NBA Free Agency is like the wild west. Teams sign and trade players with reckless abandon. For teams like the Lakers, the rich get richer. For struggling teams like the Pistons, it’s a field day for NBA Twitter. After the dust has settled on the first week, here are the five biggest questions heading into the season.
To Win The NBA Championship, Would You Take The Lakers Or The Field?
Heading into the 2020-2021 season, the Los Angeles Lakers were the favorite to repeat as champions because they still had LeBron James and Anthony Davis. (Anthony Davis is a free agent, but will resign with the Lakers. It’s only a matter of time.) After one week of free agency, the Lakers are now the heavy favorite to repeat as NBA champions.
The Lakers not only restocked players, but upgraded at certain positions. Here’s how the Lakers improved in free agency.
- Traded for Dennis Schröder, who led the league in points off the bench with 18.9 points per game.
- Signed Montrezl Harrell, the Sixth Man of the Year last season and second in points off the bench behind Schröder with 18.6 points per game.
- Signed Wesley Matthews, who shot 36% from behind the arc a season ago.
- Signed Marc Gasol, a former Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best defensive players in the league.
- Resigned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris.
The Lakers did lose Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee through free agency and trades. However, Schröder, Harrell, Matthews, and Gasol is a stronger foursome.
A lot of contenders in the West like the Nuggets and Clippers lost key players from their lineups. The Lakers significantly upgraded, which means barring injuries, the Lakers will be the clear-cut favorite to win the title. Right now, counting on the Lakers to repeat is a better bet than the field.
Did The Bucks Do Enough To Convince Giannis To Stay?
The biggest question of free agency has still yet to be answered. The landscape of the entire NBA rests in the hands of the Greek Freak. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo sign the supermax with the Bucks? Milwaukee knew they had to bring in new players to try and entice Giannis to stay. Enter Jrue Holiday, one of the best two-way guards in the NBA.
The Bucks traded a lot for Jrue Holiday, but if Giannis resigns, it’s all worth it. Had the Bucks completed the sign and trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic, I would have said the Bucks did their part to sway Giannis. However, the Milwaukee front office royally screwed up, leading to Bogdan singing with the Hawks.
If I had to put a percentage on Giannis resigning, I’d go with 80%. The longer Giannis waits, the less confident I will become.
Are The Pistons Drunk Or Wasted?
Respectfully, can anyone explain to me what the Pistons are doing? New GM Troy Weaver has a plan, but I’m confused as to what that plan is. Here are the notable moves from Weaver.
- Signed Jerami Grant for three years, $60 million
- Signed Mason Plumlee for three years, $25 million
- Signed Jahlil Okafor for two years, $3.85 million
- Signed Josh Jackson
- Traded Luke Kennard and Christian Wood
- Drafted Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee.
I’m at a loss for words. Are they creating a stable of big men? The Plumlee signing and Wood trade are baffling. It’s important to remember that Blake Griffin is still on the team. If the Pistons can’t flip Griffin for a guard like John Wall, then who brings the ball up? Good luck, Detroit.
Who Is The Second Best Team In The West?
The aforementioned Lakers are the best team in the West. Who is the second best team?
A few weeks ago, the Warriors would have been my selection as the second-best team in the West. Unfortunately, Klay tragically tore his Achilles and will miss the entire season once again. James Wiseman will help in the frontcourt and Steph will do his thing, but the biggest question mark is Andrew Wiggins. Can he become a 20 point scorer again?
Conventional wisdom would say the Clippers will look to challenge the Lakers. After a disappointing exit, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be on a mission to prove that their pairing can lead to a title. Losing Harrell was a huge loss, but the addition of Serge Ibaka may have been an upgrade down low.
The Nuggets will only take the next step if and only if Michael Porter Jr. becomes a true third option. The Blazers have a loaded bench, but their stars must remain healthy in order to advance in the playoffs.
Gun to my head, I’ll pick the Clippers to challenge the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Can Chris Paul Lead The Suns To The Playoffs?
Time to take an “L.” I did not think Chris Paul had this much left in the tank. Not only did he prove me wrong, but he proved the entire league wrong when he led the rebuilding Thunder to the playoffs.
Now, Paul will have another chance to expedite a rebuild in Phoenix. The Suns will look to build off the momentum gained inside the bubble, where they went a perfect 8-0. Devon Booker will be a popular pick to make an All-NBA and Deandre Ayton is finally showing his true potential. Add Paul and Jae Crowder to the lineup and Phoenix will try to make the playoffs in over a decade.
The Suns are not a contender, but they should take a huge step in the right direction.
What is your biggest NBA free agency storyline? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.