The NBA’s free agency period began on Saturday at midnight. As usual, it’s been a joy to follow — players have been moving constantly, and with every passing hour, it seems more and more like the Western Conference is going to be so loaded that multiple teams with winning records are going to miss the postseason. As for the Eastern Conference, well, LeBron is still there!
The entire debate on conferences and whether we should get rid of them (we absolutely should) aside, there have been a number of defined winners and losers through the first two days of free agency. We decided to pick out the three teams/players who were the biggest winners, and the three that have come out with egg on their faces thus far.
3. The Clippers
After trading Chris Paul and with J.J. Redick already announcing that he wasn’t going to re-sign with the team, the Clippers ultimately had to decide whether they wanted to blow it all up or build around Blake Griffin. They chose the latter, which is a solid strategy, but one that could have backfired if Griffin decided to leave Los Angeles.
We knew that Griffin was going to opt out of his contract, and we knew that the Clippers were going to do everything in their power to bring him back. Were the methods they used to bring him back, um, conventional or in good taste? Absolutely not. But it all worked out, so really, they get the last laugh at the end of the day.
With Paul gone, the Clippers — in an attempt to stay relevant in town, especially with the Lakers looking like they’re going to make a serious run at some huge names next offseason — needed a cornerstone, a face of the franchise who could possibly attract talent to keep up in the never-ending Western Conference arms race. They rolled the dice on Griffin being that guy, and their gamble worked.
Sure, the Clippers don’t have Paul or Redick anymore, but they do have more depth thanks to the Paul trade, while has the potential to be a good (because depth) or bad (because they lost Chris Paul) thing. They also have a superstar to build around in Griffin, which makes them a winner in free agency so far.