Another summer. Another year of wild NBA free agent signings & trades. This year already, over $1 billion dollars in contract money has been agreed to around the league. If anyone questioned if the league is healthy or not, this should tell you all you need to know. DraftKings Master looks over all of the key moments this offseason in the 2017 NBA Free Agency Review.
DraftKings Master will go through the top deals made this offseason that will make the biggest impacts on teams. The current state of the NBA still tends to show the Warriors & Cavs being the strongest teams, but others are not far off. With all that said, here is our 2017 NBA Free Agency Review.
Jimmy Butler Traded To Minnesota Timberwolves For Zach Levine & Kris Dunn
Former Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler was an offensive & defensive lockdown player since he came in the league. The Timberwolves desperately needed defensive help & veteran leadership in a high role. Butler brings both of those intangibles in. Most NBA fans noted that the Timberwolves were on the cusp of being a true power, but needed a leader.
Guys like Karl-Anthony Towns & Andrew Wiggins will become leaders soon enough. Butler has been through the NBA playoff wars. He knows what it takes to get far in the league & during that grind. In a western conference that could see 8-9 teams with a possible shot at the NBA Finals, Minnesota became a true contender to run with Golden State.
As for LaVine & Dunn, they will be a part of the rebuilding in Chicago. The Bulls made big deals last year to get rid of Taj Gibson & Doug McDermott, getting rid of their glue. With some of the other releases of Rajon Rondo & Isaiah Canaan, the Bulls have mailed it in. LaVine & Dunn will be key parts of the new youth movement for the Bulls. They both have learning to do, however, in about 2-3 years, if the team builds around them, Bulls fans will have more to cheer about.
NBA Free Agency Review – Paul George To Oklahoma City Thunder For Victor Oladipo & Domantas Sabonis
The next part of our 2017 NBA Free Agency review looks at another team in the loaded western conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder ended up being a big winner this offseason. The team brought in Paul George at an inexpensive price in terms of Victor Oladipo & Sabonis. Oladipo is a solid scorer, but the mix just didn’t work in Oklahoma City. His style of play is not as high octane as what Russell Westbrook likes to have things at. Sabonis is a player who is still raw & will need consistent minutes to develop his game & get used to the NBA style of play.
Paul George gets to be paired with Westbrook, and Russ gets a guy who can take pressure off him. From the DraftKings NBA standpoint, this could be great for both players. Westbrook will see double-teams at times, leading to George getting open shots & chances to take the ball to the hole. On the flip side, defenders won’t be able to constantly help on Westbrook, which led to many turnovers & negative plays. Russ will still be Russ, but in fantasy, the turnovers should go down quite a bit due to defenses having to be much more honest.
OKC Must Win Now – Or Else
The Oklahoma City Thunder have one year to convince both guys that its an area to win a championship. Both players can become free agents, and George has mentioned that he wanted to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Westbrook is from the LA area & went to school at UCLA. With his outside interests in fashion & other areas of pop culture, if the Thunder are not a team that can contend in a big way, not only could one go, but both could go. Possibly to the same team.
NBA Free Agency Review – Gordon Hayward Signs With Boston Celtics
Since Gordon Hayward came to the NBA out of Butler, he was one of the underrated stars in the league. Much of that was because he played in Utah with the Jazz. There is no secret that Salt Lake City is not a major media market compared to Boston or Miami. Hayward was, however, a part of the SLC community. One of the better players to come through in a while, Hayward & Rudy Gobert looked to try to build the Jazz into a championship contender again, the way they were in the 90s.
Fast forward to July 1. Hayward became a free agent, and it came down to Boston, Miami & Utah again. On the 4th, after a small issue with how the announcement came out, Hayward decided on Boston. He gets reunited with former college coach Brad Stevens, a guy he has always had a great relationship with. The Celtics have a young team with Isaiah Thomas & Avery Bradley being the cornerstones. Bringing Hayward in means a guy who can slash to the basket & have good shooting touch. Thomas was another guy who had a lot of offensive pressure on him last year.
Hayward takes that away from him. He will be a major upgrade from Jae Crowder, a solid player, but had his ups & downs. Celtics fans will see Hayward as a guy who could help them take down the Cavs in the East.
Celtics Become Cavs Only Threat
Having another big time scorer like Gordon Hayward means a true threat to Cleveland. While the Cavs will most likely bolster their lineup a bit, Celtics fans will feel as though ther will be more offensive options late in the season. Bradley is okay on offense, but elite on defense. Thomas is great on offense but weak on defense. Having the balance in Hayward, particularly at the SF position where he might have to check LeBron often will be crucial.
Hayward came from a strong defensive system in Utah & in college at Butler. He gives as much energy there as he does on offense, something that will be loved in Boston. Cap room will need to be made there, which could see the end of Marcus Smart, Crowder & possibly Kelly Olynyk in Celtics uniforms. However, Smart was a solid player but not an elite shooter. Olynyk is a hustle guy, but can be replaced in terms of production value. The Celtics have become amongst the true elite in the NBA, and they will take a strong run at the NBA Finals with their “Big 3” of Bradley, Thomas & Hayward.