Getting lost with some of the recent free agency movements in the NBA? Struggling to form an opinion without the assistance of others? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll retread some familiar ground from just prior to draft night through to now, but I’ll get a bit deeper into who’s come out on top when it comes to these team shifts.
Chicago Bulls/Minnesota Timberwolves
Bulls get: Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, #7 pick
Timberwolves get: Jimmy Butler, #16 pick
The Bulls must’ve been desperate to offload Butler in taking this deal. Nothing against LaVine and Dunn, but Butler is an All Star player, a proven scorer, top positional defender and would easily be regarded as Chicago’s best player. In return they get LaVine who has been out since February with a torn ACL and, if I’m being honest, hasn’t continued on the career trajectory he may have initially suggested when he dazzled everyone in the dunk contest. Dunn spent the season playing backup at the T-Wolves and is clearly surplus to their current plans. For the Bulls to get real value out of this, they probably needed to hold onto their own draft pick at #16, rather than hand that off to Minnesota as well. I don’t think shuffling up 9 spots will really pay the dividends they may be hoping. With the Bulls turning Rondo loose and rumours surrounding Wade’s future, it’s clear that they’re looking to clean house and rebuild, but I think they could’ve definitely turned their best bargaining chip into some more valuable building blocks.
Winner: Minnesota by a wide margin
Oklahoma City Thunder/Indiana Pacers
Thunder get: Paul George
Pacers get: Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis
Taken at absolute face value I think it’s hard to argue that this deal favours anyone but OKC. They get Paul George, a disgruntled All Star who was still turning in valuable performances for Indiana, while offloading a pair of young but not irreplaceable players. Already they’ve resigned Andre Roberson and brought in Pat Patterson on bargain deals to effectively nullify their loss. With Oladipo and Sabonis the Pacers certainly don’t get better, but at least they get SOMETHING. Paul George has been very vocal about his intentions to depart Indiana at the end of his contract and his desire to sign with the Lakers, Pacers look to have gotten some value from him prior to him walking away for effectively nothing. If George and Westbrook click, and he decides to extend his stay in Oklahoma beyond the 2017-18 season then the Thunder will have walked away with a steal, if he’s just sitting tight until he can make a play to the Lakers, I think it’s an ok move on behalf of the Pacers.
Winner: Thunder currently, and probably also long-term, but maybe not by as much as it seems.
Los Angeles Clippers/Houston Rockets
Clippers get: Patrick Beverley, half the Rockets bench and a 2018 first round pick
Rockets get: Chris Paul
I really rate Chris Paul, and paired with Harden he now gives the Rockets the most exciting back court in the NBA, complimenting Harden’s scoring with points of his own, a high defensive workrate and an excellent assist to turnover ratio. This does leave Houston a little thin on depth but definitely makes them an exciting prospect in the West with the potential to challenge the Spurs for top of their division. The Clippers on the other hand are now flooded with ordinary players and, having lost JJ Redick to free agency as well, will be relying heavily on Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to lead make anything happen. With Griffin’s injury history and Jordan’s potential for disappointment, it could be a long year and an even longer rebuild for the Clippers. Hold onto that draft pick tightly.
Los Angeles Lakers/Brooklyn Nets
Lakers get: Brook Lopez, #27 pick
Nets get: Timofey Mozgov, D’Angelo Russell
The Lakers (or at least Magic Johnson) have professed their desire to go all in on Lonzo Ball and they move here to clear some cap space, allowing them space to bring in some experienced assets to complement his play style and benefit from his apparent “team first” mentality in the near future. They get to add the better of the Lopez brothers to their young squad but also lose D’Angelo Russell as part of the package. The Nets haven’t been interesting or relevant for a while and will definitely benefit from the young and dynamic Russell, as well as the depth that Mozgov adds to the roster. I don’t think this trade instantly improves either side dramatically, but should help both as they work to become contenders again, or for the first time in Brooklyn’s case.
Winner: Straight up draw, both teams should get some decent benefit from this
Utah Jazz/Minnesota Timberwolves
Jazz get: Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves get: 2018 first round draft pick
This is a relatively easy one, with the impending loss of Hayward and Hill (now both gone) the Jazz needed a point guard. They got a solid performer that fits well with their current lineup, for a reasonable price on a good value contract. The Timberwolves offload a player who never quite fit with their style and with the addition of Jimmy Butler is now ever more surplus to their needs. The 2018 pick gives the Timberwolves some options once the see how Butler settles into the team with it’s value set to rise rather than fall in my opinion.
Winner: Draw. Fair call, Jazz fill a need, Wolves trim the fat