The start of NBA free agency has been anything but quiet. Kyrie Irving opted in, James Harden opted out and Kevin Durant requested a trade.
There’s still a lot left to sort out, but we’ve already seen some decisions of substance. Recapping the four biggest ones so far, with their impact around the league.
Utah Jazz Trade Rudy Gobert
…and the biggest move so far hasn’t been a signing, rather a trade.
The Utah Jazz had to make changes after reaching their ceiling/underachieving in their previous iteration. It was 0coach Quin Snyder resigning first. Next, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was shipped off to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Jazz, clear cap room and receive four first-round picks, along with a number of other players. They will get vets Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley, plus a pair of youngsters in Walker Kessler and Jarred Vanderbilt.
It’s unclear the bounty the Timberwolves surrendered here. It doesn’t make them a serious contender on the NBA betting odds. Does Gobert fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns? We will have to find out. They’re a solid squad with Gobert, Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, but whether mortgaging their future gets them deep into the playoffs remains js debatable.
New York Knicks Sign Jalen Brunson
The Knicks have been on spending spree, signing center Mitchell Robinson to a four-year, $60 million contract, Isaiah Hartenstein to a two-year, $16 million deal and Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $110 million contract.
Brunson was the big fish, as he was one of the top free agents on the market and the Knicks needed a point guard. He’s a solid player who really emerged in the playoffs next to Luka Doncic last season. He will now have an expanded role at the Garden. He may be a player on the rise, perhaps with the potential to become a superstar. He also might be someone on whom the Knicks severely overspent, something they’ve done in the past often.
At the end of the day, does this change the Knicks NBA odds to win the championship? It doesn’t move the needle all that much. By the way, next season is the 50th anniversary of the Knicks’ last title.
Boston Celtics Acquire Malcolm Brogdon
The Celtics made a run to the NBA Finals, but it felt like they weren’t getting as much production out of their point-guard position as they could. Marcus Smart was an excellent defensive force who can score as well, but the team wanted to add someone who can provide some playmaking. That’s why they traded for Malcolm Brogdon, who very quietly has been a 20-point scorer the last couple of seasons.
The Celtics can now go small with both on the court. Perhaps they spell Smart with Brogdon, the latter who could be prominent in Sixth Man of the Year consideration. Watch those odds in the sportsbook.
Philadelphia 76ers Sign P.J. Tucker
It feels like the Philadelphia 76ers consistently lack toughness and grit, the type that’s necessary to succeed in the playoffs. They may have solved that issue by signing forward P.J. Tucker as a stopper defensively, a three-point weapon and an experienced leader, all in one.
The concern here is what Tucker has left in the tank. The 76ers gave him a three-year contract for $33 million, a surprisingly long pact for a 37-year-old. It’s hard to see it aging well. Perhaps both sides prove us wrong here,
For this coming season, though, if you bet online, expect this to make the 76ers a bit tougher and grittier