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Best Free Agency
The Sacramento Kings have a great case for best offseason moves because of the veterans they were able to add to their young core. While Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and George Hill should prove to be great mentors, the Denver Nuggets addition of Paul Millsap was a much better basketball move. Millsap and Nikola Jokic are a perfect front court pairing. Several All-Star caliber players set up shop in new Western Conference teams, but Millsap was the best free agency signing of the offseason.
Worst Free Agency
On one hand, the Portland Trail Blazers did absolutely nothing in free agency because of their cap constraints. On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks have not done anything significant either. Once Nerlens Noel is signed, the Mavs may separate themselves from the Blazers, but for now neither team has done themselves any favors. Losing Gordon Hayward qualifies the Utah Jazz for this list as well, but at least they added Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko.
Welcome back the Portland Trail Blazers! Going into the draft with three picks and major needs at several positions the Blazers elected to trade up and select Zach Collins, then took Caleb Swanigan with their remaining pick. If Jusuf Nurkić is as good as he was during his end of the season run, then the Blazers may have just given up two first round picks for a backup center. Judging their draft strategy really rests on one question: can Nurkić and Collins play together and should they?
Slotted into the ninth spot automatically secured the Dallas Mavericks a quality player, but Dennis Smith Jr. is far from just a quality player. He could be the best player in this draft, and he was exactly what the Mavericks needed. Thanks to the draft choices of the Chicago Bulls (Lauri Markkanen) and the New York Knicks (Frank Ntillikina), the Mavericks were able to stay put and grab their point guard and potential star of the future. The Lakers also had a solid draft with four players that could make their team (which may be more of an indictment on the Lakers’ roster than a credit to their draft).
Paul George and Jimmy Butler both ventured West this summer and significantly improved their new teams—but who added more value? George replaced Victor Oladipo, who has a ridiculous salary but is still a decent player, while Butler will take the place of Zach Lavine and Brandon Rush, who started 47 and 33 games, respectively, for the Timberwolves. Brandon. Rush. Butler and George may be evenly matched as players, but Butler is clearly the better upgrade.
Between the Hawks, Bulls , and Pacers, there are plenty of teams in the Eastern Conference who downgraded. As far as Western Conference, the Jazz lost Hayward, and the Clippers lost Chris Paul. Between the two. the Clippers did a better job replacing Paul with Patrick Beverley and Miloš Teodosić, while the Jazz haven't replaced found a quality starting wing or replaced Hayward’s scoring.
Explaining how Rajon Rondo is a risk would be a waste of wordage, so the second riskiest move has to be the Spurs adding Rudy Gay. Gay is turning 31 this week and is coming off of an Achilles injury, which also doesn’t need explaining.
Most Surprising Move
The rumors of a potential Paul George trade seemed to linger for years, but when the deal finally got done, the Oklahoma City Thunder came out of nowhere and snagged George for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. As far as a surprise in concerned, no one saw this coming.
HOW IS NERLENS NOEL STILL UNSIGNED?!
Ever since Noel was traded to the Mavs, the front office considered him part of the core and the future of the team. Now as a restricted free agent, Noel remains unsigned, and the most obvious move of the summer remains incomplete.
You can read Isaac’s full answers at the Smoking Cuban here.
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(We just can’t let the Warriors win more things…