Steve Alexander

Offseason Beat

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FA Roundup: LA-Bron James!

Monday, July 2, 2018

You may have noticed the Live Blog we had running for NBA Free Agency, but it was kind of a bust. I manned that thing for about 16 straight hours, but outside of Paul George re-upping with the Thunder and DeAndre Jordan hooking up with the Mavericks (again), there really wasn’t a lot happening for most of those 16 hours. In fact, it was eerily quiet.


But finally, once I’d passed it off to Ryan Knaus at about 6 p.m. on Sunday night, things started happening. The big one, of course, was the Lakers signing LeBron James to a four-year deal worth $153.3 million. The Lakers are all-in on LeBron and it appears that LeBron is all-in on the Lakers. And that leads me to believe that one way or another, Kawhi Leonard is going to be a Laker. And if that somehow doesn’t happen, DeMarcus Cousins would be the next logical choice. And in an ideal world, the Lakers get Kawhi in the next few days and then use all their one-year deals to possibly be able to add Boogie Cousins a year from now. The Lakers’ biggest problem is the contract of Luol Deng, which is a thorn in their side. He’s still owed $18 million-plus in 2019-20!


The Lakers also re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and picked up JaVale McGee from the Warriors, both on one-year deals. But perhaps the best thing that’s happened in this free agency is the fact that the Lakers also added Lance Stephenson on a one-year deal. The “blowing in ear” jokes are going to write themselves, but will have a very short shelf life. I can hear LeBron now - “Lance is a competitor and I can’t wait to play with him. He’s the textbook definition of a guy you love playing with and a guy you hate playing against. I can’t wait.”


As for Kawhi’s chances of coming to the Lakers in the next few days, I feel like it’s going to happen. I don’t think LeBron would have committed to the Lakers if he wasn’t assured of a player like Leonard joining him, and it may just be a matter of the Lakers waiting out the Spurs. Of course, Kawhi could also re-sign with the Spurs or join a team like the Sixers or Clippers, but my guess is that it would be as a one-year rental, and then he’d sign with the Lakers a year from now. But all signs are pointing to Kawhi finding his way to L.A. this season. And then, we’ll have to find out if he’s finally over his quad injury. If he’s good to go and they’re able to add a player like Cousins next year, a team with LeBron, Kawhi, Boogie, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart sounds like it could play with both the Rockets and the Warriors, not to mention the Celtics and Sixers. Let’s go!


And lastly, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be a mess without their superstar going forward. I have no idea how long it will take them to recover from losing LeBron, but they are looking like a doormat, possibly for years to come. But there are a lot of teams and cities that have never won a championship, and being a Hawks, Braves, Pacers and Colts fan, I’m just thankful for the two rings I got to see my teams win. Hopefully, Cavs fans can simply cherish the one they got with LeBron.


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Other notable signings


Kevin Durant – Warriors

Nikola Jokic – Nuggets

Paul George – Thunder

Chris Paul - Rockets

Aaron Gordon – Magic

Rudy Gay – Spurs

Will Barton – Nuggets

Fred VanVleet – Raptors

Derrick Rose - Wolves

Jerami Grant – Thunder

Gerald Green - Rockets

Joe Harris – Nets

Aron Baynes - Celtics

Salah Mejri – Mavericks

Luke Kornet - Knicks


All of these guys are returning to their former teams. Jokic is the centerpiece of the Nuggets, George is set to keep running with Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul is ready to make another run at the Warriors with James Harden. Gay might be the most interesting player in this bunch, as his role with the Spurs would get a big boost if Leonard doesn’t go back to San Antonio, assuming Gay can actually stay healthy.


New Faces, New Places


DeAndre Jordan – Mavericks

Trevor Ariza – Suns

Marco Belinelli – Spurs

Ersan Ilyasova – Bucks

Mario Hezonja - Knicks

Elfrid Payton – Pelicans

Ed Davis - Nets

Omri Casspi - Grizzlies

Doug McDermott – Pacers

Nik Stauskas - Blazers

Glenn Robinson – Pistons


The Mavericks needed a center and they got a very good one in Jordan, but he’s still going to struggle with his free throws. It will be interesting to see how much Ariza hurts T.J. Warren, as well as how much the Rockets will miss Ariza. Belinelli looks custom built to play for the Spurs and should eat into Danny Green’s minutes, and Ilyasova will go back to where it all started in Milwaukee. He played his first seven seasons for the Bucks and just keeps chugging along. Hezonja should have a nice role for the Knicks and will be a fantasy sleeper, and Payton’s value likely depends on whether or not the Pelicans re-sign Rajon Rondo. The Blazers are not happy about losing Ed Davis, but he’ll help back up young Jarrett Allen, who is up-and-coming in Brooklyn. It’s probably not an ideal landing spot for Davis.


There are still a lot of big names that haven’t signed, so the free agency frenzy is far from over. Here’s the list of guys we’re still waiting to hear from.


Clint Capela RFA

DeMarcus Cousins UFA

Julius Randle RFA

Marcus Smart RFA

J.J. Redick UFA

Derrick Favors UFA (likely re-signing with Utah)

Isaiah Thomas UFA

Tyreke Evans UFA

Jabari Parker RFA

Jusuf Nurkic RFA

Zach LaVine RFA

Luc Mbah a Moute UFA

Avery Bradley UFA

Rajon Rondo UFA

Wayne Ellington UFA

Brook Lopez UFA

Rodney Hood RFA

Montrezl Harrell RFA

Dante Exum RFA

Greg Monroe UFA

Nerlens Noel UFA

Kyle Anderson RFA

Michael Beasley UFA

Dwyane Wade UFA

Jeff Green UFA

Amir Johnson UFA

Shabazz Napier UFA

Nemanja Bjelica RFA

Tony Parker UFA

Kyle O’Quinn UFA

David West UFA

DeWayne Dedmon UFA

Trevor Booker UFA

Jamal Crawford UFA

Zaza Pachulia UFA

Joe Johnson UFA

Yogi Ferrell RFA

Seth Curry UFA

Brandan Wright UFA

Vince Carter UFA

Channing Frye UFA

Nick Young UFA

Jahlil Okafor UFA

Alex Len UFA

Tyler Ulis UFA

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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