NBA Free Agency
By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how fantastic the NBA remains. In recent years they have done a wonderful job in keeping their sport top of mind among sports fans. When other professional sporting leagues crown their champion for the season, the leagues typically fade into the background of the sports scene. However, in recent years once the season ends, the anticipation and conjecture of the NBA off-season have become just as intriguing as the regular season itself.
Just a couple weeks ago the NBA introduced their young rookies into the league. Beginning this week these young players will begin to compete with each other in various NBA sponsored Summer Leagues tournaments. However, the off-court free agency speculation will lead most sports pages around the country. While teams and players are allowed to come to agreements, these deals won’t become official until July 6th.
Out of the many acquisitions which have been reported, fans around the league are still waiting for one of the league’s premier players to make a decision on who he’d like to play with. I have listed what I believe to be the most impactful Free Agent acquisitions to this point:
2 Time Champion and 2 Time Finals MVP Kevin Durant and NBA Champion and 2 Time All NBA Kyrie Irving have chosen to team up in Brooklyn and give the Nets the best duo they’ve seen since Dr. J and Larry Kenon ran the court for the New Jersey Nets. As you may know, Durant will be recovering from his Achilles injury most the season, yet the Nets will be excited to allow the malcontent Kyrie dance on the league in their arena until Kevin Durant returns to form.
By bringing in the 29-year-old 3 Time All-Star Kemba Walker to fill the void left by Kyries departure. The Celtics may have gotten better with addition by subtraction. Walker will accept the coaching and adapt to a team philosophy whereas the moody Irving didn’t seem to relish the team, the culture or opportunity to lead the Boston Celtics.
Apparently, Durant and Irving really wanted to play together as they both took less than the maximum salary they could have garnered to play in Brooklyn. The Warriors conducted a sign and trade deal with the Nets, to get recent All-Star D’Angelo Russell and few other players to help fill out their expensive roster. Though Russell clearly is not an adequate replacement, paring him with Stephon Curry until Klay Thompson returns should work out well for them.
5 Time All-Star Al Horford chose to depart from the Celtics to join the Philadelphia 76ers. The veteran leadership and competitive spirit of Horford will immediately aide the 76ers. Additionally, the 76ers actually weaken one of their conference rivals. Picking up Horford wasn’t a bad move, but they now will be on the market for a shooter, as JJ Reddick chose to go down south.
The New Orleans Pelicans continue to rebuild their image and most importantly their talent pool having lost 6 Time All-Star and 3 Time All NBA player Anthony Davis. The Pelicans traded Davis earlier this offseason to the Los Angeles Lakers for a host of role players. They’ve added sharpshooting J.J. Redick to this accumulation of talented player they have acquired through the NBA draft last month.
According to multiple sources, the Heat have signed 4 Time All-Star and 2 Time All NBA player Jimmy Butler away from the Philadelphia 76ers. On the surface, this appears to be a strange fit for the outwardly competitive Butler because the Miami Heat aren’t ready to compete for championships at this point, even with the signing of Butler. This will be interesting to see how this move transpire.
Utah Jazz couple the signing of sharpshooter and member of 2015 All-Rookie team Bojan Bogdanovic with the earlier trade for 2013 All-Defensive team player Mike Conley earlier in the offseason. Each of these moves should pay immediate dividends and make the Jazz much more competitive in the tough Western Conference. The addition of Conley would allow Donovan Mitchell to slide into his natural shooting guard role and Bogdanovic will provide more shooting from the forward position.
The Milwaukee Bucks sign their Free Agent Guard Khris Middleton to a max deal. The Bucks also resign 10-year veterans Brook Lopez and George Hill. They will also welcome in Brooks’ brother Forward Robin Lopez. The growth and development the Leagues 2019 MVP, in addition to these signings will assist the Bucks in making another deep playoff run in the upcoming season.
Other notable transactions include for Bucks Guard Malcolm Brogdon will sign with the Indiana Pacers; journeyman Center Enes Kanter agrees to join the Celtics; Charlotte Hornets sign young Guard Terry Rozier, former MVP and injury-plagued Guard Derrick Rose will join the Detroit Pistons; and 5th year Center Julius Randle has agreed to join the New York Knicks.
The 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard has a few teams and millions of fans on edge about which teams he’ll choose to play for next season. From all accounts, Leonard has narrowed his decision to the Los Angeles Clippers or Lakers and the Toronto Raptors. So, this situation remains fluid folks. Deals continue to be made daily, but these are several of the most impactful transactions which have been made in this NBA Free Agency off-season to this point.
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