Although a few tertiary deals remain to be made – including yet another will they or won’t they chapter in the ongoing Knicks/Carmelo Anthony saga– the NBA’s annual free agency whirlwind seems to be slowing down and it’s time to start making assessments. Here are the winners and losers from the 2017 NBA Sweepstakes. Just remember one huge caveat about all of this– it’s likely a contest for 3rd place until LeBron James retires and/or the Warriors release Kevin Durant for inexplicable reasons. That being said, here goes.
Although not all their loot came from free agency per se, the clear winners from the 2017 cattle call extravaganza were the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets, with honorable mention going to, oddly enough, The Detroit Pistons.
The Celtics lost Avery Bradley, a tough defender, a good scorer, and an incredible teammate. That’s a big loss, sure, but it’s more than accounted for by Boston’s acquisition of versatile superstar-in-waiting Gordon Hayward.
Former Utah players (and current fans) can talk all the smack they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that Hayward is a great, great player. With his ability to run the floor, score from anywhere, and be eminently coachable by once and future guru Brad Stevens, Hayward gives the Celtics an outside chance of dethroning the Cavs BEFORE Lebron bolts somehow. Obtained from the Pistons in the trade for Avery Bradley, Marcus Morris doesn’t hurt either.
The Houston Rockets extracted Chris Paul from his untenable situation in Los Angeles. They also resigned perennial MVP candidate James Harden for 8 gazillion dollars through the 2075 season. Either one of these things makes the Rockets a free agency winner, but getting both of these guys under contract and committed is a coup. If they end up getting Carmelo Anthony somehow, we might be talking a 6 game loss to Warriors instead of a sweep.
With the addition of staunch defender and great PER guy Avery Bradley, the Pistons doubled their statistical chance to make the playoffs next year. A first round demolition would look like the start of a dynasty to Pistons’ fans, so we have to call this a win.