Kings

The 10 Biggest Moves From NBA Free Agency So Far

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Yes, the 2024 NBA free-agency cycle remains “subpar” compared to previous years. That will certainly be a story for another day.

With that said, plenty of notable movement still took place since full free agency officially began on June 30. The retooling process for many contenders and playoff hopefuls just kicked off. Only one All-Star from this past season switched teams, but a good amount of legit role players boast new jerseys as well.

Although early, this exercise aims to rank the 10 most significant moves so far from this offseason’s free agency. Among the factors taken into account include:

  • the magnitude of the player (superstar, All-Star, starter, quality reserve, etc.)
  • the general significance of the move for the team receiving said player
  • interest – how much value said player had on the market
  • which decisions carry the most weight for the outlook of the aforementioned teams in 2024-25

A few more final notes: this exercise only includes players who switched teams during 2024 free agency. That means the blockbuster Mikal Bridges trade, as well as other trades during the draft, won’t factor in. Ditto for any teams who re-signed their own players. This focuses exclusively on the names that jumped from one franchise to another.

And now, here are the most notable free agent moves (so far):

No. 1: Paul George to Philadelphia

Contract: five-year, $204 million

Finally, the Sixers landed their co-star to pair with 2023 MVP Joel Embiid and 2024 Most Improved Player Tyrese Maxey.

Paul George jumped from one historically flawed contender out West to one in the East. Rarely will you see a superstar player like George outright sign a new deal in free agency. But, that paid off handily for Philly.

The Sixers are going all-in on 2024-25. Philly is hoping George (22.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.5 APG in 2023-24) can elevate the team after years’ worth of postseason disappointment.

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George remains the only All-Star player from 2023-24 to move teams via free agency. The Sixers are, per BetMGM, now up from +1600 to +800 (fourth-highest in NBA, second in East) to win next year’s championship. Easily, this move rocked the landscape next year the most.

No. 2: DeMar DeRozan to Sacramento

Contract: three-year, $74 million (sign-and-trade)

A weekend blockbuster led to the Kings securing the services of veteran All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Despite getting up there in age, DeRozan yet again reached 24.0 PPG and adds some much-needed scoring in Sacramento next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

Last year, the Kings regressed following a 48-win campaign in 2022-23. A move needed to be made, and the Kings opted to rock the boat by bringing in some additional offensive punch.

As always, the West continues to be a bloodbath to play through. Will the move be enough? Regardless, bringing in DeRozan is certainly a step up compared to this past season. Plus, DeRozan’s resume was easily the second-best among this year’s free agents.

No. 3: Chris Paul to San Antonio

Contract: one-year, $11 million

Victor Wembanyama lived up to the hype last year. Now, the Spurs sought to make his job a lot easier as he heads into his sophomore year.

Even at 39, Chris Paul fits that type of mold. No matter where (New Orleans, the L.A. Clippers, Houston, Oklahoma City or Phoenix), Paul repeatedly elevates the young talent around him. How to build around Wemby remains a super intriguing question. And, maybe Paul (9.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 6.8 APG) might be at the finish line of his career.

With that said, the Spurs could make some noise next year, even in a deep conference which got even deeper this offseason.

Spurs Should Caution Speed of Building With Wemby

No. 4: Isaiah Hartenstein to Oklahoma City

Contract: three-year, $87 million

In terms of contract, Hartenstein secured the second-most guaranteed money out of all free agents so far. The up-and-coming Thunder only get deeper, and Hartenstein’s two-way excellence in New York should transition well with OKC.

Hartenstein’s numbers (7.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 2.5 APG) don’t jump out of the stat sheet, but he brings a combination of size, versatile defense, veteran experience and crafty playmaking to the Thunder. He can start or come off the bench. He fits in many ways on the Thunder, who now have the best odds to win the 2025 championship out of all Western Conference teams (+800).

No. 5: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Orlando

Contract: three-year, $66 million

Speaking of Denver, the Nuggets lost a key contributor in back-to-back offseasons. First it was Bruce Brown, now it’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

KCP (10.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.4 APG) shot over 40% from three last year. Orlando continues to be a team that’s on the rise. Last season’s 47-win campaign proved that.

But the Magic’s offense was average at best and stuck in the mud at its worst. KCP brings veteran leadership and championship experience for a young Orlando team. He also addresses some of the Magic’s biggest weaknesses.

Banchero Quietly Leading Orlando’s Promising Youth

No. 6: Klay Thompson to Dallas

Contract: three-year, $50 million (sign-and-trade)

Talk about the end of an era.

The “Splash Brothers” in Golden State are no longer. The Warriors remain several steps down from where the team was in the 2010s, or even 2o22. Thompson’s regression last year was notable, and a massive pay day for him wasn’t out there.

This is a major gamble for Dallas.

Yet, Thompson (17.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.3 APG) won’t need to be more than the third-best option behind Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Mavs needed more offensive juice, as their shortcomings manifested and then some in the 2024 NBA Finals.

No. 7: De’Anthony Melton to Golden State

Contract: one-year, $12.8 million

Out with Thompson, in with De’Anthony Melton.

Melton emerged as a 10+ PPG scorer in consecutive years with the Sixers. He’s not a shooter like Thompson, but he still has a career 37% clip from three while providing more defensive versatility than Klay does.

The Warriors significantly re-tooled their roster this offseason. If Golden State wants to maximize the last bit of the Steph Curry era, Melton is the best chance it has to do so.

No. 8: Caleb Martin to Philadelphia

Contract: four-year, $32 million

There’s value on two fronts. First, taking Caleb Martin away from a former contender like the Miami Heat is big.

That angle aside, Martin emerged as a two-way wing who can switch one through four and hit 35% from three. If he pans out, he’ll be a major reason we can finally call Philly a legit championship contender

No. 9: Naji Marshall to Dallas

Contract: three-year, $27 million

With Derrick Jones Jr.’s departure to the L.A. Clippers, Dallas needed to fill a hole on the wing. Naji Marshall should do just that.

Marshall emerged as a key bench player on New Orleans over the course of his career. Doncic is capable of elevating the role players around him, and Marshall could be the next one to do so.

#10: Andre Drummond to Philadelphia

Contract: two-year, $10 million

The Sixers earned three of the top-nine spots on this list, and for good reason. To put the cherry on top, getting Embiid injury insurance with Andre Drummond was significant.

Drummond remains a quality rebounder and capable high-minute center. He won’t need to play a big role with Embiid on the court. With Embiid off, he can jump in and fill in that hole.

Honorable mentions:

About Dominic Chiappone

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