As the third day of free agency has closed, we look at some of the bigger and smaller contracts signed. In addition to discussing some of the deals, there will be a COMPLEX grading system. Separating some of the best and…the not so best.
Winner: The Warriors
Seeing how more than a third of their championship roster was available in free agency getting five of them back is already a win. When you point out that two of those five are Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry that’s even more of a win.
Being able to bring back key role players, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston is as remarkable as getting Kevin Durant to take a $10 million discount.
Loser: The Eastern Conference
It has been a year of complaining about competitive balance and the NBA being less interesting. Well, that was all before three more eastern all-stars joined the West. What have the Cavaliers done to stop this, the Celtics, the Raptors?
None of last year’s top three Eastern Conferences teams have done anything to improve themselves. The Cavaliers still don’t have a GM and the Celtics offseason plans have collapsed around them. The Raptors are running it back for another year and paying more for it through the process.
The Pistons have essentially capped themselves out with no players or assets that could get demonstratively better.
The only team that has gotten better through free-agency (in the east) is the Sixers.
Winner: The Sixers
What is there to say? They have the most intriguing roster in the NBA. However, they can never stay on the floor. That being said they just drafted Markelle Fultz, everyone is healthy, and with vets J.J Reddick and Amir Johnson, they could be making moves this season.
If the Sixers can stay at least decently healthy through next season, they can disrupt the structure of the east! Chaos! Let’s do it!
Hurray for middle America! The poor people of Minnesota need a win, and they got one, in the shape of Jimmy Butler. However, they didn’t just get Butler they also signed veteran guard Jeff Teague and forward Taj Gibson.
While they may be an alteration of the 2015 Bulls, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins could make a huge jump this season. Propelling them to where we thought they would be at the start of last season and even further… possibly to the playoffs for the first time since the Kevin Garnett Era.
Loser: Dan Gilbert
This man let his General Manager walk because he refused to pay him. He seems to have alienated himself from not only LeBron James but potential free-agents. With reports of players warning Jimmy Butler of the situation deteriorating, this year may be the last of Cavalier championship contenders.
Moreover, Gilbert’s top choice to fill the GM role (Chauncey Billups) has withdrawn his name from consideration.
The Cavaliers are a mess, and if James leaves next summer, Gilbert can’t blame the King this time.
Winner: Houston Rockets
From a playoff collapse to completely altering your image in one move, the Houston Rockets have done well for themselves. For instance, Carmelo Anthony listed the two teams he wants to go to if traded are the Cavaliers and now the Rockets.
The Chris Paul and James Harden dynamic may not work but as of right now the trade set the stage. They’ve enabled themselves to be players alternatives to joining the Warriors or the Cavs. Signing P.J Tucker is just one more move in a long line of them to come.
Winner: Nick Young
Respect this Man for changing his image after the horrible LA years. Seemingly every year the situation for Nick Young in LA got worse one way or another. From Kobe Bryant to D’Angelo Russell, Young has had a litany of teammates that have given him problems(some of them self-inflicted). Young turned that all around last season under Luke Walton and now is being pursued by the Warriors.
However not just the Warriors, multiple teams have been interested in signing Young. This is a guy that could have easily been out of the league a season ago.
Also, he’s 6’7” and the Warriors only have role players that are 6’7”.