We are eight days into NBA free agency and it’s been nothing short of chaotic. Oh, and by the way, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving still haven’t been traded and DeAndre Ayton still has to sign an offer sheet. Even with those big fish remaining on the market, some teams have used the chaos to execute key signings and trades in the hopes that it will push them into playoff contention or beyond.
The biggest goal for the Hawks this off-season was to bring someone in that could take the pressure off guard Trae Young. Dejounte Murray was the guy they landed on and he should bring a dynamic that Young can’t: his defense. It’s no secret that the two are the complete opposite on the defensive end and ultimately that’s a big reason why they traded for Murray.
Murray will also take pressure off Young offensively, as he displayed with the San Antonio Spurs that he can take the reins of an offense. I’m a bit worried about the spacing with Murray, but the Hawks could put him in other spots to utilize his other talents.
It remains to be seen if the Hawks make any other moves, with John Collins being rumored to be involved in a number of trades, but the Hawks checked off an item on their off-season to-do list which is never an easy thing in the NBA.
Whether you think the Timberwolves overpaid for Rudy Gobert or not (which they most certainly did) it’s undeniable that they got better. Pairing Gobert with Karl-Anthony Towns is an interesting decision since most teams have resulted in playing one big or have gone small entirely.
Gobert will complement Towns well in the regular season, but come playoff time, I’m looking forward to seeing how head coach Chris Finch will use Gobert to avoid putting him in scenarios where he’s struggled in the past. The Wolves need to improve their perimeter defense to help out with some of Gobert’s deficiencies, but it may be hard with the remaining free agents on the market.
The Wolves had some good depth pieces in Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverly, but they had to trade them so they could land Gobert. If the Wolves hope to make a deep postseason run, they’ll need to make sure they surround Gobert and Towns with perimeter defenders they can rely on.
New York Knicks
New York, it finally happened. You finally signed a free agent that had been linked to you for some time. It may have been a slight overpay for Jalen Brunson, but you finally have a point guard you can put your trust in.
Brunson will bring grit and competitiveness to the position on both sides of the ball, which will surely light up head coach Tom Thibodeau’s face. If Brunson can help change the Knicks’ demeanor, then the slight overpay will have been well worth it.
The other signing that has been a bit overlooked is center Isaiah Hartenstein. Hartenstein’s stats won’t blow you away, but if given a bigger role, he’ll become a more well-known name.
The Celtics were looking to improve their backcourt and they did just that by acquiring guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers by trading away Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a 2023 first-round pick. Brogdon should be a huge boost for the Celtics’ guard depth which already consists of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Payton Prichard.
However, Brogdon does come with injury concerns. Last season he missed 46 games and has missed at least 16 games each season for the last five years. When Brogdon is healthy, he’s one of the top combo guards in the league. Two seasons ago when he played 56 games, he put up 21 points, six assists and five rebounds a game on 45% shooting from the field and 39% from three.
It’s a big “if” with Brogdon, but if he can stay healthy, the Celtics’ chances of making it back to the NBA Finals is near the top of the league.