NBA championships are won in June (or July … or August), but the foundation is laid almost a year prior during the free agency period. We just saw how offseason signings like Bobby Portis and Jae Crowder helped shape the postseason, and those are the types of moves that teams started to make on Monday, when they were officially allowed to negotiate with players.
The biggest names are off the board as Kawhi Leonard is re-signing with the Clippers while Chris Paul is returning to the Phoenix Suns. Kyle Lowry is now a member of the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors. In exchange, Miami sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to Toronto.
Another coveted point guard, Lonzo Ball, will reportedly join Zach LaVine in the Bulls backcourt in another sign-and-trade deal involving Chicago and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t come to terms with any superstars in free agency after trading for Russell Westbrook, but they added key veteran role players like Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington, while bringing back Dwight Howard for a third stint to help bolster their attack around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Also, All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan is heading to the Bulls in yet another sign-and-trade, while big man Andre Drummond joined the 76ers, presumably as a backup to MVP finalist Joel Embiid. Chicago also shipped Lauri Markkanen to the Cleveland Cavaliers on a sign-and-trade as part of three-way deal involving the Portland Trail Blazers.
We’ll continue to update this post throughout the offseason as decisions are made, so be sure to keep checking back to see how your favorite team is shaping up for the 2021-22 season. Also, don’t put much stock in the rankings outside the top 20 or so, since beyond that it largely depends on what a specific team is looking for.
PO = Player option
UFA = Unrestricted free agent
RFA = Restricted free agent
TO = Team option
NG = Non-guaranteed