NBA Free Agency: A Time of Change

Summer-a time of change. Power shifts mostly from the GM and the team to the player. A player can go to any team when they are a free agent. This year, we had some huge signings and trades and we are ranking the top 10 biggest moves and then predicting their ranking and where they will be and exit in the playoffs.
*Note: The KD signing was big for warriors but it was expected

10)Jabari goes home
Jabari Parker signed a 2 year 40 million dollar deal to come home and play for the Chicago Bulls. He had experienced interest in coming home and playing for the Bulls since he entered the NBA. His dream came true to play for his home team. This move makes it clear to the world that the Chicago Bulls are not tanking this year to get another high draft pick. The Bulls think they have what it takes to be a playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference that just lost LeBron to the Lakers. The Bulls also are paying him a large amount of money for a player that had major acl injuries and was out for a great period of time. The Bulls also assigned a bunch of money to Zach Lavigne by matching the offer that the Sacramento Kings gave him for a 4 year 78 million dollar deal for someone who has yet to prove himself as a superstar player that can lead a team to the playoffs. He is still young however and has upside potential, but his injury that he faced might hold him back.
Prediction: 7-8th seed in playoffs; first round exit

9)Isaiah Thomas signs with Nuggets
IT was a player that was supposed to get a max contract this year from a team after his MVP caliber year one year ago with the Boston Celtics. He averaged 28.9 ppg leading the Celtics to the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He was expecting the big bucks this summer when he became an unrestricted free agent. Instead, his hip injury held him out till January and when he came back, he didn’t fit In with the Cavaliers organization and playing will LeBron and led to a trade with Lakers. With the Lakers, he was playing decent, but not worthy of a max contract. This summer he signed a 1 year deal for the veteran’s minimum which is 2.1 million. He can prove himself this year and get some money next year, but for right now, the Nuggets got a snag for a cheap price and he can be a great bench scorer.
Prediction: 7th seed; first round exit

8)Butler declines extension from the twolves
The rumors about Jimmy Butler have risen since his decline of a 4 year extension with the Timberwolves for 110 million. Rumors have sparked statements saying that he doesn’t like the attitude by the young players and that he wants to play with Kyrie Irving and team up with him in the summer of 2019. These rumors might be true, but the rumor that says he wants out of Minnesota should not be spread yet. He might have declined the extension because he can get a huge paycheck this summer if he resigns with the Timberwolves for 5 years 187.9 million dollars. He could get paid 78 million dollars more for an average salary of almost 38 million per year instead of 28.5 million per year.
Prediction: 5th seed; first round exit

7)Evans signs with Pacers
Tyreke Evans impressed most of us last year when he signed a one year deal with the Grizzlies to get his career back and get a paycheck this year. Evans is a point guard/small forward who can be very useful for the Indiana Pacers as a secondary ball handler and scorer next to Victor Oladipo. Evans would be better off used as a point guard. All the teams he has played for played him at small forward wasting his gifted playmaking and ball handling. Pushing collision to the bench to lead the bench unit as a scorer and set up man would also be great for the bench.
Prediction: 4th seed; second round exit

6)Lakers sign side pieces for LeBron
Lakers made many moves to their roster after their huge signing of LeBron James. They decided to put other play makers and high IQ players to help LeBron. In my opinion, this was a bad decision for the Lakers. LeBron maximizes his playmaking and value when he is surrounded by shooters. At Miami and Cleveland he was surrounded by shooters like Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Kyle Korver, JR smith, Kevin Love and more. Having players that can’t shoot or that shoot at a poor rate is bad for him when he wants to drive and kick. Lakers signed Rondo, Stephenson, and McGee all to one year deals and they got rid of Julius Randle in the process. None of the players they signed expand the floor, but are all high IQ players that can reduce stress on James in making on the court decisions.
Prediction: 6th seed; second round exit

5)Cousins signs w/ Warriors
One of the most surprising and most hated moves this offseason was when Demarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors. Signing with the Golden State Warriors was only part of the problem that people hated in the signing. Everyone hated how he only signed for 5 million dollars when he could have gotten a max deal or at least 15-20 million somewhere else for a 1 year rental. Cousins made the Warriors starting 5 full of 5 all-stars. He could have just made the greatest team in NBA history. To sign Cousins, Warriors didn’t lose any assets that were important to the team like Iguodala because he just took up the mid-level exception. This move made Warriors the clear favorites to win the championship this year after an almost slight late exit to Rockets. They just got way better while stealing an asset that the Lakers were gonna put next to LeBron to win a championship for the city of LA.
Prediction: 1st seed; NBA champions

4)Mega deal between Raptors and Spurs
Today morning, news broke of the deal between the Spurs and Raptors to send Kawhi Leonard to Toronto and Demar Derozan, Jakob Poetl, and a 2019 first round pick back to the Spurs. The rumors of Toronto trading for Kawhi rose when the odds to land Kawhi put Toronto at the top without any inside knowledge. This move was great for the Spurs. They were able to get a star player even after the news broke that Kawhi didn’t want to play there along with a nice young center that is good defensively to pair along with Aldridge. This move will pay off for the Raptors if Kawhi does embrace the culture that is there in Toronto and resigns for a long-term deal. If he plays , Raptors could be a top seed and have a legitimate chance of reaching the finals. Spurs have a good team and will be a playoff team, but in a tough Western Conference, they won’t have a chance at the finals.
Prediction:
Raptors: 2nd seed; ECF exit
Spurs: 6th seed; first round exit

3)Chris Paul resigns with Houston
Chris Paul resigned with the Houston Rockets this summer for 4 years 160 million. This signing was worth more than that of LEBRON JAMES. The Rockets overpaid him a lot and will be paying a 37 year old Chris Paul around 40-45 million dollars when he will be washed up. This will be a good signing for the first two years of his deal when he is still in his all-star form. He was huge for the Rockets this year and if he didn’t get injured for games 6 and 7 in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets could have been the NBA Champions. This signing however did hurt them a bit because they couldn’t retain Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Prediction: 3rd seed; second round exit

2)Paul George resigns with OKC
OKC pulled off a miracle in the eyes of most NBA fans. Most people thought Paul George was for sure coming to LA after he expressed interest during the 2017 offseason after disappointing season in Indiana. The Lakers didn’t pull the trigger on a Paul George deal then and then missed out on a meeting this year because George signed a deal immediately with OKC for a max contract. Despite his family wanting to move to LA, he stayed because of unfinished business with Russell Westbrook. OKC boosted their roster this year so they can maybe contend with Golden State. They signed Nerlens Noel which is a huge upgrade for a backup center than Nick Collison was in the finishing years of his career. They resigned Felton and Grant, two promising backups. Grant could start after Melo gets traded or bought out as he brings defensive intensity to the starting lineup that Melo couldn’t bring. This Thunder team has the potential to go deep in the playoffs.
Prediction: 2nd seed; WCF exit

1)LABron comes true
LeBron James has officially come to LA. People have been predicting this the entire year. This was obviously not a basketball decision because he would have waited for Kawhi, George, or Cousins to sign first to join him and actually make this team a championship contender. I believe that he went to LA to expand his out of basketball life. He had expressed interest in making movies and starring in movies and LA is the perfect place for that. This LA team has become a playoff team, but it isn’t a championship contender just yet until they add another star player via trade or free agency.
Prediction: 6th seed; second round exit

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