Now that the 2016-17 NBA season has come to an end with a hardly unexpected Golden State Warriors championship win, the madness of free agency was fresh on everyone’s minds. Players, coaches, and fans geared up for what would become one of the most active, exciting, and confusing free agencies in recent years.
This time of year is as exciting as the regular season and postseason for several reasons. First, teams are given time to reevaluate their respective seasons and search for ways to improve, or continue their success. This leads to some of the biggest names in the league being pursued by other teams, enormous contracts being dealt, and fans being thrown for a loop when their teams’ star players are traded, or more are added. With that said, here are three of the biggest stories to come out of NBA Free Agency 2017.
Steph Curry Breaks the Bank
It is no surprise that one of the greatest three-point shooters in recent history should be given a contract extension, but the Golden State Warriors shocked the basketball nation when they signed Steph Curry to the now second largest contract in NBA history with a $201 million 5-year deal (behind James Harden’s most recent $228 million contract). That kind of money isn’t just thrown around in the league, so the Warriors front office must see something in the 2x NBA champion and back-to-back league MVP.
Gordon Hayward Heads to Boston
The hype surrounding free agent Gordon Hayward continuously grew for days while the Utah Jazz small forward contemplated where he wanted to play in the upcoming 2017-18 season. His success with Utah throughout his NBA career thus far has received praise, and had fans all over the country wondering why he hadn’t sought out a more successful team sooner. The Jazz seemed to be gaining momentum recently however, as they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs, and though they may have been swept by the Warriors immediately after, hopes were high in the locker room. They had what seemed to be a formidable team in the making. Then, Hayward announced he’d be joining star point guard Isaiah Thomas in Boston.
The Celtics now have an added strength to their already impressive roster. With Thomas’ agility, Hayward’s outside shooting, and Jae Crowder’s inside power, Boston now has a tough starting-5. However, they are still in the Eastern Conference, which means they will still have to face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers; a team that they will most likely continue to struggle against.
Paul George Joins the MVP in OKC
Talk of Paul George leaving the Indiana Pacers had been circulating for some time, but few knew where he actually intended to go. Rumors spread that he’d be joining LeBron in Cleveland, or perhaps the young talent growing among the Los Angeles Lakers. So, when it was announced that George would be heading to the Oklahoma City Thunder, fans were stunned, in both positive and negative ways. Pacers fans hate to see their star player go, Cavs and Lakers fans hate to miss out on acquiring a very talented small forward, and Thunder fans rejoice as Russell Westbrook (this year’s MVP) finally has another juggernaut to play side-by-side with on the court. Since losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors, Oklahoma City had a void to fill this offseason. That was done so with the signing of George.