Which NBA Teams Are Winning Free Agency So Far? | Grading The Winners And Losers

The NBA’s silly season is often a time of joy or pain for fans of the 30 franchises. Excitement for finally signing that 3 and D wing and agony at overpaying for that slightly too-short backup point guard.

Ultimately, we won’t know how any of it will shake out on the floor until the season begins in October, but we can still hand out grades.

As an aside, we are still waiting on trades for James Harden and Damian Lillard, the last two big dominoes on the board. Once their situations settle, the rest of the free agency market will settle.

We won’t recap all 30 teams; instead let’s focus on those we think have done a really good job.

Brooklyn Nets – Grade: B+

The biggest thing they did was not allow Cam Johnson to hit restricted free agency. GM Sean Marks signed the 27-year-old Johnson to a four-year, $108 million deal.

Johnson was a +3.9 in EPM, which placed him in the 94th percentile. Dunks and threes gave him 5.7 Estimated Wins (EW). Using the league average of $3.75 million per win, that makes Johnson a $21.37 million per year player. The new contract puts him slightly over that on an annual basis. But Johnson is professional and a good presence in the locker room — something the Nets surely value.

The team moved on from Joe Harris, Seth Curry and Patty Mills, but picked up Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV on cheap deals.

Los Angeles Lakers – Grade: B+

All that talk about GM Rob Pelinka being over his head has subsided. The midseason moves the Los Angeles Lakers made last season were excellent, and the Lakers advanced to the conference finals from the play-in. They were swept by the eventual champion, the Denver Nuggets, but they found some good players.

Austin Reaves is back on a four-year, $56 million deal. He was excellent for this team last season; his play out of the pick and roll and shooting were key to the Lakers’ run.

Rui Hachimura at three years and $51 million was a bit of an overpay. The Lakers are likely feeling good after his excellent playoff shooting performance. But is that who Hachimura is? Or was he just on the hottest streak of his career? Time will tell.

Getting D’Angelo Russell back at two years for $37 million is great value for a player that will play a ton of regular-season minutes, and is very good on offense.

The Lakers also added Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish on manageable deals.

It’s all about the health of LeBron James and Anthony Davis for this team’s ultimate ceiling. But they’ve got a nice squad.

Indiana Pacers – Grade: A

First off, nobody has had a better weekend on social media than Tyrese Haliburton.

That was the tweet he sent immediately after the Pacers gave him a five-year, $205 million rookie max extension. That’s an elite tweet with a video montage of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

The Pacers also signed Bruce Brown from the champion Nuggets to a two-year, $45 million deal with the team, with a team option in the second year. Brown was excellent in the playoffs last year and is a very good defender who can shoot, play in transition and move without the basketball.

The Pacers also traded for Obi Toppin.

Given the young talent on this roster and the addition of Brown and Toppin, look for Indiana to be a top-6 playoff contender next season.

Phoenix Suns – Grade: A

When you trade for Bradley Beal and the top of your roster is Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton, there isn’t any money left to fill out the remaining 12 roster spots. But the Suns did that with the veteran minimum and giving most guys a player option in year two of the deal, so that if the Suns win and they perform well they can earn money elsewhere.

The team re-signed Josh Okogie and Damion Lee. They added Eric Gordon, Keita Bates-Diop, Drew Eubanks, Yuta Watanabe and Chimezie Metu. They’re all players that know their roles and how to excel in their roles.

The Suns had major depth issues in last year’s playoffs, yet they were the only team to push the champion Nuggets to six games. These players sure up that depth.

But like the Lakers, this team’s ceiling is all about the health of Durant, Booker and Beal as well as the defensive improvement of Ayton.

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