The NBA’s free agency period is now two days in. As always, it has lived up to the hype as we have witnessed a handful of exciting and shocking player movements.
Hungry for more? Sit back. It’s far from over. There are a bunch of key free agents still in the board. We’re bound to get more updates in the coming days.
For now, let’s just discuss the key signings over the last two days:
Montrezl Harrell joining the Lakers for the full MLE (mid-level exception)
2 years, $19M
The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers made the first real big splash in free agency when they snagged reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, Montrezl Harrell, away from the LA Clippers. It was out of nowhere, especially since he was a supposedly playing a big role on the Clipps’ growing rivalry against the Lakers.
We’ll have to wait and see if he’ll be starter or not, but he is sure to have a big contributing role on the offense. In his strong campaign as the 2019-20 6MOY, Harrell averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 27.8 minutes of play.
The Clippers replacing ‘Trez with Serge Ibaka, also for the full MLE
2 years, $19M
The Clippers will fill Harrell’s spot with veteran interior defender and shot-blocking specialist, Serge Ibaka. It’s a good replacement, and he looks to fit right in with former Toronto Raptors teammate, Kawhi Leonard, whom he won a championship with in 2019.
Aside from defense, Ibaka can also be a reliable three-point shooter. He shot 38.5% from deep last season, the second-highest clip in his career, so he can stretch the floor better than Harrell.
The Hornets going all-in on Gordon Hayward
4 years, $120M
Yikes, right? The oft-injured Gordon Hayward for a whopping $120M? An average of $30M per year? Did the Charlotte Hornets thought it was 2017 again?
It looks terrible considering the injuries. However, let’s not forget that Hayward averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists this past season, which was on top of sharing the ball with 20-point scorers Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown.
Fred VanVleet re-signing with the Raptors and making history
4 years, $85M
Fred VanVleet is one of the best stories in the NBA today. He’s an undrafted player from a mid-major university (Wichita State) that worked his way into the rotation of a championship team, where he’s now a full-time starter.
FVV’s deal is the richest by any undrafted NBA player in history, and he’s worth every penny. He just had a career year with the Raptors through tallying 17.6 PPG and 6.6 APG, and he’ll continue being a thorn to defences everywhere.
Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo bolstering the Hawks
Gallinari – 3 years, $61.5M | Rondo – 2 years, $15M
The Hawks are slowly-but-surely building a contender. Along with having rising young studs Trae Young and John Collins, they’ve also traded for big man Clint Capela in the 2020 trade deadline and just drafted another high-potential big in Onyeka Okongwu.
Now, they’ve brought in veterans Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo to bolster shooter and playmaking, respectively. Rondo’s presence is especially encouraging as it is deemed to help Young progress as a facilitator.
Jerami Grant cashing in with the Pistons
3 years, $60M
Jerami Grant gave the Denver Nuggets one heck of a postseason in the bubble, so he made the most out of that in free agency. Aside from bumping his money up, he also chose the Pistons, a team that promised a more featured role.
Grant is an active, long-armed, ‘3 and D’ guy that can defend multiple positions and also sink outside shots. It’s easy to defend that he’s worth $20M a year.
The Celtics getting rebounding machine Tristan Thompson
2 years, $19M
The Celtics have been hungry for a consistent rebounder for more than a decade now, and they finally got one in Tristan Thompson. It’s a great bonus that he’s an NBA champion with deep playoff experience.
Thompson, who has averaged a double-double in each of the last two seasons (11.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG combined), will look to be the first Celtic to put up 10+ RPG in a season since Al Jefferson in 2006-07.
The Rockets grabbing up-and-coming big man Christian Wood
3 years, $41M
The Rockets may be in for a rollercoaster season as the trade rumors for James Harden and Russell Westbrook will just continue to roll on. As a good consolation, however, they got the free agent pool’s most intriguing young big man in Christian Wood, a position that’s also a pressing need.
Wood ended his 2019-20 campaign averaging 22.6 PPG and 9.8 RPG in his last 13 games. It was only halted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s other signings that may soon prove to be very impactful:
Jae Crowder – Phoenix Suns (3 years, $30 M)
Crowder is a veteran ‘3 and D’ role player that adds shooting to the new-look Suns. He should get more open looks with Devin Booker drawing plenty of attention and Chris Paul being a master of breaking down defenses.
Avery Bradley – Miami Heat (2 years, $11.6M)
The Heat lost two wing players win Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr., but they got solid reinforcement in Avery Bradley. The two-time All-Defensive team member is joining the Heat’s stacked defensive unit, and he adds clutch shooting and playmaking too.
Jeff Teague – Boston Celtics (1 year, undisclosed amount)
Jeff Teague is a 12-year veteran, and he’ll be an upgrade over former back-up, Brad Wanamaker. He sees the floor better and is a more proven facilitator.
Dwight Howard – Philadelphia 76ers (1 year, $2.6M)
Dwight Howard will be a good back-up for Joel Embiid, and could probably help in improving the young star’s overall game.
Check out NBA.com’s free agent tracker here.