One of the best moments in the NBA cycle is the offseason free agency, where teams on paper make season-altering decisions that can either help or hurt them moving forward. In a three-part series, I will take a look at the winners, losers, and biggest deals that happened during this free agency period. For starters, I’d like to give the good news first by looking at which teams won free agency this offseason.
3: Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls made some great moves that should help them in the tough Eastern Conference. Their first move was a sign-and-trade for 3&D point guard Lonzo Ball. They then traded for DeMar DeRozan from the San Antonio Spurs who will be a quality go-to player in the half-court when the game slows down.
The Bulls also made a move to sign Alex Caruso who joins Coby White off the bench to give Chicago a great two-way spark in the backcourt. The signings of Ball, DeRozan, and Caruso, along with the returns of Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic, make the Bulls a playoff contender in a tough Eastern Conference. Any of these moves can be crucial to success.
2: Miami Heat
Last season, the Miami Heat were swept in the first round by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, and based on their moves in free agency, they are not looking to get eliminated early in the playoffs again.
Re-signing Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson to long-term extensions was important to the cause. The free agency acquisitions of Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, and Markeiff Morris should help relieve the stress for Butler and Bam Adebayo. With these free agency signings by Miami, the Heat should be firmly in the middle of the Eastern Conference hierarchy.
1: Los Angeles Lakers
It’s a good thing that LeBron James did his version of Space Jam because it feels like he brought in the real “Goon Squad” to help him win another championship.
The Lakers traded half of their role players to obtain triple-double machine Russell Westbrook and then signed Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard to help their bench. Other notable moves include bringing in Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo who helped the Lakers win a championship in 2020.
All of these moves sending a clear message: LA’s eyes are set on the NBA Finals.
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