Naturally, as NBA free agency begins at midnight, there will be some quick deals coming to fruition. Some of these we have already learned about.
According to Shams Charania of the Vertical, Blake Griffin; regarded as a top candidate to leave in free agency, elected to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, agreeing to a five-year deal, worth $173 million. Then, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, point guard Jeff Teague will bolt out of Indiana to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves for an unconfirmed estimated deal of $55 million over three years.
Let us take an early look at what these reported deals could mean.
Griffin was rumored to have a number of suitors, including the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Boston Celtics, but ultimately felt better about returning to play in Los Angeles for five more years. Griffin will look to take on a bigger role with the Clippers and could end up seeing more time handling the ball, something we didn’t expect, but now with Chris Paul gone, it could be a necessity.
It seems to be a status quo move for the Clippers, who will likely slide down the pecking order in the Western Conference without Paul. As of right now, the Clippers are favored to make the playoffs, but have very long odds to win the Western Conference according to realbookies.com. Grade: C
In the most interesting signing of the day so far, Teague will reportedly join a Timberwolves team that will have very high expectations after acquiring Jimmy Butler on draft night. Teague is an interesting addition, but feels like a fallback move, with Kyle Lowry being the best point guard available and seemingly as the best fit.
Teague will provide more offense, but it feels as if they missed out on their big opportunity for a jump forward in a VERY challenging West. Grade: B-
With the trades of Paul George, Butler, Paul and the reported signings, this appears to be a quick start to free agency. More shoes will drop once the clock strikes midnight as many teams’ rosters will begin to take shape.