NBA: Free Agency

Staff Writer: Corey Darko

This summer was arguably one of the most eventful offseasons in NBA history. Guys like Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant left teams they’ve been on for years, and there’s a superteam in the making.

Pacific Division:

Golden State Warriors

Grade: A+

What team better to start with than the defending champion Golden State Warriors? Despite coming up short in the finals, they still had a historic 73-9 record and they still managed to improve. Despite giving up Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Leandro Barbosa, they added Former MVP Kevin Durant and veteran Zaza Pachulia, who was nearly voted an All-Star. On paper, this team is arguably the greatest team assembled, and the thought of Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry on the same team will be scary to watch.

Los Angeles Clippers

Grade: C+

The Clippers were disappointing this offseason. They did nothing to add depth to their bench. Not to mention they were unsuccessful at getting Kevin Durant, which they spent most of their offseason trying to accomplish. Although the Clippers are a top team in the West and have a talented trio in Jordan, Paul, and Griffin, their poor depth and injury-riddled history of Blake Griffin will plague them in the postseason.

Phoenix Suns

Grade: B-

Even though the Suns have come off one of their worst seasons in franchise history, they do have something to look forward to. With the emergence of Devin Booker and the drafting of Dragan Bender and Marqueese Chriss, the Sun are headed in the right direction. Not to mention, adding veterans like Leandra Barbosa and Jared Dudley was a smart call, since they were in need of experience. In conclusion, they didn’t have an ideal offseason, but they did have a decent offseason for a developing team.

Los Angeles Lakers

Grade: C-

It’s been yet another miserable offseason for the Lakers. They did draft Brandon Ingram and have a promising young core, but for the second straight year, major free agents like Demar DeRozan and Kevin Durant denied the Lakers a meeting. A team troubled with chemistry issues, poor depth, and no Kobe, it will take this team a while to reach their full potential.

Sacramento Kings

Grade: D

Giving the Sacramento Kings’ offseason a D is honestly being generous. It was yet another season of embarrassment and lost identity. From chemistry issues between the coach and the team to tantrums from their franchise player in DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are trouble. It was also another season where the Kings again struck out on any major free agents. Plus their draft was rather quiet. In conclusion, the Kings went through another offseason looking for answers as well as identity and direction.

Northwest Division:

Oklahoma City Thunder

Grade: C-

Despite resigning Westbrook and signing talented guard Victor Oladipo, losing Kevin Durant is just too much to overcome. The Thunder may still make the playoffs, however, without KD, they will struggle for a couple of years.

Utah Jazz

Grade: A-

The Jazz will be downright scary next year. With free agent signings of Boris Diaw, George Hill, and Joe Johnson, they’ve added veterans and depth to their team at the same time. The Jazz were already a scary team before, but injures derailed them from reaching their full potential. However, now that Rudy Gobert and Dante Exum will have a whole summer to rest and heal, the Jazz can make a run in the playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Grade: B-

Despite being relatively quiet this offseason, they finally solved their biggest problem: adding veterans. Other than Kevin Garnett, this team is extremely young, now that they added Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich, they’ve added depth and experience. With reigning rookie of the year Karl Anthony Towns, future superstar Andrew Wiggins, athletic wing Zach Lavine, and former coach of the year Tom Thibodeau, look out for this team next year.

Portland Trail Blazers

Grade: B-

The Trail Blazers shocked the world by how well they did. Despite losing most of their starters, Damien Lillard and McCollum carried the Blazers all the way to the second round of the playoffs.Adding Evan turner increased the depth off the dense and Festus Ezeli adds a physical presence down low. I don’t expect the Trail Blazers to do a lot better than last year, but I still believe they will a great season and make the playoffs with Lillard leading the way.

Denver Nuggets

Grade: C-

Lets face it: Denver just doesn’t attract major free agents. However they do have a young core of Muday, Jokic and Murry to look forward to. Drafting Jamal Murry was a smart decision, he’s the second best scorer in the draft behind heild. I believe him and Mudiay will result in a dangerous backcourt in a couple years. Not to mention, Jokic had an amazing rookie and most likely will be the guy the nuggets will bulid around. Despite not doing a lot in the offseason, the nuggets are quietly constructing a team that can compete with the best in the west.

Southwest Division:

San Antonio Spurs

Grade: B+

Despite a disappointing playoff exit last season, there is something about the Spurs that always helps them attract major free agents. The signing of Paul Gasol was huge for the post Tim Duncan era. Not to mention Kawhi Leonard will continue to be great and he’s not even in his prime yet. The Spurs will be just fine next season and is the only real team that is in the way of the Warriors having a cakewalk to the Finals.

Memphis Grizzlies

Grade: B+

The Grizzlies had a successful offseason, Despite overpaying Mike Conley, adding Chandler parsons to your rosters adds perimeter shooting and a decent wing defender. Adding Toney Wroten also give you an athletic, above average backup guard. The drafting of Wade Baldwin the third, gives you a young prospect out of Vanderbilt with a lot of potential to offer. If Gasol and Randolph stay healthy, the Grizzlies will have a tremendous season next year.

Dallas Mavericks

Grade: C+

The Mavericks had a decent offseason. Signing Harrison isn’t a big upgrade over Chandler Parsons, however, Barnes has shown potential and adds depth. Not to mention Andrew Bogut provides more rim protection and rebounding ( something the Mavericks needed to improve on. Finally, Seth Curry offers shooting and immediate scoring off the bench. Though they didn’t sign a superstar free agent, the mavericks signed very good role players that could take the pressure off of the aging Dirk Nowitzki.

Houston Rockets

Grade: C+

The Houston Rockets are a team struggling to find their identity and footing in this league. However, there offseason was fairly productive. Getting ride of Dwight Howard was a smart move and had to be done since it was obvious that him and James Harden weren’t coexisting and team chemistry was an issue. Signing Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson added shooting and much needed depth to their bench. If the Rockets would fix there chemistry issues, this team would probably be a top ten or even five team in the league. However, until that happens and they find their identity, this team will continue to struggle in this league.

New Orleans Pelicans

Grade: C-

Despite a awful season last year, the Pelicans are still headed towards the right direction. With drafting an explosive scorer in Buddy Hield and picking a decent power forward in Terrance Jones and 3 and d player in Soloman Hill, the Pelicans made little but effective steps. Hield lifts some of the scoring pressure and burden off of Anthony Davis and Jones is a good backup power forward considering Davis has an injury riddled history. The Pelicans are another team on the rise but still far from contending in the west.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Boston Celtics

Grade: A-

NBA look out for this team. The Celtics are quietly building a contender. With signings of one of the most talented big man in Al Horford and drafting rookie Jalen Brown, who’s shown a lot of upside, the Celtics are built to challenge top teams in the east. The only problem with the Celtics is I worry about them getting crushed on the boards, which happened frequently last year. Other than that, this Celtics team should do special things next year

Toronto Raptors

Grade: B-

The Raptors had a decent offseason, resigning Demar Derozen and drafting David Poetil is huge. However, thry also lost Bismack Biyombo, there best defensive player, rebounder, and heart and soul of their. He brought passion and energy that no one on their team can replace and despite David Poetil being a good defensive player, he’s still a project player and will take him several years to develop

 

New York Knicks

Grade: B-

The Knicks quietly are assembling a great team in their own right. With Kristaps Porzinges expected to have a breakout year next year and signing former MVP and defensive player of the year derrick rose and Joakim Noah, the city of New York has a lot to be excited about. Not to mention signing Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings adds much needed debt to their bench. However, injuries might be an issue. Derrick rose has missed over 100 games in the last 3 years and Joakim Noah has been out since January, even Carmelo has missed a fair share of games. However, if all goes well and Rose stays healthy, the Knicks could cause havoc and potentially challenge the Cavs for top team in the east.

Brooklyn Nets

Grade: C-

Despite coming of a dreadful season, the nets did have a somewhat decent offseason. The signing of Jeremy Lin and Randy Foye adds shooting and depth to your bench. Also Trevor Booker adds energy and veteran experience on to you floor. Not to mention drafting for Caris Lavert was a smart move, he adds upside to your roster. These signings should help the Nets in the big picture, however, they will continue to struggle badly.

Philadelphia 76ers

Grade: C-

The Sixers have been the laughing stock of the NBA for years. However, they are going in some type of direction. With the signing of Ben Simmons and Joel Embid returning next year, the Sixers are heading toward the right been and should have a higher increase in wins next year. But still, there center position is crammed right now, and chemistry problems with Jahlil Okafor will be something to look at next year.

Central

Cleveland Cavaliers

Grade: A-

The Cavaliers are NBA champions and giving them an A is basically required. However they have had a relatively quiet offseason. Lebron James did resign and they gained good pieces in Chris Anderson and Mike Dunleavy. However, losing Dellavedova was major since he is one of their best bench players and he brought energy and defense to the floor the Cavs just can’t replace. Also J.R Smith leaving is becoming a bigger possibility more and more. If they lose him, that would be a major hit since he’s the team’s best 3 and d player. Other than these problems, the Cavs will most likely do great next year since they a player no other team has: Lebron James

Indiana Pacers

Grade: B+

The Pacers are another team that have quietly assembled a good team. Signing Jeff Teague surely upgrades their point guard depth, and signing Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson should result in major bench play upgrades. The only problem I have with the pacers is how the backcourt of Jeff Teague and Monte Ellis will coexist. There both ball dominant players and the only way this team will be successful is if they share the ball. If this happens and the chemistry is above-average, the Pacers could pose a threat in the East.

Detroit Pistons

Grade: B-

The Pitons had a breakout year last year. Despite being swept in the playoffs by the eventual champions in the Cavaliers, they took them to the limit every game and had them on the ropes. The problem with this team has been their poor bench play and free throw shooting ( thanks to Andre Drummond. However, signing Ish Smith adds more point guard depth and Boban Marjanovic is a great back up center. Also, Henry Ellenson is an exciting young prospect who has shown tremendous upside of becoming a great stretch four in this league. I also believe Stanly Johnson will be a special player in this league and another one to look out for. Most importantly, resigning Andre Drummond was the most important goal the Pistons accomplished this offseason since they saved their franchise player from walking away. The Pistons haven’t yet reached contender status and have long ways to go, however this offseason they made huge strides in fixing their problems and will once again have another good season.

Milwaukee Bucks

Grade: B-

Despite failing expectations, the Bucks have something to prove next year. With the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and good free agent signings, the Bucks will be a team on the rise next year. Let’s not forgot Jabari Parker has an amazing year considering some people don’t recover after tearing our ACL and he was able to do that. Everyone knows the bucks biggest problem is 3 point shooting, how they were able to add Matthew Dellavadova and Mirza Telenevic ( Two of the best 3 point hotter by percentage in the league, was huge in closing the gap of the weakest part of the team. This Bucks team is expected and should make the playoffs next year.

Chicago Bulls

Grade: C+

It has been a disappointing offseason for the Bulls. Despite signing veteran shooting guard Dwayne Wade, there starting lineup, on paper, arguably have the worst shooting in the league. Despite these liabilities, they made smart moves in trading Rose and Noah since there injury liabilities. Overall, I don’t expect much from this team and believe they will struggle.

 

SOUTHEAST

Charlotte Hornets

Grade: B-

Even though the Hornets lost their best scorer off the bench in Jeremy Lin and, they were still able to fill the gap that he left. Resigning Batum was he as he was the best 3 and d defender on the team. Losing Al Jefferson was also very bad for the Hornets, however, he was a liability on defense and replacing him with the more defensive minded Roy Hibbert was smart. Marco Bellineli adds shooting and floor spacing for the hornets. In conclusion, despite losing key bench players, they did gain many good pieces.

 

 

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Atlanta Hawks:

Grade: C+

This has been a somewhat poor offseason for our Atlanta Hawks. Despite drafting a decent pic in Taureen prince and signing Jarret Jack and Dwight Howard, we lost Jeff Teague and arguably thee best payer on our team in Al Hortford. The Hawks will of course still make the playoffs but have long ways to go to reach contender status.

Miami Heat

Grade: C+

The offseason for the heat has been shaky. Losing Dwayne Wade and Joe Johnson is huge since their some of the best offensive players on the team. Lets be honest: You can’t replace Dwayne Wade, and him leaving and is 13 years of your franchise erased. But, they did manage to find a way to keep Whiteside plus have promising sophomores in Winslow and Richardson. Live without Wade, will be a struggle for the Heat.

 

Orlando Magic

Grade: C+

This offseason was good and bad for the Magic. Losing Oladipo and trading their draft pick was a big slap to the face. However, they improved their defense dramatically. Gaining Bismarck Biyombo and Serge Ibaka will make this team a huge presence in their frontcourt. Not to mention Aaron Gordon is starting to show serious upside and the way Frank Vogel turned Paul George into a superstar, what he could do for Aaron Gordon is scary. Not to mention with Evan Fournier and Vucevic, this team could be special one day.

 

Washington Wizards

Grade: C-

The Wizards had a disappointing offseason and regular season. Giving a max contract to a player who is injury riddled in Bradley Beal is a huge risk. Also there have been reported chemistry issue between Beal and wall, which is highly concerning since their the best players. However, signing Mahimi does add a physical presence downlow and a defensive anchor. If the Wizards don’t fix the issues between Wall and Beal, next year will be another season to forget.

Miami Heat

Grade: C+

The offseason for the heat has been shaky. Losing Dwayne Wade and Joe Johnson is huge since their some of the best offensive players on the team. Lets be honest: You can’t replace Dwayne Wade, and him leaving and is 13 years of your franchise erased. But, they did manage to find a way to keep Whiteside plus have promising sophomores in Winslow and Richardson. Live without Wade, will be a struggle for the Heat.

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Comments

  1. Joshua Davis says:

    This was bad

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