In probably the most significant free-agent deal so far (outside of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant returning to Golden State, which was a lock all along),. It's hard to overstate how much this deal means to the Celtics, .
And probably even more importantly, they shot up our offseason power rankings!
Suffice it to say, this offseason has been legit bonkers so far. All kinds of stars on the move and what appears to be a really exciting draft class. Based on all offseason moves to this point (with an honorable-mention nod to the Sacramento Kings, who had anand followed it up by and Zach Randolph), here is a power ranking of the teams that have had the most successful summers.
10. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors managed to re-sign their big-name guys in Kyle Lowry ( ) and Serge Ibaka ( ), but losing Patrick Patterson hurts more than the casual fan might realize. Check out this stat:
Raptors with Patterson on the floor over the last 3 seasons: +1004— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 5, 2017
So the Raptors got a little worse, but so did the conference as a whole (although Hayward to Boston probably further separates the Celtics from the Raptors, so it's kind of a wash). In the end, re-signing star players is a win any way you cut it, and getting Lowry on a three-year deal rather than the full five-year max is a quiet win from a finance standpoint.
That's the reason the Raptors edge out the Kings. Starpower matters, and there's still some debate whether it was smart for the Kings to sign Hill, who will presumably take minutes from the team's first-round pick and future point guard De'Aaron Fox.
While Sacramento is still a long way from competing, Toronto is once again in play as the second-best team in the conference. If DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas play closer to their contracts, they might be able to upset a team like Boston if things broke right.
9. Los Angeles Clippers
After losing Paul, there was almost no way the Clippers weren't going to get worse. The questions were: How much worse? Were they still going to be competitive or was a full rebuild going to be the play? The answer to those questions centered on Griffin, who was expected to meet with the Suns and Celtics, at least, as a free agent. Instead, almost as soon as the free agency period began, Griffin re-upped withe Clips on a five-year, $175 million deal.
The move leaves the Clippers with an All-Star-level duo in Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and on Tuesday the Clips added Danilo Gallinari as part of a three-team trade. That's a pretty darn good frontcourt.
It's still going to be tough sledding without Paul and Redick, who signed a one-year, $23 million deal with the Sixers, in a Western Conference that is even stronger with Paul George going to Oklahoma City and Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague landing in Minnesota.
But if you look at it like the Clippers' offseason kind of restarted after they lost Paul, then re-signing a star in Griffin, who definitely had a market elsewhere, and adding Gallinari is definitely enough to constitute at least a successful rebound.
8. Denver Nuggets
- Key additions/signings: Paul Millsap
- Key losses: Danilo Gallinari
Losing Gallinari sours the excitement of landing Millsap, who is arguably the highest-profile free agent the Nuggets have ever landed. in Millsap, and is quietly putting together a pretty nice team with Millsap next to budding star Nikola Jokic. Plus, Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray still have a lot of upside on the perimeter.
The unfortunate thing: Denver still plays in the West. The Nuggets added a borderline top-flight free agent and could still very well miss the playoffs.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
They got their guy in Ball with the No. 2 pick, but the real winning started when they shipped Russell and Timofey Mosgov's anchor of a contract to the Nets before the draft. Getting Mosgov off the books was huge. The Lakers have made some nice moves this summer and positioned themselves for a monster summer in 2018.
We all the know the deal: The Lakers are going to shoot for the moon next year when LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and George will be on the market. With presumed room for two max deals and George having already said he wants to play for the Lakers, there is obvious reason for optimism. The Lakers withstood the temptation to trade for George this year and are banking on getting him next summer without having to give up certain assets Indiana may have sought.
On his own, Ball is a win. If he's what the Lakers think he is, they got their franchise point guard while clearing room to add two superstars next to him.
6. Golden State Warriors
- Key additions/signings: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston
- Key losses: None
The only substantial guy left to re-sign was Kevin Durant, who re-upped with the Warriors on Monday for a reported two years and $53 million. Ian Clark, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia are still unsigned, but if the decisions of Livingston and Iguodala, both of whom may have gotten more than Golden State gave them on the open market, are an indication, at least a couple of those guys will be back, too.
In essence, the Warriors will bring back the core of its title team. Curry, who was with the biggest contract in NBA history, was never going to leave, but Iguodala and Livingston were far from guarantees to be back. Keeping them is a big deal, and it can be largely attributed to Durant . Iguodala and Livingston keep the chemistry right. They keep the bench strong. One school of thought in closing the gap on Golden State was to chip away at its roster, taking some of the peripheral parts. That hasn't happened, and the Warriors again will be the heavy favorite to win it all.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
- Key additions: Markelle Fultz, J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson
- Key losses: None
Trading up with Boston to get Fultz at No. 1 in the draft brings even more excitement to a franchise on a real upswing. A roster with Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Redick and Johnson looks like a legit playoff team in the East. In fact, our SportsLine projections have them as the No. 6 seed after inking Redick.
|PHILADELPHIA 76ERS||WINS||WIN%||PLAYOFF||EAST SEED|
By signing Redick and Johnson to one-year deals, the Sixers seriously, adding two veterans to mentor this young roster while continuing to keep their already flexible salary-cap situation wide open. Philly is quickly becoming a place where legit free agents may well want to play. Someone owes Sam Hinkie an apology.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder came out of left field to land George. As a bonus, they got rid of Oladipo's contract, which still has four years and $84 million left. People are still trying to figure out why the Pacers took this deal over other seemingly from the Cetlics and Cavs, but they did, and OKC scored.
Another score: Signing Patrick Patterson on a three-year, $16.4 million deal, which is an absolute bargain for a player as good as Patterson. He's not going to do much on the interior, but he really stretches the floor as a big shooter and plays good defense. Quietly, the Thunder are putting together a really good, versatile defensive team. If they bring back Andre Roberson, it gets even stronger.
Why aren't the Thunder higher on this list? George could be a one-year rental, and Westbrook has yet to sign an extension, meaning OKC still could lose both as free agents next summer. But let's not sour the mood by looking too far ahead. This is about this summer, and the Thunder just made themselves a potential top-3 or even top-2 seed if everything breaks right.
Should the Thunder convince George and Westbrook to stay long-term, this will be one of the all-time great recoveries after Durant seemingly left the franchise high and dry last summer.
3. Boston Celtics
- Key additions/signings: Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum
- Key loss: Amir Johnson
Gordon Hayward makes the Celtics a legit threat to the Cavs in the East and, perhaps, a fringe title contender, though that latter claim might still be a stretch. After Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Blake Griffin -- all guys who had been mentioned as possibilities in Boston -- wound up elsewhere, getting Hayward crucial not just in terms of how much he helps in the immediacy, but to continue building toward what might be the brightest future in the NBA.
Remember, next year Boston still has the Nets' first-round pick and a Lakers protected first-round pick, both of which could easily wind up in the top five. And let's not forget this year's No. 3 overall pick, Jayson Tatum, who hit a game-winner in his Summer League debut. He's an NBA-ready scorer with potentially elite skill for his size. And now, with Hayward on board, he won't need to play above his experience for the Celtics to take a real step forward.
If Boston hadn't gotten Hayward, it would've been tough to call this summer anything other than at least somewhat disappointing. Now it's a clear success.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
Check out Minnesota's SportsLine season projections after adding Butler, Teague and Gibson:
|OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER||WINS||WIN%||PLAYOFF||WEST SEED|
Without Butler, Teague, Gibson
With Butler, Teague, Gibson (w/o Rubio)
Look at those numbers -- from less than a 20 percent chance to make the playoffs to better than an 80 percent chance. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call a huge summer. Making the situation even better is that Butler is under contract for two more years, so they have time to get this right.
What a core that is developing in Minnesota, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Butler. Teague gives the Wolves more shooting and scoring than Rubio, and that's big because Butler and Wiggins aren't great 3-point shooters. Butler was almost certainly going to be moved from Chicago, and a lot of teams were interested -- notably Boston and Cleveland. Coming out with him is a big-time win for this franchise.
1. Houston Rockets
Key additions/signings: Paul, Nene, P.J. Tucker
How James Harden and Paul, two very ball-dominant players, will fit together is , but from a pure talent standpoint, it's pretty hard to argue that the Rockets don't have the best back court in the league. Paul is a free agent next year, but by opting in on his contract with the Clippers before being dealt, he made it so Houston can give him the same max L.A. could've given him next summer. So this isn't necessarily the likely one-year rental situation OKC faces with George.
Beyond Paul, getting Nene to re-sign for $11 million over three years is a high-value deal, and Tucker is a hard-nosed player who you don't hear enough about. Both those guys can really play, and Houston has a roster that could well be the second-best in the West.
Oh, and it was reported late Sunday that Anthony would be willing to waive his no-trade clause, with. If that were to happen, Golden State may have a real threat to deal with in the Rockets.