2015 NBA Free Agency Winners:
1) San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been one of the best teams in basketball winning five NBA Championships since 1999. After a first round exit in the playoffs last season, they were left with many questions and no answers. Would Tim Duncan return in 2015? Would Manu Ginobili return as well? Would they re-sign Danny Green? These are just some of the many questions the Spurs had this off season and they responded in a tremendous way.
The Spurs went out and signed LaMarcus Aldridge, who was one of the top free agents on the market. They also brought Kawhi Leonard back on a new max five year deal as well as bringing back shooting guard Danny Green. The Spurs also found out that Ginobili and Duncan would be returning to the team as well in 2015.
The Spurs were not done, as the icing on the cake for the Spurs was when David West turned down a $12.6 million player option from the Indiana Pacers to then sign with the Spurs. The Spurs will definitely be back contending for an NBA Title in 2015.
Free Agency Grade: A+
2) Los Angeles Clippers
A few days ago many people would have written the Clippers in as a loss in free agency. But now after the DeAndre Jordan saga and his return to the Clippers, they immediately become instant free agency winners.
Bringing Jordan back was huge for the Clippers. However, they couldn’t get out of the second round with the team they had last season, so the Clippers looked to free agency to make more moves to improve their team.
They were able to add veteran Paul Pierce to their team on a three year deal, who is now reunited with head Coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers also traded for Lance Stephenson giving them more depth going into 2015. The Clippers should be a top three team in the Western Conference this season.
Free Agency Grade: A-
3) Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are a young and talented team led by Head Coach Jason Kidd. They were able to break the .500 mark by finishing 41-41 in the 2013/2014 season. The Bucks were also playing without the number two pick in last years draft as Jabari Parker tore his ACL last season and missed the Bucks playoff run.
The Bucks young team with the return of Parker only got better after the Bucks signed free agent Greg Monroe to a max deal, giving them the big man they were lacking last season. The Bucks also brought back Khris Middleton who did a good job for the them last season.
The Bucks will make some noise this season in the Eastern Conference in the 2015/2016 season.
Free Agency Grade: A-
Other notable free agency winner: Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Free Agency Losers
1) Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers literally lost everyone in their starting lineup besides Damien Lillard. Losing Aldridge hurt and he was only the first domino to fall. They responded nicely by adding Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh and Mason Pumlee in trades, but Vonleh is no where near the caliber type player of Aldridge.
They also lost Robin Lopez, Aaron Affalo and Wesley Mathews in free agency.
Free Agency Grade: D
2) Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers big plan and hopes for rebuilding a Championship team lied with Aldridge. They were unable to persuade Aldridge to play in L.A. and after Aldridge signed with the Spurs, the Lakers were unable to land any of the big names in free agency.
The Lakers acquired Roy Hibbert from the Pacers in a trade, but he was not even considered an option because they missed out on all their targets. Aldridge was plan A and Hilbert was more of the X, Y and Z part of the plan and not what Lakers fans were hoping for.
This was a devastating off-season for the Lakers as they had all kinds of money to spend and no one to spend it on. They were however, able to add Lou Williams and Brandon Bass to go along with D’Angelo Russel who was second overall pick in the NBA Draft and they hope can be the foundation of their future.
Free Agency Grade: D
3) Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have to be hurting more than any other team right now. They had a verbal agreement from DeAndre Jordan to play with them for the next four years. Then a couple days later, Mark Cuban gets locked out of Jordan’s home with no way of contacting Jordan and next thing you know, Jordan is re-signing with the Clippers.
This hurt the Mavericks badly, as there is no big man left on the free agent market for them to pursue. They will have to look to either rebuild or trade for a big man to fill the gap Jordan left behind. They have no back up plan and they did not think they needed one once Jordan agreed to sign with them.
The Mavericks were able to add Mathews from the Trail Blazers to give them a good shooter to go along with Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki, but in a stacked Western Conference, that will most likely not be enough for the Mavericks to even make the playoffs unless they make other moves.
Free Agency Grade: C-
Other Notable Free Agency Losers: New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
For a complete list of all the NBA free agents and their destinations, visit the NBA Free Agent Tracker.
Watch: ESPN First Take Discuss DeAndre Jordan Saga