LeBron Emphatically Puts NBA On Notice | Also, Free Agency Winners, Losers, Sleepers

 

NBA Free Agency opened up on Monday with a bang and whole lot of movement around the Association. Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball changed cities in sign-and-trades.

Of course the Lakers and LeBron James were back at, acquiring future Hall of Famers Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony and looking to add any available veterans to a championship-caliber roster.

 

 

LA has loaded up quite well on solid veterans to play with Bron and AD. There have been some whispers about this team being the “geriatrics crew.”

 

Lebron responded to those opinions with an emphatic one of his own. He put the league on immediate notice — and then deleted the Tweet.

He wrote:

Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays injured, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc. Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it begins! That’s all I ask.

On the other end of the spectrum, two longtime title contenders in the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors whiffed big time.

WINNERS:

Let’s start with the Chicago Bulls who added both Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan via sign-and-trade. That gives them a formidable starting five of Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams and the aforementioned Ball and DeRozan.

The Bulls were adamant on upgrading their roster around LaVine and Vucevic, now they’ll need head coach Billy Donovan to make it all work. On day two they added the gritty and hard-nosed Alex Caruso from the Lakers.

 

The Bulls attacked this free agency with a fervor to spend and get better and their moves speak volumes for what they set out to do.

The Miami Heat made a run in the Orlando Bubble that landed them just two games short of an NBA championship. But this past season they were swept by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

Now we knew Pat Riley wouldn’t stand pat, he added Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade, plus gritty all-league defender P.J. Tucker from the Bucks.

 

 

He even got Victo Oladipo to re-sign on a one-year prove it deal. Paying sharpshooter Duncan Robinson $90M over five years is probably the only move I’d question. But hey when you refuse to include he and Tyler Herro in a trade for James Harden, you have no choice but to keep him.

 

 

LOSERS:

SPURS

The San Antonio Spurs traded away DeMar DeRozan, and let Rudy Gay walk via free agency. Then they proceeded to overpay for marginal talent at best by signing Doug McDermott to a three-year $42 million deal. But if you thought that was head-scratcher how about the $22 million over three-years to injury-plagued former Blazers big Zach Collins. While McDermott fills a role as a three-point specialist (39% last season) this is an overpay. Collins has played a grand total of 11 games over the last two seasons due to a series of injuries. He also suffered a fractured foot in late June. I ask what are the Spurs plans here?

PELICANS

The Pelicans are a dysfunctional mess and they sent Ball to Chicago for two very marginal players at best in Tomas Satoransky and the well-traveled Garrett Temple.

This isn’t much to move the needle at all. The astonishing thing is they pushed back against moving Ball in March when much better offers were on the table. They then decided it was smart to replace Ball with Devonte Graham, a 39% career three-point shooter, while yielding a 2022 first-round pick in the process.

Somebody please make it make sense.

WARRIORS

Golden State has gone AWOL in free agency if we’re talking about impact additions. After missing the playoffs each season of the past two seasons, most expected the Warriors to flip its two lottery picks in last week’s NBA Draft into veteran pieces that could help them compete now.

They instead believed that ring chasers would want to join Steph, Klay and Draymond during free agency, That hat hasn’t been the case. Outside of Curry’s huge extension it’s been a pretty disastrous free agency period out by the bay.

But sometimes the best move is no move and everybody knows the most important piece for Golden State is the healthy return of Klay Thompson and The Splash Brothers.

 

SLEEPERS:

WIZARDS

Washington traded Russell Westbrook and added Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Then they added Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency via sign-and-trade.

They also kept Bradley Beal. So, all in all, not a bad haul for a great player who’s on the decline in some facets of his game. As a Wizards fan I’m excited about this trade and the pieces added.

The Utah Jazz had the best record in the league last season, only to be bounced in the second round by the Clippers after being up 2-0. They re-signed Mike Conley Jr, and added Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall. They’re now 10-deep with Mitchell, Gobert, Conley, ONeale, Ingles, Clarkson, Favors, Gay, Paschall and Niang. The Jazz will be highly competetive again.