YOU can be forgiven for missing some NBA news over the past week. Never fear! I’ve got you covered with the ABC’s from the most important items on the agenda of week 1 in the tumultuous NBA free agency period.
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A – Atlanta Is In Full Rebuild Mode
THIS one comes as no surprise with Atlanta officially hitting the reset button. Two seasons removed from their 60 win campaign the starting five Jeff Teague (Timberwolves), Kyle Korver (Cavaliers), DeMarre Carroll (Nets), Paul Millsap (Nuggets) and Al Horford (Celtics) have all moved on to greener pastures.
B – Boston Sticks To The Script
NO one was surprised that the Celtics were able to sign Gordon Hayward, but many expected them to make a play for Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Trading back in the draft also means that they were able to get Jayson Tatum allowing Isaiah Thomas to thrive as the sole point guard. They could be building for a play perhaps at Anthony Davis, but for the time being the Celtics aren’t rocking the boat.
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C – Clippers Show Faith In Griffin
AFTER trading Chris Paul to the Rockets earlier in the offseason the Clippers were at a crossroads. They could choose to re-sign Griffin and hope he can stay healthy or let him walk and opt for a rebuild centred around DeAndre Jordan and youth. Five years and $172 million dollars later Blake remains on the roster.
D – Detroit Get’s Bradley
THE Pistons haven’t exactly been a powerhouse over the past few season, having made the playoffs just once since 2009-10. In an attempt to climb back up the standings Detroit made a move to acquire Avery Bradley from Boston. Only giving up Marcus Morris for a talented two-way guard was a smart move by the front office, who seem destined to now move on from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
E- Eastern Conference Is Dying
OVER the past few seasons the West has ruled supreme over the East. After the offseason moves to date, there is no debate that the balance of power remains the same. With fringe playoff teams in the East falling off and the rest of the conference failing to ‘wow’ and bridge the gap, expect more Western dominance in 2017-18.
F – Finally Phil Jackson Is Gone
IF you are new to the NBA let me give you a quick history lesson. Phil Jackson has won more titles as a head coach than any other coach with 11 on his resume. His three-year tenure as the president of the New York Knicks, however, was quite the opposite. It was a train wreck, with Jackson steering the Knicks to a combined 80-166. The final straw was Jackson supposedly dangling star player Kristaps Porzingis in trade negotiations, leading to New York and him parting ways. Sleep easy Knicks fans.
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G – Golden State Forks Out BIG Time
IT cost over $339 million in total for the Warriors to resign their guys this offseason. They did add Nick Young and Omri Casspi while extending Curry, Durant, Iguodala, Livingston, Pachulia and West. After Joe Lacob bought the franchise for $450 mil, it only makes sense to pay a little bit of money now that the franchise is worth $2.6 billion.
H – Harden’s Record Breaking Extension
WHEN news broke that James Harden had signed an extension to stay in Houston for another four years on top of his current deal the internet went into meltdown. Harden is scheduled to make $59 million over the next two years, before adding this four-year extension with a value of $170 million. The end result? Harden owns the richest extension in NBA history.
I – Indiana Is Destined For Mediocrity
HOW did the Pacers respond from losing their franchise player you ask? They dished out over $40 million to Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic, while already owing Victor Oladipo $21 million a year for the next four seasons. They seem destined to churn out 40-45 win seasons for the foreseeable future with little respite on the horizon.
J – J.J. Redick Trusts The Process
REDDICK has earned just over $55 million in his career so far and is due for a BIG paycheck from the Philadelphia 76ers this year. His one-year, $23 million dollar deal gives the 76ers options and cap flexibility moving forward while giving them the best shooting threat they have had in years for the upcoming season to flank their tantalising core. Be excited 76ers fans.
K – KCP Isn’t A Sought After Player
ONE of the biggest losers of the NBA offseason this year has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. A slight regression last year meant the fourth year pro wasn’t exactly a wanted commodity, but he could still be a valuable scorer for a team. After acquiring Avery Bradley the Pistons renounced their rights to make him a restricted free agent, which has left KCP without a home and supposedly without many teams interested.
L – LA Might Still Be Up For Grabs
THE future seems much brighter at the Lakers franchise at the moment, but the Clippers still have a small window. With ‘Lob City’ dead the ‘little brother’ to the Lakers may have missed their chance at claiming the city of Los Angeles, but if things don’t go well for the Lakers this year and the Griffin-led Clips can experience sustained success, who knows?
M – Minnesota Is LOADED
FOR most of the history of their franchise the Minnesota Timberwolves have been, well crappy. With the exception of one Kevin Garnett MVP fuelled season, success has long avoided the Wolves. That is about to change. With Jimmy Butler joining the team via trade and poised, talented vets like Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford also following suit, success is just around the corner in ‘The North Star State’.
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N – Nuggets Finally Land A ‘Big Fish’
FOR years the Denver Nuggets have been in trade rumours and linked to signing big free agents. Finally, they have landed a notable name with Paul Millsap signing with the franchise a three-year, $90 million dollar deal. With 3786 power forwards already on the roster, it might be tough to juggle the playing time, but if Millsap can become the perfect sidekick with Nikola Jokic then big things could be coming for the Nuggets.
O – OKC Is A-OK
WHILE many people are giving OKC flak for trading for a rental year from Paul George it isn’t as dumb a move as people may think. They traded Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, who the Thunder effectively flipped for George. So they virtually traded Ibaka for a year of Paul George. Worst case scenario, George walks at the end of the season. Better case, they can trade George before the deadline for more assets should he and Westbrook fail to co-exist. And best case scenario George and Westbrook form another dynamic duo in Thunder uniforms and lay waste to the league.
P – Pat Riley Losing His Mojo?
THERE was a time when a meeting with Pat Riley and a potential free agent meant that they were a goner. Riley’s prestige and history were enough of a drawcard for potential free agents, not including the fact that they would be living in sunny Miami! After failing to land any big free agents the Heat settled for resigning Dion Waiters and James Johnson and bringing in Kelly Olynyk. So has Pat Riley finally lost his sway among NBA free agents? Time will tell.
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Q – Quest To Stay Under The Cap Is Real
AT the time of writing more than half of the league are over the tax threshold, with 11 teams $15 million or more in the red. This season was meant to see the cap inflate more than it did, which means most teams are scrambling with no money available and plenty of guys to be signed.
R – Rajon Rondo Will Land…
…IN LA. No wait, New York. Actually, maybe he’ll play with Miami. Rondo’s name continues to churn through the rumour mill, with no clear favourite as to where the 4x All-Star will land. He has been linked to the three aforementioned teams and if I was a betting man I would guess he will land in New York as a mentor for Frank Ntilikina.
S – Someone Want A Former MVP?
RAJON Rondo isn’t the only veteran guard who’s struggling to find a team, with Derrick Rose still on the waiver wire as well. The Mavericks, Timberwolves and Bucks were all apparently interested in the 2011 MVP at one point in time, but there is no recent news as to where the former Bull will call home in 2017-18. I would love to see him rejoin the Chicago Bulls, but that remains unlikely. Stay tuned.
T – Toronto Shows The Faith…Kind Of
MUCH like the Golden State Warriors, Toronto opted to keep their core together and resign key pieces this offseason. The Raps kicked off their free agency by keeping Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry north of the border, meaning that the majority of their team would stay put. Following those moves Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker and now (via trades) DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph are heading to different teams. With the Cavs and Celtics the top two in the East, have Toronto taken a step backwards? Or will this move pay off in the long run?
U – Utah Accepts Life Without Hayward
IT’S a shame that the fun Utah Jazz team of last year isn’t going to be running around anymore, but it seems like things will be ok. Losing your franchise player in free agency always hurts, trust me I’ve been a Cavs fan through ‘The Decision’. Utah does have a pretty decent roster without Hayward though and while the playoffs might not be an option, they are still poised to land on their feet.
V – Veterans Flock To Sacramento
I’LL be the first to admit that I have trashed the Kings organisation in the past, mainly the way in which it has been run. After a few savvy offseason moves though Sacramento may actually know what they are doing, bringing in talented veterans who will mould their newest crop of promising young guns into stars. Maybe trading DeMarcus Cousins away wasn’t such a bad move after all.
W – Wizards Keep Otto
FOR a period of time it seemed like the Wizards were going to let Otto Porter walk and allow him to sign the offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets. Another step in the right direction last year saw Porter average career highs across the board that should see him become an integral part of Washington’s future success.
X – X-Factors Still On The Board
AS mentioned above Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo still remain without new teams. They aren’t the only noteworthy names still free to a good home, with guys like Pau Gasol, Aaron Afflalo and Monta Ellis still unsigned. If the right deal can be struck with a contender and one or more of these free agents, it could go a long way to seeing a certain team hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.
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Y – You Get Paid, You Get Paid, Everyone Get’s Paid!!
SIX of the top eight richest contracts in NBA history have been signed this offseason, as NBA teams have dealt out over $2 billion dollars to free agents. With the salary cap rise halting briefly many teams may find themselves in trouble with all these paydays they have handed out. Either way, there are a lot of happy NBA players out there, who are reaping the benefits of the crazy NBA offseason.
Z – Zhou Qi Keeps The China-Houston Connection Alive
BACK in 2011, at the tender age of 15, Zhou put up 41 points, 28 rebounds and 15 blocks while representing China. Fast forward to recent times and he is the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year while playing for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the CBA. The 21-year-old might not replicate as incredible numbers in his rookie season for Houston, but he definitely will keep League Pass subscriptions ticking over in China!
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