One of the most exciting days in the NBA is the start of free agency when stars realign the NBA and players bet on themselves for max deals. Sunday night was the first day for us and man, was it a good one. Today, we will go through and rank the top 10 signings from day 1 that were announced, starting with:
1. Kevin Durant to the Nets
It finally happened. After discussions all season about where Kevin Durant would be going this off-season, we finally have our answer. Durant announced he will sign a 4 year, $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. This also means that he will get paid over $40 million just to rehab his ruptured Achilles tendon that he injured during the Finals. Last season, Durant averaged 26 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 5.9 APG.
Durant will team up with a couple of other people on this list as well as the existing core of Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie. I look for the Nets to be at least an Eastern Conference Finals team within two seasons.
2. Kyrie Irving to the Nets
Another hot topic this season was where Kyrie Irving would end up. Most people, including a majority of sports media, assumed that Irving and Durant would both end up on the Knicks this off-season, but Irving had other plans. Kyrie agreed to a 4 year, $141 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets Sunday afternoon. Last season, Irving averaged 23.8 PPG, 5 RPG, and 6.9 APG.
The 27-year-old point guard will look to build on his impressive past season and will be the focal point of the team this season as Durant recovers from his injury. As Irving enters his prime, look to see his usage increase this season as well as his assists to his big teammates down low.
3. Kemba Walker to the Celtics
After 8 long seasons for the Hornets with only 2 playoff appearances, Kemba Walker decided to call it quits with his time on the Charlotte Hornets and agreed to a 4 year, $141 million dollar deal with the Boston Celtics as their star guard Kyrie Irving heads to Brooklyn. Last season, Kemba averaged 25.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 5.9 APG.
This is a good signing for the Celtics who are looking to build on their foundation of young players, such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. While Kemba is not necessarily a young player at 29 years old, he has established himself as one of the best guards in the league, earning All-NBA honors as well as an All-Star appearance.
4. Jimmy Butler to the Heat
After joining the Philadelphia 76ers mid-season following reality-show-like dramatics with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler will be taking his talents to South Beach after a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat. Butler will agree to a 4 year, $142 million dollar deal with the Heat. The trade talks have settled as of Monday evening. The deal will be a 4-team trade between the Sixers, Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Clippers. The Heat will receive Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard from the Trail Blazers. The Sixers will receive Josh Richardson from the Heat. The Clippers will receive Moe Harkless from the Blazers and a future first-round pick from Miami. To close the trade, the Blazers will receive Hassan Whiteside from the Heat. Last season, Butler averaged 18.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4 APG.
This move is strange. Butler has said before that he wants to be part of a winning team, yet he is pushing to join a team that hasn’t won a second-round series since LeBron James was on the team in 2013-14. Hopefully, Butler can be a part of the change for this team and we will see come October.
5. D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors
Possibly the most surprising move of the first day of free agency, D’Angelo Russell looks agree to a sign-and-trade deal with the Golden State Warriors for 4 years and $171 million. This was a surprising move because it had appeared that Russell would be on his way to Minnesota, provided that the Wolves were able to make some cap moves to give Russell his max request. This report came after Klay Thompson agreed to resign with the Warriors for 5 years and $190 million. Last season, Russell averaged 21.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 7 APG as well as getting his first All-Star nod.
This deal was not without a bit of controversy, however. In order to make the cap space work, Golden State was forced to trade an important asset in Andre Iguodala, who had been a key defender and the 2015 Finals MVP for the team, to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The fit for Russell with the Warriors has also come into question. Obviously, with Klay Thompson injured (torn ACL in the Finals) this will work well for Russell to play the shooting guard position, but how will this work when Klay returns? Klay must have to play the small forward position, but what will happen with the Warriors perimeter defense or lack thereof? We will have to see what the front office can do with the cap restraints in the future.
6. Al Horford to the 76ers
Another surprising move from Sunday was the announcement that Al Horford would agree to a 4 year, $109 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. Horford opted out of a $30 million season with the Celtics to pursue more money after his stint with the Celtics only got him as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. Last season, Horford averaged 13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 4.2 APG.
The 33-year-old will likely be getting the last big deal of his career with the Sixers in hopes of a championship with the strong squad that Philly has to offer. I would look for Horford to play a bit of power forward this season, rather than come off the bench as Embiid’s backup, as the loss of Jimmy Butler will likely have the lineup shift up a position from the small forward spot.
7. Tobias Harris to the 76ers
This signing, while it isn’t with a new team, is very important to what the Sixers are trying to build. On Sunday, Tobias Harris agreed to resign with the Sixers for 5 years and $180 million. Part of a trade last season at the deadline, Harris joined a young squad that made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before falling to the Raptors, who would eventually win the Finals. Last season, Harris averaged 20 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 2.8 APG.
This contract may end up hurting the Sixers in the future as the end of that contract could be costing Philadelphia about $40 million per year. Along with the resigning that Philly will look to do to keep their young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, as well as the Horford signing, this is going to make those deals much tougher. I expect Harris to be traded before the end of this contract.
8. Malcolm Brogdon to the Pacers
On Sunday, Malcolm Brogdon was given the first of many big deals he hopes to make in his young NBA career. The former Rookie of the Year took part in a sign-and-trade agreement with the Indiana Pacers for 4 years and $85 million. Last season, Brogdon averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG.
This signing fits in well with the way that the Pacers operate. Brogdon can provide good defense and scoring alongside their star Victor Oladipo. I’m not sure if Brogdon is worth $20+ million per year, but hopefully, he will have a chance to prove me and any other doubters wrong this season.
9. Terry Rozier to the Hornets
Scary Terry is bringing fear to Charlotte! Terry Rozier has agreed to a three year, $58 million sign-and-trade to the Charlotte Hornets. The 25-year-old point guard out of Louisville will look to take over Kemba Walker’s starting role and lead the squad to playoff contention within the next few years. Last season, Rozier averaged 9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.9 APG playing on average 23 minutes a night.
His last season stats don’t jump out at you, especially if Rozier is looking to make nearly $20 million a year. However, Rozier is determined to make a name for himself in the league. Rozier said to ESPN, “I sacrificed obviously my talent the most. I think me being out there and giving my full style of play, how Terry Rozier plays, I feel like I couldn’t be that person this year (with the Celtics). Obviously, in the shadow of some guys, the ball was in either Kyrie’s or Gordon Hayward’s hands most of the time. I feel like Terry Rozier was just in the corner or on the bench.″
10. DeAndre Jordan to the Nets
For Brooklyn’s final move of the first day, they picked up a veteran big in DeAndre Jordan. Jordan, who turns 31 on July 21st, agreed to a 4 year, $40 million deal with the Nets to round out the core that Brooklyn will showcase this season. Last season, Jordan averaged 11 PPG, 13.1 RPG, and 1.1 BPG.
This is an excellent fit for Brooklyn as they now have a mentor for 21-year-old center Jarrett Allen. Jordan will be an excellent rebounder for the Nets who were already 6th in the NBA last season for rebounds per game. The Nets also have 3 veteran players in 3 key spots in their lineup with Irving at point guard, Durant at small forward (when he returns from injury) and Jordan at center.
His contract may become a bit of an issue towards the end of the deal as Jordan will turn 35 in the final off-season of this contract. However, for a little over $10 million a year, that is a small price to pay to secure Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
This wraps up the top 10 signings from day one of NBA Free Agency. Make sure to come to discuss your top 10 rankings at: https://www.overtimeheroics.net/forums
Read more top 10 rankings and general content like this at https://www.overtimeheroics.net
This “Ranking the Top 10 signings from Day 1 of NBA Free Agency” is brought to you courtesy of @otheroics1 and @TheMatchupNBA on Twitter.