For a city touted for its ability to sign big time free agents, it’d been a while since they landed a big fish. That changed when Butler decided to commit to the city of Miami and be the foundation piece of the future. It was an important get for the Heat and one that gives them a building block player for years to come. They also got rid of Hassan Whiteside, a major win that needs to be lauded. They did lose Josh Richadson, but the math is simple. Butler>Richardson, and getting rid of Hassan >>>.
Golden State Warriors
It never ends. This is how the Greeks must have felt waiting for the Roman empire to collapse. Hours after the world celebrated the demise of the Warriors with KD leaving, the Warriors didn’t miss a beat and pulled off a S&T shocker, bring D’Angelo Russell to the Golden State. While chances they keep Russell are reportedly slim, this is still a major win for or organization that far too many people are assuming is going to go away. Steph, Klay, Russell, and Draymond are still a massive threat and if Russell does stay, the Warriors are going to have two of the best shooters in league history off the ball… good luck defending that.
What a summer for the once disgraced franchise. The Nets have gone from being the laughingstock of Game of Zones to the biggest free agent destination in the league. The Nets front office deserves tremendous credit for doing such an amazing job in such a short time with super limited resources. Kyrie Irving has proven he isn’t an alpha player who can get it done alone, but once KD comes back the Nets have the potential to make all the noise in the Eastern conference. They truly did “glow up” this offseason.
Los Angeles Clippers
WOAHHHH. It had been reported that the Los Angeles Clippers were in third place behind the Raptors and Lakers as potential landing spots and it looked like all the cap space and all the promise would ultimately be fruitless. Then, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, it happened. The Clippers not only signed Kawhi Leonard, they paired him with Paul George in a move that ironically sent George to the rival of the team he was dead set on signing with a few years ago. The Clippers are in a position to compete with the Lakers for best team in LA, a statement that seemed nearly impossible in the aftermath of the Anthony Davis trade.
Ultimately, the Celtics plan failed. They hoped to use their assets to build a superteam and, while they have a great team still capable of competing in a weakened East, it isn’t he superteam they or the fans of Boston were looking for. They made the best out of a bad situation with Kyrie and Al Horford leaving, but this was not Danny Ainge’s plan for the 2019 Celtics.
The NBA champions are one of the biggest losers from this Free Agency period. They did everything right, yet were unable to keep Kawhi Leonard and are thus in a position where they still have a solid team, but no chance of winning a title. The Raptors still won the Spurs trade due to the simple fact that they won a championship, but losing Leonard is a big blow to a team that was set to run it back.
The New York Knicks
Sorry Stephen A, you don’t deserve this. What an atrocious, unfulfilling, and pathetic offseason for the once proud Knicks franchise. Andre Iguodala made waves when he proclaimed that nobody would join the Knicks, but we all knew he was right. The Knicks are a mess and a joke of a franchise that will not be relevant until Dolan sells the team. Nobody wants to play for him and nobody wants the pressure of being the savior of the New York Knicks. All those photoshopped picture of Zion, Kyrie, and KD together now serve as a reminder to the Knicks of what could have been. But hey, at least they got Julius Randle!
After a wild couple of weeks, the NBA landscape has taken shape. 2019 is set to be the most balanced year in the NBA in a long time. Get ready NBA fans, it’s going to be a wild season.