The NBA’s free agency period never seems to disappoint, and 2022 has been no different. From surprising signings, to blockbuster trades, to trade requests (sorry Brooklyn Nets fans), this summer has had it all – and we’re barely into the first week of July!
Having said that, now would appear to be a good time to take a step back and analyze all that has gone down. Specifically, I want to pinpoint those teams who have done well in enhancing their future prospects, as well as those clubs who might wish they could have a do-over.
So, lets’ get started!
Top of the Class (A)
He may only be a year in on the job, but Boston’s Brad Stevens is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s most astute general managers. Stevens acquired talented point guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers without having to part ways with any of the Celtics’ rotational pieces. While health is a concern, Brogdon provides a strong combination of scoring, defense, and playmaking, and should immediately serve as the club’s sixth man. Throw in the signing of forward Danilo Gallinari, and the C’s are poised for another Finals run.
No one was surprised to see Rudy Gobert on the move, but what Utah received in return from the Minnesota Timberwolves stunned many. How does four first-round picks, Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Walker Kessler, and Leandro Bolmaro sound? The Jazz have a clear plan, and plenty of assets to build around star guard Donovan Mitchell, whom the team has no intention of trading. Utah was in need of a makeover, and management was able to accomplish that without having to embark on a full rebuild.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Portland seemed destined for a rebuild following the conclusion of last season. However, the moves management has made this offseason put those notions to rest. The Blazers acquired former Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant to serve as a much-needed second scoring option alongside superstar Damian Lillard. Portland also addressed some of its defensive woes, prying Gary Payton II away from the Warriors on a three-year, $28 million deal. And if that wasn’t enough, the team was able to re-sign promising guard Anfernee Simons, as well as center Jusuf Nurkic. It may not be enough for a title, but Lillard and company should be far more competitive in 2022.
Above Average Grades (B)
The Kevin Huerter trade is a bit of a head scratcher, but general manager Landry Fields knocked it out of the park in acquiring star point guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs. While the fit alongside Trae Young can be questioned, there is no denying Atlanta was in desperate need of another All-Star level player. If anything, a Murray/Young duo should make for must-see TV.
Yes, the Timberwolves likely overpaid for Gobert, but, if that’s what it takes to land the league’s best defensive player, especially for a team that has experienced very little success since the Kevin Garnett era, then so be it. Besides, when was the last time Wolves’ fans were this excited about the team’s prospects?Average Grades (C)
New York Knicks:
The Knicks got their man in Jalen Brunson, signing the point guard to a four-year, $110 million contract. Desperate for a capable floor general, Brunson should stabilize the position for the foreseeable future. However, New York is likely banking on player development given it has $170 million tied up in Brunson and center Mitchell Robinson, whom the team re-signed to a four-year, $60 million deal.
The Mavericks did well adding size and rebounding in the form of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee. That said, losing Brunson to receive nothing in return is a serious blow, and unless Dallas is somehow able to acquire Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving, there is no obvious candidate to replace him.
Poor Grades (D)
Washington continues to be stubborn in building around star shooting guard Bradley Beal, re-signing the 29-year-old to a five-year, $251 million max extension that includes a no trade clause. Beal arguably is deserving, but the Wizards need far more surrounding him. In retrospect, the club should have embarked on a rebuild years ago. Alas, it will likely continue to be the same old song and dance in DC, even with the additions of point guard Monte Morris and forward Will Barton.
Failing Grades (F)
Let’s keep this short. Any time one of the game’s all-time greats demands a trade (Kevin Durant), you’re not enjoying a very good offseason.