CO-WRITTEN BY LOUIE SNYDER AND BRADEN WAGLE
Throughout the week, we will breakdown and grade all the moves around the NBA. Check back each day for a new post on that day’s moves.
Updated at 12:35am
Durant joins Kyrie in Brooklyn
Grades: Braden A- / Louie A
Braden: Adding Kevin Durant is going to be a huge step for any franchise. I think Kevin Durant’s injury should give more people concern than I have heard considering the league’s history of stars coming off Achilles tears, but even if the Nets get 80% of KD they will be title contenders.
Louie: KD starts a new chapter as the Nets catapult to the best organization in New York. Obviously one of the two biggest signings (waiting for Kawhi).
D’Angelo Russell to GSW
Louie: Gives the Warriors help this year and for the future, but his 3-point shooting will need to improve to fit Warriors offense. The biggest question will be the defense for the Warriors. An underrated part of the dynasty was Iggy, Draymond, and KD on defense. Now with 2 of those 3 gone, and Klay out next year defense will be s struggle.
Braden: I agree with everything Louie said, but the Warriors getting this done shows the genius of Bob Myers. They were not going to be able to improve the team as they were over the cap, but this gives a new young talent to a team that honestly needs it now. The pivot to realize that KD to Brooklyn opened up a sign and trade possibility was genius.
Kyrie to Brooklyn
Grades: Braden A- / Louie A+
Braden: With all the reports that Kyrie will sign a full max in Brooklyn, this deal will put the Nets one step closer to being a contending team after years in the league’s basement. Kyrie is an elite guard who can score with the best. The issue is he is not great at making those around him better, and if the Nets don’t bring in a second superstar it could be tough for the role players to continue there development around Kyrie. Tobias Harris could be a great backup option should they strike out on KD.
Louie: The Nets got one of the best point guards in the league, and now have a chance to use him to lure another superstar in a big market like Brooklyn. That’s really what you’re hoping for in the NBA. I also worry if they can’t land that second superstar that it could all be a waste for Kyrie and the Nets, but in the NBA all you want is a chance to get a superstar duo and this gets them 50% of the way there.
Kemba to Boston
Grades: Braden A / Louie B+
Louie: Obviously they were losing Kyrie and that was going to create a big hole. Danny Ainge continues to do his best to keep the Celtics with a talented roster near the top of the East. This may let Tatum become the star he should become with a better locker room guy.
Braden: I love this move for all sides. Kemba finally gets to compete in the league. He will be able to score similarly to Kyrie but can thrive without the ball in his hands. We have never seen him with other players to share the load, so that will be interesting, but if he can handle it better than Kyrie it could allow development in Boston. Much like Louie, I think this next season will be a HUGE year for Tatum, and I believe Kemba will be a much better compliment to the young talent than Kyrie.
Tobias Harris stays in Philly
Grades: Braden C+ / Louie B
Louie: Harris gets his max, but the 76ers are now stuck with that bill for 5 years. Is he really worth that max? Only time will tell, but after paying Simmons they will have a large luxury tax bill if they are not winning championships.
Braden: Before the Horford news I would have given this a B, but as we will get to with Horford, the lineup fit doesn’t make much sense. Harris is the perfect modern stretch 4, especially with a point guard that can’t shoot. He isn’t worth this kind of money, and definitely not at the small forward slot.
Grades: Braden A / Louie A+
Louie: Heat get a star back in South Beach, and its due to respect for the front office. I don’t really get why Jimmy would want to go there, but for the Heat this was a no brainer.
Braden: The Heat NEEDED a star and to get out of some of those mid-level contracts. Jimmy talked about the respect for Pat Riley and seems to be ready to try to bring a title to Miami. The Heat have the front office to build a championship team in a year, and great coaching staff. Miami has always lured Free Agents and has no state income tax. In an eastern conference where the Bucks just locked themselves into the same team for 4 years, the 76ers have a questionable roster for the playoffs, and Kawhi might leave, who knows what could happen.
Al Horford goes to a rival
Grade: Braden C
Both: We have similar thoughts here. We both think he deserved to get paid and is very underappreciated for what he does on the court and in the locker room. The fit of the new 76ers roster still baffles us. 11 teams last year played two true big men together, only 2 made the playoffs. The best bigs in the league playing together (Griffin/Jordan, Davis/Cousins, Griffin/Drummond) have never got past round 2, this is not the right move. So unless Horford is coming off the bench there has to be a real concern. Ben Simmons already is a non-shooting guard. The key to the modern NBA is stretching the floor to leave the lane open for drives, this roster can’t do that. They even lost JJ Reddick.
Brogdon goes to Indy
Grade: Braden B
Louie: Great fit. Shoots the ball well, doesn’t need the ball in his hands so Vic can be the main ball handler. May have been a bit of an overpay, but what else are the Pacers going to do if this is the biggest name they can lure in.
Braden: I agree the fit is GREAT. He is the perfect guard next to Vic (Happy the Rubio reports were wrong). My issue is the amount the Pacers had to give up. 20+ a year was a lot, but acceptable, like Louie pointed out some times small markets must overpay. The question is was the 1st round pick really needed. Was Milwaukee really going to match the offer? That is a LARGE luxury tax bill for a small market team in Milwaukee next year when Giannis gets extended. I do not believe the Pacers had to give up the pick, and when your a small market team hitting draft picks is the best way to build.
Bogey gets PAYDAY in Utah
Grade: Braden A+
Braden: Ya it was A LOT of money, but Bogey is perfect for the modern NBA. I think the Lakers would’ve been a great fit for him, but he was not going to wait around. Utah now will roll out Conley, Mitchell, Bogey, Ingles, and Gobert. That is one of the best starting 5s in the NBA. The defense will be crazy good and allowing Mitchell to create with 3 shooters that help defenders can’t leave good be deadly. This team really could be in the WCF. Yes, UTAH JAZZ in the Western Conference Finals.
Louie: The Jazz are now in real contention in the West making this a great move for both sides.
Khris Middleton Stays
Grade: Braden No Choice
Both of us: Again we both think Middleton might be under-appreciated and his great for modern NBA. It was an overpay and will lock the Bucks into this roster, but that had to happen. Giannis’ payday next year will stop the Bucks from adding anyone ever again (exaggeration, but only barely). The Bucks had no choice but to get Middleton back.
Julius Randle is Plan B for NYK
Grade: Braden B-
Braden: Honestly I think Randle is top 5 most underrated players in the NBA and I think he will be a good fit next to Knox and RJ Barrett, but the Knicks failed. That is why it’s a B-. You can’t trade Porzingus, get 2 max slots, and walk away with Julius Randle.
DeAndre Jordan joins KD and Kyrie
Braden: This might seem meaningless, but Kyrie, KD, and DeAndre are good friends which matters more than people think in an NBA locker room with 82-games on the road together. The Nets ability to get him probably helped bring KD in. Jordan is still a good center in the NBA, and I really believe having a group of guys that are friends helps during the rough stretches of the NBA season. Look at Wade and James in Miami, even when the team struggled, it was never about them fighting and they always seemed to work it out.
Jeremy Lamb to Indy
Braden: I was very worried about Lamb getting overpaid. I was thinking he could get 14-17 million for a team hoping that he can keep improving, but instead he went for 10. That is great value for Indy. He will be the perfect guy to fill in with Brogdon while Vic is out, and then a great bench scorer when Oladipo gets back. He is good insurance in case Oladipo recovers slowly. I’m sad Aaron Holiday won’t get a bigger role, but at this price, Lamb was too good to pass up.
Bobby Portis to Knicks
Braden: Portis is a great player and a good fit next to Randle, Knox, RJ. That is a decent starting group in terms of fit, but when you trade Porzingus a bunch of average guys that fit well isn’t the goal.
Aminu to Magic
Braden: Big fan of Aminu. He can shoot and play defense at the PF (if you have not noticed I’m a big fan of that kind of player. After All the Raptors switched from playing Ibaka at PF 88% of the time, to him at Center 97% of the time and went small and it helped them win a championship. Not to mention Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, Blazers, Rockets, Warriors, and Jazz all played small-ball.)
Klay returns to Golden State
Grades: Braden A / Louie A
Both of us: We pretty much had the same reaction. Its a no brainer for both sides. GS can’t replace him and he’s very important to them. Not much to say.
Vucevic gets paid to stay
Grades: Braden B- / Louie C?
Louie: Why draft Mo Bamba 6th overall if you are going to resign Vucevic long term when he is not a great defender. I would have let him walk.
Braden: A year ago I would have agreed with Louie that Vucevic has a year in Orlando and no chance to return. I also would have told you the Magic had no chance to make the playoffs. Vucevic had a great year and expanded his game. He still is an out-of-date big man, who is a subpar defender but I don’t know what other options Orlando had. I would’ve tried to get him maybe on a 2 year deal with a team option for a 3rd year, but overall I don’t think the deal is that bad.
Derrick Rose heads to Detriot
Grades: Braden C / Louie B
Louie: This deal is great for Rose and good for the Pistons too. If Rose can play as well as he did last year with a few more weapons, the Pistons can continue to add talent and maybe make a deeper playoff run.
Braden: I don’t think the Drummond and Griffin combo will ever work, and I think this is another bad pairing with them. In a league increasingly about shooting, the Pistons continue to build around non-shooters. Rose is good, but not a good fit in Detriot.
Ricky Rubio to Suns
Braden: Happy the Pacers didn’t get Rubio. Suns fans should be ok with the pass-first point guard next to Booker. He will fit better in Pheonix with better shooters on the team.
Taj Gibson to Knicks
Braden: Gibson isn’t a modern NBA player. Again, anything the Knicks do automatically gets docked on its grade for their failure as a front office. I feel bad for RJ Barrett.