The dust has settled from the NBA trade deadline, but it’s now buyout season, and before you know it, free agency will take center stage (after the playoffs, of course). Just like last summer, there figures to be plenty of movement among the big names. With that in mind, let’s rank some of the big offseason transactions from last year and project a few for the 2023-24 season.
Let’s check the latest NBA news, stats, injury report, and NBA lines. We’ve got plenty of NBA picks for you to consider.
Three Moves That Worked Well
1. Mitchell, Cleveland
For all the talk of the power shift to the West when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant went that way, no move altered the landscape more than Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland late last summer. He’s vaulted the Cavaliers into contention with an incredible campaign that features a career-high in scoring (26.9), field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage, and it’s earned him his fourth straight All-Star nod.
While some big stars don’t always mix well with new teams, Mitchell has been the perfect fit alongside Darius Garland and that team’s quality frontcourt. Cleveland plays great defense (Mitchell is ranked 13th in steals per game at 1.5), making them a big threat to stun some teams in the playoffs and a popular bet online. All they need is Mitchell to get hot, and he’s done that plenty of times this season.
2. Brunson, New York
Brunson’s move from Dallas to New York affected both teams. After racing to the Western Conference Finals last spring, the Mavericks are still just floating a little over .500 and they’re grabbing veteran guards whenever they can to bolster their backcourt (Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Justin Holiday).
Brunson is no Magic or Oscar or Iverson. But he’s a very steady, at times dominant, point guard who was a nice complement to Luka Doncic. He’s now playing that role alongside Julius Randle on an intriguing Knicks team that could make some noise this spring if and when Mitchell Robinson comes back healthy
3. Brogdon, Boston
The Celtics didn’t need to change much after their trip to the NBA Finals. But they showed some holes during that run, particularly when Marcus Smart was out or having an off game. The bench needed some stability at the guard position, and Brogdon was the perfect solution.
A borderline All-Star talent as a starter in Indiana, Brogdon has thrived in a reserve role, where he controls a unit loaded with 3-point shooters – too many for opponents to deal with on many nights.
Brogdon himself is second in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 45.2, just shy of Ray Allen’s franchise record of 45.3 for a full season.
Three Moves That Haven’t Worked Well
1. Gobert, Minnesota
The Karl-Anthony Towns absence has been the biggest cause of the Timberwolves’ relative mediocrity, but it’s been a chore getting Gobert to work in their system. He’s been okay but not nearly as dominant as he was in Utah, with his numbers falling in nearly every category.
To make matters worse, he seems to have been the catalyst for D’Angelo Russell’s exit, as the two didn’t see eye to eye. Whether that’s Gobert’s fault or not doesn’t really matter. He’s an incredibly unique player and probably not the perfect fit in a lot of places. Minnesota might be one such place.
2. Barton, Washington
The Wizards also got Monte Morris in their trade with Denver (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith went to the Nuggets), and Morris has been just fine. Will Barton just never found a fit and was in talks with the organization on a buyout. Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope has slid almost perfectly into Denver’s system, filling Barton’s old role and then some.
3. Waiting on Lonzo Ball
It’s hard to say what other options the Chicago Bulls had, but if you told them about a year ago that Lonzo Ball was never coming back, they would have tried to figure out some way to not waste this window. Ball’s seemingly never-ending rehabilitation has practically handcuffed the franchise.
The Bulls know how good they can be if Ball’s back and playing well alongside DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and the others. But the Bulls don’t know when Ball will be back, and they stood pat at the trade deadline, almost like a deer in headlights, not sure whether to move one way or another.
Chicago should probably swoop in and grab one of the point guards available on the buyout market. Perhaps that will give this crew a jolt, and maybe Ball will turn a corner at some point and things will come together in a month or so.
For now, their inability to patch that hole has hindered what was, about 13 months ago, one of the best teams in the league.
Three Moves We’d Like to See Next Summer
1. Westbrook to the Clippers
Just for the drama, this would be fun. He’d be paired up with old pal Paul George and could form a nice three-headed thing with Kawhi Leonard. Sure, Westbrook isn’t quite what he used to be, but he was very durable in his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and is only a season and a half removed from a completely dominant finishing stretch with the Washington Wizards.
There could be another season or two of dynamic play left in that body and you know he’d love to be back in LA (it is his home, after all) with a chance to fight for city supremacy with his old team.
Westbrook will be an unrestricted free agent. The sportsbook will give the Clippers pretty good odds to land him (if he doesn’t sign with them during the buyout period)
Lawrence Frank listed off all the things that Russell Westbrook isn’t when discussing what the Clippers are looking for in a point guard. And then Paul George proceeded to double-down on Russ anyways.
This does not bode well for the Clippers.https://t.co/Moo2qxoIgc
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 13, 2023
2. Irving to the Lakers
It just feels as if Kyrie and LeBron will reunite at some point. They’ve always maintained respect for one another and are obviously in charge of their situations. If Kyrie wants to sign with the Lakers this offseason, and if LeBron wants him to, then it’s all in the hands of Rob Pelinka. Does he want the headache that Irving can cause? Does he want the headache of a disgruntled LeBron? Well, either way, he might have a headache, but he also might have a pretty spectacular trio with those two and Anthony Davis, at least until LeBron finally starts to go downhill (if he does…he might be a cyborg).
3. Green to the Knicks
Draymond Green figures to be leaving Golden State. He said as much recently by indicating “the writing’s on the wall” as it pertains to his future with the only team he’s known.
The Knicks are always in the midst of big-name rumors simply because of who they are. They also seem to be about one piece away from putting everything together, and adding someone like Green to a mix with multiple scorers (Brunson, Randle, Barrett) and a big defender in the middle in Mitchell Robinson seems – on paper – to be a nice mix.
Who knows if the money can work. These teams can always be creative on that end. But Green would be adored by the Madison Square Garden faithful like similar figures were in the 1990s when the organization enjoyed sustained success behind a chippy, tough style.
New York hasn’t been a real winner in years. Green has been his whole career. Make it happen!