5 Winners and Losers of 2019 NBA Free Agency: Day One
As the clock struck 4 p.m. yesterday, we were bombarded with one of the wackiest and eventful days of free agency the NBA has ever seen.
From trades to max deals to surprising signings, the NBA was a circus yesterday and there were some significant winners and losers from day one of free agency.
The Brooklyn Nets have already catapulted themselves into their own class by getting an early commitment from Kyrie Irving and winning the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Even though KD will reportedly sit out a season to rehab from his Achilles injury, the 2019-20 Nets could be a step better than last year's playoff team, with Kyrie at the helm of the point guard position over D'Angelo Russell.
As for 2020-21? If KD returns back to form and Kyrie continues playing at a high level, the Nets will firmly insert themselves as an early title favorite.
Going back to the Kristaps Porzingis trade—what was the point of the blockbuster trade with Dallas? It sure as hell wasn't so the Knicks could use their cap space to sign Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Peyton, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Julius Randle. It also wasn't so the Knicks could second guess giving Durant a full max contract, which has been reported by some.
To James Dolan: please sell the team so that in 2021, Knicks fans can at least have accurate Giannis-to-Knicks rumors to keep them alive. As for Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks, Dolan never seemed to stand a chance.
Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson. That five hodge-podge group might be the sneaky favorites to come out of the East, pending Kawhi's decision.
But the 76ers have won in most aspects during free agency (though, you can argue that the five-year, $180 million is too steep of a price for Harris). They got Richardson in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, who could have left Philly anyway as an unrestricted free agent. And arguably the biggest steal came with Al Horford's signing. Horford could be the perfect big man alongside Embiid and provide insurance minutes if Embiid rests certain games.
Instead of getting clarification on where Kawhi Leonard is going, the Raptors instead continue to get muddled reports from different league sources. Specifically, rumors that insist Kawhi is interested in the Lakers could be seen as a slap in the face to the Raptors.
The only thing we do know is that Toronto will get the final meeting with Kawhi. This could be their best push to do a 1-and-1 deal with the Finals MVP and try to keep him for one more season. All the reports out—both with the Clippers and Lakers—doesn't bode well for the Raptors signing Kawhi.
The Warriors were probably going to be left in the dust during free agency, assuming Durant left the team in the offseason. As a departing gift, Durant orchestrated D'Angelo Russell's from Brooklyn to Golden State via sign-and-trade. The Warriors, who earlier signed Klay Thompson to a five-year, $190 million max deal, had to give up an aging Andre Igudola in the process, but it was ultimately worth it to get a nice counterpart to Steph Curry.
Although it's still up in the air how Russell and Curry will work together, the Warriors will at least get a nice filler for Klay while he's hurt—or a desirable trade piece—by acquiring Russell.
Honorable mention winners: Kings, Pacers, & Pelicans
Honorable mention losers: Bucks, Mavs, & Timberwolves