'll be OK.
Portland Trail Blazers
Anfernee Simons - 4/100M
Gary Payton II - 3/28M
The Blazers have made one thing very clear this offseason. They needed to inject this roster with more proven NBA talent. So far, that's exactly what they've done. They've also addressed one of their most glaring needs which was wing depth and perimeter defense. Those two things have been killing the Blazers for years and is ultimately a huge reason why they lose in the postseason.
The Simons extensions is great value for a 22 year old who is only getting better. I look at this like the Jaylen Brown extension. The number might shock people initially, but I bet my life that Simons outplays that deal. He's legit. You aren't paying for what he's done, you're projecting how good he's going to be and would essentially be getting him below market rate if that pans out. Plus he's the next guy in a post Dame world, so it made sense that they locked him up.
With Gary Payton II, that's how you maximize coming off a title. We all just learned how valuable he can be to a backcourt, and at that number it's not even that bad. I cannot stress how badly the Blazers need perimeter defense help and it's hard to find a better perimeter defender at that price. Plus he can hit some threes and by all accounts is a great locker room guy so I like this move for POR.
Chris Boucher - 3/35M
A slight bump in salary for a guy to stick with his original team, the Raptors certainly need center depth so they couldn't really afford to let Boucher walk. He had a bit of a down year from behind the arc last year, but is still a serviceable big man who can stretch the floor. If he needs to be salary filler in the future, that's a nice number to throw in the mix. If not and he's in their rotation, he's shown he can be effective.
I lump this in as another one of those "meh" deals. Makes sense, doesn't really move the needle, and is a decent player.
Bradley Beal - 5/251M
Delon Wright - 2/16M
Anthony Gill - 2/3M
While Beal will get the headlines, we all knew he was signing that max extension. Who was surprised by that? For me, that's why the bigger story of their Day 1 was Delon Wright. That's a solid number for a legit point guard with great size. The Wizards really needed to address their PG position this offseason and that's exactly what they've done all while not overspending. The idea was to bring Beal real NBA proven help, and so far that's what they've done.
How good does this make the Wizards? I dunno, if healthy I could see them competing for a 6-8 seed. There is real talent on this roster and there were times last year where they certainly looked competitive. Now not having to worry about Beal maybe puts everyone at ease, and they take a step forward.
All in all, it wasn't a super crazy day as most of the FAs went back to their original teams, but we did see a total of $1B worth of contracts be shelled out. From here you're now looking at more MLE guys and potential trades, but honestly the entire NBA is being held hostage by KD. Nothing is really going to happen until that gets sorted out I imagine.