The 2019 NBA free agent signing period was one of the most anticipated ones in quite a while. It didn’t take long for it to live up to its billing. Kevin Durant confirmed stories he was signing with the Brooklyn Nets. Shortly afterward, Kryie Irving and DeAndre Jordan were reportedly following Durant to the Nets.
The other prizes in free agency haven’t confirmed where they are headed just yet. Toronto’s Kawahi Leonard was expected to meet with the Los Angeles Laker and Clippers this week, and should have a decision soon. Golden State’s Klay Thompson hasn’t given any indication yet, but it is expected that he will resign with the Warriors.
Even though there is still some uncertainty with players’ ultimate destinations, there were plenty of winners and losers. OG News takes a look at a few of them below.
In late May Kevin Durant was a 6/1 pick to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, with four other teams boasting better odds. A month later and the Nets were the favorite at even money, then dropping even lower to -125.
Brooklyn should become a title contender a year from now when Durant comes back from a blown Achilles. They added guard Kyrie Irving, and center DeAndre Jordan.
Signing Durant is a risk with the injury, but if he returns to form, this will be the best transaction of an explosive free agency period.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are now the frontrunners to sign the other prized free agent in Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard decides to go to the Lakers they will have the best three players perhaps in the history of the game.
Oddsmakers are already prepping for the team to get Leonard. The team’s title odds dropped to 2/1 from 20/1, and they are now the favorites. They still have work to do to get replacement players for all the people they traded away to clear cap room, but it could be the best move of all the teams.
The Philadelphia 76ers knew they were going to lose Jimmy Butler, and he didn’t disappoint them, signing a max contract with Miami. But the team managed to do a sign and trade with the Heat and got Josh Richardson in return.
Then the let J.J. Redick go, and grabbed Al Horford from the Celtics. Signing Mike Scott and Tobias Harris gives the 76ers depth, and they will once again be contenders in the East.
New York Knicks
Oh it has been an colossally bad summer for the New York Knicks. First they lose out in the draft for Zion Williamson. No problem, Knicks fans thought, we are getting Durant and Irving. When those two chose the cross-town Brooklyn Nets, the team had solidified its standing as the most futile team in the NBA.
The only moves the Knicks managed were Julius Randle and Bobby Portis. They are good players, but not even close to Durant and Irving.
Not only did Boston lose Irving, they saw Horford flee beantown for the rival 76ers. They did get Kemba Walker, but he is surrounded by untested, young talent. Players like Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart might prove to be solid athletes, but if the Boston’s goal was to win now, they failed.
Oddsmakers agree, dropping the line for the team to win the title from 7/1 to 25/1.
Los Angeles Clippers
They were so close to being the kings of Los Angeles, but apparently buying billboards to sway Leonard was not enough. The team was right behind Toronto to sign the coveted free agent, but apparently the team that shares Staples Center are now the favorites.
The only signing the team had was retaining Patrick Beverly. They still may be able to make a move, but it appears the music is stopping and the Clippers don’t have a chair.