In less than 48 hours, numerous NBA teams have already committed over half a 1.4 BILLION DOLLARS to free agents and none of these “Verbal-Agreements” can be made official until the NBA lifts it’s annual moratorium on July 8th. Typically barring a major change of heart from an organization or player; most of these agreements will be followed through & made official next week. There was a lot of debate how players would treat this years free agency period with the salary cap about to drastically change the financial landscape of NBA teams next season. Because of the new television deal signed players in free agency this year could have accepted shorter, less lucrative deals in order to jump back into free agency in two years when the TV money flows in. But despite all the hypotheticals from the media, it turns out that its difficult to turn down 8/9 figured salaries when it’s staring at you right in the face. Let’s go through some of the major investments teams teams have made yesterday.
Anthony Davis: 5 years, $145 Million
No surprise here, Davis is unanimously regarded as the “Next Big Thing” when it comes to elite players in the league. Last year he had arguably the best season ever for a 21-year old. Furthermore, because Davis is so young he will only be 27 when this contract ends which means his next deal can be in upwards of over $200 Million.
Kevin Love: 5 years, $110 Million
There was a lot of talk about Love losing his value this past season after having a sub-par regular season & being hurt during the playoffs while his team still made the NBA finals. Well apparently the Cavs organization was not paying attention to all the noise because they just handed Love the biggest contract yesterday second to Anthony Davis. Despite all the outside noise of Love not enjoying his time in Clevland & him not being a great fit, people failed to recognize that once Lebron came back from his 2-week
vacation knee injury; a healthy Cavs team with Lebron, Irving, & Love went 34-9 to end the season.
Draymond Green: 5 years, $85 Million
Former 2nd round pick Draymond Green has just solidified his future with the Champion Golden State Warriors & now the organization has its top three players all locked in for their title defense next year.
Kawhi Leonard: 5 Years, $90 Million
This was another no-brainer signing. Leonard has already established himself as being the heir to Tim Duncan’s “Franchise Player” throne once Timmy calls it a career either this season or five years from now. With the youngest NBA Finals MVP already locked in this gives the Spurs the opportunity to pursue the biggest Free Agent target this year. Stay tuned..
Jimmy Butler: 5 Years, $95 Million
With the growing durability concerns with both Derrick Rose & Joakim Noah, it was imperative for the Bulls to retain their emerging young star player who has been the most reliable player for them the past two years. Now if only the Bulls could use some of their money to get Rose some new legs.
Goran Dragic 5 Years $90 Million
A signing that was essentially a formality, given the fact that Dragic demanded a trade from the Suns organization while giving them a number of specific teams to trade him too (With the Heat being one of his preferences.) With Dragic locked up & a deal with Wade set to be completed soon, the Miami Heat seem to be primed for another playoff run with Bosh coming back healthy & Whiteside trying to play for his own big contract next year.
Paul Millsap: 3 Years $59 Million
Although the Hawks best regular season ended with a disheartning sweep to the Cavaliers, the overall season was too much of a success to just scrap the core & revamp the roster. Although the Hawks lost Demarre Carroll to the Raptors yesterday it’s clearly evident that the top three guys for the Hawks are Horford, Teague, & Millsap. With a subpar Conference finals performance Millsap should be looking to validate this new big contract by building off his successful campaign last year and get his team back to the Conference finals.
Brook Lopez: 3 Years $60 Million
The Brooklyn Nets are in a tough situation because they have a large amount of money invested in players that are no longer elite, or even Great for that matter (Sorry Deron Williams, it is what it is) Because of the large contracts dedicated to Williams & Joe Johnson the Nets don’t have the ability to sign other top free agents so re-taining Lopez was their top priority. Although Lopez has his share of injury problems in the past, there have been plenty of players to overcome chronic injuries issues. (Steph Curry is somewhere nodding) Furthermore, Lopez is pretty good when healthy, and although they may not be good enough to be anything other than first round fodder for Lebron’s Cavs. At least they won’t be losing 60 games a year.
Tyson Chandler: 4 Years $52 Million
In something of an unexpected move, Tyson Chandler has decided to move on from the veteran squad in Dallas & go to the youth filled roster in Phoenix. Chandler is exactly what the Suns need on their roster, which is a legit big man with size that can defend & rebound. The Suns roster overall is still really undersized with Bledsoe & Brandon Knight looking to be the starting backcourt next season. However this is a good move in the right direction after taking a big step backwards last year by making Goran Dragic demand a trade by essentially signing Isaiah Thomas & having Dragic guard Small forwards in order to accommodate Thomas & Bledsoe all being on the court together. (Man that was a terrible idea) Having said that, Organizations make mistakes all the time, its how quickly you identify them & fix it. Signing Chandler is a step in the right direction for this young team trying to make a name for itself in the Wild, Wild, Western Conference.
Despite all the high profile names just mentioned the Top Two Free Agents are still undecided. Lamarcus Aldridge & Deandre Jordan are still being courted by other teams & with one already being projected as leaving their team which would drastically change the landscape of that conference. Looks like we are in for another crazy off-season that would rival the “Return To Cleveland” decision last year by Lebron James.
article has recently been edited & updated for clarity.