Honorable Mention : Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier was the biggest winner of the 2019 NBA Free Agency, without a doubt. He doesn’t deserve 3 years $58 million, especially from the Charlotte Hornets. He was given a very generous contract, and will likely be the starting point guard for Charlotte, which is also incredibly generous. Terry Rozier got more than he deserved.
Winner : Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers added two of the most well rounded and versatile players in the NBA, and in most peoples eyes, they’re the favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship. They have very talented players other than their stars like Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Landry Shamet, Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, Ivica Zubac, Rodney McGruder, and Maurice Harkless, all of whom can contribute in various ways.
They’re one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and as we’ve seen before, you can’t win with just stars. You need a quality supporting cast around them. The Clippers have about 10 players who deserve significant minutes, and that depth will be hard to compete with. Usually teams have either depth or star-power, but the Clippers have both.
They added Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, while only losing Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (and a ton of first round draft picks). They saw an opportunity to become title contenders, and they took it. Yes, this trade could come back to haunt them in the future if this team doesn’t have a long life span, but you need to take risks to win championships, and the Clippers did that.
Loser : Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets just lost both Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, who were their two leading scorers last season. They replaced them with Terry Rozier, who could thrive in his new role, but could just as easily fail.
The Charlotte Hornets were in the worst financial situation in the NBA going into the offseason, paying five different players more than $13 million each (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, and Nicholas Batum.) Every single one of those players are being overpaid, so paying Terry Rozier $58 million over the next three years on top of that was a terrible decision. Even if he ends up thriving in Charlotte, they just dug their financial hole deeper, which is the one thing they couldn’t afford to do this offseason.
Winner : Los Angeles Lakers
Even though they lost out on Kawhi Leonard, Laker fans can rest easy knowing they acquired Anthony Davis. They were also able to keep Kyle Kuzma despite the AD trade, so they still have one young talented player on their payroll. They also signed Danny Green, Demarcus Cousins, and Avery Bradley, while also resigning Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Javale McGee. They weren’t able to acquire a third star, but they still got AD, and got a great cast of role players to support their two stars.
Loser : Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton doesn’t deserve a max contract. Bojan Bogdanovic is getting payed half of what Middleton is getting, and he’s almost as good. Obviously, Milwaukee did what they had to do to keep him, but it was a lose-lose situation. Either they overpay him, or they lose him.
They also lost Malcolm Brogdon, which is a hole that very few players can fill. Brogdon is one of the most well rounded and efficient guards in the NBA, so replacing him will be difficult, especially since so much of their cap space is split between Middleton and Antetokounmpo.
They resigned Brook Lopez and George Hill, and signed Wesley Matthews (who could be a very good fit in Milwaukee).
They didn’t have the worst offseason, but when you’re competing to make the NBA Finals, taking a step back makes it even easier for the teams you’re competing against.
Winner : Brooklyn Nets
5 years ago, the Brooklyn Nets were the laughingstock of the NBA. With little to no talent, and no draft picks, they were hopeless, but Sean Marks solidified himself as one of the best General Managers in the NBA by rebuilding this team from nothing. He traded Brook Lopez for D’Angelo Russell (so the Lakers could make room for Lonzo Ball, and relieve some cap space), traded Thaddeus Young for Caris LeVert, and traded a mid first round pick and Allen Crabbe for Taurean Prince. They did very well in the draft as well, getting players like Jarrett Allen, Ronade Hollis-Jefferson, and Rodions Kurucs with late first round picks.
Sean Marks turned nothing into something, and that something is the four headed monster of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, and DeAndre Jordan.
Loser : Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns had a terrible offseason. Their draft was decent. Trading back for Cameron Johnson, which was questionable with where he was projected, but if you love a player you need to take them. They also acquired Dario Saric in that trade, who can start at the power forward position right away.
Trading Tj Warren for a second round pick however wasn’t decent. It’s incredibly stupid. According to Amin Elhassan of ESPN, the Indiana Pacers thought the offer of Tj Warren for the 32nd pick was a joke. Phoenix could’ve gotten way more in return for Warren, which is why Indiana didn’t believe the offer.
Phoenix will be paying Ricky Rubio roughly $17 million per year for the next three seasons, money which they only had because they let go of Tj Warren. They could have drafted Coby White, and built around their young core, but instead they traded away a quality player just to overpay for a veteran.
Phoenix made bad move after bad move, and while you can excuse a couple of them, they made far too many mistakes in this offseason alone. Biggest loser of the offseason, hands down.
Winner : Utah Jazz
Utah is definitely one of the sleepers for biggest improvement this offseason. They didn’t acquire a superstar like LA or Brooklyn, but they did make quite a few improvements in key areas. They won 50 games last season, so with their new roster, who knows what they’re capable of.
Mike Conley is one of the most versatile players in the NBA, so he’ll fit in nicely in Utah. Bojan Bogdanovic is a much better fit than Derrick Favors was, so the spacing will be a whole lot better. Ed Davis, Jeff Green, and Emmanuel Mudiay are all amazing signings, especially for how little they payed. Utah improved their starting lineup, and got a few quality bench pieces, and could be a sleeper to win the West next season.
Loser : New York Knicks
The New York Knicks didn’t have a bad offseason necessarily, they just had a disappointing one. They had hopes of getting the #1 overall pick (Zion Williamson), and they had hopes of getting either Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Kawhi Leonard, but instead they got Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Rj Barrett, and Julius Randle. Julius Randle was a great singing for them, and Barrett has an incredibly upside. Bobby Portis could be good for them as well, but when you set your expectations as high as Knicks fans did, then you’re bound to get disappointed.