NBA 2017 Free Agency Grade Sheets

The free agency period of 2017 has been eventful to say the least, as we have witnessed franchise players sign elsewhere, bench players get overpaid, and underrated stars receive the payday they deserve. With that, here is how each NBA made out after the NBA free agency period:

Atlanta Hawks

Notable Acquisitions: Miles Plumlee, Marco Belineli

Notable Losses:  Paul Millsap, Jose Calderon, Dwight Howard

Overall Grade: C-

After shipping away Dwight Howard before the NBA Draft, the Hawks went on to lose Calderon to the Cavaliers, as well as Millsap to the Nuggets. The franchise will be forced to live without superstar talents in the 2017-18 season, as their biggest threat to opponents happens to be Dennis Schroeder.

The team did spend minimal money during this free agency, and even signed players with decent contracts with their leftover cap space, earning themselves a C-, as they will ultimately struggle in the upcoming campaign.

Boston Celtics

Notable Acquisitions: Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Daniel Theis

Notable Losses:  Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson

Overall Grade: B+

The Celtics were on track to one of the most disappointing free agency periods in recent franchise history, as they swung and missed on both Paul George and Jimmy Butler. Hayward signing in Boston makes the Celtics a little bit more competitive in the Eastern conference, and agreeing to let Olynyk walk to the Miami Heat was icing on the cake.

The fact that Boston could have dealt for George and Butler has to be taken into consideration, as the C’s have earned themselves a B+ for the summer.

Brooklyn Nets

Notable Acquisitions: DeMarre Carroll

Notable Losses:  Justin Hamilton

Overall Grade: C

While Brooklyn remains to be viewed as the laughing stock of the Eastern conference, their trade with the Toronto Raptors wasn’t too shabby. Demarre Carroll provides the franchise with an above-average presence, as the Nets continue to fish for productive players to place within their roster.

Charlotte Hornets

Notable Acquisitions: Dwight Howard, Michael-Carter Williams

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C+

While I’m not crazy about taking in Dwight Howard, the signing of Michael-Carter Williams offsets that for me. The Hornets are doing an efficient job of keeping their core of Nick Batum, Kemba Walker, and Cody Zeller together, and by bringing in outside talent and draft picks, the Hornets are improving through baby steps.

No, the Hornets aren’t going to be a team to watch out for, but the front office deserves a little but of credit. Howard is on a short-term deal, while Williams took a lot less than he should have to play with his personal friend, Kemba Walker.

Chicago Bulls

Notable Acquisitions: Justin Holiday

Notable Losses:  Jimmy Butler, Michael-Carter Williams, Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Cannon

Overall Grade: C-

The Bulls rank 26th in the NBA when it comes to their current player payroll, and with Dwayne Wade’s contract set to expire after this season, the Bulls are continuing to sit on their hands. By waiving both Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Cannon, the Bulls have made themselves essentially noncompetitive for the next handful of years.

The franchise had plenty of opportunities to bring in young talent, yet chose to wait until other stars hit the open market. At the least, the Bulls should have fought to keep Williams on a long-term deal.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Notable Acquisitions: Jose Calderon, Jeff Green

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C

The Cavs were nothing above mediocre through free agency, as their biggest splash happened to involve signing 35-year old Jose Calderon, and keeping 37-year old Richard Jefferson, both of whom will play off of the bench. While the Celtics are continuing to create their own version of a super team, LeBron James has admitted to providing no support when it comes to recruiting new talent this summer.

James seems confident in the Cavaliers’ chances in the 2017-18 season, but with an aging roster, the pressure will once again be on the “The King” to bring home another championship for Cleveland.

Dallas Mavericks

Notable Acquisitions: Josh McRoberts

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C

The Mavericks remained quiet throughout this years free agency, as their biggest move involved re-signing future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki. While the franchise also received Josh McRoberts in a trade for A.J. Hammons and a second-round pick, the Mavericks are making minor moves within their current rebuild stage.

The Mavs have a handful of expiring contracts after the upcoming season, so don’t be surprised if they make a bigger splash down the road. For now, the Mavericks will lay low in the West, as they spectate other franchises dominate the league.

Denver Nuggets

Notable Acquisitions: Paul Millsap

Notable Losses:  Danilo Gallinari

Overall Grade: B

While Gallinari may have been a big loss for the Nuggets, the addition of Paul Millsap is a huge benefit to the Nuggets franchise. Aside from Millsap, the next largest contract the Nuggets need to adjust to is for Kenneth Faried, who requires less than $13 million per season.

The Nuggets took one step in the right direction, and with a handful of their current contracts viewed as short-term, the front office has left the Nuggets open to a number of possibilities for future seasons when it comes to recruiting new talent.

Detroit Pistons

Notable Acquisitions: Langston Galloway, Avery Bradley

Notable Losses:  Darrun Hilliard, Marcus Morris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Overall Grade: B-

Avery Bradley may have been their largest acquisition, but if he decides to re-sign with the Pistons after his contract expires, their trade with the Boston Celtics may turn out to be a steal. Bradley is a great two-way player, as the Pistons received a quality shooting guard for the upcoming season.

In a much weaker Eastern conference, don’t be shocked if the Pistons make it into the postseason as a lower seed. While it’s unlikely that they’ll have playoff success, their free agency strategy only benefited the roster this summer.

Golden State Warriors

Notable Acquisitions: Omri Casspi, Nick Young,

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: A

The re-signing of Stephen Curry, David West, and Andre Iguodala, as well as the addition of Nick Young and Omri Casspi only further proves that the Warriors are the most dominant team in the NBA. While the franchise may have received an A for this summer, the question is how they’ll handle superstars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when their current deals expire in the future.

I was shocked that Kevin Durant took less than a max contract from Golden State, as this front office has evidently been able to pull of some of the greatest moves in the past two years. The Warriors are destined for greatness this upcoming season, as they had one of the best free agency periods in the NBA.

Houston Rockets

Notable Acquisitions: Chris Paul, Zhou Qi, P.J. Tucker

Notable Losses:  Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker

Overall Grade: A

The Houston Rockets swung for the fences during free agency, and while only time will tell whether it pays off or not, on paper, this roster looks elite. With a backcourt of James Harden and Chris Paul, there is no ceiling for the potential the Rockets contain.

With Tucker and Qi signing with the Rockets this summer as well, the front office made sure that Harden has all the pieces necessary to compete with the Golden State Warriors this season.

Indiana Pacers

Notable Acquisitions: Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Cory Joesph

Notable Losses: Paul George, Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles 

Overall Grade: F

Can we really give the Pacers anything above an F for this awful free agency period? In a robbery of a trade, the Pacers let go of Paul George, and in return, received two players with no superstar qualities. After letting Teague and Ellis walk as well, the Pacers just went from the 7th seed in 2016, to a chaotic mess in 2017.

The fact that George wanted to get out of Indiana set a fair amount of distortion within the Pacers front office, forcing an immediate rebuild process for the franchise. It will take a long time for the Pacers to be successful again, and it’ll likely start with them tanking the 2017-18 season.

Los Angeles Clippers

Notable Acquisitions: Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic

Notable Losses:  Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Raymond Felton

Overall Grade: B

Sure, the Clippers lost Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, but the fact that they received a number of talented players in return is remarkable. With the re-signing of Blake Griffin, the Clippers put their money where their mouth is, as they placed their eggs into the injury-prone basket.

Had the Clippers found a way to keep Redick on the roster, this grade could have been a lot higher for Los Angeles. The additions of Beverley, Williams, and Gallinari will be game-changing, as the Clippers should be able to find their way back into the postseason.

Los Angeles Lakers

Notable Acquisitions: None

Notable Losses:  Tarik Black, Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell

Overall Grade: C

The Lakers may have remained silent through free agency, but the fact that Magic Johnson didn’t force upon overpaying for free agents is great news for Lakers fans. By drafting Lonzo Ball, the Lakers no longer feel the need to worry about their backcourt issues, as Ball and Jordan Clarkson should be able to hold their own this season.

The Lakers will likely invest their efforts and potentially their money into names such as Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and/or LeBron James in the near future, but for now, Los Angeles will continue to be seen at the bottom of the Western conferences.

Memphis Grizzlies

Notable Acquisitions: Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans

Notable Losses:  Zach Randolph

Overall Grade: C+

I’m not entirely positive on why the Grizzlies have chosen to retire Randolph’s number immediately, considering the franchise made no effort to keep the 35-year old. By letting go of Randolph, the Grizzlies opened up enough cap space to reel in McLemore and Evans, both of whom can steadily improve the roster Memphis currently contains.

The Grizzlies may have been a #7 seed within the Western conference in 2017, but with multiple franchises on the rise, it’s going to be difficult to succeed with no direct veteran leadership among the roster.

Miami Heat

Notable Acquisitions: Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, A.J. Hammons, James Johnson,

Notable Losses:  Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts

Overall Grade: C+

The Miami Heat had the opportunity to sign Gordon Hayward, but after coming up short, the franchise instead chose to invest in Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk. While I do view Olynyk as extremely overpaid, the Heat had no other direction to go in. They will still make the postseason within the limping Eastern conference, but the front office whiffed when Hayward decided to reject the Heat’s offer.

Milwaukee Bucks

Notable Acquisitions: Tony Snell

Notable Losses: None 

Overall Grade: D+

The Bucks didn’t have any impact whatsoever through free agency, but they did re-sign Tony Snell to a four-year deal. On top of that, with Greg Monroe exercising his player option for the 2017-18 season, the Bucks have a few trade pieces to work with.

With the third-highest payroll in the NBA for the upcoming season, no one really expected the Bucks to make a splash this summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Notable Acquisitions: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson

Notable Losses:  Ricky Rubio

Overall Grade: A-

I find Ricky Rubio to be one of the more overrated (and overpaid) point guards in the NBA, but aside from letting him go, the Timberwolves found themselves a potential franchise player in Jimmy Butler. Signed through the next three seasons, Butler could very well lead Minnesota to their first postseason appearance since the 2003-04 season.

Gibson was recently arrested for driving with a suspended license, but as a whole, I approve of the moves the Timberwolves have made for themselves.

New Orleans Pelicans

Notable Acquisitions:  None

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C-

Aside from re-signing Jrue Holiday to a 5-year, $126 million extension, the Pelicans remained quiet to start the offseason. Big man DeMarcus Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent by the end of the upcoming season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Pelicans decide to hand him an extension as well.

With a player like Cousins, don’t be shocked if he is involved within trade rumors as the season goes on, as multiple teams will view him as a rental towards a championship run.

New York Knicks

Notable Acquisitions: Tim Hardaway Jr

Notable Losses:  Justin Holiday

Overall Grade: D+

The only credible move the Knicks have made to start the offseason was when they decided to part ways with Phil Jackson, and trust me, that was much needed. The franchise has continued to loom around Carmelo Anthony’s name when it comes to a trade/buyout, but the longer the Knicks wait to execute a move, the more it hurts the franchise.

New York then went on to overpay drastically to get Tim Hardaway Jr back, but it’s only justifying that this is a complete mess of a franchise at the moment.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Notable Acquisitions:  Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Raymond Felton

Notable Losses:  Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Taj Gibson,

Overall Grade: A+

After securing Paul George for virtually nothing of value, the Thunder then went on to sign both Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton with their leftover cap space. Sure, the Western conference is only getting more competitive, but by giving Russell Westbrook weapons, the Thunder have improved immensely from where they left off after the 2016-17 season.

Orlando Magic

Notable Acquisitions:  Shelvin Mack

Notable Losses:  Jodie Meeks, Jeff Green

Overall Grade: C-

Aside from Aaron Gordon’s ability to dunk, and some potential in rookie Jonathan Issac, do the Magic really have anything to work with? The team lost Jodie Meeks and Jeff green in free agency, but considering both are over 29-years old, the Magic were smart to let them walk.

Orlando is being pressured into a rebuild, and while they wait for some of their bigger contracts to expire over time, there hasn’t been any talks from the Magic front office when it comes to making a big move.

Philadelphia 76ers

Notable Acquisitions:  J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C+

The 76ers went out and signed J.J. Redick to a 1-year, $23 million deal, but can someone tell me why? The 76ers are competing to stay out of last within the Eastern conference, and sure, they have a lot of young talent, but these guys are incapable of staying healthy.

With 102.4 points per game last season, Philadelphia ranked 25th in that category. If all of these rising players can fulfill their expectations, the 76ers have a chance to stay competitive for a lower seed in the future.

Phoenix Suns

Notable Acquisitions:  None

Notable Losses:  Leandro Barbosa

Overall Grade: D+

While the Suns continue their rebuild process, they have yet to go out and do anything noteworthy through the free agency period. While I give the franchise credit when it comes to staying away from overpaying veterans, I discredit them when it comes to making any moves whatsoever.

Portland Trail Blazers

Notable Acquisitions:  None

Notable Losses:  Patrick Patterson

Overall Grade:  D+

The Trail Blazers have one of the highest payrolls for the upcoming season, which evidently forced them to make no moves through free agency.  Their lack of cap space puts them in a sticky spot, as other teams within the West only get stronger.

Sacramento Kings

Notable Acquisitions:  Zach Randolph, George Hill, Vince Carter

Notable Losses:  Langston Galloway, Ben McLemore,

Overall Grade: C-

The Kings made a lot of moves through free agency, but was it smart of them? Signing a 35-year old Zach Randolph and 40-year Vince Carter makes it seem like the two newly-signed players are viewed as mentors rather than assets.

San Antonio Spurs

Notable Acquisitions:  Rudy Gay

Notable Losses:  None 

Overall Grade: C

The loss of Tim Duncan put a huge gap in the Spurs franchise last season, and with the losses of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili getting closer, things will only get harder. One thing I admire about the Spurs is their ability to remain competitive, as they re-signed Patty Mills, and also reeled in Rudy Gay.

Toronto Raptors

Notable Acquisitions:  C.J. Miles

Notable Losses:  P.J. Tucker, Patrick Patterson, DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joesph

Overall Grade: D

The Raptors may have re-signed Kyle Lowry, but that was their only bright spot this offseason. By trading away Carroll, the Raptors may be eventually clearing up cap space for players down the road. In the end, Toronto only got worse through free agency, while the franchise is viewed as an enormous underdog against teams like the Celtics and Cavaliers.

Utah Jazz

Notable Acquisitions:  Ricky Rubio

Notable Losses:  Gordon Haywayd, George Hill, Shelvin Mack

Overall Grade: D-

After firmly believing they could re-sign Gordon Hayward, the Jazz may have been one of the biggest losers through free agency. On top of that, Utah also lost George Hill, who went on to be replaced by Ricky Rubio via trade.

Time will tell if it’s time for a re-build in Utah, as the Jazz are left without their franchise player heading into the upcoming season.

Washington Wizards

Notable Acquisitions:  Jodie Meeks

Notable Losses:  None

Overall Grade: C-

The Wizards were able to keep Otto Porter Jr away from the Brooklyn Nets, but it happened to force the front office to focus on that issue for most of the free agency period. The Wizards haven’t been as active as the Celtics or Cavs, and most don’t believe they hold a firm chance in the upcoming postseason.

Anything can happen within the NBA, but the Wizards didn’t go out and make themselves any better when they had the opportunity to do so.

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