The NBA free agency 2017 is now in full swing and save for a few surprises, the transactions have pretty much been expected. These transactions suggest that the Western Conference would only become much stronger and the path for LeBron James’ quest for his eight consecutive finals appearance is almost assured following the exodus of Eastern Conference All-Stars to the Western Conference side.
Here are the team by team transactions and acquisitions as of July 4, 6:30 a.m.
Atlanta Hawks – Paul Millsap: Hawks didn’t even make an offer
According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks are expected to stay put in the first few days of the free agency season and will adopt a wait-and-see approach. The Hawks have already parted ways with Dwight Howard (traded to Charlotte), Mike Dunleavy (buyout), and Jose Calderon (to sign with Cavaliers). The Hawks now have lost All-Star Paul Millsap who has agreed to sign a massive contract with the Denver Nuggets. Millsap is the latest Eastern Conference All-Star to move to the Western Conference.
While Millsap has reportedly agreed in principle to sign with the Nuggets, SB Nation reports that the Hawks are coordinating a rare three-team sign-and-trade deal with the L.A. Clippers and the Denver Nuggets. In this three-team deal, the Clippers receive Danilo Gallinari, the Hawks get perennial sixth man of the year candidate Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, and a future first round pick, while the Nuggets receive Paul Millsap.
Boston Celtics – One of the favorites to sign Gordon Hayward
After their being linked with several marquee players like Blake Griffin and Paul George, the Boston Celtics have set their sight on Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward. The Celtics, together with the Miami Heat, have emerged as the early favorites to sign Gordon Hayward. According to the Boston Globe, Hayward arrived in Boston and was picked up by head coach Brad Stevens.
The Celtics already lost Amir Johnson (76ers) to free agency and waived Tyler Zeller this off-season. Now though, it seems that the Heat is out of contention for Hayward’s services, and it’s down between the Celtics and the Jazz if the report from a Utah sports radio network executive is accurate.
Not from Hayward (obviously) or the Jazz, but I'm told the decision will be between Utah & Boston, is expected to be announced tomorrow????
— Austin Horton (@austinhorton) July 4, 2017
Brooklyn Nets – Starts rebuilding with D’Angelo Russell
The Nets have acquired former second overall pick D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov from the L.A. Lakers in exchange for former franchise player Brook Lopez and the rights to Kyle Kuzma. Brooklyn has made no notable moves during the first 36 hours of the NBA free agency season. They have, however, been in the conversations to acquire certain players. That being said, the Nets have already struck out on Andre Iguodala and J.J. Reddick. According to the New York Post, the Nets are targeting Otto Porter and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and several other free agents but it is going to be a hard sell.
Timofey and @Dloading were introduced to the New York media on Monday morning.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 28, 2017
Charlotte Hornets – Kemba Walker needs backup
The Charlotte Observer reports that the Charlotte Hornets are expected to sign former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to a one-year, $2.7 million deal to address one of the team’s primary weakness. Carter-Williams will play behind Kemba Walker. The Hornets also traded for former All-Star Dwight Howard in exchange for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and a second round draft pick.
So happy to be joining the hornets this year! Thank you to Chicago for having me I appreciate. Time to move to the next chapter! BUZZZZCITY
— Michael Carter-Willi (@MCW1) July 1, 2017
Chicago Bulls- Rebuilding-Mode is on
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Bulls has waived point guards Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan just days after sending Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. These moves signaled that the Bulls’ rebuilding operation has officially started. The Bulls got high-flying guard Zach LaVine, point guard Kris Dunn, and the number seven pick in this year’s draft in exchange for Butler and the number 16 pick. The Bulls re-signed Cristiano Felicio for a four-year $32 million deal and acquired Justin Holiday who is expected to sign a two-year $9 million contract. The Bulls remain hopeful that they can resign sweet-shooting forward Nikola Mirotic.
Cleveland Cavaliers – No GM yet but still has a chance on Melo sweepstakes
The Cavs remain without a GM but has done a decent job re-signing Kyle Korver (three years, $22 million) and Jose Calderon (one year, Veteran’s Minimum). However, they fell short in acquiring Paul George who bolted to the OKC Thunder. Now, ESPN reports that Carmelo Anthony is now open to waiving his no-trade clause to join the Cavaliers or the Houston Rockets.
The Cavs breezed through the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, and adding Anthony will give the Cavs the added firepower they need to topple the Golden State Warriors, not to mention the weakened Eastern Conference. Also, there have been rumblings that the Cavs is very interested in acquiring Zach Randolph.
The more people I speak with, Zach Randolph to the Kings sounds more and more unlikely. Cleveland very interested in Randolph
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 4, 2017
Dallas Mavericks – Staying Put
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Dallas Mavericks are still in the process of completing a deal with Dirk Nowitzki and Nerlens Noel. However, once they have secured Nowitzki and Noel, the Mavs are expected to make their move. The Mavs signed undrafted Jonathan Motley to a two-way contract.
With Nerlens Noel, it's a matter of how much and when Mavs get deal done to keep their restricted free agent big man.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 1, 2017
Denver Nuggets – Paul Millsap, an All-Star, finally!
The Denver Nuggets has always been a Western Conference dark horse. Bereft of All-Stars since the days of Carmelo Anthony, Andre Iguodala, and Allen Iverson, the Nuggets finally has one of its own. The Denver Post reports that the Nuggets are currently working on a three-team sign-and-trade deal with the L.A. Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks. In the deal, the Nuggets would get All-Star Paul Millsap, the Hawks would receive Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, and a future first round draft pick, and the Clippers would receive Danilo Gallinari.
Detroit Pistons – KCP at an impasse
Much is left to be desired for the Detroit Pistons’ front office. So far, the only positive move they’ve made during the start of this year’s NBA free agency is acquiring Langston Galloway (three years, $21 million). However, most basketball pundits believe that the Pistons should first lock up their own restricted free agent, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, before treading the free agency waters. There should have been a lot more interest in KCP, but the question is always this: is he worth a max contract? Granted that KCP has a lot of upsides and could very well be deserving of a max contract but with the Pistons staying put, other teams can come up with an offer that the Pistons can’t match.
League sources: Wizards (Otto Porter) & Pistons (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) bracing for rich Brooklyn interest in their respective RFA studs
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2017
Golden State Warriors – Successfully brings back core; Ready to defend title
The Golden State Warriors are ready to defend their title. The Dubs made sure that Stephen Curry, Kevin Durrant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and David West are back in the fold. But what really made those deals possible is KD’s decision to take a huge pay cut that allowed the team to re-sign his teammates. Now, if only the Warriors can retain fan-favorite JaVale Mcgee and sign Nick Young, then they are set for the 2017-2018 season.
Houston Rockets – Can they truly challenge the Warriors and the Spurs?
The Houston Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul immediately changed the balance of power in the Western Conference. Houston re-signed veteran big man Nene (three years, $11 million) and added defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker (four years, $32 million) in their lineup. Regardless of whether Houston can get Carmelo Anthony, the Rockets are poised to go deep in the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers – Can they recover from losing Paul George?
Rather than risk their franchise player walking away for nothing, the Indiana Pacers struck a deal that sent All-Star Paul George to the OKC Thunder in exchange for key pieces that could aid them in forming a new Pacers core. ESPN reports that the Pacers received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for the disgruntled forward George. In this year’s free agency, Indiana struck quickly, locking up dependable point guard Darren Collison (two years, $20 million).
Los Angeles Clippers – Western Conference’s new dark horse team?
The Los Angeles Clippers lost their All-Star point guard to a team that they may face in the playoffs and then lost the sharp-shooter and floor-spacer J.J. Reddick to free agency. Looks bad on paper? Not really. The Clippers actually pulled off one of the shrewdest trade moves in recent history. In return for Paul, the Clippers received Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first round pick next year and cash considerations.
The Clippers then immediately re-signed Blake Griffin to a max contract (five years, $173 million). Now, the Clippers, as per Bleacher Report, are in the process of completing a three-team sign-and-trade deal to acquire Danilo Gallinari.
Los Angeles Lakers – Slow progress, but progress nonetheless!
After losing D’Angelo Russel and the Timofey Mozgov’s bad contract, the Los Angeles Lakers can find solace that they are now in a position to strike gold in next year’s free agency. The Lakers now have a young core headed by number one overall pick Lonzo Ball. According to ESPN, the Lakers and George Hill are engaged in serious talks to bring in the former NBA champ on a short-term deal. Having George Hill and Brook Lopez in the lineup would provide the Lakers a steady presence in the locker room.
Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Randolph on his way out?
With Mike Conley and Marc Gasol safely locked in for a long-term tenure, the Grizzlies should have no trouble in keeping its core. But can they? Zach Randolph is now drawing interest from other NBA teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings. With 16 NBA seasons under his belt, Randolph can take the easy way out and choose to chase an NBA championship, and the quickest way to do it is to join a contender like the Cavs. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have signed Ben McLemore to a two-year, $10.7 million deal.
Miami Heat – Waiting for Gordon Hayward’s decision
The Miami Heat emerged as one of the frontrunners to acquire Gordon Hayward, so it stands to reason that the Heat hasn’t made any move in this season’s free agency. Following the rumors that the Heat is out of Hayward’s radars, the Heat will start negotiating contracts for their own free agents, including Dion Waiters and James Johnson. The Miami Herald reported that Heat President Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra went to L.A. to recruit Waiters.
Gordon Hayward will sleep on his decision to go to Utah, Boston, or Miami, I'm told. Another July 4 declaration it is…
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 4, 2017
Milwaukee Bucks – Re-signs Tony Snell; Derrick Rose a good fit?
The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, fresh off winning the Most Improved Player award, is ready to take his next step. The Bucks are making sure that their franchise player is fully equipped to lead his relatively young team to the next level. That being said, Milwaukee is headed in the right direction by bringing back Tony Snell (re-signed, four years, $46 million deal). The only ingredient missing now is the veteran presence that most successful teams have. Will Derrick Rose fit this role if he signs with the Bucks?
Told by a Rose confidante that the veteran guard "wants to be in Milwaukee.'' Bucks will have to make a trade to accommodate him, though.
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 4, 2017
Minnesota Timberwolves – Instant Playoff Contender
The Wolves’ front office has done a great job this offseason. To clear cap space, the Wolves traded Ricky Rubio to Utah for a 2018 first round draft pick then acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler in a separate deal. The Timberwolves have already locked up Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague, and they almost got Paul Millsap. A starting lineup of Teague, Butler, Wiggins, Gibson, and Towns would be enough to make the Timberwolves a contender in the ultra-tough Western Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans – Banking on Twin Towers
The New Orleans Pelicans had a rough season last year but they got a glimmer of their future when they acquired DeMarcus Cousins. Now that they have locked up Jrue Holiday (five years, $126 million), the Pelicans have ensured that they have a point guard who can distribute the ball to Cousins and Anthony Davis to keep the twin towers happy.
New York Knicks – The Carmelo Anthony show
Almost all news coming out of the New York Knicks point to Carmelo Anthony being gone next season. It seems like Anthony supports this scenario as he has said on record that he is willing to waive his no-trade-clause if he can play for the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Houston Rockets. If Anthony is truly on his way out, rising star Kristaps Porzingis has to step up to the plate and lead the long-suffering franchise.
OKC Thunder – Thunder only has to make it work for 1 season
The OKC Thunder surprised the NBA by announcing that the Indiana Pacers has agreed to trade Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. This is a serious coup for the Thunder, who are missing that secondary scorer to share NBA MVP Russel Westbrook’s scoring duties. George is the perfect fit for this Thunder squad in a sense in which PG can hold his own against any player in the league. It may sound familiar because that is exactly what Kevin Durrant brings to the table when he was with OKC. Granted that PG’s acquisition could just be a one-year rental, but if Westbrook and PG make it work for one season, there is a good chance that PG would stay.
Orlando Magic – No magic in Orlando
Yes, that’s right, no movement from Orlando. The team has remained quiet after three days of free agency frenzy. According to ESPN, the Orlando Magic is not expected to be a major mover in this year’s free agency, hence, the silence.
Philadelphia 76ers – Trusting the process
The 76ers signed J.J. Reddick (one year, $23 million) and Amir Johnson (one year, $11 million) to add a veteran presence to the Sixers’ young blood. The 76ers are brimming with young talents ready to have a breakout season. With Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Jahlil Okafor already in the fold, fans can expect a 76ers team hell-bent to prove its worth.
Phoenix Suns – The future is bright
The Phoenix Suns, like the Philadelphia 76ers, are brimming with young talents. Devin Booker has emerged as the face of the franchise and has proven that he can be a lethal scorer. The Suns are not expected to make a huge splash in this year’s free agency since they have opted to develop their young guns. However, they have recently waived fan-favorite Leandro Barbosa and entertained offers for Alex Len.
Portland Trailblazers – Banking on Lillard and McCollum
The Portland Trailblazers have one of the best guard combos in the league in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. What they don’t have is a reliable bench. According to Bleacher Report, the Blazers recently waived Festus Ezeli to clear cap space.
Sacramento Kings – Post-DeMarcus Cousins era
The Sacramento Kings gave away DeMarcus Cousins virtually for nothing last season to start its rebuilding process. Now the Kings have lost Ben McLemore in free agency. According to ESPN, the Sacramento Kings extended a max contract offer to Otto Porter. However, the Washington Wizards have already stated that they are going to match any contract offered to their unrestricted forward.
San Antonio Spurs – Bringing back its core
The San Antonio Spurs re-signed guard Patty Mills (four years, $50 million) and reportedly is preparing an offer to Jonathan Simmons, who ought to receive a lot of attention during this free agency season. According to ESPN, Pau Gasol is also finalizing a two-year, $30 million deal with the Spurs. Save for Manu Ginobili’s retirement, the Spurs have kept their core intact and with a healthy Kwahi Lenard next season, the Spurs are again going to be one of the contenders in the Western Conference.
Word is San Antonio has been preparing an offer for fast-developing restricted free agent Jonathon Simmons in the $9 million range annually
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2017
Toronto Raptors – Lowry signing hurts the Raptors’ future?
The Toronto Raptors failed miserably against the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, offering a token of resistance. Basketball pundits pegged the Raptors as the team that has the lineup strong enough to topple the Cavs, but the Eastern Conference champs showed how much the Raptors need to go to catch up. The Raptors lost P.J. Tucker to free agency but re-signed Kyle Lowry (three years, $100 million) and Serge Ibaka (three years, $65 million). It doesn’t look like that the Raptors would have enough to topple the Cavs, but a year’s worth of experience can do wonder for a team.
Utah Jazz – Can they keep Gordon Hayward?
According to Bleacher Report, the Utah Jazz traded for Ricky Rubio because Gordon Hayward was told to. And this totally makes sense since the Jazz have never played with a true pass-first point guard. George Hill, for all the positive he brings to the table, has not been able to perform to the fullest of his ability during his tenure with the Jazz. The Jazz has some stiff competition for Gordon Hayward in the form of the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, but the Jazz has the inside track at the moment just because of history with Utah. Hayward can make the decision as early as today. Meanwhile, Utah re-signed Joe Ingles to a four-year, $52 million contract.
Washington Wizards – Can they keep Otto Porter?
The Wizards have been busy this season. Washington signed veteran Jodie Meeks to a two-year, $7 million deal while stating that the Wizards will match any offer for restricted free agent Otto Porter. The Wizards are also confident that they can bring back Bojan Bogdanovic (asking price $16 million a year). However, Washington still has to address their weak bench. One of the players the Wiz are reportedly looking at is journeyman forward Michael Beasley.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images]