Ranking and grading every team's offseason

Ranking and grading every team's offseason

Ranking

Ranking and grading every team's offseason

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As the madness of the 2020 NBA offseason comes to a close, we thought it’d be a good time to look back at the action of the past few weeks, how much money teams spent in total and determine which teams had strong offseasons and which struggled.

Using all of those factors, we have ranked and graded every team, going from who we thought did the best in free agency, the trade market and in the draft – and who did the worst.

Check it out below.

30
Charlotte Hornets

Money spent: $123.5 million

Key additions: Gordon Hayward, Bismack Biyombo and LaMelo Ball

Key departures: Nicolas Batum, Willy Hernangomez, Dwayne Bacon

Best move: Drafting LaMelo Ball No. 3 overall

Worst move: Giving Gordon Hayward $120 million over four years

The tank-or-not-to-tank discussion is never as simple as some try to make it seem. There’s value in making the playoffs, even as an eight-seed, financially as well as for player development, so it’s easy to understand why the Hornets would want to make as quick of a leap as possible back into playoff contention.

However, had they been just a bit more patient and bottomed out for one more season, Charlotte could have landed a top pick to pair with LaMelo Ball and PJ Washington from what’s projected to be an outstanding draft class.

Hence, giving Gordon Hayward four years and $120.0 million just to get back to mediocrity (if that) and potentially out of the No. 1 pick discussion can only be seen as an incredibly risky, overall poor decision by the Hornets’ front office. Perhaps on a team light on the wings and lacking in top-end talent like Charlotte, Hayward will be able to find his pre-Boston form, but the injury concerns remain problematic, he’s 31 years old and might not be that All-Star player he was prior to the horrifying broken leg he suffered back in 2017-18.

At least the team was able to land Ball with the third overall pick, giving them a potential cornerstone piece in their backcourt who possesses massive upside as a playmaking high-volume scorer.

Grade: D-

29
New York Knicks

Money spent: $25.7 million

Key additions: Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley

Key re-signing: Elfrid Payton

Key departures: Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Moe Harkless, Bobby Portis

Best move: Landing Obi Toppin at No. 8

Worst move: Everything else

Before we get into it, we’ll preface this by saying that this offseason pulled off by the Knicks isn’t new president of basketball operations Leon Rose’s fault, as it’s merely his first year in charge of a franchise that can only be considered a dumpster fire that no major players want to sign with right now.

Due to that, Rose had no choice but to absolutely punt on this offseason and make minor signings that the Knicks hope will help their young core develop.

Nevertheless, if we look at the Knicks’ offseason in a broader sense, we’re talking about one of the most recognizable brands in the sports world playing in the biggest market in the world with almost $36 million in cap space to spend and the best player they wound up signing was Austin Rivers.

Yes, one could argue that there really wasn’t anyone for New York to spend on this offseason (though the Hawks, who did serious work in free agency over the past few weeks, would disagree) and that they were smart to keep their cap space open for 2021, which projects to be an elite free-agent class, and truth be told, that was pretty smart of the Knicks. At the moment, the team could have up to $80 million in cap space in 2021 if they waive Rivers and Julius Randle, enough to sign two max players next year.

But we’ve seen this movie before from the Knicks, so we have no choice but to be skeptical that all this cap space will actually lead to anything major in 2021. Maybe we’ll be wrong, but if recent history is any indication, we more than likely won’t be. 

Grade: D

28
Orlando Magic

Money spent: $17.5 million

Key additions: Chuma Okeke, Dwayne Bacon, Cole Anthony

Key re-signings: Michael Carter-Williams, James Ennis, Gary Clark

Key departures: DJ Augustin, Wesley Iwundu

Best move: Taking a flyer on Dwayne Bacon on a team-friendly deal

Worst move: Not being more aggressive on the trade market

In an offseason that saw them do next to nothing, the Magic opted to re-sign Michael Carter-Williams, James Ennis and Gary Clark while picking up Dwayne Bacon in free agency.

The Bacon signing was probably Orlando’s best move of the offseason, as the former Top 40 draft pick has shown some promise as a scorer thus far in his time in the league, but clearly needed a change of scenery after spending his first three seasons with Charlotte. Plus, Bacon cost Orlando merely a two-year deal for the veteran minimum with a team option on Year-2, making the pickup a worthwhile, cheap gamble.

Besides that, it was overall a boring offseason for the Magic, something that has become all too familiar lately for fans of the Orlando-based franchise. The team could have been more aggressive on the trade market, going after a Hayward or a Westbrook type player to help build some excitement around the team and give them a star to place alongside Nikola Vucevic, but they opted not to and will now enter 2020-21 where they have been for what has felt like a very long time: in the running for the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference.

Woo-hoo.

Grade: D

27
San Antonio Spurs

Money spent: $31.5 million

Key additions: Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, Cameron Reynolds

Key re-signings: Jakob Poeltl, Drew Eubanks

Key departures: Marco Belinelli, Bryn Forbes, Chimezie Metu

Best move: Re-signing Jakob Poeltl on a team-friendly deal.

Worst move: Letting their best shooter in Bryn Forbes leave without even trying to keep him.

San Antonio had one of the quieter and least interesting offseasons of any team league-wide this year, choosing not to pursue any major free agent or to swing a trade of any kind. That’s not to say the Spurs should have made a blockbuster acquisition this offseason, but they could have also gone the Thunder route by going all-in on a rebuild and shipped out LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan.

Instead, the Spurs will return the majority of the team that won just 45.1 percent of their games last season and missed the playoffs. Maybe this year goes differently if the team’s two All-Stars can stay healthy, but nevertheless, San Antonio really did nothing to help themselves improve.

And losing Bryn Forbes, who got such a small deal from the team next up in our rankings (two years and roughly $4.8 million), may not seem like much, but he was San Antonio’s best outside shooter last season and certainly at least warranted the money he got from his new team. The Spurs could have -and probably should have – matched that price to keep him around.

Grade: D

26
Milwaukee Bucks

Money spent: $103.1 million

Key additions: Jrue Holiday, DJ Augustin, Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, Torrey Craig, Nik Stauskas

Key re-signing: Pat Connaughton

Key departures: Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Robin Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, Marvin Williams

Best move: Landing Jrue Holiday

Worst move: The Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco

Milwaukee had one of the more hectic offseasons of any team, making various moves to the roster in hopes of getting Giannis Antetokounmpo to agree to an extension this offseason, which, to this point, has yet to happen.

We’ll start with the positives here: Landing Jrue Holiday – one of the most underrated players in basketball, an elite defender and a point guard who has actually had major playoff moments before – could prove to be absolutely huge, especially if it gets Antetokounmpo either to extend this offseason or re-sign in 2021. 

The price for Holiday was enormous (three first-round picks, one of which became the draft rights to RJ Hampton and two pick swaps) and without a doubt an overpay, but if it gets the Greek Freak to commit, it’ll be well worth it. On the other hand, if Giannis still leaves next offseason, provided the team has another early playoff exit, the move will be absolutely disastrous for Milwaukee’s future.

Now, to the negatives: The Bucks’ front office borderline ruined their reputation with how sloppily they handled the Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco. By allowing the names of the players who would be headed to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the Serbian sharpshooter (Donte DiVicenzo, DJ Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova) to leak too early, Milwaukee basically told the NBA they had tampered with Bogdanovic on what his contract with the Bucks would be way before they were allowed to, thus killing the deal, destroying their chance to pick up an elite marksman and putting them under investigation for tampering.

Brutal.

Beyond that, once the Bogdanovic sign-and-trade fell through, the Bucks didn’t pivot in a very impressive way. Sure, DJ Augustin, Bobby Portis and Forbes should be fine reserves and form a solid bench for Milwaukee, but none of them are the potential game-changers Bogdanovic could have been.

It might not wind up mattering as Antetokounmpo does appear to be fully committed to the Bucks and might still even decide to extend this offseason, but if he doesn’t, it’ll be quite clear why. 

Grade: D+

25
Chicago Bulls

Money spent: $9.4 million

Key additions: Garrett Temple, Noah Vonleh, Patrick Williams

Key re-signing: Denzel Valentine

Key departures: Kris Dunn

Best move: Picking up a solid vet in Garrett Temple on a one-year deal

Worst move: Losing Kris Dunn when the team that landed him got him on a team-friendly deal

It was a quiet first offseason for new top decision-maker Arturas Karnisovas, who has yet to make a major move with the Bulls.

Landing a super well-respected veteran in Garrett Temple on a one-year, $5 million contract was solid work by Chicago, though, as the team was sorely lacking in veteran leadership over recent years, and his presence in the locker room could improve team morale in 2020-21. Noah Vonleh was also a solid pick-up at a cheap price.

As far as what they did in the draft, the jury remains out on the Bulls selecting Patrick Williams No. 4 overall. Some called it a reach considering Williams wasn’t a starter at Florida State and didn’t come on until late in his freshman campaign, but Chicago felt his upside as a multi-positional defender who can shoot and create for others offensively was too much to pass up. Regardless, it’ll be a season or two before we can truly say whether this was a mess-up by Karnisovas or not.

One thing we can criticize a bit, though, was the team losing Dunn, an elite backcourt defender who averaged 2.0 steals in 2019-20, to the Hawks, who got him on merely a two-year, $10 million deal. Perhaps Chicago should have swallowed the bullet and offered the 26-year-old a qualifying offer to keep him as a restricted free agent, considering they’re not in a position to just lose promising talent like that.

Grade: C-

24
Cleveland Cavaliers

Money spent: $6.2 million

Key additions: JaVale McGee, Isaac Okoro, Damyean Dotson

Key re-signing: Matthew Dellevadova

Key departures: Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic, Jordan Bell, Alfonzo McKinnie

Best move: Drafting Isaac Okoro No. 5 overall

Worst move: Taking on JaVale McGee and getting nothing out of it

For starters, Cleveland did well to land a promising talent in Isaac Okoro at No. 5; Okoro’s elite defense will fit well on a team that desperately lacks that exact type of player on their present roster.

Besides that, the Cavs had one of the quieter offseasons league-wide, with their biggest move being between letting Thompson walk rather than overpay him to stay (smart) and giving the Los Angeles Lakers a trade partner for JaVale McGee, who the team appeared desperate to get rid of as part of their Marc Gasol chase.

One could argue Cleveland should have been more aggressive in asking for better draft capital in exchange for giving McGee a home (they got a 2026 second-round pick along with the veteran center), though who knows what  L.A. will look like by then when their current top player is in his 40s. Plus, McGee is on the last year of a contract paying him $4.2 million, so it’s not like the Cavs are taking back an albatross of a deal; a second-rounder was probably the best Cleveland could hope for in that situation.

Grade: C

23
Houston Rockets

Money spent: $47.0 million

Key additions: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Christian Wood, Sterling Brown, Jerian Grant

Key departures: Russell Westbrook, Austin Rivers, Robert Covington, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Luc Mbah a Moute, Thabo Sefolosha, DeMarre Carrol, Tyson Chandler

Best move: Landing Christian Wood

Worst move: Dumping Robert Covington

The team with the most drama surrounding them this offseason, Houston has actually fared decently to this point, though it remains to be seen if and when James Harden is going to show up in practice, as the bearded superstar missed the first day of training camp.

Provided Harden does stay a Rocket, and new backcourt mate John Wall was adamant that he would, then it’s safe to say Houston, led by first-year general manager Rafael Stone, did well considering the circumstances, picking up DeMarcus Cousins on a non-guaranteed deal, signing promising floor-spacing big man Christian Wood at a non-ridiculous price (three years, $41 million), landing three protected first-round picks in separate trades and trading the disgruntled Russell Westbrook for John Wall, who could be a better fit next to Harden, if – and this is a big if – he’s healthy this season.

The one move we can knock the Rockets for is the dumping of Robert Covington, who has more value than what the Rockets got for him, which pretty much amounted to one top-14 protected first-round pick in 2021. Besides that, things could have been far worse for Houston.

Of course, things could still very well get worse for the Rockets if Harden refuses to show up in camp in order to force a trade, and for that reason, we probably could have gone with an Incomplete as the grade here.

Grade: C

22
Detroit Pistons

Money spent: $101.0 million

Key additions: Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Josh Jackson, Jahlil Okafor, Wayne Ellington, Dzanan Musa, Delon Wright, Zhaire Smith, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart

Key departures: Christian Wood, Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell

Best move: Landing Jerami Grant

Worst move: Losing Christian Wood

An extremely busy offseason in Detroit, one that saw the team truly shake things up in Troy Weaver’s first year running the team. The Pistons are adding 10 pieces that we would consider ‘key additions’, including Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and the underrated Delon Wright, who the team got for virtually nothing, as well as sharpshooter Wayne Ellington and two high-upside gambles in Josh Jackson and Jahlil Okafor.

The biggest splash, though, was still nabbing Grant away from the Nuggets on a deal that could be considered an overpay, but might look better in hindsight if Grant is able to expand his game with a bigger role in Detroit. Still, snatching away a 26-year-old big man from a contender who can defend multiple positions and knock down threes was impressive work by Weaver.

On the other end of things, losing Christian Wood who is younger than the newly signed Pistons power forward and ended up getting a much cheaper deal than Grant got (three years, $60 million versus three years, $41 million for Wood) is a move that can be pretty easily criticized. 

Why not pay to keep Wood, who developed into a legitimate NBA player while with the team, as opposed to going out and replacing him for a more expensive piece who might be a less impactful player? For what it’s worth, according to advanced analytics BPM (3.1 versus -0.5) and VORP (1.7 versus 0.7), Wood made a bigger nightly impact than Grant did last season. Whether or not Wood is able to keep that up with the Houston Rockets remains to be seen, but it’ll be something to observe nevertheless.

Grade: C+

21
Indiana Pacers

Money spent: $23.1 million

Key additions: None.

Key re-signings: Justin Holiday, JaKarr Sampson, Kelan Martin

Key departures: TJ Leaf

Best move: Keeping Justin Holiday despite interest from other teams

Worst move: Missing out on the Hayward sweepstakes

The Pacers had an extremely quiet offseason outside of keeping a couple of rotational pieces in Justin Holiday and JaKarr Sampson, giving first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren mostly the same team that Nate McMillan had last season, albeit a good bit healthier.

Even so, keeping Holiday was good work by the front office considering he had other suitors, and it only cost them a three-year deal that will pay the swingman a little more than $6 million annually. The Pacers also deserve to be commended for fixing up their relationship with Victor Oladipo, who committed to the team after months of trade speculation.

Indiana’s offseason was so meek that the only thing we could criticize them for was not being more aggressive on the Hayward front when they were one of the main teams rumored to be after him, but after seeing what Charlotte paid to land him, maybe the Pacers were smart in ultimately sitting that one out.

Grade: C+

20
Sacramento Kings

Money spent: $5.5 million

Key additions: Hassan Whiteside, Frank Kaminsky, Glenn Robinson III, Tyrese Haliburton

Key departures: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kent Bazmore, Harry Giles, Alex Len, Yogi Ferrell

Best move: Signing Glenn Robinson III at the minimum with a minor guarantee

Worst move: Losing Bogdan Bogdanovic for nothing

Sacramento quietly had a decent offseason, though one with a single major hiccup, picking up Hassan Whiteside, Glenn Robinson III and Kaminsky at the minimum, with Robinson’s deal shockingly only being guaranteed for $100,000. The Robinson contract was the Kings’ best piece of work of the offseason, though landing Whiteside and Kaminsky, who should add the toughness and scoring that the team’s frontcourt was missing last season, was also a rather impressive bit of business by Sacramento.

The big negative out of Sacramento over the past month was losing Bogdanovic for nothing when they could have at least shipped him out via sign-and-trade, which could have netted them draft capital or rotational pieces. Plus, there’s still the whole Buddy Hield saga looming over their heads: Will they eventually trade the sharpshooting guard or can they amend the situation there?

Regardless, cheap veteran signings who should be productive under Luke Walton and picking up Tyrese Haliburton in the draft with the 12th selection when some thought he could go Top 5 was commendable work by Sacramento.

Grade: C+

19
Boston Celtics

Money spent: $21.5 million

Key additions:  Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague, Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard

Key departures: Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Brad Wanamaker, Vincent Poirier

Best move: Landing Tristan Thompson on a two-year, $19 million.

Worst move: Losing Gordon Hayward for nothing.

It was a bit of a rough offseason for Danny Ainge and Co., missing out on various free-agent targets (Paul Millsap among them) and losing Hayward for nothing when there were trade offers out there for him prior to the Charlotte Hornets swooping in with that monster contract offer. 

Nevertheless, Boston bounced back decently by picking up Tristan Thompson at a very team-friendly price (two years, $19 million) and getting Jeff Teague at the minimum. The former will give the team a frontcourt upgrade over anything they trotted out there last season, one that they did not have to overpay for, while the latter could be an improvement over the departing Brad Wanamaker if he’s focused.

Grade: C+

18
Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors

Money spent: $118.8 million

Key additions: Aron Baynes, Alex Len, DeAndre Bembry, Henry Ellenson, Malachi Flynn

Key re-signings: Fred VanVleet, Chris Boucher

Key departures: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Malcolm Miller

Best move: Keeping Fred VanVleet

Worst move: Losing both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka

It was an offseason of ups and downs for the Raptors, who did lose two of their three top free agents, but were able to keep the best of the bunch by re-signing Fred VanVleet to a four-year, $85 million contract. VanVleet reportedly had various suitors, among them the Knicks, Suns (before the trade for Paul) and Pacers, but chose to remain with the team who helped him become a starting NBA point guard instead.

Regardless, losing both Gasol and Ibaka hurt, as Toronto may have expected to return next season without at least one of them, but definitely didn’t want to lose both of their two best big men this offseason. Granted, they bounced back nicely by signing Aron Baynes, who’s a more productive player than Gasol is at this point in his career, and Alex Len, who will provide toughness down low as a reserve, but Gasol and Ibaka were pretty massive departures.

Toronto may still project to return in 2020-21 as a contender in the East, just maybe not as strong of one as they were last season.

Grade: C+

17
Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Money spent: $49.5 million

Key additions: Mario Hezonja, Desmond Bane

Key re-signings: De’Anthony Melton, Jontay Porter, John Konchar

Key departures: Josh Jackson, Anthony Tolliver

Best move: Re-signing De’Anthony Melton on a team-friendly deal

Worst move: None

The Grizzlies had a quiet offseason, mostly focusing on continuity rather than rocking the boat too much, a sensible decision considering the team’s promising future behind the likes of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks.

Memphis did well to re-sign elite defender De’Anthony Melton (four years, $35 million) on a reasonable contract. With Melton on the floor last season, the Grizzlies outscored opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions, he swiped 1.3 steals per game while playing fewer than 20 minutes nightly (2.4 steals per 36 minutes) and his 2.6 deflections per contest were the second-most for any player who averaged under 20 minutes last season.

If the Grizzlies can get Melton’s outside shot to start dropping (he’s a 29.4 percent three-point shooter for his career), they’ll be getting tremendous value out of that contract. On his current trajectory, Melton projects to be a big part of Memphis’ future, and they smartly got him locked down for four more years this offseason.

Grade: B-

16
Utah Jazz

Money spent: $80.7 million

Key additions: Derrick Favors, Udoka Azubuike

Key re-signings: Jordan Clarkson

Key departures: Ed Davis, Emmanuel Mudiay, Tony Bradley, Rayjon Tucker

Best move: Re-signing Derrick Favors

Worst move: Overpaying Jordan Clarkson

Though they didn’t make a ton of signings or trades, it was still an eventful offseason for Utah, one that saw them bring back Derrick Favors, re-sign Jordan Clarkson and extend Donovan Mitchell. That last decision was a no-brainer, of course, but that the Jazz were able to get that done without a hint of drama is worth commending.

As far as Utah’s best move this offseason, bringing back Favors in what should be a role more suited to his current strengths – as the team’s backup center to Rudy Gobert – was solid work, even if three years, $27.0 million might have been a slight overpay for a player who averaged nine points last season and will be purely a backup this time around with the Jazz.

What we think was more of an actual overpay was the price Utah paid to re-sign Clarkson, who got a four-year, $52.0 million contract from the Jazz this offseason. The advanced stats believe Clarkson had the best season of his career in 2019-20, more than half of which he spent with Utah, but even then, it’s tough to say what team on the open market would have given the 28-year-old scorer that much guaranteed money.

Grade: B-

15
Miami Heat

Money spent: $74.7 million

Key additions: Avery Bradley, Moe Harkless, Max Strus, Precious Achiuwa

Key re-signings: Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Udonis Haslem

Key departures: Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr., Solomon Hill

Best move: Picking up Avery Bradley on what could amount to a one-year deal

Worst move: Re-signing Meyers Leonard at that price

It’s no secret that the Heat went into this offseason with plans of keeping as much cap space available for the 2021 offseason, and even with Bam Adebayo landing a monster extension, they were still able to accomplish that through their other forward-thinking moves.

That meant Miami had a quiet offseason despite having the ability to open up a solid amount of cap space, choosing just to sign two defensive specialists in Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless, the former on a two-year deal with a team option on Year-2 and the latter on a one-year contract. For a Heat team that struggled to defend the perimeter at times last year, those two pickups could prove huge come playoff time.

The Heat were also wise not to let emotions get in the way with the Derrick Jones Jr. situation, choosing to let him walk rather than give him the two-year, $19 million deal he wound up signing with the Portland Trail Blazers, and replacing him with Harkless, who should provide similar production in that role.

Miami’s worst move of the offseason has to be overpaying Meyers Leonard, who got a two-year, $18 million deal. Loyalty is good and everything but Leonard was fully out of the rotation in the 2020 postseason, so it’s odd the Heat chose to give him such a rich contract, even if it does have a team option on Year-2. 

Losing Jae Crowder also hurt the team, but that was an understandable situation for both sides, as Miami wanted to maintain future cap flexibility while Crowder, rightfully, wanted the long-term stability that he hasn’t had in years.

Grade: B-

14
Denver Nuggets

Money spent: $34.5 million

Key additions: JaMychal Green, Facundo Campazzo, Isaiah Hartenstein, RJ Hampton, Zeke Nnaji

Key re-signing: Paul Millsap

Key departures: Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig, Keita Bates-Diop

Best move: Winning the Facundo Campazzo sweepstakes

Worst move: Losing Jerami Grant

A bit of a turbulent offseason for the Nuggets, one that saw them lose a major piece in Grant but bounce back by replacing him with JaMychal Green and Argentine wizard Facundo Campazzo.

The Grant situation was tough because he was fantastic in his one season with the team as a defensively versatile/floor-spacing power forward, and Denver did everything they could not to lose him, including offer to match the money that the Detroit Pistons gave the big man, but it wasn’t enough. That places a lot of expectations on 22-year-old Michael Porter to slot into that spot and replace what Grant gave the team – will he be up to the task?

It wasn’t all bad this offseason for the Nuggets, though, as Green is a rock-solid 4 who can knock down three-pointers and bang down low with opposing bigs. The bigger addition for the team, though, has to be picking up Campazzo, a star for Real Madrid who some compare to an in-prime JJ Barea with better defensive abilities. Watching him and Nikola Jokic dish the rock in lineups together is going to be thrilling.

Grade: B-

13
Minnesota Timberwolves

Money spent: $81.0 million

Key additions: Ricky Rubio, Ed Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Anthony Edwards

Key re-signings: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez

Key departures: Evan Turner, Kelan Martin

Best move: Bringing back Ricky Rubio

Worst move: The Malik Beasley re-signing considering his off-court issues

Timberwolves decision-maker Gersson Rosas continues to impress early on in his tenure running things in Minnesota, as the team had a solid, albeit relatively quiet, offseason, one that could help get the team back in the playoff picture out West.

For starters, the team didn’t get too cute with the No. 1 pick the owned in the 2020 draft, choosing to take not just the player many believe was the best prospect on the board, but one who fills a hole for the team on the wing in Anthony Edwards. Edwards might have his flaws, but there’s no doubting his explosive scoring ability, and if he can iron out his decision-making and defensive effort, he could blossom into an outstanding player with the Wolves.

Our favorite move of Minnesota’s, however, was bringing back Ricky Rubio via trade, a fan favorite among Timberwolves aficionados and a super solid starting point guard, who will allow D’Angelo Russell to play off the ball more and focus on doing what he does best, which is putting the ball through the hoop. The chemistry between the Spaniard and big man Karl-Anthony Towns should be off the charts, too, as the duo already played together for two seasons during Rubio’s prior stint with the club.

The only questionable move Minnesota had this offseason was re-signing Malik Beasley to such a rich deal (four years, $60 million) when he’s got so much going on off the court at the moment, including a troubling legal case. Beasley was great in his 14 games with the Timberwolves, averaging 20.7 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 42.6 percent from three, but the contract he got from Minnesota can still be considered a bit of a gamble considering his current off-court issues. 

Grade: B

12
Brooklyn Nets

Money spent: $77.1 million

Key additions: Landry Shamet, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown

Key re-signings: Joe Harris

Key departures: Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler, Dzanan Musa

Best move: Keeping Joe Harris, even if it did come at a huge cost

Worst move: None

Though we still have the Harden trade drama needing to find its resolution, which could end with the former league MVP ending up in Brooklyn, the Nets enjoyed an impressive-albeit-mostly-quiet offseason. 

They were able to keep Joe Harris, who rightfully had a ton of suitors league-wide willing to pay him a lot of money, and though it did not come cheap (four years, $75 million), it was still a necessity to bring him back, as his elite shooting will pair beautifully with the debuting Kevin Durant and returning Kyrie Irving

Landing Jeff Green (veteran small-ball center) at the minimum and trading for two young and promising role players in Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown were also bits of great work by general manager Sean Marks.

The Nets’ offseason was so solid that even if they fail to bring Harden into the fold, they didn’t make a single move that could be too harshly criticized. 

Grade: B

11
Los Angeles Clippers

Money spent: $91.0 million

Key additions: Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard

Key re-signings: Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson

Key departures: Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, JaMychal Green

Best move: Winning the Serge Ibaka sweepstakes

Worst move: Overpaying Marcus Morris

It was an offseason of ups-and-downs for the Clippers, who lost Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, but bounced back wonderfully by winning the sweepstakes for Serge Ibaka, who some might consider a better player than the departing big man. Ibaka is without a doubt a better defender than Harrell, and considering how the team’s season ended in the playoffs, getting utterly destroyed by Jokic and Co., perhaps his defense will be more important for L.A. than Harrell’s offense was.

The team also did well to pick up Luke Kennard without giving up much (just Landry Shamet, a player that was inconsistent in his year-plus in Los Angeles), who will give the team elite outside shooting and solid playmaking in a secondary role.

The one thing the Clippers can be knocked for this offseason was the price they paid to keep Marcus Morris, who, granted, was beyond solid in his half-season with the team, but not to the tune of four years and $64 million. Still, Morris, a nearly 41 percent three-point shooter last year and strong defender, had a multitude of suitors this offseason, so Los Angeles might not have had a choice but to pay him that much to keep him around.

Grade: B

10
Golden State Warriors

Money spent: $4.6 million

Key additions: Kelly Oubre, Kent Bazemore, Brad Wanamaker, James Wiseman

Key departures: Ky Bowman

Best move: Trading for Kelly Oubre

Worst move: None

The biggest drama of the Warriors’ offseason came on draft night while the basketball world waited to see who they were going to pick at No. 2 overall. The end result was unsurprising, however, as James Wiseman was the heavy favorite to be the pick, which is exactly who Golden State went with. Kudos to the team for not getting cute and choosing the best-fitting option on the board for them, one who can help the team right away but also be a building block for the future.

Besides that, the Warriors’ best move this offseason was acquiring Kelly Oubre from the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade for a protected first-round pick and a second-rounder, a move that skyrocketed their luxury tax bill but will help keep them competitive in Klay Thompson’s absence. Golden State’s front office deserves to be commended for spending so much money to keep the team as good as possible when a lot of – if not most – other owners would have considered blowing things up upon hearing about Thompson’s injury.

Wanamaker and Kent Bazemore were also solid pickups for the Warriors at very team-friendly prices.

Grade: B+

9
Washington Wizards

Money spent: $91.6 million

Key additions: Russell Westbrook, Robin Lopez, Raul Neto, Deni Avdija

Key re-signing: Davis Bertans

Key departures: John Wall, Ian Mahinmi, Shabazz Napier

Best move: Replacing John Wall with Russell Westbrook

Worst move: None.

Washington will look much different next season than they did this past league year, and that’s without them making a ton of signings this offseason.

Their one massive move, however, trading Wall for Westbrook, will undoubtedly change the Wizards’ future in a big way, replacing a player who hasn’t seen NBA action in almost two full years for a player who was 3rd Team All-NBA last season. We may be in the minority here, but to us, that move can only be seen as a win for Washington, especially when you factor in that all they had to give up was a protected first-round pick along with Wall to make it happen.

Now, the Wizards will have one of the most dynamic and productive backcourts in the NBA in 2020-21 between Westbrook and Bradley Beal, and should get back into the playoff picture when you consider that backcourt will be surrounded by Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, who the team did well to re-sign this offseason despite interest from various suitors, and Thomas Bryant

Overall, a surprisingly good offseason for Washington, one which could eventually go a long way in convincing Beal to stay a Wizard for the long-term.

Grade: B+

8
Dallas Mavericks

Money spent: $23.7 million

Key additions: Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu, Josh Green

Key re-signings: Trey Burke, Willie Cauley-Stein

Key departures: Seth Curry, Justin Jackson, Delon Wright

Best move: Landing Josh Richardson via trade

Worst move: Slight overpay on the Willie Cauley-Stein re-signing

Though the Mavericks wound up being quiet on the free-agent market despite having various elite selling points, including the ability to play with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the team still filled some holes nicely through the trade market by acquiring Josh Richardson and James Johnson.

Last season, despite Dallas’ historic offensive efficiency, the team went 43-32 in the regular season due to their struggles defensively, particularly on the wing. Richardson and Johnson will be huge in that respect, as the former Miami Heat duo possess elite point-stopping prowess on the less glamorous end of the floor.

Dallas also did well in not doing anything to greatly affect their 2021 cap space, when they plan to be suitors for top free agents, including Giannis Antetounmpo (if he doesn’t re-sign prior to the deadline).

The only thing we can knock the Mavs for is a slight overpay on the Willie Cauley-Stein re-signing (two years, $8.2 million), though even that is defensible considering the Kentucky product probably could have landed at least an equal offer to that from an outside team. Plus, his pick-and-roll finishing will be huge next to Doncic next season, meaning the Mavs probably were better off keeping him around.

Grade: B+

7
Portland Trail Blazers

Money spent: $44.1 million

Key additions: Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter, Harry Giles

Key re-signings: Carmelo Anthony, Rodney Hood

Key departures: Hassan Whiteside, Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, Mario Hezonja

Best move: Trading for Robert Covington.

Worst move: Slight overpay for Derrick Jones Jr.

After a brutal first half of 2019-20 for the Blazers, Portland seriously turned things around last season, going on a hot run of form to end the campaign and qualify for the playoffs. That run of good form continued this offseason, as the Blazers somewhat quietly had an excellent month reshaping their team.

Portland was able to fill their biggest need – competent, athletic, 3-and-D pieces on the wing – by pulling off a heist of a trade in acquiring Covington from the Houston Rockets and only losing a 2021 first-round pick (top-14 protected), the No. 16 pick in 2020 (which became Isaiah Stewart) and Trevor Ariza in the swap, as well as by signing Jones Jr. from Miami. Both players should fit excellently with the Blazers alongside Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, as Portland’s three top players will be able to focus on scoring and playmaking while the two wings do all of the dirty work.

The Blazers re-signing Carmelo Anthony (one-year, $2.6 million) and Rodney Hood (two years, roughly $21 million with a team option on Year-2) on team-friendly deals, particularly in Anthony’s case, was more fantastic work by general manager Neil Olshey, giving Portland the productive depth they were lacking in recent years.

The only way we can even remotely knock the Blazers’ offseason was to say they may have slightly overpaid Jones Jr., who got two fully guaranteed years from Portland worth nearly $19 million, but even then, that wasn’t an egregious move, either.

Grade: A-

6
Phoenix Suns

Money spent: $75.7 million

Key additions: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, Damian Jones, Jalen Smith

Key re-signings: Jevon Carter, Dario Saric

Key departures: Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky

Best move: Trading for Chris Paul

Worst move: Losing their two reliable backup centers and not replacing them adequately

The Suns had an excellent offseason, one that was headlined by them picking up arguably the best point guard of this generation in Chris Paul, nabbing the feisty Crowder from the Heat and making sneakily solid additions by signing E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway on minimum deals.

Phoenix now boasts a potential starting 5 of Paul, burgeoning superstar Devin Booker, 3-and-D specialist Mikal Bridges, Crowder and the blossoming Deandre Ayton, a fivesome talented and tough enough to get the Suns firmly back in the playoff picture next season, backed up by a solid bench consisting of sharpshooter Cam Johnson, playmaker Dario Saric and defensive dynamo Jevon Carter.

Obviously, the Suns best move of the offseason had to be their blockbuster pickup of Paul, who cost them a protected 2022 first-rounder, along with Oubre, Rubio and minor filler. Meanwhile, Phoenix’s only real failure this offseason, and we use that term lightly here, was losing Aron Baynes and not finding an adequate replacement. Odds are extremely slim that Damian Jones or Jalen Smith will be able to do what Baynes did for the Suns last season. They might not even be able to replace Frank Kaminsky’s departed production.

Nevertheless, Suns shot-caller James Jones still had an excellent month and now, for the first time in his career, Booker has a team around him strong enough to get him into the playoffs.

It’s time for Booker to taste postseason action for the first time since reaching the NBA.

Grade: A-

5
Atlanta Hawks

Money spent: $158.2 million

Key additions: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn, Tony Snell, Solomon Hill, Onyeka Okongwu

Key departures: Jeff Teague, Dewayne Dedmon, Vince Carter, DeAndre Bembry, Vince Carter, Damian Jones

Best move: Landing Kris Dunn at such a cheap price

Worst move: The slight overpay on Bogdan Bogdanovic’s deal

Overall, it was a great offseason for the Hawks led by general manager Travis Schlenk, who did a great job of building a team that should be firmly in the playoff picture next season without losing any of Atlanta’s talented youngsters.

We can now imagine a starting five for the Hawks of Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, John Collins and Clint Capela, a well-balanced quintuplet that features scoring, playmaking and even some rim-protection, though that might be lacking in perimeter defense. Atlanta’s bench featuring Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn (who the Hawks did well to pick up on such a team-friendly deal), Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Hunter should also be strong enough to keep the Hawks afloat with their starters resting.

The only every-so-slight criticism we can give the team for this offseason was overpaying Bogdanovic, who got a four-year, $72 million contract from the team with a player option on Year-4, to land him in restricted free agency. At the same time, it really wasn’t too outrageous of a contract at all, especially for an in-prime talent like Bogdanovic with that kind of shooting ability, so we’re picking at straws here if anything.

Overall, a fantastic offseason for the Hawks which should get them back into the playoffs for the first time since 2016-17.

Grade: A-

4
Oklahoma City Thunder

Money spent: $1.6 million

Key additions: Al Horford, Trevor Ariza, George Hill, Darius Miller, Justin Jackson, TJ Leaf, Aleksej Pokusevski

Key departures: Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroeder, Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson, Nerlens Noel, Andre Roberson

Best move: Tearing the team down and landing four first-round picks in the process.

Worst move: None

Oklahoma City came into the 2020 offseason with one clear and obvious objective: To burn it all down and get as much high-end draft capital as possible in the process.

That was probably easier said than done, especially with how well last year’s group gelled behind the leadership of Paul, scoring of Gallinari, toughness from Adams and bench playmaking by Dennis Schroeder, playing so well that they surprised many by ending the season as West’s No. 5 seed before falling to the Rockets in five games in the playoffs.

It could not have been easy for general manager Sam Presti to say goodbye to such a likable crew, but kudos to him for seeing the business end of things and doing it anyway – and with such aplomb, too.

The Thunder ended up getting four first-round picks from all of their dealing this offseason, one from the Phoenix Suns (top-12 protected for 2022), one from the Nuggets (top-14 protected in 2023), one from the Philadelphia 76ers (top-six protected in 2025) and one from Golden State (top-20 protected in 2021), which the team can now use themselves or package together if another star player eventually becomes up for grabs on the trade market.

Oklahoma City got much worse as a team this offseason, but that was the plan – a smart one, too, considering they’re about to potentially bottom out on a year with a much-hyped 2021 draft class awaiting them – and as such, we have no choice but to rank their offseason this highly.

Grade: A

3
New Orleans Pelicans

Money spent: $159.9 million

Key additions: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Willy Hernangomez, Kira Lewis

Key re-signing: Brandon Ingram

Key departures: Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, E’Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor, Frank Jackson, Darius Miller, Kenrich Williams

Best move: The haul they got for Jrue Holiday.

Worst move: None.

We saw more impressive work from David Griffin this fall, as the Pelicans had one of the better offseasons of any team league-wide.

Sure, they lost Holiday, an important piece for the franchise since 2013-14, a great player and an excellent locker-room guy, but the haul they got in exchange for him in the trade with Milwaukee resembled a package a team would get for trading a superstar, not a player without a single All-NBA Team appearance in their career. And yet, Griffin and Co. knew the Bucks were desperate to land a game-changing piece to impress Antetokounmpo, so they made the right decision not solely by trading Holiday, but doing so in a deal that can only be defined as a fleecing in favor of New Orleans.

On top of that, the Pelicans were able to re-sign one of their most promising players, Brandon Ingram, without much drama, and though it cost them a max deal, Ingram proved in 2019-20 that he’s worth that type of investment without question with his All-Star – in the West, no less – campaign.

And even on top of all of that, New Orleans also picked up two starter-level pieces in Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams in trades, who could help get the team into the playoffs next season thanks to their reliable veteran play surrounding the more explosive-but-inexperienced pieces like Ingram and Zion Williamson.

Here, we couldn’t even find anything to nitpick – the Pelicans’ offseason was that solid.

Grade: A

2
Philadelphia 76ers

Money spent: $2.6 million

Key additions: Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Seth Curry, Terrance Ferguson, Tony Bradley, Justin Anderson, Isaiah Joe, Tyrese Maxey

Key departures: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Raul Neto, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Kyle O’Quinn

Best move: Trading Al Horford for Danny Green

Worst move: None

To the surprise of no one, Daryl Morey came into Philadelphia and quickly made a variety of moves on the trade market that have the SIxers looking like a real threat in the East in 2020-21.

Flipping Al Horford for Danny Green, trading Richardson for Seth Curry, signing Dwight Howard to a minimum contract to back up Joel Embiid, Morey has seemingly revamped Philadelphia over the course of a single offseason and placed much better-fitting pieces around the team’s star duo, pieces that could help the team bounce back in a major way after a disappointing 2019-20.

To us, Morey’s best move was getting off of Horford’s albatross of a contract (which has three years and $81.0 million left on it) and using it to acquire a veteran piece in Green who not only fits perfectly at the 2 for what the team needs at the position next to Simmons (shooting and defense) but who will also provide a veteran presence with championship experience that will come in handy in the locker room. Getting rid of Horford also allows first-year head coach Doc Rivers to put Tobias Harris back where he belongs: playing the majority of his minutes at power forward.

It’ll be fascinating to see what the 76ers look like next season with a roster that finally makes sense again.

Grade: A

1
Los Angeles Lakers

Money spent: $261.8 million

Key additions: Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroeder, Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol

Key re-signings: Anthony Davis,Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Markieff Morris

Key departures: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, Danny Green, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook

Best move: Re-signing Anthony Davis to a max five-year contract

Worst move: Picking up Marc Gasol on a two-year deal when they already had JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard

The reigning champion L.A. Lakers had a wonderful offseason, headlined by re-signing Anthony Davis for the longest possible time a contract would allow, extending LeBron James and retooling the team rather than settling and running it back with the squad that won it all last season.

Harrell, Schroeder, Gasol and Wesley Matthews should all fit in wonderfully with the veteran, business-minded culture Los Angeles has created and will all contribute towards the stat sheet on a nightly basis as well. For the Lakers to pick up the first- and second-place finishes in the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year race was impressive and should strengthen the team’s rotation a great deal.

But the Lakers’ best move by far was getting Anthony Davis to re-sign on a five-year max deal when some thought he might sign a shorter-term contract and hit free agency again in a few offseason. Now, Los Angeles has their superstar locked down for the long-term and can pivot to building around him if and when LeBron finally decides to start showing his age.

In a near-perfect offseason, the only move we thought could be criticized was L.A. letting Howard and McGee go when the big-man duo were excellent in their roles last season. Replacing them with Gasol will be interesting, as the big Spaniard, almost 36 now, showed clear signs of decline in 2019-20. For what it’s worth, the Toronto Raptors were outscored by nearly 12 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs last year with Gasol on the floor.

Making matters worse: Gasol got a two-year deal from the Lakers without a team option, which will hurt them if they want to pursue a superstar in free agency in 2021. Per our projections, the team is now down to roughly $8 million in cap space next summer if Harrell picks up his player option (that jumps up to around $18 million if he does not).

Even taking that into account, however, it’s still tough to argue the Lakers didn’t hit an absolute home run this offseason. The team remains the clear favorite to take him the 2020-21 championship as we approach the campaign’s tip.

Grade: A

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