NBA Signings Start to Slow Down
The NBA Free Agency period has been open for more than a week now, and that means most of the big stories are now over and done with. Deals are still just being made official, but we know where most free agents will end up. Let’s do a bit of a rundown of the top signings and moves. To shorten this a bit, I will only be listing players that moved teams.
The Bulls acquired Demar DeRozan (3y/$85 million), Lonzo Ball (4y/$80 million), and Alex Caruso (4y/$38 million) in free agency and the use of sign and trades. Thad Young, Garrett Temple, and others were given away, but no one moves the needle compared to the players that were added. One leading story in free agency at this point is the discussions surrounding Lauri Markannen, who has recently requested to be moved outside of Chicago.
Odds are, Lauri will be moved in a sign-and-trade with a team like New Orleans, Dallas, or Charlotte. There are plenty of teams involved, but these teams seem to fit, looking to add a forward that can space the floor and shoot for stars like Luka, Zion, and LaMelo. Rumor is that the Bulls are getting real offers here, and I do expect them to get something in return that is considered substantial. The Bulls are +5000 to win the NBA championship.
While that does feel a bit difficult to achieve, I do like the staying power of this roster when it comes to dealing with injuries and having interchangeable pieces and winning regular-season games. I like the Bulls’ moves overall.
The Heat acquired Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade with Toronto that sent Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic. Dragic gives the Raps competent PG play while they contemplate a rebuild, and Achiuwa could be a great young piece to build around. Lowry signed for 3 years/$90 million and will have to be a key piece for the Heat moving forward, alongside Jimmy Butler, who recently signed a massive extension.
This fit is very interesting, and I will want to see how they interact around the ball before I judge it. Lowry was comfortable giving the ball up to Kawhi during their playoff run, and I assume this will be the case again with Jimmy. They also signed Victor Oladipo on a 1-year deal that is basically a “prove it” contract for the injury-prone Oladipo.
A starting lineup of Lowry, Oladipo, Butler, Bam, and whoever else fits should be very, very dangerous, but can they stay healthy, and is it too late? 3 of these players were considered better 2 years ago than they are right now, barring that incredible playoff run that Jimmy Butler used to regain his reputation. The Heat are +2200 to win the NBA championship, but I’ll wait until they prove they are healthy heading into the playoffs next season.
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Other impactful moves include…
Evan Fournier signed a contract for 4-years, $78 million with the Knicks, who did a great job retaining their core and adding veteran scorers in Fournier and Kemba Walker (1 year/$8 million).
Spencer Dinwiddie was involved in that sign and trade that included 5 teams and the Russell Westbrook deal. Dinwiddie signed for 3-years, $62 million with Washington, and will be the backcourt mate of Bradley Beal.
Devonte Graham signed for 4-years, $47 million, with the Pelicans. After letting Lonzo Ball go, the Hornets went to get shooting and solid guard play to help young players Nickiel Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis feel comfortable in the offense. The Pelicans are also still dealing with moves, including Josh Hart, who remains a restricted free agent.
An interesting move happened on Tuesday involving the Boston Celtics and guard Dennis Schroder, who signed for 1-year, $5.8 million. This is a 180 from the rumors of Schroder turning down over $20 million a year from the Lakers in a long-term deal.