With the dog days of the NBA off-season approaching, the majority of free agency signings have taken place. With there still being some on the market, the rosters for next season seem to be set. Some teams were able to vastly improve their teams during free agency, while others missed out on big opportunities. Let’s take a look at some winners and losers from the free agency period.
Winners and Losers From the NBA Free Agency Period
Winner – Golden State Warriors
Yeah, this one is pretty obvious. When a team that went 73-9 last season is able to add one of the top three players in the world, they are easily the biggest winners in free agency. It’s still hard to take in that Kevin Durant is actually a member of the Warriors. The team now has the past three MVP winners and arguably four of the top 20 players in the entire league. The Warriors did go 73-9, but blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals. Because of that, they felt they needed to improve. Although they lost a big portion of their bench from the past two seasons, it is worth it when there is a possibility of signing Durant.
Winner – Boston Celtics
For the first time in a while, the Celtics were able to land a big name free agent. Al Horford was a great pickup for the Celtics. He is going to work well with Isaiah Thomas. After being in the middle of the pack in the East the past two seasons, the Celtics have now become one of the best teams in the conference. They do not seem to be done making moves either. The Celtics are looking to trade for either Russell Westbrook, Jahlil Okafor, or Blake Griffin. It will be interesting to see if they are able to pull off another big move for the franchise.
Loser – Oklahoma City Thunder
When a team loses one of the five best players in the world, they are easily a big loser in the offseason. The Thunder will more than likely never be able to recover from losing Kevin Durant. He made the organization relevant and always had them in the spotlight. Fortunately, the Thunder have another top five player: Russell Westbrook. He will have a chip on his shoulder all season long. But with Westbrook headed for free agency next summer, it is a very tricky situation for the Thunder. He has not committed to staying long term. It might be in their best interest to trade Westbrook so they at least don’t lose him for nothing like they did with Durant. Things could get even worse for the Thunder very soon.
Loser – Miami Heat
The Heat have lost Dwyane Wade, who was the heart and soul of the franchise for the past 13 years. Pat Riley decided to focus on keeping Hassan Whiteside instead of Wade. Does it make sense for the franchise long-term? Yes. But in the short term, next season could be rough for the Heat. Not only did Wade leave, but Joe Johnson and Luol Deng also decided to take their talents elsewhere. They all had big roles with the Heat in their playoff run. It is also still an unknown if Chris Bosh will be able to play again. The Heat could very well be on the outside looking in come playoff time next season.
Winner – Indiana Pacers
Before the NBA Draft and free agency started, the Pacers had the 20th pick and George Hill. They were able to turn that into Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson, and Thaddeus Young. Outside of the Warriors, the Pacers are the biggest winners of the offseason. They were able to give Paul George support that he desperately needed. It will take a big workload off of him, which will help him become a more consistent player. It is a lot of pieces that head coach Nate McMillan has to put together. But if it all goes well for the Pacers, they’ll be one of the best teams in the East.
Winner – 2nd Tier Players
With the salary cap taking a huge rise this summer, there was a lot of money that teams were required to spend. Because of that, we saw a lot of 2nd tier players get huge contracts. There is nothing wrong with that either. Players were prepared for this salary cap rise. Were some of the players overpaid? Probably. But when there is money to be spent, it is going to be given out quickly.