NBA Free Agency Notes

NBA Free Agency Notes

After a ton of offseason moves via free agency and trades, FanDuel has the Boston Celtics currently listed as +470 ‘chalk’ to win the 2023-24 NBA championship. The Denver Nuggets are at +480 odds to repeat as NBA champs.

The next-shortest odds belong to Milwaukee (+550), Phoenix (+600), Miami (+1000 or 10/1), Golden St. (14/1), the L.A. Lakers (15/1), Philadelphia (17/1), the L.A. Clippers (19/1), Dallas (23/1), Memphis (25/1), Cleveland (30/1), New Orleans (43/1), Sacramento (45/1) and New York (55/1).

The only other teams with odds inside of 100/1 are Minnesota (70/1) and Atlanta (75/1).

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest moves so far before Portland trades Damian Lillard, who requested a trade on July 1. According to multiple reports, the Trail Blazers plan on accommodating the seven-time All-Star’s wishes.

-What the hell is Houston doing? The Rockets gave Dillon Brooks a four-year deal for $80 million. Did they think somebody else was willing to give him an amount anywhere close to that? Good gracious! That’s just an incomprehensible decision. And hey, I like Fred VanVleet. He’s a helluva player, but why are you committing so much money to Brooks and VanVleet when you’re not anywhere close to being a contender? The former Raptor got a monster contract worth $130 million over three seasons. The Rockets also gave Jock Landale a four-year deal for $32 million. Huh?! The 6-foot-11 Landale averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Suns this past season. I just don’t think it was wise to commit $242 million to three players that aren’t going to lead you deep into the postseason.

-Sticking to the knucklehead moves for now, Dallas just wrecked its future by giving Kyrie Irving $126 million over three years. What?! Nobody with a brain wants to play with this clown. If Luka Doncic isn’t there yet, he will be soon. The mercurial Irving is one of the biggest chafe teammates in NBA history. Did Mark Cuban think there was another team out there willing to give Irving a multi-year contract? He got hustled, fleeced and Kyrie’d simultaneously. Enjoy, dumbass.

-The Mavs did make one good move, though. They got an absolute steal with Seth Curry agreeing to a two-year deal for $8 million. That’s a bargain for one of the NBA’s top 3-point shooters. Dallas also signed Dwight Powell for three years and $12 million.

-I think the Lakers did a really good job, but one move I didn’t like was signing D’Angelo Russell to a two-year contract worth $37 million. That’s just too much money for Russell, although I’ll concede that L.A. probably doesn’t win the Memphis series without Russell’s three consecutive 3-pointers at crunch time in Game 4 at home against the Grizzlies. The Lakers retained Austin Reaves on a four-year contract worth $54 million and Rui Hachimura, who inked a three-year deal for $51 million. They also added Gabe Vincent (three years, $33 million), Taurean Prince (one year, $4.5 million), Cam Reddish (two-year contract) and Jaxson Hayes (two-year deal).

Phoenix has shrewdly added some nice pieces around its trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. It remains to be seen whether or not Deandre Ayton will get traded, but he remains with the Suns for now. With those four players eating up an enormous amount of the team’s salary cap, Phoenix was limited to offering free agents minimum-salary offers. Eric Gordon, Damion Lee, Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks and Chimezie Metu accepted those deals. Gordon, a 15-year veteran who is a 37.1 percent career shooter from 3-point range, is the prize of those signees.

Milwaukee is bringing the band back for a few more runs at an NBA title. The Bucks retained Brook Lopez on a two-year deal worth $48 million after he reportedly considered signing with Houston. They also agreed to a three-year contract for $102 million with Khris Middleton.

Memphis acquired Marcus Smart in the three-team deal with Washington and Boston that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics. Smart will help the Grizzlies a lot and, with the signing of Derrick Rose to a two-year deal, they now have two wise veteran guards to mentor their immature superstar guard Ja Morant. Memphis also gave Desmond Bane the five-year max extension.

Denver saw Bruce Brown and Jeff Green sign elsewhere. To counter Brown’s departure, the Nuggets gave Justin Holiday a one-year deal. That won’t get fans excited, nor will the two-year contract worth $10.25 million to keep Reggie Jackson. HC Mike Malone only played Jackson 18 total minutes in the playoffs.

Sacramento re-signed Harrison Barnes (three years, $54 million), Trey Lyles (two years, $16 million) and Domantas Sabonis (five years, $217 million). The Kings also agreed to a three-year deal for $20 million with Bulgarian forward Sasha Vezenkov, who was chosen as the EuroLeague MVP in 2022-23. In 40 games, Vazenkov averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He hit 65.5 percent of his field-goal attempts, 37.8 percent of his 3-pointers and 87.9 percent of his free throws. Vazenkov was the No. 57 overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft. His rights were traded to Sacramento last summer for a 2022 second-round selection.

Miami is hoping to land Lillard, especially after losing Vincent via free agency and the sign-and-trade deal that sent Max Strus to Cleveland. ESPN’s WOJ has reported that the Heat’s competition for Lillard consists of the Clippers and the 76ers. Miami’s potential package to Portland would include multiple first-round picks and swaps, 23-year-old Tyler Herro and either Duncan Robinson or Kyle Lowry. The Heat added frontcourt depth by inking Thomas Bryant to a minimum two-year deal. They also re-signed Kevin Love and reached an agreement with Josh Richardson.

-To replace VanVleet, Toronto signed Dennis Schroeder to a two-year deal worth $26 million. The Raptors re-signed Jakob Poeltl to a four-year contract for $80 million. O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam can both become free agents after this season, and it’s unclear what the team is planning for them. Both players have been rumored to be on the market at the trade deadline the last two seasons, but the Raptors have yet to pull the trigger on any moves involving them.

Minnesota gave Anthony Edwards a five-year extension and retained Naz Reid on a three-year deal worth $42 million. The Timberwolves added Troy Brown Jr. and Shake Milton, who inked a two-year deal for $10 million.

-The Knicks have signed Donte DiVincenzo to a $50 million contract over four years. DiVincenzo started 36 of 72 games last season for the Warriors, averaging 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He hit 39.7 percent of his 3-pointers and 81.7 percent of his free throws. DiVincenzo will reunite in NYC with former Villanova teammates Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson. New York also shipped Obi Toppin to the Pacers for two second-round picks and a trade exception.

-We mentioned Cleveland‘s deal to acquire Strus from Miami. The Cavs re-signed Caris LeVert to a two-year deal worth $32 million, in addition to agreeing with Georges Niang on a $26 million contract over three years. Ty Jerome also inked a two-year, $5 million offer sheet with Cleveland.

Atlanta finally traded John Collins after years of rumors. The Hawks got under the luxury tax with the move and acquired a $25 million trade exception. They’ve been quiet in free agency so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Landry Fields is working on another trade.

-The Pacers inked Bruce Brown to a two-year, $45 million offer after Brown played a pivotal role for the Nuggets in their push to win an NBA title. They also agreed to give Tyrese Haliburton a five-year maximum extension. And, as previously noted, Indiana acquired a solid player in Toppin from the Knicks.

LaMelo Ball received a five-year max extension with the Hornets, who also gave Miles Bridges a one-year, $7.9 million qualifying offer that will make him an unrestricted free agent after this season. If Ball makes an All-NBA team, he’ll be able to get the 30% max provision that would elevate his contract to $260 million.

-An under-the-radar deal I liked was Philadelphia inking veteran guard Patrick Beverley to a one-year deal.

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