NBA Free Agency: Grading all 30 teams on signings and trades
NBA Free Agency is a wild time. NBA teams have to balance complex math, team chemistry, on-court game-planning and interpersonal relationships, all while the various players available are constantly changing. Even with most teams doing their work before the bell rings and commitments officially begin, it’s a lot for teams to keep up with.
Even with all of the chaos, it’s vitally important in determining how teams will succeed the following season. Sometimes that’s because the league’s superstars change teams, but more often it’s less prominent than that. Last year both NBA Finals teams made trades at this time to add key guards (Chris Paul to Phoenix and Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee) while another Conference Finalist in the Atlanta Hawks added Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari in free agency, two members of their closing five.
Despite a lack of available stars, 2021 NBA Free Agency has included a flurry of movement including a number of intriguing trades.
This year the league’s stars have stayed put, starting with many signing extensions before free agency began (including Giannis Antetokounmpo). Even so, it has been an exciting time, with so many rotation players on the open market and plenty of player movement.
Which teams did the best? Which ones squandered their opportunities? To truly track that we have to evaluate both player signings and trades involving veteran players; we’ll leave draft-pick-only trades out of the accounting. What we won’t be doing is factoring in where a team starts from; if a team did terribly in past offseasons to put themselves in a bad place this summer, we’ll look at how that team did with what it had.
We also have to work with the reporting available at this time, so some contract details are not yet disclosed. Additionally, some of these contracts have been consummated as of this writing, and some are simply an agreement that hasn’t been put to paper. We’ll evaluate based on the idea every reported deal will be made official.
Let’s go team-by-team, starting at the top of the alphabet with the Atlanta Hawks.