Early Winners Of The Free Agency
The NBA free agency period began last week with teams showing early that money is no object. Chris Paul re-signed for four years with the Phoenix Suns, while Kawhi Leonard is expected to return to Los Angeles. In addition, the Bulls have been extremely active, signing DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball. PJ Tucker and Kyle Lowry will be in Miami Heat uniforms next season, adding to an already very solid roster.
With the free agency period in its early stages, expect much more to come, but let’s take a look at the early winners.
The Bulls have been woefully inept the past four seasons and haven’t won a playoff series since the 2014-2015 season. In attempts to get back to their winning ways, the Bulls weren’t afraid to dig deep into the wallet. Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan each received $85 million contracts, for four and three years, respectively. They will add to an already solid offensive core of Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVaine. These moves won’t make the team like the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen led Bulls of the 1990s, but they are a step in the right direction.
Golden State Warriors
Options for the Warriors dwindled during the first day as Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, among other potential acquisitions signed elsewhere. To make matters worse, players such as Bazemore turned down a chance to play in Golden State to join teams that with a greater chance of winning a championship.
All was not lost when the Warriors signed Otto Porter Jr for a minimum deal. In addition, Nemanja Bjelica also signed a minimum deal. Getting two quality players at a minimum cost left plenty of money on the board to sign another quality free agent, such as Andre Iguodala, who appears ready to return to his former team to finish his career.
Adding depth is a key for the Warriors to have a shot at another title while Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson still have something left in the tank.
After advancing to the NBA Finals in 2019-2020, the Heat finished sixth in the Eastern Conference this past season and bowed out of the playoffs in the first round. Clearly a disappointing season, the Heat wasn’t about to be quiet this offseason. Wasting no time, the Heat added Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker, while bringing back long-range threat Duncan Robinson. What this means moving forward is that the Miami Heat have a very imposing starting group that includes Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Don’t forget about Tyler Herro, who showed signs of brilliance over his young career. The Heat really made these moves extraordinarily, without dipping into the luxury tax and it seems they have taken the effort to give themselves the best chance of winning. Kudos to the Heat, who should be right back in the mix for a shot at the finals next season.