NBA Free Agency 2012: Winners and Losers from Early Offseason Action

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 10:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets looks on in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center on April 10, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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It's been a fast and furious NBA offseason, with agreements on trades and signings sending shock waves throughout the entire league.

Only 72 hours into the free agency period, we've already seen a top-five point guard agree to a deal, a top-five shooting guard get traded, a couple 30-something-year-olds get offered $30-something-million contracts and a fake twitter account that was created just to trick everyone into thinking Dwight Howard had been traded.

God, I love the NBA.

Anyway, just like the games themselves, there are some clear-cut winners and losers to emerge from every NBA offseason. Here are the early results from this year's action-packed summer.


Brooklyn Nets

First, the Nets agreed to re-sign Gerald Wallace (h/t Colin Stephenson, The Star Ledger). Then, they agreed to trade a bunch of scrubs and a draft pick for Joe Johnson, who's been selected to six All-Star teams (h/t The Associated Press).

After that, Deron Williams tweeted some more good news for Nets fans:  

Made a very tough decision today.... lockerz.com/s/222071318

— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) July 3, 2012

And as if all that wasn't enough, they still may be able to trade for Dwight Howard, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.  

So yeah, I'd say they've been the big winners of free agency thus far.

Roy Hibbert

To put it simply, Roy Hibbert is about to get straight paid.

According to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, the Portland Trail Blazers offered Hibbert the maximum contract of $58 million over four years. Hibbert can't sign with Portland until July 11, and whenever he gives the ol' John Hancock, the Indiana Pacers will have three days to match it.

So either way, a center who averaged 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season will be getting a max deal.

Like I said above, I love the NBA. 


Indiana Pacers

Not only did the Pacers miss out on coveted shooting guard Eric Gordon (h/t Chris Broussard, ESPN), but thanks to Portland, they will either now lose their starting center or be forced to fork over $58 million to keep him.

Sure, they re-signed George Hill to a five-year deal (h/t ESPN), but that's not much to get excited over. Unless Roy Hibbert morphs into this generation's David Robinson, the Pacers will go down as one of the losers from this year's offseason.

New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields were the Knicks' starting backcourt during their most successful stretch of last season, but both may be gone next year.

Fields has been offered a three-year, $20 million deal by the Toronto Raptors, while Lin will meet with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, who are expected to offer him a three- or four-year contract for up to $40 million (h/t Nate Taylor, New York Times).

Both players are restricted free agents, so the Knicks could theoretically match both offers. However, since both deals likely to be backloaded, with salary spikes coming after the second year, it's doubtful that the Knicks will be able to afford either player.

The Fields deal also hinders New York's ability to acquire Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade, as Fields likely would have been one of the pieces going to Phoenix.

Add in all the success of their new neighbors and Brooklyn, and this has been a terrible offseason for the Knicks.


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