One month ago, shockwaves filtered out through the league as the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors crumbled at the feet of the Toronto Raptors. Following the franchise's first finals victory, there was rejoice through the night, but the next day a new discussion arose as NBA Free Agency reared its ugly head.
Which superstars would be on the move? Could Kevin Durant and finals MVP Kawhi Leonard both ditch their current teams for new ones? Who would be the third piece to the Lakers' hopeful dynasty?
The majority of questions were answered in Day One of NBA Free Agency, but how did each team do?
Let us grade the important NBA Free Agency Day One acquisitions.
Brooklyn Nets: A
Now you may think that I am crazy, thinking Brooklyn deserves the perfect A+, but they simply do not. The Nets made league altering moves on day one, as they signed Kevin Durant to a four-year, $164 million deal, Kyrie Irving to a four-year, $141 million deal, and Deandre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million deal.
Now the reason I stuck with an 'A' grade is simple. Kevin Durant will only play three of his four years due to recovering from a ruptured Achilles. It is a massive risk to sign a 30-year old player coming off a serious injury to a vital part of the body. Only one out of 18 players have ever sustained greatness after an injury like Durant's. This is the reason the Knicks reportedly did not offer him a max contract.
Durant and Irving took a lower salary to allow Brooklyn to sign DeAndre Jordan. Beyond the acquisitions, Brooklyn was are able to keep the majority of their playoff roster from last season.
The moves the Nets made were strategic and well thought out. Along with Durant, Irving and Jordan, they still have the cap space to keep guards Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert, and forward Joe Harris, all vital parts of the team's identity.
Philadelphia 76ers: A-
The Philadelphia 76ers should be overjoyed with whom they landed on day one, nearly competing with the Nets incoming talent. The Sixers were able to retain a vital piece of their team in Tobias Harris, who signed a five-year, $180 million deal. Philadelphia also prodded Al Horford away from Boston. Although a 33-year old big man, Horford adds vital size, skill in the post with Joel Embiid that Marjanovic could not produce, and veteran leadership on a team that desperately need it.
Last, but possibly the biggest move thus far, is the sign-and-trade of Jimmy Butler. Butler declined the Sixers' max contract offer, in return, Philadelphia shipped him to Miami in exchange for Josh Richardson. Last season, Richardson averaged 16.6 points and looks like he can fill the hole left by Butler due to his defensive strengths.
Milwaukee Bucks: B+
The Milwaukee Bucks started free agency with one question in mind-who would return? The answer was given less than an hour into Sunday's festivities when Kris Middleton, Brooke Lopez, and George Hill all re-upped with the team.
Middleton signed a five-year, $178 million deal taking less than what he could on another team. Lopez put pen to paper on a four-year, $52 million deal, returning as the key defensive player for the Bucks, and Hill extended his stay in Milwaukee for three more seasons.
Although key pieces are returning, the Bucks did lose former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon. While the Brogdon's 15 points per game will be missed, MVP Giannis Antetokounmp should be enough, along with the rest of the resignees, to be back in the hunt for the NBA Finals.
Portland Blazers: B+
The Portland Trail Blazers kept busy the first two days of free agency, but two moves standout among the rest. The biggest and best deal for the Blazers was the extension for Damian Lillard who grabbed a four-year, $196 million deal, followed by a sign-and-trade involving center Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside, wanting to escaped Miami, rejoiced when he heard the news of his trade. Blazers fans should rejoice as well. Although owed $27 million, Whiteside will replace Jusuf Nurkic as he recovers from a serious leg injury that sidelined him for the betterment of the second half last season.
Keeping sixth man Rodney Hood and snagging promising free agent Marion Hezonja should also leave Portland fans excited for the season to start.
Golden State Warriors: B-
As already mentioned, Kevin Durant signed with the Nets, which was a killer for the Warriors as he turned down a five-year, $221 million deal, settling for a year and $57 million less. Despite the loss, they were able to re-sign Klay Thompson to a five-year $190 million deal and keep the Splash Bros. together.
While Durant left for the Nets, the Warriors did not leave empty-handed as rising star D'Angelo Russell was gifted to Golden State on behalf of Brooklyn.
Adding Russell roster gives the Warriors another offensive threat but does raise questions as to if he will become the sixth man or a starter once Thompson returns.
The big worry with the Warriors is the question, will they be able to retain DeMarcus Cousins? The team did bring Kevon Looney back on a three-year deal, which may spell the end of Cousins short-living tenure in Golden State. If so, the worry now is that Golden State does not have an all-star caliber starter outside of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. That may be enough to make the playoffs, but with the Lakers signing Anthony Davis and possibly looking at Kawhi Leonard, they may be looking at the downfall of their dynasty.
Boston Celtics: C
The Celtics were able to sign 29-year-old Kemba Walker to a four-year contract worth $141 million. This raises many questions on what the team will look like next year. The Celtics just lost Kyrie to the Nets and Al Horford to the 76ers. Another problem is, to afford Walker, Boston had to let go of Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier.
The upcoming year is looking fairly gray at this point because on top of losing four key players, Gordon Hayward's health is a question once again, the Celtics don’t have a starting center, and their money is limited. With little options remaining, Danny Ainge will have to work some magic before the season starts.
New York Knicks: C-
The Knicks were able to grab two free agents on day one, both being forwards, Julius Randle for three years and $63 million and Taj Gibson with two years and $20 million. Randle is a young player coming off the best season of his young career hoping to be the future of the program whereas Gibson is looking to be a veteran leader in the organization.
New York also added multiple guards including Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington, who will serve as primary three-point shooters, alone with Elfrid Peyton adding depth off the bench.
A head-scratching move, not for talent's sake, was the signing of Bobby Portis. While Portis is a big body in the paint and an outside shooting threat, after signing two forwards on day one of free agency, New York's frontcourt is crowded.
A few good moves do not change much for the Knicks, as the future is still looking rough due to missing out on Zion Williamson, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan.
A let down of an offseason for New York has fans in an utter state of panic making the 2019 Free Agency class a disaster.
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