NBA Free Agency started Friday night and it started with a bang.
It wasn’t the normal 10+ desks within the first few minutes of free agency opening and that’s likely be because teams wanting to avoid tampering allegations like the Knicks got last offseason. We did However get 18 deals within the first 30 minutes starting with Draymond Green resigning with the Warriors for 4 years and $100 million. We also saw teams shell out over $1 billion in contracts in the first hour so guys got PAID.
It was very busy day.
We saw some guys get major deals that are seen as them being overpaid but they earned the deals they got. With the new CBA, some guys had to take less money because teams seem more cognizant of their spending and want to do everything to avoid those new tax aprons.
As always, there are winners and losers of free agency with new deals coming in and here they are.
*Keep in mind that this is only for day 1 of free agency and things can change*
Fred VanVleet and Rockets Fans
Fred VanVleet signed the biggest deal of the opening day and it was a huge one. The Rockets were able to snag gun away from the Raptors after signing a 3 year $130 million deal. At an average of $43 million a year, a lot of people call that an over pay but it isn’t that bad.
This is a very good trade on multiple fronts. For starters, the Rockets absolutely had to spend at least $52 million before the start of the season with the new CBA rules so the money had to go to someone and there weren’t many other options to spend it on. Also, it’s good for VanVleet because he gets his money. For the Rockets, it’s a good deal because it’s only 3 years and when VanVleet is at the end of his deal it’ll be time to pay their young guys so they won’t have an issue with the salary cap. Plus the Rockets needed a vet, an adult, and a PG and VanVleet fills all of those needs.
Additionally, the part that most people aren’t thinking about is why Rockets fans are winners too. The Rockets owe the Thunder their 2024 first round pick which is top 4 protected. It would have been very easy for them to just tank another season and add more talent at the top of the draft. However, they decided to move their franchise forward and just forget about that that pick. They decided to improve their team even if it was just a little and not worry about tanking next season and that shows the fans that they’re trying to take steps in the right direction.
The Lakers started the night by only having 4 guys under contract so they definitely needed to make some moves. Their options were a little limited but they came out of day one looking good after signing Taurean Prince to a one year deal which gave them a nice wing piece to start the night. Following that move they signed Gabe Vincent to a 3 year $33 million deal while also resigning Rui Hachimura. Cam Reddish also finally became a Laker after being linked to them for a while now.
These aren’t really “sexy” moves but they didn’t opt to go with a huge splash and looked to have depth and shooting instead.
They still plan to resign Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell also.
They will need to get more depth in the front court and could for sure use a couple more guards but it was a very good day 1 for the Lakers.
The Suns are going to be very top talent heavy and didn’t have many options in free agency because of that. Somehow, they came out looking great.
Like the Lakers, the moves they made aren’t considered “sexy” moves but they are very good underrated signings.
Bringing in Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, Drew Eubanks, and Kieta Bates Diop while retaining Josh Okojie and Damion Lee are additions that will go under the radar but could pay off in the long run.
Bruce Brown is one of the better role players in the league and he got rewarded for that on day 1.
The Pacers snagged him away from the Nuggets fresh off of a championship with a 2 year $45 million dollar deal and that is great for him. Brown gets a massive pay bump gets rewarded for all of his hard work. Easy winner.
Kyrie Irving’s Agent
Kyrie Irving is a winner also after signing a 3 year $126 million deal to stay with the Mavericks but it’s his agent who is the real winner of the day. Shetellia Riley Irving, who is also his step mother, is the first Black woman to negotiate and complete a NBA contract and that is truly special.
It’s great for the whole family when anyone makes history and especially for a Black woman given how underrepresented Black women are.
The Blazers are here because no one really knows what they are doing or what direction they want to go in.
Most reports have the Blazers working on a deal to send Damian Lillard to the Heat but the re-signed Jerami Grant to a new long term deal worth $160 million.
That doesn’t seem like a move a team makes that is planning on trading their star and wanting to rebuild. But it also still seems like they are working on a deal to move Dame which makes Grant deal even weirder.
Do better Blazers.
Heat So Far
The Heat are here because they got much worse as a team after day 1.
They lost Gabe Vincent to the Lakers and are in the process of losing Max Strusto the Cavs. It is only day 1 so things can definitely change but losing 2 key pieces to a team that just played in the finals isn’t ideal.
As mentioned above, it does seem like they are working on a deal to acquire Dame and that seems more evident after they traded Victor Oladipo to the Thunder to clear up cap space.
So they can go from losers to winners very quick but for now, until they make more moves, they’re big losers.
Malone claimed that Bruce Brown was returning to the Nuggets so they could run it back but he had other plans.
He is only here because that clip is going to get used a lot over the next few days.