As the NBA’s free agency period loses steam, teams are looking to make their final moves to fill out their rosters. There were a few eye-opening recent moves that have a chance to shake the power rankings.
Isaiah Thomas -> Nuggets (1 year, $2 million)
Isaiah Thomas, the 5’9 point guard drafted 60th overall in 2011, found himself in the free agent market after a shaky season. The season before, he averaged 28.9 PPG and 5.9 APG and was an MVP candidate. He was the key cog in the Celtics turnaround season and proved to be an exceptional offensive weapon. He was expecting to receive a max contract once he hit the market. Boston, however, had to trade their beloved player to the Cavaliers for the opportunity to get Kyrie Irving. Thomas was thrown into the fire in Cleveland and never fit in well after coming off of his hip injury. It was clear that he never really meshed with LeBron James, so the Cavaliers traded him to the Lakers in a trade involving Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. In an extremely dry market with hardly any teams with money to throw at a risky player like Thomas, he didn’t get the max contract he was looking for. In fact, he didn’t get anything close to it. He received a 1 year, $2 million minimum contract from the Denver Nuggets. In Denver, Thomas will have a chance to the type of player he was just a few seasons ago in a system that suits him. Thomas thrives when people doubt him, and he can prove people wrong by thriving in Denver and helping them compete in the Western Conference playoffs. The Nuggets just missed the mark for the playoffs last year, but with their young core improving and the addition of Thomas, they could make a jump to a mid-seed and make some noise in the playoffs.
Jabari Parker -> Bulls (2 years, $40 million)
The former 2nd overall pick of the 2014 draft has struggled to stay on the floor since he entered the league. He’s had several knee issues that have hindered his progression and has been a bit of a disappointment for the Bucks. His worst season thus far was this last season, as he only played 31 games and averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG. Signing him to a $20 million per year deal obviously scared the Bucks, who are looking to build around Giannis Antentokoumpo. Having that much money on their books for a player that has not produced much and has not been able to stay on the floor long was a big risk. Ultimately, they rescinded their qualifying offer to Parker, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. He went out and signed with the Chicago Bulls on a 2 year, $40 million deal. For Parker, this was a great day. For the Bulls, this adds to the list of their questionable moves this summer. They will be paying Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker $40 per year for the next 2 years, which is daunting. These are two high-risk players that have put up average numbers and have underplayed their expectations. If I was a Bulls fans, I would be nervous about the future, but hope that these signings end up being worth the bet.
Brook Lopez -> Bucks (1 year, $3.4 million)
Brook Lopez had a rough year in Los Angeles. After having two great seasons in Brooklyn, averaging around 20 points and 7 rebounds, he struggled to get a rhythm with the Lakers. He dropped to 13 PPG and 4 RPG last season as he turned 30 years of age. The Bucks saw him as a bargain and an opportunity to upgrade their center position. Next to Giannis Antentokoumpo, Lopez has a chance to get a lot of second-chance points and easy looks at the rim. Frankly, Lopez has not played with a player as great as Antetokoumpo, and I expect him to be a nice fit in Milwaukee and a great use of their money.
Notable Still Available Free Agents
- Clint Capela (RFA, Rockets)
- Marcus Smart (RFA, Celtics)
- Dwyane Wade (UFA)
- David West (UFA)
- Jamal Crawford (UFA)
- Rodney Hood (RFA, Cavs)
- Nick Young (UFA)
- Vince Carter (UFA)
Free Agency Tracker
Black text indicates a retained player, red text indicates an acquired player.