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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Palmore

The Best of the Offseason (So Far)

Free agency is one of the best times of the NBA season as players are moving to new teams and teams are taking risks to try to improve and get one step closer to contending for a championship. Here are some of the most notable trades and signings during this summer's free agency period.


Atlanta trades for Dejounte Murray:



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The Atlanta Hawks surprised many people with their run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2021 playoffs. They even got two games on the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks and given how well Atlanta played, many were excited and optimistic about how the team would take a step forward. However, the Hawks went backwards this year as they failed to make the playoffs in what was an up and down season. Trae Young was elite as he always is as he averaged 28 and 9 assists per game in 76 games, but inconsistencies on defense and a little bit of in-house drama caused Atlanta to take a step back.


Knowing they needed to improve on the defensive end, they went and acquired one of the best two-way guard in the NBA, Dejounte Murray. This year was Murray's breakout season for San Antonio as he averaged 21/8/9 and made his first All-Star team. Murray is not a household name yet due to missing essentially an entire season in 2018 with a torn acl and playing in small market San Antonio. However, he stands at 6'4 with a 6'10 wingspan and led the league with two steals per game this year. Watch out for the Hawks next year and in particular their backcourt, which is now one of the scariest in the league.



Minnesota trades for Rudy Gobert:



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After another disappointing playoff exit for the Utah Jazz, Utah has decided to end the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert experiment. Many thought this was something on the horizon as the two stars have never seemed to have their chemistry right since the infamous microphone incident during the pandemic. Although Gobert is very limited in terms of what he can do offensively, he has made his name as an all-time great rim protector and lob threat. The three time DPOY award winner will now try and help the Timberwolves establish dominant territory down low on defense with his shot blocking ability.


The Timberwolves made tremendous strides this year as they made the playoffs and arguably should have beaten the Grizzlies in the first round. Their core of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D'Angelo Russell demonstrated that they have tremendous potential. Similar to the Dejounte Murray trade, Chris Finch and the Wolves are going to have to make this work in terms of fit. It is not a natural fit because KAT's and Gobert's games do not really compliment each other in terms of skill-sets. However, if they can get the chemistry right, Minnesota could be a force in the Western Conference.



Boston trades for Malcolm Brogdon:



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The Celtics surprised many with their unexpected run to the NBA Finals this year. Although their team was (and still is) very talented, one of their fatal flaws was not having a true point guard who could run the show and make sure everything was operating correctly. Knowing they have a chance to make it back, they went out and traded for Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon started his career with the Milwaukee Bucks and made a name for himself as a high IQ player who can get his own shot from anywhere. In the 2018-19 season, he became a member of the exclusive 50-40-90 club (50% shooting from the field, 40% from three, 90% from the free throw line). Brogdon will fit Boston's identity well as he is also a very capable defensive player.


Although Marcus Smart has made tremendous strides as a player throughout his career, his strengths do not lie in playmaking and setting other guys up. Brogdon will bring versatility to the Celtics and as long as he can stay healthy, Boston can definitely make it back to the finals.



Dallas trades for Christian Wood:



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After Dallas' loss to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, one of the main storylines on the Dallas side was that the Mavs needed to make some moves in the offseason to help out Luka Dončić. They did just that by acquiring Rockets center Christian Wood. Similar to Dejounte Murray, Wood is not a name that is well-known around the league because he played on a Rockets team that was among the worst in the league. However, this past year he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds and put up 21 points and 9 rebounds the year before. Christian Wood is another example of the evolution of big men as he is a career 38 percent shooter from the three point line. He can also get buckets in the mid range area as well and will definitely compliment Luka very well.


The Mavericks entered this past season having not won a playoff series with Luka Dončić on the team and after a surprising run to the conference finals, they will look to take that next step in 2022.



The downfall of the Brooklyn Nets:


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After getting swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics, it was the beginning of the end of the super team that never was in Brooklyn. Although Kyrie Irving opted in to his player option at 37 million dollars this year, Kevin Durant requested a trade and now NBA fans are waiting to see where two of the league's most dynamic players will be playing next year. Although the Nets looked good on paper, injuries and drama got in the way of something that could have been very special.


As of right now, Kevin Durant's preferred landing spots are the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, although other teams like the 76ers and Raptors are in the mix. As for Kyrie Irving, it is being reported that he is doing everything in his power to reunite with LeBron James and play for the Los Angeles Lakers next year.



Extensions:


Along with all of these trades, guys like Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Darius Garland, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and Nikola Jokić received contract extensions to stay with their respective teams. Other moves include former Mavs guard Jalen Brunson signing a four year 104 million dollar deal with the Knicks, Blazers guard Anfernee Simons signing a four year 100 million dollar extension with the Blazers, and Bobby Portis staying in Milwaukee on a four year 49 million dollar deal.


This year's free agency has been very exciting so far and it is far from over.




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