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2020 NBA free agency takeaways, Day 2: Serge Ibaka huge for Clippers; another side to Gordon Hayward story

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Two days into free company, a lot of the large names are off the board.  This doesn’t embrace Bogdan Bogdanovic, which is amusing as a result of on Monday it regarded like he wasn’t going to essentially hit the market. 

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As a follow-up to my Day 1 takeaways, listed below are seven ideas about Day 2:

One other large deal in L.A.

Serge Ibaka took the MLE (two years, $19 million) to reunite with Kawhi Leonard, maybe probably the most difference-making transfer any contender has made this offseason. The distinction with Montrezl Harrell is unavoidable, so let’s simply get to it: They’re each bargains at this (equivalent) wage, however Ibaka matches a lot better with the Los Angeles Clippers. Ibaka would’ve match higher with the Los Angeles Lakers, too.

Harrell had stunning chemistry with Lou Williams on the second unit, and he can develop one thing related with Dennis Schroder. Opponents will assault him Schroder defensively within the playoffs, although, the identical method they went at him and Williams. The 31-year-old model of Ibaka is not the vertical spacer that Harrell is, and he isn’t the identical form of risk with the ball in his arms, both. He is a vastly superior defender, although, and his capturing is a game-changer in probably the most literal sense. 

Ibaka permits the Clippers to play five-out the way in which JaMychal Green did, with out sacrificing measurement and rim safety. He isn’t the dominant shot blocker he was in his Thunder days, however his abilities and really feel have improved since then. Whereas he needn’t change Ivica Zubac as a starter, he will certainly shut some playoff video games. Ibaka and Marc Gasol had an analogous platoon system with the Toronto Raptors.

One of many causes the Raptors received a championship in 2019 and remained so resilient post-Kawhi is that they did not should play anyone who could not shoot 3s or could not maintain his personal on protection. The Clippers will not be fairly there, however they’re extra versatile and fewer susceptible in a playoff setting now that Ibaka is in Harrell’s spot.

One other facet to the Hayward story

I am not going to pile on the Charlotte Hornets for overpaying Gordon Hayward. My colleague Sam Quinn has already lit them on fire, and also you in all probability do not want me to clarify why a crew of their place should not spend $120 million on a 30-year-old with this damage historical past. Take the worth tag out of it for a minute, and even think about if Charlotte had been paying him one thing like $9 million per season as a substitute of $30 million. 

Purely by way of crew want, Hayward helps the Hornets. By means of a number of entrance workplaces and head coaches — and a reputation change! — it is a franchise has spent a lot of the final decade looking for a wing participant along with his ability set. Bear in mind the Lance Stephenson debacle? How in regards to the absolute revelation that Nicolas Batum gave the impression to be earlier than he acquired paid? Hayward can create pictures and area the ground, so defenses at all times should account for him. Much more than his scoring, his passing will assist LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington.

Hayward would not have left Boston, nonetheless, simply to be the man who makes the offense extra organized. The Celtics initially recruited Hayward to be their finest participant, coming off a season through which he had a utilization charge of 26.9 p.c, barely larger than Kemba Walker‘s this previous season. Through no fault of his own, he changed into a 20-percent-usage man. Each infrequently, he’d have a giant scoring evening, however that wasn’t his job. Whereas going to Charlotte is just not the identical as going again to the Utah Jazz of 4 years in the past, he’ll have an opportunity to point out he can nonetheless fill it up. 

Let’s examine it. 

(One caveat: As presently constituted, the Hornets do not even have that a lot room for Hayward to stretch himself. I am assuming that the roster will not embrace all 4 of Hayward, Ball, Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier when the season begins.)

The Warmth pulled it off 

Strictly talking, the Heat will not be working it again, since they’ve changed Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. with Moe Harkless (one yr, $3.6 million) and Avery Bradley (two years, $11.6 million, with a crew possibility). Miami has, nonetheless, completed what it got down to do: Retain Goran Dragic (two years, 37.4 million, with a crew possibility) and keep a contender with out sacrificing its 2021 flexibility. 

The Warmth would possibly’ve even improved. As versatile because the Warmth had been on protection final season, they by no means had anyone to disrupt level guards on the level of assault. Now they’ve Bradley, whose finest attribute is simply that. In Miami’s system, he’ll get his share of layups as a cutter, too.  

One of many luxuries of getting an elite coach is that you may belief that he’ll combine and match his lineups as crucial in a playoff collection. Bradley provides him one other form of defensive weapon, one that may be essential in opposition to stars. 

Spoelstra might want to deploy Harkless selectively, too, since he is a much less keen and fewer correct shooter than Crowder. Opponents ignored him on the perimeter when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers, and Jones barely performed within the playoffs for a similar motive. Harkless got here less expensive than Crowder, although, and his size and foot velocity make him a defensive improve in sure matchups.

Miami has 15 gamers underneath contract, however it won’t be completed. It has a commerce exception value $7.5 million, a determine simply low sufficient to keep away from the luxurious tax. The $3.6 million bi-annual exception continues to be accessible, too, ought to the Warmth determine to separate the MLE between Bradley and Harkless. And since most of their gamers are successfully on expiring contracts, they may have alternatives so as to add reinforcements on the commerce deadline. 

The win-now Suns strike once more

Crowder jumped to the Phoenix Suns on a three-year, $30 million deal, and whereas his manufacturing has different from crew to crew, there is no motive to count on he’ll be any much less efficient than he was in Miami. Phoenix was underneath the radar for the months between its scorching begin and its bubble run, however ran a fairly, Warmth-esque offensive system all the time. That’s Crowder’s most well-liked setting, and his presence will give the Suns a extra Miami-like mixture of veterans and younger gamers.

Hours after the Crowder addition, Phoenix got here to phrases with one other powerful buyer: Jevon Carter will re-sign for 3 years and $11.5 million, which is freeway theft if his 42.5-percent 3-point capturing wasn’t a fluke. It is not possible to not love Carter’s protection, and the 6-foot-1 guard is sturdy sufficient that the Suns ought to be capable of get away with taking part in him subsequent to Chris Paul, the identical method Raptors use Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. If Carter, Cameron Payne and still-unsigned restricted free agent Dario Saric click on this season like they did in Orlando, Phoenix’s may have one of many league’s higher second items, with both Crowder or Cameron Johnson taking part in stretch 4. 

Brooklyn fills a longstanding gap 

For a crew that used Quincy Acy, Trevor Booker, Luis Scola, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Nicholson, Justin Hamilton, Dante Cunningham, Timofey Mozgov and Tyler Zeller as stretch 5s within the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, the Brooklyn Nets have been surprisingly devoid of them since. (Sure, I promise you, Mozgov and Zeller had been inspired to shoot 3s in Brooklyn. I used to be there.) 

When backup heart Ed Davis acquired injured in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers within the 2019 playoffs, Jared Dudley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stepped in to play smallball 5, however Dudley supplied solely a marginal stretchiness and Hollis-Jefferson supplied none. This previous season, the Nets platooned Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan within the center, and the thin Rodions Kurucs drew backup heart responsibility after they had been with out Jordan within the bubble. Past the reunion with Kevin Durant, for this reason Brooklyn’s veteran-minimum take care of Jeff Green is important. 

The 34-year-old Inexperienced could not discover his place with the Jazz final season, however turned an important a part of the rotation after he landed with the Houston Rockets. In Houston, Inexperienced realized his late-career future as a middle, switching and capturing 3s extra continuously than ever earlier than. 

If each Jordan and Allen are nonetheless round, the Nets will not ask Inexperienced to play practically as a lot heart this season. He provides them the possibility to play five-out, although, and his function will not be that a lot completely different if he is standing within the nook taking part in energy ahead. Inexperienced’s work with the Rockets confirmed precisely how he can complement Durant, Kyrie Irving and whoever else Brooklyn has making performs.

There was tons of noise about Brooklyn making an attempt to commerce for a 3rd celebrity. Very like the opposite crew linked to James Harden, although, the Nets do not should do a blockbuster for his or her offseason to achieve success. Like Inexperienced, newcomers Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown have video games tailored to help stars. And whereas it would’ve seen like a fait accompli, ponying as much as preserve Joe Harris (4 years, $75 million) deserves applause, too. 

In reward of the Grizzlies 

Memphis is sneaky. The entrance workplace that retains stealing good gamers within the draft has additionally retained its younger gamers on favorable contracts. De’Anthony Melton‘s four-year, $35 million deal might be my favourite of all the offseason, and conserving John Konchar for $9 million over 4 years would possibly find yourself being an even bigger steal. (It’s unclear as of but if there are any choices or non-guaranteed years on Konchar’s contract.)

Melton, a 6-2 combo guard with a 6-8 wingspan, makes up for his shaky capturing with stifling protection, dependable passing and ridiculous rebounding for his top. Konchar, a 6-7 wing, has solely a fraction of Melton’s NBA expertise, however is simply as a lot of an analytics darling. Cliches like “successful participant” and “glue man” do not seize the Konchar expertise, however they apply: He’s at all times hustling and at all times making good selections, and he’ll make performs on each ends with out being the focal point on both of them. Do not be shocked if this principally nameless participant earns a spot within the Grizzlies‘ rotation and establishes himself as a high-level function participant.

Konchar and Melton had been each restricted free brokers. I am stunned these contracts had been sufficient to forestall them from signing provide sheets elsewhere.  

Sink or swim in Atlanta

After including Danilo Gallinari (three years, $61.5 million) on the primary day of free company, the Hawks reached agreements with Kris Dunn (two years, $10 million with a participant possibility), Rajon Rondo (two years, $15 million) and nonetheless have round $20 million of cap area. 

The Hawks may theoretically add Bogdanovic and/or transfer John Collins for a wing, or they may very well be kind of completed. Regardless, it looks as if it’ll be sink-or-swim time for his or her younger wings. 

Whereas Kevin Huerter ought to stay a fixture in Atlanta’s rotation, there shall be fewer backcourt minutes accessible now that Rondo and Dunn are round. So far as Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter are involved, the free taking part in time they acquired as lottery picks on a rebuilding crew must be a factor of the previous, and they’re going to possible be straight competing with one another. 

Ideally, this shall be wholesome for his or her growth, as will the heightened expectations and the expertise of taking part in in significant video games. When folks like me urge groups just like the Hawks to be extra affected person, these form of issues typically go unsaid. 


For extra on the offseason participant motion: CBS Sports’ free-agent tracker





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