NBA Free Agency Recap



(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Connor Easterday

The smoke has cleared and the dust has settled on the wild ride of the NBA’s free agency period. We saw no shortage of max contracts, sign-and-trades, underpays, overpays, and veteran’s minimums. Despite the blistering effects of COVID-19, front offices managed to get through their laundry list smoothly. We’ll be going through some of the most prominent signings of the past month.


Gordon Hayward signs with the Hornets for 4 years, $120 million

This was the prized possession of the 2020 free agency class. Hayward has had an interesting career. He broke out earlier on with the Utah Jazz and primed himself for a huge payday in 2017. That he did receive from the Boston Celtics. However, things went awry when he fractured his tibia in the season opener and unfortunately, Hayward has never fully recovered. There have been flashes of that star player we once knew, and whichever team was going to sign him would be gifted that high-potential, low-floor risk. Well who else other than Michael Jordan to crack his bat and swing for the fences? This did come as a head-scratcher, as Hornets general manager, Mitch Kupchack, had been insisting that the Hornets wouldn’t take any major risks this offseason. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer earlier in the year, he said, “We will not be an active player. I think we can build a culture here and get enough assets and have a promising enough future and really attract the kind of free agent you want to spend that kind of money on.” I do find it highly unlikely that Hayward ever assumes the form of the all-star player from a few years ago. However many around the league seem to disagree. Indiana was preparing to throw out a $110 million offer sheet, as well as Boston. Whether $30 million per year was an overpay or not, this was Hayward’s market value, so all we can do is wait and see if the market turns out to be right.


Bogdan Bogdanovic signs with the Hawks for 4 years, $72 million

The Hawks are one of the most enticing young teams in the league. In his sophomore season, Trae Young nearly averaged 30 points per game to go along with 9 assists and stellar shooting percentages. However, he held one of the heaviest workloads in the entire league. For a young team that wants to compete for a playoff bid, Atlanta’s primary need was a secondary playmaker. It’d be crucial that, if the Hawks wanted to help out their star, they add a player who can take on some ball handling duties, and while not facilitating the offense, can get a bucket all on his own. Bogdanovic is the perfect fit. He’s a sniper who can come off of screens and hit shots from deep, or handle the ball and create a play for a teammate. The former international star, while still only 28 years old, will provide veteran leadership for the Hawks. He worked his way up, winning at every stop. A four-time Serbian league champion, two-time Adriatic league champion, two-time Turkish league champion, and one-time EuroLeague champion. He has bookshelves full of MVP trophies and medals. Bogdanovic is known for his clutch plays late in games. This is the kind of guy that a young, somewhat passive, team should value. At just $18 million per year, “Boggy” is a steal for the Atlanta Hawks.


Montrezl Harrell signs with the Lakers for 1 year, $19 million

The Lebron James and Anthony Davis-led NBA finals champions, Los Angeles Lakers, just got…better? That’s a scary thought, as this team, short of some game fives and sixes, cake-walked through the regular season and the playoffs just to snatch the Larry O’Brien trophy right out of Adam Silver’s hands. There was, however, one minor flaw with the roster: frontcourt depth. The league is increasingly getting smaller and faster, however it’s still important to have your high-energy anchors downlow to crash the boards, get buckets inside, and defend. Well, those are the things Harrel is known for. The 2020 sixth man of the year was somewhat of a disappointment in the bubble period of the season. This may have led to his stock dropping slightly. However, there’s no doubt that Montrezl Harrell is one of the best bench players in the league who, if needed, could easily start for most teams. In an interview with the L.A. Times, he said, “This is a team that wanted me and the team that was really highly on me…I mean, that goes without saying.” To go along with Marc Gasol, the Lakers have addressed their only true need. This makes them an even greater force to be reckoned with, and if they weren’t already favored to pull off a repeat in the finals, they are now.