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NBA free agency winners and losers: Knicks reach for Jalen Brunson, 76ers rating, Lakers an incomplete for now

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The 2022 NBA free agency period opened at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, and as usual, there was a flood of signings that rushed in straight away. You’re thinking that possibly these teams and players/reps were communicating just a bit bit before they were alleged to? Haha. So silly, these sticky little rules that are not and may’t really be enforced. 

Anyway, no one cares about that. On to the signings. Listed here are the winners and losers from the opening day of free agency. 

Winner: Jalen Brunson

Brunson got paid. The Knicks reportedly gave him a four-year, $104 million deal. For a man who was taken within the second round in 2018, this can be a windfall. Good for him. He deserves it. We’ll see how Brunson fares without Luka Doncic around to occupy all of the defensive attention. But either way, the bag is secured. Brunson is about for all times, and the icing on the cake is het gets to play for his father, Rick Brunson, who recently accepted an assistant coaching position with the Knicks. 

Loser: Latest York Knicks

Listen, good for Brunson, but I just don’t think he’s a very good enough player to commit this type of money to for the subsequent 4 years. From where I’m sitting, unless the Knicks, who’re probably going to throw $50M-plus at Mitchell Robinson in the approaching days, by some means manage to swing the trade for a star that they have been striking out on for in regards to the last decade, they beautiful much just signed themselves up for mediocrity. 

Brunson, who immediately becomes Latest York’s best player (yes, he’s higher than RJ Barrett) cannot, in point of fact, suffice as anything greater than the third-best player on a real championship-contending team, and even that is likely to be a stretch. The Knicks also signed Isaiah Hartenstein at $16 million over two years, which is high quality. He’ll be a pleasant backup center. But nothing that moves the needle. 

At the top of the day, to exit and moves all of the pieces they moved to clear the space they did to find yourself with a non-All-Star as your prize signing, that is a loss. 

Winner: Nikola Jokic

The dude signed the most important contract in NBA history. Five years, $264 million. He’ll make an eye-popping $60 million in the ultimate 12 months of the deal. I’m undecided what else to say. The person won. So did the Nuggets. Jokic is awesome. 

Loser: Brooklyn Nets

It wasn’t free agency. technically, that bit Brooklyn, but on Thursday Kevin Durant issued a trade request. Once Durant goes, Kyrie Irving will likely follow. The Nets, who were alleged to compete for championships for the foreseeable future, just got blown up. 

Now, I’ll say that this might actually end up OK for Brooklyn. They will get a king’s ransom for Durant that may include at the least a number of ready-to-win players along with future draft capital, because the Nets don’t have any incentive to tank is that they owe a ship filled with future picks to the Rockets for the James Harden deal. Durant desires to go to Phoenix. In the event that they by some means get Devin Booker, it’s home-run time. But I doubt that. 

If the Nets talk the Lakers into giving up a number of first-round picks, and even only one if Russell Westbrook goes back to Brooklyn, for Irving, that will likely be much more capital they may package up and move for an additional All-Star. They still have Ben Simmons. This won’t find yourself so bad. 

But for now, the Nets are about to lose Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden within six months. Brutal. 

Winner: Philadelphia 76ers

James Harden hasn’t signed his latest contract yet, but he obviously agreed to provide up enough annual salary for the Sixers to afford P.J. Tucker, whom they signed for just over $33 million over three years. That is a giant rating. Tucker will seriously lift Philly’s defense and slot perfectly as a corner shooter for Tyrese Maxey and Harden drive-and-kicks. Throw in De’Anthony Melton, whom the Sixers landed on draft night from Memphis for the No. 23 pick and Danny Green, and the Sixers are having a very nice offseason. 

Winner: Bradley Beal

Beal also signed an enormous extension with the Wizards: Five years, $251 million. I still bet he gets traded before that contract expires, but by signing with Washington, which owns his Bird rights, he guaranteed himself a fifth guaranteed 12 months, which can equate to about $57 million extra in his bank. That goes with him even when he does get traded. I’d bet good money that Beal winds up having his cake and eating it too, eventually ending up on a contender while also signing the most important deal possible. 

Loser: Washington Wizards

They need to’ve traded Beal an extended time ago. There is not any way this team is competing for anything aside from a bottom playoff seed with Beal making that form of money. He’s just not a 1A championship guy. He truthfully won’t even be a sufficient No. 2 given how deep the talent is across the league right away. Washington must have a bundle of assets right away for Beal. 

That is what the Spurs did after Kawhi Leonard. They tried to win with DeMar DeRozan — a fairly good Beal comp — as their best player as an alternative of committing to a rebuild. They finally conceded to reality and recently traded Dejounte Murray to the Hawks for a bunch of first-round picks, signaling a fresh start. Perhaps Washington will eventually come to the identical conclusion with Beal. They actually should. But until then, they’re paying Beal and Kristaps Porzingis just shy of $80 million next season. Good luck with that. 

Winner: Portland Trail Blazers

I’m undecided if I like Anfernee Simons greater than Jalen Brunson. I feel, at this moment, I might take Brunson because he’s a playoff defender. However it’s close. So why do I feel the $100M Portland gave Simons over 4 years is a win but consider the $105M that the Knicks gave Brunson over the identical period of time to be a loss? Easy: Simons doesn’t must be the perfect player on the Blazers. He’s got Damian Lillard for that. 

Frankly, he won’t must be the second-best player. They simply got Jerami Grant. And they won’t be done. Simons is situated within the hierarchy as Brunson needs to be. Portland locked up its own guy in Simons, who could develop into an actual star but doesn’t must straight away. 

Winner: Lu Dort

Dort didn’t even get drafted. He needed to grind his way into the league on two-way contracts. Now he just signed with the Thunder for $87.5 million over five years. By turning himself right into a brick of a defender while improving greatly as a shooter, Dort won’t ever must worry about money or his place within the NBA again. 

Also, good on the Thunder for rewarding Dort with this money a 12 months before that they had to. They may’ve exercised the $1.9 million team option that they had in place for Dort this season. As a substitute, they let him out of that to sign a much greater deal that may now kick in straight away. As a substitute of $1.9 million, Dort will make over $15 million this coming season with rather more to come back over the subsequent half-decade. 

Winner: Devin Booker

Secured $224 million over 4 years. Again, not much else to say. The person is filthy loaded. I do not think Booker will find yourself in a Kevin Durant trade. If he does it would not be the worst thing to go to a Nets team that continues to be going to be pretty good this 12 months with whatever they get back for Durant with a ton of picks to get even higher in the approaching years to construct around Booker. Life is nice. 

Incomplete: Lakers

I feel the Lakers jumped the gun on a number of of their Thursday signings. They used their MLE on Lonnie Walker, who is not pretty much as good as Malik Monk, whom they lost to Sacramento. I like Juan Toscano-Anderson. He’ll help. Troy Brown Jr. is not exactly moving the needle. Damian Jones is a pleasant signing. I just think the Lakers could’ve waited to see if Donte Divincenzo, who stays unsigned after the Kings opted not to increase him a qualifying offer, or a TJ Warren might’ve develop into available on the MLE level. 

The Lakers didn’t do terrible on day one. I would not call it a win or a loss. They did not have much to work with. What this comes right down to is whether or not the Lakers can discover a approach to land Kyrie Irving. In the event that they do, the offseason is a win. In the event that they don’t, they usually go into next 12 months with Russell Westbrook as their start line guard, no one goes to provide two you recognize whats about Lonnie Walker or Damian Jones. This offseason can have been a loss. So we’ll wait and see. 

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