2019 NBA Free Agency Review
The 2019 NBA Free Agency period lived up to expectations. It was full of surprises and shocking news. The first day sent fans and analyst in a frenzy on social media. All of the players officially signed their contracts this week. Who were the winners and losers this summer? What was the most surprising moves? Which signing was questionable?
2019 NBA Free Agency Review
Los Angeles Clippers
Notable Moves: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George (via trade), Patrick Beverley (re-sign)
The Clippers emerges as the winners of the Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes. The Leonard signing prompted them to execute a trade for George, who is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Also, re-signing Beverley was a major plus. He provides toughness at point guard. These moves catapulted the Clippers into one of the favorites to win the NBA Finals next season
Los Angeles Lakers
Notable Moves: Anthony Davis (via trade), DeMarcus Cousins, Avery Bradley, Danny Green
After the Lakers failed to land Leonard, they filled out the rest of their roster with players who covered their weak areas. Cousins, when healthy, is one of the best centers in the NBA. Bradley is a great defender and Green is a very good three-point shooter. The Lakers did land one of their main targets, Davis, in a trade. The Lakers are back to chasing a championship.
Notable Moves: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan
The Nets should be title contenders within the next few years. Irving now has the opportunity to play close to his home. He should be motivated to elevate this team. Jordan is another valuable big man they can pair with Jarrett Allen. Durant is the big factor. He will miss next season as he recovers from injury. If Durant can come back strong in 2020, the Nets will be heavily-favored to emerge from the East
Honorable Mentions: The New Orleans Pelicans’ Future, Kemba Walker is free from Charlotte, Philadelphia 76ers
New York Knicks
Once again, the Knicks were involved with every major free agent. However, they failed to land a superstar. Stories emerges that the Knicks did not want to offer Durant a max contract and they canceled a meeting with Leonard. The Knicks became a laughingstock in free agency again. The saving grace for them was signing Julius Randle to a three-year deal. Randle was one of the most underrated free agents. But overall, the Knicks failed again at bringing in a superstar.
Golden State Warriors
The dynasty could be over. The Warriors lost Durant and Cousins, traded Andre Iguodala and waived Shaun Livingston. The Warriors re-signed Klay Thompson, but he will miss at least most of next season to recover from injury. Also, the Warriors could lose Draymond Green in free agency in 2020. Without much depth and injury, the Warriors could be in rebuilding mode for a few years.
Despite a historic run to winning the title, the Raptors could not bring Leonard back. His departure spells doom for any chance as repeating as champions. Also, the Raptors did not sign any notable players to refuel title aspirations. The Raptors have to rely on a young Pascal Siakam and aging players like Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol to lead them.
Honorable Mentions: Russell Westbrook title dreams in jeopardy, Oklahoma City Thunder giving up, No changes in the Houston Rockets
Besides the Clippers, the biggest surprise was the Warriors signing D’Angelo Russell. Rumors of Russell circulated about him staying with the Nets or going to the Boston Celtics or the Lakers. He is a part of a Warriors team who looks to stay afloat. He will thrive as a scorer given that teams will zero in on Steph Curry. What is more surprising is that the Warriors could trade Russell during the season. But for now, it will be interesting to see how he does in the offense.
Biggest Question Mark
Jimmy Butler choosing to sign with the Miami Heat was the most head-scratching move. After showing interest in the Lakers and having the 76ers and Nets as an option, Butler chose to go to a team who are in the middle of the road. Butler wants to win a championship but the Heat are not in position to compete. However, the Heat could return to the playoffs as they filled in their need of a scorer. Butler could be the start of the Heat returning to a powerhouse. For now, this move is still a mystery.