The first two days of the 2023 NBA Free Agency period has been as crazy as anyone could have expected. From Damian Lillard finally requesting a trade to the Lakers moving improvements. The ink has not been dry and there’s still a few top free agents left.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers didn’t need to upgrade this offseason, but they did so anyways. They re-signed D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura. They added Gabe Vincent, who is a huge improvement over Dennis Schroder, and athleticism in both Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes. Though, the most important deal of the offseason was the extension of Austin Reaves.
Fred VanVleet, Vincent and Max Strus were undrafted players who earned a combined $226 million. VanVleet has had a big deal in the past, though the other two players capitalized off of the Finals run by Miami.
The Bucks retained both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, their two biggest free agents of the 2023 NBA Free Agency period. Outside of just those two they retained Jae Crowder. Though they didn’t retain Jevon Carter, they still remain a title contender in the East.
After years of hoping that Isaac Okoro would develop into a solid player, the Cavaliers went out and got some depth at Small Forward. During the 2023 NBA Free Agency, they’ve added Strus and Philadelphia’s Georges Niang. Not to mention, they brought back Caris LeVert on a lucrative deal and grabbed depth with Damion Jones and Ty Jerome.
The Rockets came into the 2023 NBA Free Agency period with $61 million in cap space. They’ve spent almost all of that on VanVleet and signing one of the most hated players in the NBA, Dillon Brooks. As well as the Suns’ backup center Jock Landale. Veteran point guard Patty Mills is coming to town via a trade for TyTy Washington and Usman Garuba as well as second-round picks and cash. They also sent Kenyon Martin Jr. to the Clippers for two second-round picks.
The 33-year-old guard didn’t get the long-term deal that he wanted and as of now, no deal has been made for him. Harden has now opted into his $36M deal for next season, and is hoping that Philadelphia sends him to a preferred destination like the Clippers. However, Daryl Morey has shown in the past that he’s willing to wait until the right deal comes knocking.
Portland Trail Blazers
Just last week, the Blazers had stated publicly that they were committed to building around Lillard. The Blazers sat there with no moves on the first day of Free Agency and Dame asked out the next day. He also did so hours after Jerami Grant got a five-year, $160M deal. Now, Lillard wants to play in Miami as the team prepares to focus on the future with Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons.
It came as a shock to the Sports Industry that ESPN had laid off so many analysts and reporters. The viewers were not happy either as they watched Kendrick Perkins remain under contract instead of the likes of Max Kellerman, Jalen Rose and Jeff Van Gundy. The latter spent 16 years calling games for the network. They kept his broadcast partner Mark Jackson, who might be one of the worst broadcasters of all time.
Then, they had a pizza party on live television to celebrate NBA Free Agency. How does that look after all the lay-offs earlier that day? Not good at all. Perhaps all the analysts and reporters can land elsewhere in the sports industry.
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