2017 NBA Free Agency Shake-up
Updated - July 7, 7pm EST
With the NBA Salary Cap increasing by $24 Million from the 2015-16 season, we were bound to see several big trades, big contracts and big money being thrown at the league’s top Free Agents. Here are a few of those top moves and the impact they will have on the league and remaining action in free agency.
If we ranked the top 8 teams based on regular season record, 5 of the top 8 would be out of the West and the East would only hold the #4 spot (Celtics) and the #7 and #8 spots (Cavs & Raptors). So, it only makes sense the majority of the moves are by Western Conference teams trying to compete with the reigning NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors. Not to mention the recent NBA Player rankings show 13 of the top 14 players are all in the West (Lebron, #1 on the list is the only player from the East now that Paul George is out West). Any way you look at it, the West is STACKED.
Golden State Warriors
NBA Champions (67-15)
Although they finished with the #1 record in the league for the 3rd year in a row the Warriors were not content with sitting back and watching the action. Re-signing the majority of their championship team to longer contracts as well as adding fire-power from the bench, they have been very successful in this offseason.
Shaun Livingston signed a 3-year deal worth $24M
Steph Curry signed a 5-year deal worth $201M
David West signed a 1-year deal (likely his last season)
Andre Iguodala signed a 3-year deal worth $48M
Kevin Durrant opted out of his contract to sign a 2-year deal worth $53M
Nick Young was added to the roster for a 1-year deal worth $5.2M
Lost in the second round to San Antonio (55-27)
Adding one of the best point guards (Chris Paul) in the NBA, the 3rd best team in the league hopes to put up a fight this year and come out ahead of the Spurs and Warriors in the West.
Chris Paul traded from Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers
Lost in the first round to Utah (51-31)
With the injury to Griffin in the first round and an early exit out of the Western Conference Playoffs the Clippers were hoping to make a splash in Free Agency. With the trade of Chris Paul to Houston, LA joined in a 3-team trade to acquire Daniallo Galinari, a floor-spacing shooter that the Clippers hope will fill the void of Chris Paul.
Blake Griffin signed a 5-year Deal worth $173M
Daniallo Galinari acquired in a trade for a 3-year deal worth $65M
Finished 13th in the West (31-51)
With a bismal .378 win percentage, the Timberwolves hope to make the playoffs this year with their off-season moves bolstering their chances. The addition of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague should be just what the Timberwolves need to make an impact in the West.
Jimmy Butler traded from Bulls
Taj Gibson signed a 2-year $28M contract
Jeff Teague joined the team with a 3-year deal worth $57M
Oklahoma City Thunder
Lost to Houston in the first round (47-35)
Indiana knew they would lose Paul George during free agency. So rather than getting nothing out of free agency, they traded him to the West and moved the threat of facing him to the Thunder. This trade has made the East softer and added more fire-power to the West.
Paul George traded from Pacers
Lost in the 2nd round to Golden State (51-31)
Gordon Hayward has chosen to join the Boston Celtics and take his talents to the Eastern Conference. Prior to losing Hayward, the Jazz traded for the Minnesota’s point guard, Ricky Rubio to entice Hayward to stay. With Ingles and Rubio now locked in, the Jazz look to add more weapons such as Jae Crowder from the Celtics as they dump players to make room for Hayward.
Joe Ingles signed a 4-year deal worth $52M
Ricky Rubio traded from Timberwolves
Just missed playoffs (40-42)
The Denver Nuggets lost Daniallo Galinari to the Clippers but added some star power in signing Paul Millsap to a 3-year $90M contract.
Paul Millsap signed a 3-year deal worth $90M
San Antonio Spurs
Lost in Western Conference Finals to Golden State (61-21)
A healthy Spurs team may have given the Warriors a run for their money. With Tony Parker out possibly into the beginning of next season, the Spurs have signed Patty Mills and Rudy Gay and hope to lure Manu Ginobili back to the squad to handle the ball in Parker’s absence.
Patty Mills signed to 3-year $57M
Since the return of Lebron James to Cleveland, the Cavs have been to the Finals in each of the last 3 years. As teams scramble to find the perfect fit for their organization, beating Cleveland is on the mind of most Eastern Conference teams.
Lost to the Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals (53-29)
The Celtics couldn’t quite handle the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, despite earning home court advantage. Although they are adding Hayward (from Utah) to the mix, many think that they will have to off-load too many players to sign the Western Conference All-Star. Likely shedding Crowder or Smart, the Celtics will need other role players to step up in order to match the play of other big men in the conference.
Gordon Hayward signed 4-year contract worth $128M
Marcus Morris traded from Pistons
Lost in 2nd round to Cleveland (51-31)
The Raptors look to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference by re-signing core players Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry to 3-year deals. However, without adding other game changers, the Raptors are unlikely to be able to compete against the Cavs and Celtics in the East.
Serge Ibaka signed a 3-year deal worth $65M
Kyle Lowry signed a 3-year deal worth $100M
Lost in NBA Finals to Golden State (51-31)
Despite finishing 2nd in the East, the Cavaliers made it out of the East and into their 3rd straight finals appearance. With the addition of KD to the Warriors already potent offense, the Cavs struggled to keep the finals competitive, losing in 5 games to the Champions. Although only one contract (to Korver) has been signed, the Cavs look to trade or sign some supporting players to dethrone the Warriors.
Kyle Korver signed a 3-year deal worth $22M
Remaining Free Agents and trade talk
Many of the remaining unsigned players are waiting for the dust to settle on the first week of free agency before they begin talks with potential suitors. Here are some of those players and the rumor mill behind where they will land.
ZaZa Pachulia – Any team looking to “undercut” the competition may want to sign ZaZa, however Pachulia will likely re-sign with the Warriors.
Marreese Speights – Likely won’t have interest until other names on this list are picked up.
Manu Ginobili – Hasn't made an official decision yet on returning but the Spurs have shown interest with the possibility of Tony Parker not being available at the season’s start.
Mason Plumlee – With Millsap in Denver, his playing minutes will be limited but Denver will likely have a new deal for Plumlee to keep his experience around.
Pau Gasol – Still has some in the tank. May be valuable for the Spurs to keep.
Derrick Rose – Possibly a re-sign with Knicks and trade with Milwaukee.
Carmelo Anthony – His name has been in and out of trade talks. Looks to be getting more serious with the Cavs and possibly a 3-team trade with Atlanta.
No matter how this off-season transpires, the NBA will look very different next year. Will the Warriors reign supreme? Or can another new contender ruin their bid for a repeat ring. There is still so much left to play out…make sure to get your popcorn ready!