Months of speculation lead toward free agency. After marquee trades involving Kristaps Porzingis, Bradley Beal, Marcus Smart and Chris Paul, attention turns to the open market. Below, we will track and grade all the NBA offseason moves in 2023.
Numerous All-Star caliber players are available in free agency this summer. Others could be obtainable via trade. It isn’t the most stacked free-agent class, and changes to the CBA are a new variable for front offices to ponder.
NBA offseason moves 2023: Tracker & grades
All the trades and signings can be found in our NBA offseason tracker below. Each section will be accompanied by free agency grades and quick-fire trade analysis.
Dillion Brooks to Rockets, 4 years, $80 million, via sign-and-trade
The exact details of this sign-and-trade are yet to be confirmed, but Patty Mills is apparently involved in some way and will be rerouted by the Rockets. Memphis is generating a sizeable trade exception, plus acquiring Josh Christopher.
Dillon Brooks has long been rumored as a Rockets target in the latest NBA offseason news. Memphis decided to move on from the controversial wing, who will now play alongside Fred VanVleet and Jalen Green.
Brooks is a great defensive player, yet his obsession with taking ill-advised shots is a poor fit next to the Rockets’ young core. A midlevel deal would’ve been better suited to his impact. Houston has overpaid considerably here – Brooks could seriously hamper the development of their recent lottery selections.
- Rockets grade: D-
- Grizzlies grade: B+
TyTy Washington and Usman Garuba to Hawks along with future Draft compensation
Houston has cleared out many of its recent Draft picks in the pursuit of veterans. It is a bizarre approach to team building, which has seen them lose TyTy Washington and Usman Garuba (two recent first-round picks) for nothing.
Garuba could be a key piece for Atlanta after they flipped John Collins. He’s a switchable, big-bodied defender. Washington was selected 29th just last year. The Hawks land some young talent to freshen up their roster.
- Hawks grade: A
- Rockets grade: D
Domantas Sabonis extends with Kings, 5 years, $217 million
After earning his first All-NBA nod and leading the Kings to the three seed, Domantas Sabonis was always in line for a big payday this offseason. The question was whether the Kings would do it now or wait. Sacramento opted to tie down their big man for five years and a massive $217 million.
Sabonis has his flaws, but he has been integral to the Kings’ surge. He has symbiotic chemistry with De’Aaron Fox. He has opened up their three-point barrage with his passing from the elbow and handoff game.
There are questions about constructing a title-contending defense around Sabonis. Such skepticism is fair, even after seeing Nikola Jokic lead the Nuggets to a ring. Even so, this contract is a win for the Kings, who have a bright future for the first time in a generation.
- Kings grade: A-
Russell Westbrook re-signs with Clippers, 2 years, $7.8 million
There was some uncertainty whether Russell Westbrook would get a deal at all this offseason. The former MVP returns to the Clippers to continue his reunion with Paul George.
Los Angeles’ cost-cutting moves have left them a bit short in the backcourt, with Eric Gordon departing. Norman Powell is reportedly available for trade, and they missed out on a deal for Malcolm Brogdon.
Westbrook can give them regular season minutes when the stars rest. It’s an okay deal at this price.
- Clippers grade: C
Kenyon Martin to Clippers, Rockets receive two future second-round picks
You can never have too much rebounding and defense. Kenyon Martin Jr brings both to the Clippers, along with supreme athleticism. He’s been an efficient finisher as a roll man, which could be handy for the Clips in their smaller lineups.
Even on an awful Rockets team, Martin was an impactful player. Certain lineup combinations benefited from his high motor – this is a great pickup for a very restricted Clippers team.
- Clippers grade: B+
- Rockets grade: C-
Jock Landale to Rockets, 4 years, $32 million
Well, I didn’t see this coming when the Suns pulled Jock Landale’s qualifying offer.
This is the most ‘How much?!’ deal among all NBA offseason moves in 2023 so far. Landale gave Phoenix some good minutes last season. He’s a good rebounder and competes hard.
Landale is going to backup Alperen Sengun, making him one of the highest-paid second-string centers in the Association. It’s a curious use of the Rockets’ remaining cap space, and I can’t figure out why they went to four years on this deal.
Sure, it isn’t a crippling contract, but it’s one that just doesn’t make much sense.
- Rockets grade: C-
Dwight Powell re-signs with Mavericks, 3 years, $12 million
This came as a bit of a surprise after Dallas landed Richaun Holmes. JaVale McGee is still on the team. Dwight Powell has good chemistry with Luka Doncic, and this is a cheap contract, so it’s not exactly bad news for the Mavs, who many thought were the winners of Draft night.
Powell is a 20-minute per game guy at the five. He’s undersized in certain matchups, but he’s a decent defender and can finish at the cup.
- Mavericks grade: C
Jalen McDaniels to Raptors, 2 years, $9.3 million
Toronto uses their bi-annual exception to add another switchable, athletic wing. Jalen McDaniels perfectly fits the Raptors’ blueprint over the last couple of years, and there’s clearly some upside on this deal after McDaniels was under-utilized in Philadelphia.
The shooting is very much a work in progress, which isn’t ideal given Toronto’s lack of spacing. For a team in their spot, though, McDaniels is a worthwhile flyer. Upside is a must for teams in NBA purgatory.
- Raptors grade: B
LaMelo Ball extends with Hornets, 5 years, up to $260 million
A big extension was inevitable for LaMelo Ball this offseason despite some suggesting the Hornets should consider a trade. Once the Hornets declined to pick Scoot Henderson, Ball’s future in Charlotte was guaranteed.
LaMelo divides opinion. He’s put up some big numbers, but how do you construct a winner around him? Can he be the best player on a really good team? How does his game fit as a second or third option?
It’s the sort of contract franchises like Charlotte have to hand out. It probably won’t be a disaster, but it’s unclear what the future holds for the Hornets, too.
- Hornets grade: B-
Brook Lopez re-signs with Bucks, 2 years, $48 million
In isolation, some might think this number seems a little high. This contract cannot be viewed in isolation, though, with the Bucks facing the possibility of losing Giannis Antetokounmpo if they did not re-sign Brook Lopez.
Milwaukee is one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference as currently constructed. Even after a shock first-round exit, it was always the right call to run it back. Lopez is heading into his age-35 season, but he’s shown minimal signs of decline and his game projects to age well.
Lopez is an excellent fit next to Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. With Jakob Poeltl and Nikola Vucevic pocketing $20 million per year, Milwaukee can feel like this is fair value for the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.
- Bucks grade: A+
Austin Reaves re-signs with Lakers, 4 years, $54 million
The Lakers simply could not afford to let Austin Reaves go. He was clearly their third-best player last season, and proved he can deliver in the Playoffs with a string of excellent two-way performances.
Reaves is a superb complementary piece, capable of knocking down threes, guarding one through three to a good level and taking on considerably ball-handling responsibilities. This contract could prove to be a gem, which warrants one of our best NBA free agency grades in 2023.
- Lakers grade: A
Thomas Bryant to Heat, 2 years, $5.4 million
Miami’s frontcourt depth was a major issue at times last season. Kevin Love and Cody Zeller played more minutes than most contenders would like.
Thomas Bryant is often a liability on defense, but he shoots threes and can grab some rebounds. At this price, it’s worth a go for Miami, who could even try Bryant alongside Bam Adebayo in certain matchups.
- Heat grade: B
D’Angelo Russell re-signs with Lakers, 2 years with player option, $37 million
Some free agent contracts immediately look like they will be traded. This deal falls into that category.
The Lakers have brought their guys back, but it’s no secret that they will be looking for upgrades during the season. D’Angelo Russell had some good Playoff moments, yet he’s hardly indispensable to this Lakers roster.
Don’t be surprised if Russell is dealt before the deadline. It’s a reasonable enough deal at this number, giving Los Angeles another tradeable contract and vital flexibility.
- Lakers grade: B+
Vasilije Micić to Thunder, 3 years, $23.5 million
Vasilije Micić was the EuroLeague MVP in 2021. Moving to the NBA has been rumoured for years – it has finally become a reality with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City are getting an experienced point guard, who is comfortable on or off-ball. Micić, a proven winner in Europe, can bring leadership to a young, high-upside Thunder roster.
This could prove to be another Sam Presti masterstroke after rebuffing trade interest in Micić from the Jazz.
- Thunder grade: A-
Mo Wagner re-signs with Magic, 2 years, $16 million
Orlando is keeping the Wagner brothers together. While the Magic are stacked in the frontcourt, Wagner will still have a role to play after averaging over 18 minutes per contest in 2022-23.
Maybe the Magic could have spent this money elsewhere, but Franz and Mo get to play together for a couple more years. He’s a useful player to have when Wendell Carter Jr misses time.
- Magic grade: C+
Dennis Smith Jr to Nets, 1 year
After a bounce back year on the lowly Hornets, Dennis Smith Jr lands in Brooklyn. The Nets reportedly made Smith a priority in free agency.
A former ninth overall pick, Smith is an explosive athlete and can create shots for others. He’s still a non-shooter from the outside, though, and projects to be no more than a backup point guard for Brooklyn.
- Nets grade: C
Patrick Beverley to Sixers, 1 year
Joel Embiid bemoaned a lack of toughness on the Sixers a couple of years ago, and Daryl Morey has relentlessly added gritty veterans since then. Patrick Beverley fits that mould.
The amount of minutes available will only become clear once a James Harden trade is announced. For now, Beverley is a fourth guard behind Tyrese Maxey, Harden and De’Anthony Melton, but it’s no secret that he can be a nuisance for certain opponents off the bench.
- Sixers grade: C
Sasha Vezenkov to Kings, 3 years, $20 million
A fair shout as the most surprising of NBA offseason moves in 2023, the Sacramento Kings picked up reigning EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov on a three-year deal, bringing yet more shooting an already potent offense.
Look for the 6’9 Vezenkov to play big minutes at the four. His arrival opens up some bigger line ups for the Kings, which could be valuable in the postseason.
- Kings grade: B+
Jaxson Hayes to Lakers, 2 years with a player option
With Mo Bamba seeing his option declined, the Lakers needed a backup big man. Jaxson Hayes looks set to fill that spot as a screen-and-roll guy in non-Anthony Davis minutes.
It’s an opportunity for Hayes to showcase his skillset in a big market with the aim of securing a bigger payday.
- Lakers grade: C
Obi Toppin to Pacers for two future second-round picks
Obi Toppin’s opportunity was always limited with Julius Randle standing in his way in New York. The Knicks were clearly hesitant to pay the former lottery pick, and instead add to their Draft arsenal.
Toppin projects to play a tonne of four and maybe some five with Indiana. His shooting is invaluable, plus he can be an effective roll man for Tyrese Haliburton.
- Pacers grade: B+
- Knicks grade: B
Kyrie Irving re-signs with Mavericks, 3 years with player option, $126 million
Dallas had no option but to retain Kyrie Irving after giving up a first-round pick and Dorian Finney-Smith at the trade deadline. Losing Irving would have been a major step towards waving goodbye to Luka Doncic.
Irving, for all the speculation about other ‘meetings’, had no other options. If he wanted max money, he had to stay with the Mavericks. The length of the deal was the question – Irving gets his guaranteed dollars and control over the third year.
Any sort of long-term commitment to Irving is an enormous risk. The chances he plays out this contract with Dallas are slim. It is an okay (at best) outcome for the Mavs after backing themselves into a corner with an ill-advised trade.
- Mavericks grade: C
Draymond Green re-signs with Warriors, 4 years, $100 million
Aside from brief Kings and Mavericks rumors, there was very little chance Draymond Green would leave the Warriors after Jordan Poole was traded to the Wizards.
Golden State has Steph Curry, Green and Andrew Wiggins tied down until 2026. Green is still one of the two or three most impactful defensive players in the NBA, and his chemistry with Curry and Klay Thompson is irreplaceable.
Compared to some of the other NBA offseason moves in 2023, this feels like a very reasonable number for an integral piece of a modern dynasty.
- Warriors grade: B+
Jerami Grant re-signs with Blazers, 5 years, $160 million
How much? Which of the teams with cap space were driving the Blazers to $160 million and five years for Jerami Grant?
The AAV might not age too badly with the cap rising. The years, on the other hand, are over-the-top. No NBA contract is untradeable, but Grant is going to be hard to move with this much money committed into his mid-thirties.
Perhaps this is a response to the pressure put on by a possible Damian Lillard trade. Portland needed to keep Grant to convince Lillard they can compete, so maybe they had little choice. Even so, there’s got to be a way they could get this done to three or four years.
- Blazers grade: D
Fred VanVleet to Rockets, 3 years, $130 million
This is a huge annual salary for Fred VanVleet. Given the Rockets’ massive cap space, and the need to reach the salary floor, they are the only team who can begin to justify paying VanVleet this number.
It’s a big loss for the Raptors. VanVleet was a champion in Toronto, and they will sorely miss his shooting.
For Houston, this initially seems like a curious decision with their array of ball handling options. After two seasons of utter dysfunction, however, VanVleet can be a steadying presence, removing some of the playmaking burden from Jalen Green. Houston can still mix in ball-handling possessions for their young core thanks to VanVleet’s perimeter shooting.
At the other end of the floor, VanVleet is a hard-nosed competitor. He can lead by example. Three years doesn’t restrict Houston’s future moves.
- Rockets grade: B
Khris Middleton re-signs with Bucks, 3 years, $102 million
More years, and $6 million less than his player option; this looks like a great compromise for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Yes, Khris Middleton has missed time with injury, and didn’t look quite himself in the aftermath, but losing him for nothing would have been a disaster. Give him a full offseason, and the Bucks have to like their chances of getting Middleton back to a near-All-Star.
- Bucks grade: B+
Monte Morris to Pistons for future second-round pick
After landing Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole, a Monte Morris trade seemed inevitable. Washington could have waited until the deadline, but flipping Morris for a future second is an inoffensive move at this stage.
Morris is a steadying presence. One of the league’s best backup guards, he’s an asset for the Pistons alongside Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, and opens up flexibility to play three-guard lineups.
- Pistons grade: B+
- Wizards grade: B
Desmond Bane extends with Grizzlies, 5 years, $207 million
Memphis is looking to follow the Denver Nuggets’ route to title contention with three, homegrown, max contract players. Desmond Bane has more than earned this deal after scoring an efficient 21.5 points per game last season.
Bane is an okay defender. He’s made meaningful progress as a pick-and-roll ball handler. His shooting is invaluable next to Ja Morant.
- Grizzlies grade: B+
Tyrese Haliburton extends with Pacers, 5 years, up to $260 million
This deal was a lock. Tyrese Haliburton played at an All-Star level in 2022-23, leading the Pacers into Playoff contention in the first half of the season.
Indiana has quickly positioned themselves to be in the mix for a postseason berth again. Haliburton has overcome concerns from around the Draft to be a complete point guard.
- Pacers grade: B+
Dennis Schroeder to Raptors, 2 years, $26 million
Toronto needed a VanVleet replacement. Dennis Schroeder is a fine stopgap. Schroeder can be effective guarding opposing ball handlers, and can still penetrate off the bounce.
For a shooting-lacking team, his inconsistent to poor three-point shooting is a concern, however. This number feels on the high side, too.
- Raptors grade: C-
Victor Oladipo to Thunder for draft compensation
A timeline on Victor Oladipo’s return from injury is unclear. Oklahoma City absorbed his contract into cap space, allowing the Miami Heat to create a trade exception of almost $10 million.
Oladipo is an experienced head on a young Thunder roster. Miami gives itself greater flexibility to compensate for the losses of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.
- Thunder grade: C
- Heat grade: C+
Derrick Rose to Grizzlies, 2 years, $6.5 million
Memphis has already added a veteran presence in Marcus Smart. The same logic appears to have led to the signing of Derrick Rose, who will have a major role to play during Ja Morant’s suspension.
Rose fell out of the Knicks rotation last season. He’s a poor outside shooter, making him a dodgy fit next to Morant. Where Smart’s leadership credentials are unquestioned, how much will Rose impact that locker room?
He’s not going to get many minutes when Morant and Smart are healthy.
- Grizzlies grade: D
Seth Curry to Mavericks, 2 years
Dallas must still regret trading Seth Curry for Josh Richardson. Curry is one of the best shooters in the league – he’s great at firing off screens, handoffs and nailing catch-and-shoot looks.
Health is a concern after a banged up 18 months with the Nets. How the defense fits next to Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic is a question, too.
- Mavericks grade: B
Josh Okogie to Suns, 2 years with player option, veteran minimum
Josh Okogie plays much above his 6’4 frame. Phoenix can afford to carry a below-average shooter next to their three super scorers, making Okogie a better fit than he was next to Chris Paul.
Possessing the strength and mobility to guard one through four, Okogie is a great pickup for the Suns. It’s a bit surprising no one outbid them here.
- Suns grade: A
Oshae Brissett to Celtics, 2 years with player option
Nothing more than forward depth for the Celtics. Grant Williams seems like he’s on the way out, so getting another guy to compete on defense is a good idea.
Far from a knockdown guy, Boston is equipped to compensate thanks to the Porzingis trade. Probably won’t see many minutes next to Robert Williams III.
- Celtics grade: C
Julian Champagnie to Spurs, 4 years, $12 million
Bit of a no-brainer this one. Julian Champagnie is a good shooter at 6’8.
No need to overthink this kind of deal, and a rebuilder like the Spurs get a floor spacer next to Victor Wembanyama.
- Spurs grade: B+
Herb Jones extends with Pelicans, 4 years, $54 million
Perhaps the most predictable of 2023 NBA offseason moves. Herb Jones’ extension was on the way when the Pelicans turned down his player option. New Orleans has wrapped up one of the best perimeter defenders in the Association for four years at what looks a great value deal.
Jones already times his cuts well. He’s an okayish shooter. If he knocks down more threes, this could become one of the best contracts in the league.
- Pelicans grade: A
Shake Milton to Timberwolves, 2 years, $10 million
Shooting and microwave scoring off the bench can work for any team. Shake Milton could find himself playing bigger minutes for the Timberwolves than expected with their lack of shooting outside of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Milton has been productive when given consistent minutes in Philadelphia. Seems a solid option for the Timberwolves with their financial restrictions.
- Timberwolves grade: C
Joe Ingles to Magic, 2 years, $22 million
The money is a bit higher than expected for Joe Ingles at this stage. The price could well be worth it to bring a veteran into an immensely talented, yet young, Magic locker room.
Ingles can take on some ball handling duties, but he’s just as effective spotting up while Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner or Paolo Banchero go to work. Orlando doesn’t need Ingles to play big minutes – he could be a useful piece for a contender if Magic fall short of expectations.
- Magic grade: B
Tre Jones re-signs with Spurs, 2 years, $20 million
It’s a wait and see deal for the Spurs. Tre Jones is a solid point guard at the moment — a competent playmaker and capable of attacking off the bounce.
Jones needs the shot to develop if he’s to become more than a serviceable bench piece. He could receive a big deal in a couple of years if he starts draining threes.
- Spurs grade: B
Cam Johnson re-signs with Nets, 4 years, $108 million
Brooklyn couldn’t afford to let Cam Johnson go. With the salary cap set for a spike with the new television deal, this contract could quickly look like a bargain.
Johnson and Mikal Bridges give the Nets a pair of two-way wings to build around. This locks Johnson up through his peak years at a number which looks very reasonable compared to some deals we have seen handed out in 2023 NBA free agency.
- Nets grade: A-
Jakob Poeltl to Raptors, 4 years, $80 million
After trading for Jakob Poeltl, the Raptors had backed themselves into a corner. Letting him walk would have been a bad outcome, particularly on the same day that Fred VanVleet departed.
This number is around what you expect for a starting center. Poeltl gets the same AAV as Nikola Vucevic, and he’s still only 27.
Toronto has got itself in a bit of a mess, though. Having lost VanVleet, spacing is set to be a massive problem despite adding Gradey Dick.
- Raptors grade: C
Georges Niang to Cavaliers, 3 years, $26 million
Notoriously slow-footed and attackable on defense, Georges Niang is more of a four than a three, which is where he’ll be listed with the Cavaliers. Evan Mobley’s versatility on defense helps to compensate for Niang’s weaknesses, however, and the former Sixer brings all-important spacing.
Shooting 40% from three last season, Niang can spot up from the corner or above the break. This contract feels much more reasonable for a three-point specialist than other deals handed out in recent years.
- Cavaliers grade: B-
Chimezie Metu to Suns, 1 year
Frontcourt depth is going to be important for the Suns. Chimezie Metu can be a pick-and-roll man in non-Ayton minutes.
He’s unlikely to see much game time this season, but could be required if Ayton suffers an injury.
- Suns grade: C
Jevon Carter to Bulls, 3 years, $20 million
The Bulls are looking to replicate the hellacious perimeter defense we got a taster of with Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Jevon Carter harasses opposing ball handlers and evades screens better than most in the league.
His offensive role will be similar to what we saw with the Bucks. Carter has developed into a good catch-and-shoot guy, which will be an asset next to Chicago’s three stars.
- Bulls grade: A
Troy Brown to Timberwolves, 2 years, $8 million
Troy Brown Jr is an up-and-down shooter and a decent defender. He doesn’t bring any extra playmaking. Playoff defenses will let him prove he can beat them from the outside.
Minnesota could have spent this money elsewhere. Brown doesn’t make much sense in lineups alongside Rudy Gobert or Kyle Anderson.
- Timberwolves grade: D+
Nickeil Alexander-Walker extends with Timberwolves, 2 years, $9 million
Impactful in the Play-In and Playoffs, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was always likely to stay with Minnesota. He brings length and some shooting at the two.
On the defensive end, Alexander-Walker’s fit is obvious. He’s a real asset in certain matchups. On offense, Minnesota need Alexander-Walker to become a more reliable outside shooter, and would surely love to see his playmaking take a leap. It’s a good bet on his upside at this price.
- Timberwolves grade: B+
Bruce Brown to Pacers, 2 years with team option, $45 million
Did anyone see Bruce Brown getting this much per year even after his excellent postseason with the Nuggets?
Brown landing with the Pacers is clearly one of the most surprising NBA offseason moves, and is bound to divide opinion when it comes to free agency grades.
For Brown, this is the payday he’s been waiting for. He’s got his ring, he’s played alongside some all-time greats, and he can hit the open market against at 27 or 28.
For the Pacers, Brown’s defense, rebounding and cutting are superb fits with Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. Indiana was good when Haliburton was healthy in 2022-23 – this sets them up for a run at a Play-In berth.
Trading this contract to a contender without taking bad, long contracts could be tough, though.
- Pacers grade: B-
Taurean Prince to Lakers, 1 year, $4.5 million
Taurean Prince is the archetypal role player next to LeBron James. Standing at 6’7 and a career 37.2% three-point shooter, Prince is great option on the wing for the Lakers, who too frequently ended up using three-guard lineups in the postseason.
The combination of size and shooting is valuable for any team, and especially so for these Lakers.
- Lakers grade: B+
Max Strus to Cavaliers, 4 years, $64 million, Heat receive second-round pick, Spurs receive Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a second
Cleveland has had a couple of swings at fixing their small forward hole this offseason. Max Strus projects to be their starter.
Strus’ three-point percentage is lower than his reputation might indicate, but he hit 45% from the corner last season, and will spend much of his time in that spot for the Cavs. At 6’5 and with good strength, he’s far from lockdown on the perimeter, but he’s at least strong enough to battle hard.
Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens deplete the Cavs’ depth, though that is a small price to pay for revamping their wing options.
- Cavaliers grade: B-
Damion Lee to Suns, 2 years with player option
Some might have wondered if there was a bigger deal out there for Damion Lee. He shot over 44% from three last season, has the size to guard some wings, and can occasionally put it on the deck.
Keeping Lee has to be seen as another free agency win for the Suns. He’s a solid complementary piece whether playing the two or three.
- Suns grade: B
Gabe Vincent to Lakers, 3 years, $33 million
Gabe Vincent was always going to get paid after his postseason showing for the Miami Heat. The Lakers clearly believe he can exceed his 33% for his career, plus he brings competitive defense on the perimeter.
More of an off-ball player than a playmaker, Vincent will get plenty of catch-and-shoot attempts alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He can attack closeouts and create for himself at times, too.
Some might feel the price is a bit high, but this looks a good fit for the Lakers in the backcourt.
- Lakers grade: B-
Keita Bates-Diop to Suns, 2 years, $5 million
At 6’8 and having shot 40% from three last season, Keita Bates-Diop fits the profile of what the Phoenix Suns need next to their core players. Bates-Diop is the kind of upside swing which makes sense for Phoenix given their financial restrictions.
Of course, performing for the tanking Spurs is far from comparable to playing on a stacked Suns team. The skillset is what the Suns need, though, so there’s a lot to like about this one.
- Suns grade: B+
Coby White extends with Bulls, 3 years, $40 million
With Lonzo Ball likely out for all of 2023-24, it would have been odd for the Bulls to let one of their remaining guards go. Coby White projects to be a score-first Sixth Man, but that’s fine for Chicago at the moment.
This number is around what you’d expect for a player of his skillset and caliber. At 23 years old, there’s still room for growth.
- Bulls grade: C+
Kyle Kuzma extends with Wizards, 4 years, $102 million
Washington had to pay somebody. It turns out that person was Kyle Kuzma, who didn’t seem to have a fit on the open market at anywhere near this number. After the Kings re-upped Harrison Barnes, a Kuzma return to the capital was the best fit.
The Wizards will be able to trade Kuzma on this contract. In the meantime, he can eat some innings without raising their floor too significantly.
- Wizards grade: C
Drew Eubanks to Suns, 2 years
Evaluating Suns moves is tricky, because we don’t know at this stage what else is out there on the league minimum.
Drew Eubanks is a serviceable backup center, more than capable of playing a chunk of minutes if Deandre Ayton hits foul trouble.
- Suns grade: C+
Caris LeVert extends with Cavaliers, 2 years, $32 million
Cleveland retains an asset. Caris LeVert is not the best fit alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, neither providing great three-point shooting or defense.
The Cavaliers’ other moves look better on paper next to their core four. LeVert at this price is tradeable, though, and this gives them salary to match in a deal for a better-fitting wing at the deadline.
- Cavaliers grade: C
Joe Harris and two second-round picks to the Pistons
The Joe Harris contract was an overpay you could live with when the Nets had Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. In this new iteration of Brooklyn, Harris was surplus to requirements. Moving off his deal (and creating a TPE) seems fine, but having to attach two second-round picks is not.
More shooting around Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey can only be a good thing for the Pistons. They might even be able to move Harris again at the deadline.
- Nets grade: D
- Pistons grade: C
Yuta Watanabe to Suns, unknown terms
Yuta Watanabe had seamless chemistry with Kevin Durant on the Nets. Watanabe is an all-action forward, who has evolved into a knockdown catch-and-shoot guy from the corners, finishing last season at 44% from downtown.
Switchable on defense, ever-hustling and with good size, this is an ideal fit for Phoenix. Look for Watanabe to feature in plenty of closing lineups.
- Suns grade: A
Rui Hachimura extends with Lakers, 3 years, $51 million
Rob Pelinka was open about the Lakers’ intention to bring their guys back. They did that with restricted free agent Rui Hachimura, albeit on a deal which might make some Laker fans wince.
Hachimura was excellent in the Playoffs, but he has been a poor outside shooter prior to moving to Los Angeles. He wasn’t worth more than seconds a few months ago. At least it’s tradeable salary for future deals.
- Lakers grade: C-
Cam Reddish to Lakers, 2 years
Years of Cam Reddish to the Lakers trade rumors have led to this. It isn’t the flashiest of NBA offseason moves, but the Lakers will have talked themselves into Reddish’s upside despite is underwhelming NBA career to date.
The question, though, is whether this is even worth a dice roll. Reddish has shot just 32.2% from three for his career with inconsistent defense.
- Lakers grade: C
Josh Richardson to Heat, 2 years
Since leaving the Heat, Josh Richardson’s career has meandered. Returning to Miami could be the revitalisation he needs, and a place where he can slot into an appropriate role on both ends of the floor.
Losing Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, Richardson can ideally compensate for a bit of ball handling and shooting while playing decent perimeter defense. Nice pickup.
- Heat grade: B+
Reggie Jackson extends with Nuggets, 2 years, $10.25 million
Well, this one was a surprise. Running it back after emphatically winning the title makes sense, but handing out the full taxpayer MLE to a player who was out of the postseason rotation does not.
Perhaps Denver projects Reggie Jackson as a solid backup in the regular season, who can ease the burden on Jamal Murray. On the other hand, this could just be about having a tradeable contract when the deadline approaches.
- Nuggets grade: D
DeAndre Jordan to Nuggets, veteran minimum
It was alarming how quickly the Nuggets signed DeAndre Jordan last season. They didn’t wait much longer in 2023 NBA free agency.
Jordan was a non-factor for most of the postseason. He’s an end-of-the-bench guy at this stage. Denver clearly likes his presence in the locker room, so maybe this is fine.
- Nuggets grade: C
Kevin Love to Heat, 2 years
Miami liked Kevin Love’s impact after his curious buyout from the Cavaliers. Bringing frontcourt size and occasionally getting hot from three, Love gave Erik Spoelstra some more lineup options.
Often playing bench minutes as a starter, we’re expecting the veteran big man to return into the Sixth Man which he excelled in with the Cavaliers a couple of years ago.
- Heat grade: C+
Trey Lyles extends with Kings, 2 years, $16 million
Trey Lyles brings size to a small Kings roster. He’s a good shooter for his position, which fits with the fast-paced offense orchestrated around Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox.
The Kings haven’t been in a rush to make rash deals, but Lyles’ $8 million per year salary could come in handy as they look for upgrades. Solid deal for both parties.
- Kings grade: B
Kristaps Porzingis extends with Celtics, 2 years, $60 million
Having given up Marcus Smart, it was always likely the Boston Celtics would extend Kristaps Porzingis. Given his injury history, this is a duration and number the Cs can feel comfortable with.
Porzingis has made over $100 million in his career and now gets a chance to spend his late-peak with a true title contender.
- Celtics grade: A-
Chris Duarte to Kings for draft compensation
Having built chemistry with Domantas Sabonis in Indiana, Chris Duarte should easily adapt to the Kings’ offense. A better shooter than his 34.7% three-point percentage suggests, he gives the Kings another option to use running off screens and handoffs.
For Indiana, this move is about opening up cap space. The draft compensation is not significant. Duarte was an odd choice at the time given his age and Indiana seemingly heading for a rebuild, so it makes sense to move him on if there’s a player they prefer in free agency.
Sacramento have added another solid rotation wing. Their offence benefits, but it does little to improve their defence, which was their greatest weakness in 2022-23.
- Kings grade: C
- Pacers grade: C+
Harrison Barnes extends with Kings, 3 years, $54 million
Harrison Barnes is solid. He was a veteran presence and starter in the Kings’ best season in two decades. At the same time, this move still comes as a surprise – Sacramento opened up cap space by flipping Richaun Holmes only to run it back.
Sure, the Kings were good last season, and still have some flexibility. Barnes, though, has already become less versatile on the defensive end and is heading into his age-31 season. Couldn’t the Kings have done something else with this cash?
Some might think this is harsh as NBA free agency grades in 2023 go, but we can’t help wondering why the Kings did this.
- Kings grade: D+
Nikola Vucevic extends with Bulls, 3 years, $60 million
Landing spots were limited for Nikola Vucevic in free agency. An extension with the Bulls seems a good outcome for the former Magic big man, who is a highly skilled offensive player but a poor defender.
For Chicago, this fits with their general ‘run it back’ approach. Such a plan doesn’t make a great deal of sense with Lonzo Ball reportedly out for the year, and a pretty low ceiling on hits Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine core.
The money isn’t too bad, but could the Bulls have tried to work a sign-and-trade to get something back? It’s hard to see where this goes other than another Play-In loss.
- Bulls grade: D
John Collins to Jazz for Rudy Gay and future second-round pick
Having been at the center of NBA trade rumors for several years, the Atlanta Hawks finally dealt John Collins. Atlanta effectively salary-dumped the power forward, receiving just Rudy Gay and a future second. The Hawks are now below the luxury tax, which was apparently a mandate for the front office.
It isn’t the glitziest of NBA offseason moves in 2023, yet this is perhaps an indication of things to come with the harsher penalties for high-payroll teams.
Collins’ usage and efficiency tumbled in 2022-23. He’s still owed $78 million over three years. There is a chance Utah can rebuild Collins’ value and flip him in 12 or 18 months, but does that compromise the development of lottery pick Taylor Hendricks?
- Jazz grade: C
- Hawks grade: D
Naz Reid extends with Timberwolves, 3 years, $42 million
Naz Reid was the first major signing of the offseason, as the Minnesota Timberwolves avoided their bench big hitting free agency with a three-year, $42 million contract including a player option.
Capable of playing the four or five and a decent shooter, Reid was poised to be an interesting player in free agency. He’s landed slightly more than the midlevel, which is probably what he was heading for on the open market.
This signing raises questions about Karl-Anthony Towns’ future. Minnesota had already committed a huge sum to two centers with an unclear fit. A cost of $14 million per year is huge for a third-choice big – Minnesota retains an asset, but leave themselves in another tricky spot.
- Timberwolves grade: C+
Chris Paul to Warriors for Jordan Poole, Ryan Rollins, top-20 protected 2030 first-round pick, 2027 second-round pick
Well, Chris Paul was always likely to be dealt after going to the Wizards in the Bradley Beal trade. Taking his deliberate, pick-and-roll heavy game to the motion offense of the Warriors was not what anyone expected.
Paul and the Warriors have history after years of battles in the Western Conference. While the fit with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green has plenty of questions at the moment, it’s clear this trade was more about shifting Jordan Poole’s bloated contract.
Golden State sent out a heavily protected future first, a second and Ryan Rollins, which goes to show how poorly valued that contract had become after Poole’s woeful postseason showing.
There is a way this works out for the Dubs. Adding another playmaker can’t hurt. For the Wizards, this is a great swing on Poole’s upside while picking up more draft assets. These are the moves a rebuilding team should be making.
- Warriors grade: C
- Wizards grade: B+