The big news of the NBA free agency finally came out: Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, and leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Everything else: Andrew Bogut traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Harrison Barnes joining him on a max-contract signing, and even Pau Gasol joining the San Antonio Spurs, seems miniscule and irrelevant.
The crown jewel of this free agency period, Durant left Oklahoma City Thunder fans in tears, shock and growing hate as he chose to join the Golden State Warriors, signing a two-year deal worth $54.3 million, with a second year option in the contract. From this decision, came a fallout of smaller ones around the league.
- Pau Gasol joins the San Antonio Spurs on a two-year, $30 million deal. This isn’t as bland as it sounds. Gasol is probably coming in to replace Tim Duncan, who is closer to retirement than ever. Who knows, maybe Duncan, a 19-year old veteran, was going to retire anyway. However, there’s a very good chance Durant joining the Warriors helped him make the final decision
- Signing Durant meant the Warriors had to move players and not re-sign others. Harrison Barnes was a restricted free agent who signed an offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks. Durant joining the Warriors meant the Warriors won’t match, and so Barnes will join the Mavericks on a four-year, $94 million deal
- While we don’t usually write about the under $10 million deals in this free agency period, it’s interesting to see the Warriors moving on from clogging their cap space with their supergroup. They’ve added Zaza Pachulia on a one-year, $2.9 million contract, and he probably isn’t the last veteran to take a pay cut in order to join what look like the guaranteed champions
- Another small signing that’s quite interesting is that of Roy Hibbert, an All-Star not too long ago, signing a one-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets for $5 million. That’s less than a third of what he made last season, showing how quickly his career has taken a turn in the wrong direction
The Mavericks were quite busy on Independence day, enjoying the fallout of the Durant signing. They traded for Andrew Bogut and a future second round pick, helping the Warriors shed some cap space, giving away nothing, and adding a strong defensive presence at center
Deron Williams re-signed with the Mavericks on a one-year, $10 million deal. There’s nothing new about Williams, slowly deteriorating and becoming less and less effective as a starting point guard. The Mavericks simply didn’t have a better option waiting for them for both cap reasons and their inability to attract better players