When free agency rolls around, so do the rumors, surprise trades and occasional “did that really just happen?” moments, and this off-season is no different. Although most would reference the NBA Draft as Christmas in June, I believe it’s safe to say that the free agency period brings about the same emotions of excitement, lack of expectancy and fear to fans and front offices alike.
Some teams have barely made any changes to their rosters, while others are attempting to do a complete 180 — minus a dominant player or two. If we break it down by conference, we can see that most of the commotion is being caused by teams located in the West. As for those located in the East, attention has been sporadically placed on players more than teams. From Dwayne Wade to Anthony Davis, fans have been more concerned about keeping a critical part of a team rather than wondering what and whom it will take to create help for those same players.
Taking a deeper look into the Eastern Conference, we can see that the Hawks, Pistons, Bucks, Bulls, Magic, Wizards, Sixers, Celtics, Pacers and Raptors have yet to create a massive stir. With some stable draftees and minor trades in place, it is evident that although some teams still need the assistance that free agency can offer them; they are trying to build from within. Despite this, there are still, in fact, other East teams that are looking to rebuild by bringing additions.
Most recently, the Hornets have added Jeremy Lin. Inevitably, this brings mixed emotions from fans, especially after they displayed sheer disappointment in the Hornets’ pick of Frank Kaminsky over Justice Winslow in the draft a few weeks ago. Further down the coast, Heat fans are relieved to see that Dwayne Wade has agreed to a one-year contract worth $20 million and back up north, Cavalier fans are welcoming a revenge-seeking Kevin Love.
Also, viewed as an underdog in this region, the Nets seem to be taking as much as they can get this off-season – gaining a handful of doubted players in Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Brook Lopez and Thomas Robinson. I believe the Nets are onto something. They may not be cooking up a recipe for success, but there is certainly something brewing in the front office in Brooklyn.
Now, as we travel to the Western Conference of the NBA, this is where the fun begins. Most notably, we have DeAndre Jordan. After becoming a “Mav for a Day,” Jordan has turned the sports eye back to the LA Clippers, since we last saw them during the occurrence of a Chris Paul crossover. Jordan verbally agreed with the Mavericks on July 3rd, just to turn back around with teary eyes and rejoin the Clippers on July 9th. Although Jordan is said to be better off, most are disappointed in the way he dealt with the situation in its entirety. Not to mention,Mark Cuban isn’t a happy camper. As for the Rockets, Pelicans, Nuggets, Thunder, Blazers, Jazz, Kings, Suns and Timberwolves, they haven’t made a peep since draft day, with minor trades here and there. On the other hand, the Grizzlies have regained Marc Gasol, the Spurs are staying stacked, and the Warriors made room for Draymond Green.
Alas, here comes the unfortunate truth. Everyone is still left in a daze when it comes to the Lakers and Knicks. Most never thought that they would see the day when these two teams would enter into the turmoil that they have become. After an undeniably dreadful season and the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks fans are few and far between. Free agency looks like an uphill battle as well, for they have only acquired Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez and Derrick Williams thus far.
Luckily for the Lakers, their fans seemingly possess more loyalty, but you can definitely tell that they are also concerned about what this upcoming season has in store for them. Yes, there’s Bryant, but who’s to say how much longer he has. Drafting D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. is a hopeful sight along with picking up Roy Hibbert,
but as for free agency, receiving Lou Williams and Brandon Bass is all the Lakers have come up with.
All in all, NBA free agency is without a doubt one of the most nerve-wrecking occurrences of the off-season. Yes, it can be like Christmas in July, filling fans with happiness, thanks and pure excitement at the sight of all the players up for grabs. Yet, who’s to say that once you choose and unwrap them that it’s exactly what you’ve been longing for. For all we know, a piece of coal wrapped in paper and topped with a bow is still a piece of coal.