Upstaged somewhat by Paul George getting traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, the 2017 free agency period began in earnest yesterday.
Although quieter than many had hoped, it did see the reigning champs take care of some important business, while the Clippers made a splash in the wake of Chris Paul’s departure and some of the NBA’s best sharpshooters got paid serious money.
On top of that, teams across the league held meetings with some of the hottest free agent talent available and we also saw a few minor trades that could have major implications next season.
So, let’s take a closer look at five of the day’s biggest storylines:
Warriors take care of (most of their) business
Not wanting to leave too many of their key guys hanging for too long, the Warriors locked up Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston right off the bat.
Curry has reportedly signed the “supermax” deal that will see him earn $201 million over the course of the next five years – the biggest in NBA history. At 29 that will ensure Golden State’s cornerstone remains with the franchise through his prime, and potentially beyond. Although if it had been down to LeBron James, Steph would be earning much, much more:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 1, 2017
They also succeeded in bringing back former-Finals MVP Iguodala by offering him a 3-year, $48 million deal. Sources say Iggy was also considering offers from San Antonio, Houston and (believe it or not) Sacramento, but the lure of returning to GSW to go after another ring proved far too great in the end.
Finally, the Warriors convinced Livingston to come back by agreeing to terms on a 3-year, $24 million deal, the third year of which is said to be partially guaranteed.
Three down, one to go.
Clippers bounce back
The Clippers bounced back from losing Chris Paul earlier this week by re-upping Blake Griffin on Saturday.
It took a max-deal that’ll see Blake earn $175.4 million over the next five years, but between them Steve Bulmer and Jerry West were able to convince Griffin that L.A.’s the right place for him, especially now Paul’s out of the picture.
Love or hate him, this seems like an important move for the Clippers, who probably would have found rebuilding difficult had they lost Griffin so soon after Paul. And thanks to some of the pieces they got back in the Houston trade (Beverley, Williams, Dekker, Harrell) they should remain competitive in the West next year.
How Griffin’s numerous injury concerns hold up long-term will ultimately define the success of this decision though.
Shooters get their shot
All teams need shooters, and the Jazz and 76ers tied up two of the best in the game on Saturday by committing to Joe Ingles and J.J. Redick respectively.
Both these moves make a lot of sense, as Ingles played an important role on a developing Utah team last season, while Redick brings some much-needed experience to a fledgling Philadelphia team.
Furthermore, Ingles is said to be one of Gordon Hayward’s closest friends and could be instrumental in ensuring the star resists the lure of more glamourous destinations like Miami and Boston this offseason, while Redick’s one-year deal (much like Amir Johnson’s) helps the 76ers maintain their financial flexibility going forward.
Cavaliers start off small
While the Warriors made free agency look like child’s play, the Cavaliers made a curious first move.
They signed point guard Jose Calderon to the veteran’s minimum, meaning he’ll earn $2.3 million next season.
The trouble is that he was actually less effective, statistically speaking, than Deron Williams was last season. And, given the presence of backup PG Kay Felder, who’s younger and far more athletic, Calderon probably won’t see all that many minutes.
But even so, this is a move that won’t exactly enthuse Cavs fans, given the fact that this free agency period represents the team’s best opportunity to gain some ground on the Warriors.
Still, with Jimmy Butler and Paul George now off the table perhaps that ship’s already sailed.
The Pelicans are on point
Re-signing Jrue Holiday was NOLA’s priority going into the offseason, and they took care of business on Saturday, agreeing to a five-year, $126 million deal that’s said to involve a player option amongst other incentives.
This was an important move for a franchise that’s trying to find a way to win with both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis on the floor, especially as there weren’t exactly a lot of viable alternatives on the table.
Holiday appears to have a good relationship with both players and some strong ties to the franchise given both the length of time he’s been there and the personal problems he endured recently.
Still, now that he’s getting paid like a star he’s going to need to start playing like a star, as the Pels will likely need more than the 15.4 points and 7.3 assists he put up per game last season if they’re to go after a playoff spot in the increasingly challenging Western Conference.
Check out the Double Clutch Twitter page for more free agency news.