NBA free agency only opened at 6:00 PM EST, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t had a chaotic day 1. We told you to expect things to move faster than we’ve ever seen, and that has indeed been the case, with big signings all over the league. Most of them have ben players returning to their previous teams, but we’ve had plenty of players leave for greener pastures too. Here’s every single signing that we saw on day one, accompanied by a quick breakdown of the fit with the team. We’ll start with the players who chose to start in a new city (or, in one player’s case, just a different team), thus shifting the balance of power in the league.
Harrell Joins Rival Lakers
The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year winner won’t be leaving Los Angeles – but he will be switching teams. The 26 year old jumped ship and is joining the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, joining Dennis Schroder (who arrived via trade) as new arrivals, making the NBA’s best team even better. Harrell put up 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, to go with 1.1 blocks and overall excellent defense. The deal is worth $19M over 2 years, with a player option for year two.
Whether Harrell will start next to Davis or come off the bench remains to be seen, but the amount of talent in the Laker forecourt is overwhelming. Harrell and Davis will both be creating matchup nightmares and crashing the board now, oh, and don’t forget about Lebron James as another big forward who you can’t exactly stick a shorter guard or wing on. The Lakers won by playing big last year, and can expand on that strategy now, creating huge problems for teams that have trusted the “analytics” and have gone small. I think this is the start of a movement towards big man centered basketball again, but that could be a whole other article.
Gallinari Signs with Hawks
One of the biggest free agents on the market, Danilo Gallinari, has signed a 3-year, $61.5M contract with the Atlanta Hawks, finally bringing the team some consistent scoring on the wing. We mentioned in our FA preview that the Hawks could be getting their hands on Gallinari AND Hayward in this free agency… Hayward hasn’t signed yet, but this cuts into the Hawks cap room enough where Hayward would no longer be getting a full maximum deal if he selected Atlanta. That might not matter though, if it’s over 3 or 4 seasons. Gallinari averaged 18.7 points for the surprising Thunder last season, and has been a consistent offensive threat for several years in the league. Huge pickup for the Hawks, and it takes the pressure off second year players De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish to produce as much on the offensive end.
Rockets add Christian Wood
In a somewhat surprising signing, former Piston Christian Wood joined the Houston Rockets on a three-year deal worth $41M. Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds for Detroit last year, but that doesn’t tell the whole story – after Andre Drummond got traded and Wood was given the starting center spot, he averaged 22.6 points and 9.8 rebounds over the 14 games before the shutdown. With the Rockets seemingly tearing it down and exploring trades for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the 25 year old Wood gives Houston a good young forward to begin to build around, or possibly flip down the line for assets.
Derrick Favors Heads Back to Utah
After being traded from the Jazz to the New Orleans Pelicans over last offseason, center Derrick Favors is right back with Utah, signing a 3-year deal worth close to $30M. He averaged 9.0 points and 9.8 rebounds last year in the starting center role for the Pelicans. Whether Favors goes back to starting at power forward next to Gobert in the frontcourt, or becomes the backup center, remains to be seen. Ever since 2013, he was a consistent starter for the Jazz until the trade, even after Gobert broke out into the all-star level player that he is today.
Pistons Add Josh Jackson, Plumlee, Okafor
After trading Andre Drummond last year and watching Christian Wood walk off to Houston, Detroit had a hole to fill at center, and they acted quickly on it. After averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in a backup role for Denver last season, Plumlee landed a three-year, $25M deal with the Pistons, while the former #1 overall pick Okafor’s contract is unknown. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds on 62.3% shooting last year. These two signings will take the pressure off 16th pick Isaiah Stewart, who was seen as more of a project at the age of 19.
Those two weren’t all though – the Pistons are also reportedly close to finalizing a deal with Suns forward Josh Jackson. The former #4 overall pick by the Suns spent time with both the Memphis Grizzlies and the G-League affiliate last year. He’s a reclamation project for the Pistons, who will try to tap into the defensive potential that lead to his top 5 selection in 2017.
Knicks Pick Up Burks
It’s not Hayward, but it’s a start – the Knicks added Alec Burks on a 1-year, $6M deal, and they do it as the 28 year old is coming off a career year, playing games for both Golden State and Philadelphia. He put up 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists combined, although only 12 a night in his 18 games with the Sixers. Burks has long been a solid bench scorer who can shoot the ball and create offense, and he’ll help the Knicks guard depth situation as they look to flip the culture yet again next year.
Dwight Howard Joining Philly
The Sixers added a backup to Joel Embiid, likely putting an end to any word that Nerlens Noel could be coming home. The deal is for one year, the veterans minimum. Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds on stunning 72.9% field goal shooting last year in 69 games for the Lakers, although 67 of those games were off the bench.
Dwyane Bacon Joining Magic
The contract isn’t known yet, but Orlando added some wing depth with the 25 year old former Hornet. After a good 2018-19 year, averaging 7.3 points on 43.7% shooting from the arc, he suffered a knee injury early into ’19-20 and was never quite the same, playing only 39 games and averaging 5.3 points on dismal 34.8% shooting, 28.4% from the three. Orlando is hoping he can regain his shot and provide them with a solid rotation piece.
Fox Gets a Bag With Kings
22 year old emerging star De’Aaron Fox got paid the first max contract of free agency, as the Kings gave him a 5-year, $163M extension to return. It’s been nothing but improvement for Fox over his 3 years in the league, as the stats show:
News later broke that the deal was worth $37.4M over 2 years. The Heat also brought back center Meyers Leonard to a 2-year deal worth close to $20M. Dragic was a crucial part of the Heat’s cinderella run to the finals last year, upping his 16.2 point regular season average to 19.1, despite an injury that kept him out of the finals against the lakers. Dragic has been with the Heat for over 4 seasons since a trade in 2015, averaging 16.6 points and 5.3 assists total over his tenure. Leonard, 27, averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in a backup role to Bam Adebayo last season.
Nets Get Back Harris
It wasn’t long ago that Joe Harris was out of basketball, but after the Nets gave him a chance in 2016, it’s been no where but up. After 14.5 points per game on 42.4% shooting, the Nets made retaining Harris a priority as they look to contend for a championship next season, getting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back from injury. Harris got paid very nicely, with $75M over 4 years.
Clarkson Re-Joins Jazz
The Jazz have clearly been happy with their trade for former Cavalier Jordan Clarkson early in the season, and rewarded the bench scorer with a 4-year, $52M contract. In 42 games with the Jazz after the trade, Clarkson put up 15.6 points on 46.2% shooting. He’s put up double digit points per game in all 6 of his years in the league, and has reliably been one of the best offensive bench players in the NBA.
Clippers Bring Back Morris, Patterson
The LA Clippers lost Harrell, but bringing back Morris makes that sting much less. The 31 year old averaged 10.1 points in 19 games with the Clippers after a deadline trade, and 16.7 on the season, which was mostly spent in New York. The deal is for 4 years, and $64M. The Clips also retained Patrick Patterson, who averaged 4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds. It’s expected to be a one-year minimum.
Trey Burke Remains in Dallas
The Mavericks picked up Trey Burke just prior to the NBA season restart in Orlando, and his performance in the bubble lead to his re-signing being a big priority within the organization. He put up averages of 12.0 points and 3.8 assists in the 8 regular season games, and followed up with 12.3 points on 50.3% shooting in the playoffs. The deal is 3 years, with value being around $10M.
Hood Back in Portland
After opting out of his $6M player option, swingman Rodney Hood reached a bigger deal to come back to the Blazers, worth $21M over two seasons. Hood averaged 11 points a game in 21 games before an Achilles tendon tear kept him out the rest of the season – he hasn’t played since December. Portland still remains confident in his ability to score on 3 levels, and he’s expected to be ready for training camp.
Looking Ahead: Rumors and Potential Signings
Not a lot of word out so far in terms of rumors on remaining free agents, but we have heard a cryptic statement on Gordon Hayward from ESPN: he’s “open minded about a lot of places”. The Indiana Pacers via sign-and-trade, and outright signings with the Hawks or Knicks, remain options.
There also hasn’t been an update from Anthony Davis yet – it’s all but a sure thing that he’ll re-sign with the Lakers, the question now is mainly centered around the years on the contract. Expect AD to take his time.
Look out for much, much more action tomorrow – this was only over 6 hours! We’ll keep you updated with all of it and will bring you a day two edition of this article by the end of the day.