Wow! This years free agency is almost done. It feels like it was yesterday when the Knicks had high hopes of having both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, or the Lakers thinking they could have Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James on the same team of L.A. With all those rumors gone, The Recline will talk about which team actually made good decisions this summer and which ones are being unnoticed by the fans.
Top 3 Best Teams:
Crucial offseason for the Brooklyn Nets, adding All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. But why number three on the list? One word, injuries. The Nets had to sacrifice MIP candidate D’Angelo Russell to make this happen, at this point I would prefer having D’lo over a bad knee and frustrated Kyrie after that confusing season with the Celtics. Russell was fitting well in the pick-and-roll offense of Kenny Atkinson. Now with a ball dominant guard like Kyrie, Nets staff have work to do. They were at the top of my list for a while, until they made other signings like DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, and Taurean Prince. They added these players with the intention of luring KD all the way, but what is necessary? If KD wanted to play with Kyrie, why add those guys when you have Jarrett Allen, or had DeMarre Carroll? They started free agency good, but ended it bad. At least they still have Spencer Dinwiddie.
The one team I am most excited to see are the Utah Jazz, what an offseason for this team! First they trade for Mike Conley to have a promising backcourt of Conley and Mitchell, then they sign Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Jeff Green? What else can you ask for from a team man! If a 50 win team got to make these additions, we can expect a lot more next year. I’m all excited but still put them at the 2nd spot because it’s a team that has struggled in playoffs and their new point guard hasn’t seen any action in a while dealing with injuries. Still, a team with a Conley, Mitchell, Ingles, Bogdanovic, and Gobert lineup should be successful next year.
These guys are the steal of the 2019 NBA Free Agency. Even though they gave a lot of draft picks, this is the only trade where I think those draft picks are worth it. The former 8th seed of the West gave a hell of a battle to the Conference Champions this year in the first round, a round where everyone saw a sweep by the Warriors. Now they added a 2x Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and a MVP candidate Paul George. I would say they are the best two-way players we have on the league. These two additions made the Clippers the team to beat next season, no doubt. I won’t say they are a championship team, why? We have recently seen coach Doc Rivers with different roster in this team and little success with them. Remember those times when CP3, Blake, and DJ made a heck of a season to find a 2nd round exit in the playoffs? So Kawhi, PG, Doc, and the whole squad have some work to be done this offseason in order to fit well.
Top 3 Worst Teams:
Yep, this team also stole free agency but with rumors all season long! The Knicks were a destination for every free agent this offseason, if you asked any Knicks fan. They drafted RJ Barrett with $70+ cap space and look who they get. Honestly, we gotta give credit to them, they could have stuck themselves over not signing any big names but they fixed it a little. That’s why they are 3rd on the list and not number one. If you think outside the box, adding Randle to a young lineup of Smith Jr., Barrett, Knox, and Robinson it’s not that bad as it sounds. I will not join the fans that say that the Knicks added a lot of PF because it’s not true. Morris can play the small forward and Gibson can play the center position. The only true PF’s they added were Randle and Portis. Still Knicks fans, don’t get your hopes up. You are not reaching the playoffs anytime soon.
I’m sorry Suns fans, wherever you are.. I had to add you to the list, I don’t know if a 19-63 team can get worse but they did. You are telling me that you tanked a full season just to add to your point guard spot a player called Ricky Rubio?! Please, and for 3 years! You are going to pay him his last year $17.8M, at age 30! I mean, DeAndre Ayton was not a bust, but people expected more from him. If Rubio and Ayton can get along then fine, it was a good signing. I just don’t see a good free agency by the Suns when your team didn’t win more than 20 games last season and your top signings where Ricky Rubio and Frank Kaminsky. My goodness, the Frank “The Tank” nickname will finally have purpose in this new team.
Yes indeed CJ, well damn. For the first time I was starting to believe in this Blazers team, being able to get to the Conference Finals the easiest way possible and now with this free agency.. I don’t see a bright light from this offseason for the Blazers. First you signed Damian Lillard to the supermax extension which I’m not a fan of the “supermax”. Yeah yeah, he hit that shot over PG13 in the first round, but what happened to him the next two rounds? Unexistence from Lillard, CJ carried them against the Nuggets and with the Warriors they got swept without KD. Now they pick the option of Kent Bazemore’s contract of $19.2M who hasn’t been heard in the league in a long time. The only time we heard from him was when James Harden crossed him over, and Bazemore had to write a note about it. Then they let go of a great backup center to Nurkic, they told Enes Kanter he had minutes to take a decision of whether he was staying or not. And now they trade for Hassan Whiteside’s $27M, if they were to trade for him then good for them. But no rumors have been said of this scenario.
Top 3 Sleepers
People are completely forgetting this team was able to get 73 wins in a single season without Kevin Durant. Well not the same team but you get me. With Klay Thompson out for next season, it was key that Curry needed help now that KD was gone. They found good free agents wanting to play better each season like D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein. Right, they have the option of trading D’lo away but I don’t think they should. If you put Russell at the PG and Curry at the SG, I think they can work perfectly. Even if Klay comes back, I wouldn’t trade Russell. They can put Klay at the SF spot with Draymond and Willie at the frontcourt. Now this team can make the playoffs, a hard push but they can make it.
Even though there is just one ball for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, they are still the sleepers of this offseason. The two former MVPs had something special going on in their OKC years and they are the only ones who haven’t won a ring from the big names in that roster. I think the problem in Houston was the overuse of the iso plays. If it wasn’t Harden, it was CP3. Now, Russell is a ball dominant point guard but not an iso guard like CP3. Westbrook on the other hand is younger than CP3, more explosive and faster. I think this team got a whole lot better acquiring that triple double machine and pairing him once again with The Beard.
Yeah Lakers fans, you didn’t get Kawhi Leonard but I don’t think you actually needed him. Now with the addition of Anthony Davis, him and LeBron are going to be a must watch duo. Besides AD and Bron, they added players like Rondo, Boogie Cousins, Avery Bradley, and Danny Green. They are my top sleepers from this offseason because once they lost on the Kawhi deal they aren’t being talked about enough. I think that this team without injuries and having all those names playing big and good minutes, they can go far this season. No doubt they are title contenders and Lakers fans should enjoy them this season.