Free agency is a magical period of the NBA summer. Each passing year graces us with hijinks, comical overpays, and a shuffling of talent across the league. 2017 has been no different.
For some teams, it’s a means of finding the final piece to put them over the top. For others, it’s the step ladder to respectability. Yet for others still, it’s rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Like anything else, free agency comes with winners, losers, and its share of surprises.
Of course, what looks good today can look stupid tomorrow. Without the benefit of hindsight, I present the teams who came out ahead, behind, and out of left field with this offseason’s batch of freshly inked contracts.
Winner: Boston Celtics
After an endless string of almosts, could-haves, and should-haves, Danny Ainge and the Celtics brought in another star in their attempt to dethrone LeBron James as the king of the east. Boston landed Gordon Hayward, this summer’s top prize, for four years. The Celtics should be amongst the top teams in the league for the duration of that contract.
Hayward opted for the greener pastures of the Eastern Conference and a reunion with his college coach, Brad Stevens. Reviving the magic from their days at Butler should directly correlate with how far the Celtics go.
Hayward provides the Celtics with another go-to scorer and someone to take the pressure off Isaiah Thomas. It ended up costing the Celtics Avery Bradley as a cap casualty in the process, but they’re a better team now than a season ago.
They also addressed their dire need of a tough, physical big man. They went out and got this guy. The only person I’d want to box out less than Aron Baynes would be Bane from Batman. All in all, the Celtics are poised for another Eastern Conference Finals appearance and should give the Cavaliers a run for their money when they get there.