Golden State and Brooklyn have agreed on a sign-and-trade, sending D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors on a four-year, $117M maximum contract, league sources tell ESPN.
Day one of NBA free agency was a complete free for all. So many moves were made that quite honestly, there isn't really much left outside of Kawhi Leonard and the trickle-down role players that will come off the board one by one. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the Day 1 madness.
Brooklyn in the house
Not much to say here. Brooklyn signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both agreed to take slightly less than max money, which allowed the Nets to also add DeAndre Jordan on a four-year, $40 million deal. Brooklyn loses D'Angelo Russell in the process on a sign-and-trade for Durant with the Warriors (which we'll get to), but the Nets are contenders now. Maybe not right away next season, but they'll be darn good, perhaps a top-four seed, and come 2020-21 when they get Durant back, look out.
To think where the Nets were five years ago when they traded everything but their soul to the Celtics -- leaving them with no picks, no assets, no anything for the foreseeable future -- it is stunning what they have turned themselves into. Remember, Kyrie and K.D. coming to Brooklyn is the headline, but the Nets don't even have a shot at them if they don't put together a winning, promising team off the scrap yard over the past half-decade. They have a culture. They have coaching. They have front-office stars. They have a host of really good young players. And now they have two superstars. Incredible.
Warriors don't rebuild, they D-Load
Just when you thought the Warriors had lost Kevin Durant for nothing, Golden State and the Brooklyn Nets reportedly agreed to a sign-and-trade for Durant that will send D'Angelo Russell to the Bay Area. This. Is. Madness.
All things considered, this could be the bombshell of the night. Yes, a sign-and-trade with someone for Durant had been talked about but for this to actually happen is nuts. The Warriors were going to lose Durant for nothing and they had no money or assets that are attractive enough to replace him. Now, out of the rabbit's hat, they get a 23-year-old All-Star who was on the shortlist for a max deal with a lot of teams?
There is one catch here:
Listen, losing Iguodala is noteworthy. He's still a huge player come playoff time. But he's on the downslope, and again, the Warriors, who just signed Klay Thompson to a max deal and may have to do the same for Draymond Green next summer, weren't going to be able to get younger talent for a good chunk of time. To get Russell is beyond amazing. He's a guy lesser teams would legitimately consider building their team around.
This is all so crazy, I wouldn't be surprised if Golden State eventually trades Russell for more fitting pieces, but either way, they're getting max value for a player in Durant they were going to lose for nothing and had no means to replace.
There was a time not that long ago when the Knicks were considered the frontrunners to land both Durant and Kyrie, along with being one of the three teams with the best odds at getting No. 1 overall pick, Zion Williamson. They traded Kristaps Porzingis, the franchise's best asset in some three decades, in anticipation of all this coming together. None of it did.
First, the Knicks fell to the No. 3 pick in the draft, then on Sunday, they missed on Kyrie and Durant -- not to mention Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker. Technically, Kawhi Leonard is still available, but come on. That ain't happening. To make matters worse, it was reported that the Knicks . If this is true, they didn't just lose the race; they didn't even run it.
"While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents," Knicks president Steve Mills said.
When you go from June 30th potentially being a day of one of the biggest celebrations in franchise history, to writing your fans an apology letter, you've had a pretty bad day.
Lakers lying in wait ... nervously
After the Lakers navigated their way to $32 million in cap space, all the talk has been about whether they should spend that money on one max player or split it between multiple role players to fill out a deeper team. Clearly, the Lakers are going for the big fish, and with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant going to Brooklyn, Jimmy Butler reportedly on his way to Miami in a sign and trade with Philly, Kemba Walker headed to Boston, Klay Thompson agreeing to the max with the Warriors, and , there is only one left: Kawhi Leonard.
Problem is, as the Lakers are waiting on the potential third piece to what would unquestionably be the heaviest-hitting Big 3 in NBA history, a whole bunch of players that would've presumably been backup plans as solid role players are falling off the board.
Jeremy Lamb and Malcolm Brogdon are going to the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic is going to Utah. Rodney Hood is going back to Portland. J.J. Redick is going to New Orleans. Brook Lopez is going back to Milwaukee. Patrick Beverley is going back to the Clippers. Derrick Rose is headed to Detroit. Nikola Mirotic is going back to Spain. Rudy Gay is staying with San Antonio. Terrence Ross is staying with Orlando. Darren Collison retired.
If Kawhi signs with the Lakers, nobody cares about any of these guys, and perhaps the signs are pointing to this happening as there are no longer any superstar teammates to join up with elsewhere. He either goes to the Clippers as the only star or stays in Toronto as the only star. If he wants multiple star sidekicks, the Lakers are the only team left.
But if this doesn't happen, the Lakers are going to care a lot about these guys they are missing out on. Suddenly they'll be going into next season with LeBron, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and a bunch of leftovers.
It's not time to hit the panic button. Landing Kawhi may be getting more and more likely. But when people talk about how much timing and the domino effect matters in free agency, this is a prime example. Kawhi is the Lakers' cake, but if they lose him, there might not be much left to eat.
Sixers go all-in to ... break even?
The Sixers grabbed a bunch of headlines on Sunday, starting when they re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million deal. Shortly thereafter, they reportedly executed a sign-and-trade with Miami for Jimmy Butler, which brought back Josh Richardson from the Heat as the headliner but that deal appears to be on hold for the time being.
**Now, we have to say that the Butler deal has reportedly hit a snag as Dallas, the third team involved, thought different players were coming its way. More than likely, Butler still ends up in Miami somehow. But one way or another, he's not coming back to Philly.
After the Butler news broke, the Sixers pulled a bit of a shocker when they became the mystery team to snatch up Al Horford on a four-year, $109 million deal. These are all really good players, which is good news for Philly fans. The bad news, of course, is that Butler, the team's clear second-best player last season, is gone, and they also lost J.J. Redick to the Pelicans. Redick was one of the most underrated value players in the league last year. He was such a big part of the Sixers' offense. So in essence, the Sixers did a two-for-two swap with last year's team: Horford and Richardson for Redick and Butler. To me, that is about as close to an even swap as you'll get when factoring in different roles and different values on different teams.
Horford and Richardson can both space the floor, something the Sixers desperately need, and they're both big-time defenders. Horford, especially, is a nightmare matchup for big men -- including Joel Embiid -- in the playoffs. Now Embiid doesn't have to battle Horford, while everyone else in the East still does. Richardson could really pop on a team where he isn't being unfairly relied upon as a go-to player, as he was in Miami. For the kind of money he got, Harris needs to take a step up from what he did with Philly last year, and he may well be in line to do that with a bigger role in the absence of Butler.
In the end, here's Philly's projected starting lineup: Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. That's pretty damn good. Even if Harris and Horford are probably making too much money for their production, they are necessary components on the Philly timeline, which has been pushed forward to right now. Philly is all-in on these next few years, and you have to call them legit title contenders. But they were probably that before the start of free agency, too.