While the NBA season officially ended last month when the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, it also meant the beginning of another entertaining period for NBA fans: the off-season and free agency. Free agency gives players around the league to pursue new opportunities and join other teams, creating more formidable contenders for next year while others set their sights on future success. Though this free agency period just began a few weeks ago for the NBA, it's already been interesting and exciting to say the least. The Brooklyn Nets find themselves in hot water as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving want out, the Utah Jazz decide to move on from their longtime defensive force of a center Rudy Gobert, amongst several other moves and rumors around the league we’re here to discuss.
It wasn’t a massive shock when KD and Kyrie asked the Nets to trade them given their history with past teams they've played for, but it has left the Nets in a difficult spot. They seem to be playing hardball however, demanding players like Devin Booker, Lebron James and Anthony Davis amongst others as well as several first round draft picks in exchange for just Durant or Kyrie alone in some cases. It doesn’t look like the Nets are rushing to make any trades ultimately given their demands, so it could be a while if we figure out if, when and where those two are off to and who will be heading back to Broooklyn in exchange though. It does beg the question though of where KD and Kyrie eventually will end up, and the implications that move will have for opponents around the rest of the league. The dynamic of the NBA could shift significantly very soon.
One big trade did take place though, with the Utah Jazz trading 3-time Defensive Play of the Year Center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a huge package. In exchange, Minnesota sent back Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Leandro Bolmaro, Jarred Vanderbilt, this year’s #22 pick Walker Kessler, 4 first round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029 and, finally, a pick swap in 2026. While Gobert is certainly an elite center, this trade is rather strange to virtually everyone in the NBA; if Gobert is worth 5 solid players, 4 first round picks and pick swap, how much are the aforementioned Durant and Irving as well as countless other players on the trading block this off-season. What if Bradley Beal leaves Washington, what will the return for his prolific scoring talent be? The Boston Celtiics even pulled off an impressive trading, landing point guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a 2023 first round pick. While the Celtics gave up a lot of players, they aren’t the type of players that play a lot of minutes for them whereas Brogdon is more than likely the Celtic’s new starting PG. Keep in mind everybody: we’re just two weeks in.
Plenty of other teams have made other moves as well, hunting for new talent and solidifying their rosters in the process. The Atlanta Hawks also acquired Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Danilo Galinari and four first round draft picks, an interesting move for the Spurs that creates quite an impressive backcourt in Trae Young and Murrary. The Philadelphia 76ers also acquired defensive talent PJ Tucker in a $33 million deal, snagging him away from the Miami Heat and leaving Jimmy Butler ,a bit upset on Instagram . Its just a matter of time before we see some more surprising and interesting headlines as free agency continues throughout the summer.