It is finally here. Today marks the day in NBA free agency in which players can officially sign contracts with teams. Will there be any other surprises before the day ends? Let’s hope not but be prepared just in case. Strange things can happen in high-pressure situations. In the meantime, RDR’s sports contributors discuss the biggest losers in the 2015 NBA free agency period.
Andrew Porter, Portland Trail Blazers: The Portland Trailblazers are by far the winners of NBA’s biggest loser sweepstakes. Before the start of last season, many felt the Blazers had a chance, even if slim, to contend for an NBA title. Now, with four of five starters gone, Damian Lillard has been left in the unfortunate position of carrying the team on his back. The Blazers got rid of their core-starting lineup, but didn’t get any better in the process, even with the addition of Al-Farouq Aminu. I personally loved the lineup the Blazers assembled over the years. Even with their early playoff exit last year, there was no question they were looking to build upon back-to-back 50-win seasons. Now, 50 wins could be a long shot for the Blazers who must compete in the wild, wild, west.
Julius Kizzee, New York Knicks: After a year where the team won 17 games, the second worst in the league, the New York Knicks ended up with the fourth overall pick. Who did they use on the pick? Another European wonder named Kristaps Porzingis. If he doesn’t turn out to be the next Dirk Nowitzki, Phil Jackson’s stay in New York will be looked at as a total failure. Well not a total failure. Signing Robin Lopez to a four-year deal worth $54 million has to be looked at with optimism, right?
Perry Robinson, Los Angeles Lakers: It can’t get any worse right? Wrong. The fall from grace for the Lakers over the past few years has been an ugly sight and this season, it’s bound to continue. The Lakers missed out on every big free agent on the market from Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jimmy Butler and even DeMarcus Cousins. The Lakers were able to sign the Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, but this signing will soon show to be overrated. They have three players on their roster that must succeed with the ball in their hands with Williams, Kobe Bryant and Nick Young. Along with the desperation move in obtaining Roy Hibbert, this season will definitely be interesting for Los Angeles fans.
Wilton Jackson, Dallas Mavericks: Somebody find Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban quick. He’s probably sitting somewhere thinking, I was on the brink of saving my franchise. What a change of plans. DeAndre Jordan decides to return home to Los Angeles. Jordan was going to be the younger version of Tyson Chandler, who was picked up in free agency by the Phoenix Suns. Despite him getting older, the former All Star and NBA All-Defensive First Team selection still averaged nearly 12 rebounds per game last season. What might be trash for one is a treasure for another. Here, the Suns gained the treasure. Then with the departure of Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo, despite his issues on and off the court, Dallas is in trouble. J.J Barea, Raymond Felton, Devin Harris, Dirk, Jeremy Evans, Charlie Villanueva and Wesley Matthews to name a portion of the roster, this team will be an interesting sight to see when the season starts. The only players I expect to have a consistent impact for the Mavs are Matthews, Nowitzki and Harris. This is not enough to compete with the top tier teams in the western conference.