The NBA followed the NFL’s format and has become a year-round sport. The NBA has the same amount of headlines in July then it does in April due to it’s high profile free agency. Kevin Durant’s move to the Golden State Warriors is obviously the biggest move of the offseason, but that move overshadowed many other key additions around the league. Here are the best moves of the NBA offseason not named Kevin Durant.
Boston Celtics: Al Horford, four-year, $113 million contract
The Celtics desperately needed a player who has proven he consistently plays at an All-Star level. Brad Stevens has an entire roster filled with reliable parts, but lacked that one big player. Horford comes to Boston to fill that role, as he is a prototype of how big men play in today’s NBA. Horford can go to work in the paint as well as take a defender outside with his jump shot. Most importantly, Horford is a terrific defender, vital in Stevens’ system. Horford may not be the sexiest name out there, but he is exactly what the Celtics needed and may also now attract an even bigger name.
Chicago Bulls: Dwyane Wade, two-year, $47 million contract
This was definitely the most shocking/disappointing move of the offseason. Every sports fan would have loved to see Wade start and finish his career with the Miami Heat, just like Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, and Tim Duncan with the Spurs. At the end of the day, Wade felt disrespected by continually being lowballed by the Heat and always asked to take less money. Wade now returns to his hometown and will try to lead the Bulls to a deep playoff run. Wade played in 74 games last season, the most he’s played since 2011, and averaged 19 points. Wade does not have to be the #1 option with Jimmy Butler and gets to play with an elite point guard in Rajon Rondo. It will take a bit to get used to, but Wade to the Bulls should be a great move for both parties.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Victor Oladipo, acquired in trade with Orlando Magic
The Thunder traded away Serge Ibaka for the explosive two-way Oladipo weeks before Kevin Durant decided to leave. They made this move in hopes to construct a starting lineup that included Russell Westbrook, Oladipo and Durant, which would have been one of the most athletic trios in basketball. Even with Durant leaving, Thunder fans have to be excited about Westbrook and Oladipo causing havoc on both ends of the floor. With Durant now out of the picture, Westbrook is expected to be a one-man wrecking crew this season, and Oladipo will be the perfect running mate to feed off that energy.
San Antonio Spurs: Pau Gasol, two-year, $30 million contract
It isn’t confirmed one had to do with the other, but Gasol signed with the Spurs one week before Tim Duncan announced his retirement. Duncan may have given the only team he ever knew a heads up so they can make the necessary moves to compete. With no disrespect to Duncan, but Gasol could be considered a vast improvement over Duncan at this point. In his last two year with the Bulls, Gasol averaged 17.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game on 48% shooting. Gasol now gets to play with the best team he’s played for besides the championship Lakers years, as he is now with Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and coach Popovich.
New York Knicks: Trade For Derrick Rose & Joakim Noah and Sign Brandon Jennings & Courtney Lee
Since the Knicks did not have their own draft pick following their 32-50 record last season, Phil Jackson and the front office had to get creative on how to improve their roster. They took a flyer on Derrick Rose, a former MVP who is the definition of an injury-prone player. Rose is entering his contract season, so this is a low-risk, high-reward move. The Knicks go from a point guard duo of Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to the upside of Rose and Brandon Jennings, another low-risk, high-reward player. Joakim Noah will provide leadership to the team and especially to Kristaps Porzingis, as long as he can stay healthy. Lee gives the Knicks a reliable shooting guard on both ends of the court.
Indiana Pacers: Al Jefferson, three-year, $30 million
The Pacers bring in Al Jefferson to give Myles Turner a veteran to learn and look up to. Big Al will fully accept his bench role and provide the Pacers team with backcourt depth. With the way the money is flying around the NBA, Jefferson’s contract is as good as it gets.
Utah Jazz: Joe Johnson, two-year, $22 million
The Jazz will be a popular pick for a sleeper pick in the always tough Western Conference. Johnson is no spring chicken and the Jazz obviously knew that. He becomes the oldest player on the team and will now be a much-needed leader to a young squad. Johnson goes from being expected to carry the Brooklyn Nets to becoming a possible fourth-fifth option in Utah. Utah hopes Johnson can be a big part of them printing out Jazz tickets for the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Portland Trail Blazers: CJ McCollum, four year, $106 million
Portland’s decision to re-sign McCollum is a statement to the rest of the league that they believe the Damian Lillard-McCollum backcourt could be the best in the league. McCollum was a high-scorer at Lehigh and after three years of development, he showed last year he can be a top scorer in the NBA. McCollum’s scoring potential with the combination of Lillard’s superstar ability made this re-signing a no brainer.
Orlando Magic: Bismack Biyombo, four-year. $72 million
Biyombo will lead a crowded frontcourt that also features Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, and Jeff Green. As the entire league starts go small, the Magic are going against the grain and will shuffle a front court of rim protectors and productive big men throughout the game. Biyombo proved how much he can affect a game in last year’s playoffs.
Memphis Grizzlies: Chandler Parsons. Four-year, $94 million
Parsons will lead the Grizzlies’ movement under first-year head coach Dave Fizdale to shift their offense to a new spread offense. Parsons is a three-point threat who gives Mike Conley a legitimate wing option and could also open up the post for Marc Gasol.