In the NBA season, there is the regular season, which can be a bit of a drag at times during an 82-game stretch. The postseason, which is normally pretty fun, especially when the top teams are facing off during a 7-game series. NBA Finals, which are normally interesting, especially this last one with the Golden State Warriors & Cleveland Cavs.
However, the true drama began directly after the NBA season with the free agency frenzy taking place. This offseason, NBA salary cap numbers exploded almost $20 million from last year, up to around $90 million. Which means that many players who do & don’t deserve the big money are going to get it. Today’s post we will, of course, talk about the Pistons free agent acquisitions as well as some of the biggest moves in NBA free agency.
Let’s start local with Andre Drummond. None of us really believed that the Pistons would part away with Dre, especially with what he does on the defensive end in terms of rebounding & shot blocking. Many of the critics will say that Drummond doesn’t deserve the big money because he is a terrible shooter from the free throw line, meaning that he can’t be in games late. But in the new era of the NBA salary cap, at least until the next collective bargaining agreement comes up in two years, this is going to be the norm in the league. Drummond is a max player, but $150 million, that might be a number people may scoff at.
The pressure will undoubtedly be on his shoulders much more next year & he will have to put up bigger numbers and become more consistent at the free throw line to justify this amount, but if the Pistons are an improved team, then Drummond will already make him worth the investment. The Pistons made the playoffs & as we all know, got bounced by the eventual NBA Champion Cleveland Cavs. It is not out of the realm of reasonable expectation that the Pistons should get to the second round next year riding the force that is Drummond, especially with having Tobias Harris in his second year in Stan Van Gundy’s system, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson & Marcus Morris.
While Andre Drummond will have time to get the Pistons to the point where they are an NBA championship contender for big money, no one will dispute that new Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is worth every penny he gets on the market. Where people will take issue with Durant is that on July 4th, Durant announced via The Players Tribune website that he would be signing with the Warriors (2 years, $54 million, second year player option), thus leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that came within one game of reaching the NBA Finals, losing to the team he just joined – the Warriors.
It is being said online that Durant made a punk move by going to chase after a championship ring, but in the world of sports, that is the complete point of playing. As Herm Edwards famously said long ago, “you play to win the game.” Durant is playing for his legacy & a chance to be a NBA Champion. He knew that he was not going to win a championship with Russell Westbrook, not because Westbrook isn’t a elite player, but West is made to play more on a team where he can shoot the ball 50 times a game & not have consequences or questions from the media afterwards.
Golden State was truly the one team that is made for Durant’s style of play, and its been proven to show that their style of play can win championships – which again, is the name of the game & why all of this fuss is being made in the first place. With Curry, Klay & Draymond, Durant is going to see man to man or soft zone defenses most times, leaving him open to truly dominate from inside or out. People are saying that Durant won’t get all of the shots he is used to normally, but it doesn’t truly matter. The Warriors are about working to win an NBA Championship & it won’t matter about who takes the most shots – its about who is standing in mid-June with the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Kevin Durant is going to be a Hall-of-Famer one day, but he doesn’t want to end up like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, & others who have worked hard to chase a championship & have a great career, but never got the big prize. Will this be the start of teams being able to put this together across the league? If the owners have anything to say about it, probably not, but right now, the two teams – the Cavs & Warriors – who clearly dominated the NBA last season – are working to make themselves a cut above the rest of the teams in the NBA, especially if the RUMORS are true that the Cavs are trying to sign Dwyane Wade.
Speaking of Wade, later we will talk about the fallout from the NBA Free Agency period and some of the even crazier contracts being signed for the upcoming season & beyond.