The rushed nature of this offseason turned free agency, which often plays out over several weeks, into a wild extended weekend. Dozens of players rushed to find new teams ahead of training camps, which will get underway in just a few days.
Although this was billed as a relatively weak free agent class, millions of dollars were quickly committed, with Brandon Ingram (five seasons, $158.25MM from the Pelicans), Gordon Hayward (four years, $120MM from the Hornets), Fred VanVleet (four years, $85MM from the Raptors) and Davis Bertans (five years, $80MM from the Wizards) landing the richest deals. The top contenders for next season may not have changed, but some other teams were extremely active as they try to move up.
John Hollinger of The Athletic cites the Hawks as the team that did the most to improve. Atlanta won’t know until later today if Sacramento will match its four-year, $72MM offer sheet to Bogdan Bogdanovic, but the Hawks already stocked their roster with free agent signings Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn. Hollinger sees Atlanta as a legitimate playoff threat and suggests the team could look to trade John Collins for a starting small forward.
On the downside, Hollinger is mystified by the Pistons‘ decision to give up their three best young players in Christian Wood, Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard to hand out sizeable deals to Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee.
The worst fit, according to Hollinger, was the Lakers‘ addition of Montrezl Harrell, because L.A. had success in the playoffs by surrounding Anthony Davis with big men who could shoot from the outside. That’s not part of Harrell’s game, although he will provide a physical presence inside after the loss of Dwight Howard.
We want to get your take on the flurry of signings, which we’re chronicling in our Free Agent Tracker. What are the best deals so far, and which teams will end up with buyer’s remorse? Please leave your responses in the comments section.