Every NBA Team's Biggest L of the Offseason

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterAugust 7, 2019

Every NBA Team's Biggest L of the Offseason

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    While the NBA offseason is in a brief hibernation, we can explore how rosters will look for the 2019-20 season.

    Some teams, most notably the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets, had historic summers thanks to free agency and the trade market. Others, like the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks, left fanbases feeling discouraged.

    Of course, no team is perfect.

    No matter how great an offseason can be, there's inevitably something that's gone wrong in the draft, free agency or a trade.

    Here's the biggest mistake every team has made this summer.

Minor Mistakes

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    Houston Rockets: Signing 2013 draft busts Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett

    No team should have been as excited about the presumed dismantling of the Golden State Warriors dynasty as the Rockets.

    Houston finally has a real chance at a championship, with a strong core of James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon. Bringing back Austin Rivers was a big plus, and adding Tyson Chandler as a veteran off the bench made sense.

    The Rockets are in championship mode, so why did they spend multiple roster spots on draft busts? Ben McLemore played just 19 games with the Sacramento Kings last year before he was waived, and Anthony Bennett hasn't played in the NBA since the 2016-17 season.

    Houston doesn't have time for player development and would have been better off with a veteran wing defender like Iman Shumpert or Thabo Sefolosha instead of trying to become the latest team to try to kick-start McLemore's or Bennett's career.


    Indiana Pacers: Giving up three draft picks for a restricted free agent

    The Pacers had a nice offseason headlined by the acquisition of former Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, though bringing him to Indiana came at a price.

    Brogdon was a restricted free agent, but the Pacers agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract via a sign-and-trade that cost them a 2020 first-round pick as well as second-round picks in 2021 and 2025. That's a hefty price to pay for a free agent, even if there was a chance Milwaukee would have matched the deal to keep Brogdon.

    Indiana should have tried to play hardball and call the Bucks' bluff, especially since Milwaukee spent roughly $268 million on Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, George Hill and Robin Lopez.


    Los Angeles Clippers: Giving up too many picks for Paul George (maybe)

    It's hard to fault the Clippers for anything. They had one of the best summers in NBA history, adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to a team that won 48 games and made the Western Conference playoffs last season.

    The package of picks and players they had to give the Oklahoma City Thunder for George was massive (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round picks, two pick swaps)—but it was worth it when considering it meant getting Leonard too.

    The only negative is the Clippers now lack draft assets to help acquire anyone else should they need a boost before the February trade deadline. Still, L.A. should be feeling very, very good about its summer.


    Memphis Grizzlies: Trading for Josh Jackson

    Trading franchise legend Mike Conley was a painful but necessary move, as it opened the door for No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant to have complete control of the offense. Getting Gonzaga power forward Brandon Clarke in a draft-night trade with the Thunder was big as well.

    Memphis then took a gamble with its trade for 2017 No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson, an offensive-minded wing who looks destined to be a bust. Jackson was arrested during a music festival in May and allegedly ran from police after being handcuffed. In June he was accused of using marijuana near his five-month-old daughter by the child's mother.

    With Memphis rebuilding and trying to set the right culture around guys like Morant, Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr., bringing in someone with the recent legal troubles of Jackson seems like a mistake.


    Milwaukee Bucks: Signing Dragan Bender

    Bringing in a draft bust over a proven veteran doesn't make sense for a team with championship aspirations.

    The Bucks were the only 60-win team in the NBA last season, and the best player on their biggest competitor bolted for the Clippers. The time to go all-in is now.

    Instead, Milwaukee chose to sign the No. 4 overall pick of 2016 despite his measly career averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game with 39.4 percent shooting. At 21 years old, Dragan Bender will be buried on a contender's bench instead of trying to carve out a role on a rebuilding team.

    The Bucks should have used the roster spot on some additional veteran depth, such as Jeremy Lin, Jamal Crawford or JR Smith.  

Financial Misfires

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    Brooklyn Nets: Paying DeAndre Jordan $40 million to be a backup

    With respect to the fact that DeAndre Jordan is earning some of the salary that would have gone to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn's paying a 31-year-old backup center $40 million is still a mistake.

    That's assuming Jordan will indeed come off the bench behind incumbent 21-year-old starter Jarrett Allen, who's quickly becoming one of the best young centers in the game. Blocking his progress by playing Jordan ahead of him would be a step back.

    This isn't Lob City Jordan, either. While he can still rebound at a high level (13.1 per game between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks last season), Jordan's defense has plummeted in recent years. The Knicks, with precious few NBA-caliber players last season, were 12.2 points per 100 possessions better when Jordan was on the bench.

    While getting Durant, Irving, Taurean Prince, Garrett Temple, David Nwaba and Wilson Chandler made this an A-plus offseason for the Nets, paying Jordan that kind of money seems like the one slip-up.


    Charlotte Hornets: Not even offering Kemba Walker a max contract

    The Hornets appeared to be in the driver's seat to keep their franchise star.

    They could have offered one more year and an additional $80 million over anyone else. Kemba Walker even said Charlotte was his "first priority," calling it "my home" and saying, "That's where I've been for eight years and that's all I know," per The Athletic's Jared Weiss.

    Instead of offering Walker the full five-year, $221 million supermax he earned after making third-team All-NBA in 2018-19, the Hornets tried to shave $50 million off the deal. Per Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, they offered Walker only $160 million over five years, or $32 million per season. That didn't even match the annual money Walker got from the Boston Celtics on a four-year, $140.8 million pact.

    Getting cheap with Walker seems even stranger when Charlotte gladly gave former Boston backup point guard Terry Rozier a three year, $56.7 million deal. Expect Charlotte's win total—and fan attendance—to plummet next season.


    Philadelphia 76ers: Paying power forwards nearly $300 million

    No one would say Philly had a bad offseason, but the fits of all the new and returning parts seem a bit awkward.

    Getting Josh Richardson from the Miami Heat for Jimmy Butler instead of losing the star free agent for nothing was brilliant, though he'll be forced to play shooting guard after spending 70 percent of his time at small forward over the past three seasons.

    That's because the Sixers re-signed Tobias Harris to a $180 million deal and brought in Al Horford for $109 million. The problem? Neither are going to play the positions wherein they earned those contracts.

    Joel Embiid will bump Horford to power forward, a spot he's certainly capable of playing, though just 17 percent of his career minutes have come at the 4. Harris will be pushed out to the wing, where he's spent only 3 percent of his time over the past two seasons.

    The Sixers would have been better off choosing between Harris and Horford, investing the extra money in bringing back a sharpshooter like JJ Redick and letting everyone play their natural positions.


    Sacramento Kings: Winning the bidding war for Harrison Barnes against...themselves?

    Despite not making Bleacher Report's list of the top 25 free agents, Harrison Barnes finished the summer with the 13th-richest contract in both total and annual money.

    His four-year deal to stay in Sacramento will pay $85 million, or $21.3 million annually. If that was the price to top the other best bids for Barnes' services, then so be it, but who else was offering that kind of money?

    The deal will also overlap with potential big-money extensions for players like De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III, likely straining the Kings' future cap space. Sacramento should have come in at a lower annual value or with fewer years, challenging Barnes to find a better offer somewhere else. He may not have gotten it.


    San Antonio Spurs: The DeMarre Carroll/Marcus Morris saga

    DeMarre Carroll was the Spurs' biggest addition this offseason, and the 33-year-old forward should carve out a role in Gregg Popovich's rotation.

    Carroll and San Antonio originally agreed to a two-year, $13 million contract, which seemed plenty fair given the veteran shot just 39.5 percent for Brooklyn last season while chipping in 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

    Instead, the Spurs reworked Carroll's deal and added a third year, bringing the total value up to $21 million. The reason? According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, it was so San Antonio could preserve its $9.3 million mid-level exception.

    This was smart, given that it meant San Antonio could then sign Marcus Morris to a two-year, $20 million deal. While Morris seemed committed to the Spurs, he backed out to join the New York Knicks on a one-year, $15 million deal.

    Because of this, the Spurs are stuck with Carroll on a third year at age 35 with no Morris to show for it.

Missed Opportunities

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    Cleveland Cavaliers: Not trading JR Smith's contract

    While the Cavs were never going to be players in free agency with a roster dangling in the luxury tax, there was hope they could improve the team by offloading JR Smith's unique contract.

    "We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief until July 1," Cavs general manager Koby Altman said in April, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. "We can guarantee that right now, and we actually had a phone call [April 11] on that trade chip, so we're going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point."

    Smith's $15.6 million contract for 2019-20 was guaranteed for just $3.9, meaning teams could trade for him, waive the 33-year-old shooting guard and collect on the nearly $12 million in cap space.

    With Altman's talk of getting a phone call, it seemed the Cavs could at least obtain a draft pick by flipping Smith's salary for a fully guaranteed one.

    When no deal was reached by the June 30 deadline, Cleveland even gave Smith $500,000 to extend the time to find a trade to July 15.

    Despite giving him the extra half-million bucks to chill for two weeks, the Cavs still didn't find a trade and ended up waiving Smith while keeping the salary savings for themselves. For a team desperate to find draft picks and young talent, this was a huge missed opportunity.


    Dallas Mavericks: Pulling out of trade for Goran Dragic

    Despite signing or dealing for Kristaps Porzingis, Seth Curry and Delon Wright, the Mavericks whiffed on many of their free-agent targets.

    Dallas tried to get Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley and Danny Green to no avail, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. The Miami Heat were willing to gift Goran Dragic to the Mavs in an effort to clear cap space to acquire Jimmy Butler, an opportunity Dallas at first agreed to but later turned down.

    It seemed like a no-brainer for the Mavericks to get Dragic. They had the cap space to absorb his salary without having to give up anything of value in return. It also meant uniting the only two Slovenian players in the league in Dragic and Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic, who was roommates with Dragic during the 2017 EuroBasket. Dragic could have been the veteran point guard the team needs next season before his expiring $19.2 million deal opened up cap space for Dallas in 2020.

    The Mavericks wanted the cap space instead, even after they missed out on their top targets.


    Denver Nuggets: Already spending their 1st-round pick

    The Nuggets traded their 2020 first-round pick to the Thunder for power forward Jerami Grant, giving the team a reliable backup to Paul Millsap.

    While that doesn't scream "L," Denver would have been wise to wait and hold on to as many picks as possible. Grant is a good three-and-D athletic big but will almost certainly not pick up his $9.3 million player option next summer and will instead become a free agent.

    The Thunder were more desperate to make a trade, as offloading Grant saved them $39 million in salary and luxury-tax penalties, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    While Denver cruised to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season, the West has become even more competitive with the rise of the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans.

    The Nuggets should be locking all their draft assets in a vault and hoping Bradley Beal becomes available at some point next season. Grant is a fine player but could be a rental OKC wanted to offload anyway—far from deserving of Denver's first-rounder.


    Detroit Pistons: Not drafting Kevin Porter Jr. at No. 30

    The Pistons are desperate for help on the wing and in the backcourt and were fortunate that Kevin Porter Jr. was available with the last pick in the first round of the draft.

    Porter was thought to be one of most skilled players in the class, an athletic shooting guard with an offensive game that conjured images of James Harden. Bleacher Report NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman had him going 26th to the Cleveland Cavaliers, saying that Porter had "too much talent" to pass over at that point in the draft.

    Instead, Porter fell to 30th, which looked like a steal for a Pistons team that had acquired the pick from the Bucks.

    Instead, Detroit traded the pick and Porter to the Cavaliers for four second-round picks and cash. If Porter even comes close to reaching his potential, this will prove to be an awful trade by the Pistons.


    Portland Trail Blazers: Losing Al-Farouq Aminu in free agency

    The Blazers are short on quality forwards after they traded Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner and watched Al-Farouq Aminu sign with the Orlando Magic.

    Of the three, losing Aminu hurt the most.

    The 28-year-old power forward improved the Blazers by 10.0 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, an even better mark than CJ McCollum. Aminu was arguably the team's best defender and averaged 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while starting all 81 of his contests.

    With Aminu gone, Portland may be forced to start natural 5-man Zach Collins at power forward, with Anthony Tolliver and the 39-year-old Pau Gasol looking at time there as well.  

What's the Plan?

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    Atlanta Hawks: Not addressing center position

    The Hawks have one of the best foundations in all of basketball, now stocked with young talent and expiring veteran contracts.

    Drafting De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish helped put weapons around Trae Young and John Collins. Kevin Huerter drilled 38.5 percent of his three-pointers as a rookie. The Hawks' one hole? The center position.

    The Hawks lost last year's starter, Dewayne Dedmon, in free agency to the Kings, leaving just Alex Len, Damian Jones and 2019 second-round pick Bruno Fernando at center.

    Len is good enough to be a rotation big, but he's not the long-term answer at center. The Hawks may be forced to use Collins more at the 5, though he spent just 18 percent of his court time there last season.


    Boston Celtics: Saying Enes Kanter was Plan A

    The Celtics made the best of what could have been a devastating offseason after losing both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency.

    Signing Kemba Walker to a four-year, $141 million max contract at least slaps a Band-Aid on the wounds of their departed, even if the true measure of this team will likely be the growth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

    Needing a center, Enes Kanter gives Boston rebounding and solid offensive production, even if he's a huge step down from Horford defensively.

    For president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to come out and say signing Kanter was part of the team's Plan A is completely ridiculous, given how loaded this free-agent class was. Kanter was just the 10th-highest-paid player at his own position this summer and 64th overall. The Knicks simply waived him last season after failing to find a trade.

    Ainge can say that Walker was his top target, which could very well be true. But Kanter was also part of Plan A? Insert Bradley Beal face here.


    Chicago Bulls: Keeping Kris Dunn

    The Bulls clearly aren't sold on Kris Dunn as the franchise point guard, made evident by the selection of UNC point guard Coby White at No. 7 overall on draft night and the three-year, $30 million deal given to former Washington Wizards point guard Tomas Satoransky.

    The latter is good enough to start for Chicago now after putting up 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 54 starts for the Wizards last year. White looks like the point guard of the future. So, where does this leave Dunn? It's clear his time as a potential franchise cornerstone is over in Chicago.

    While the Bulls could use him as a rotation piece, how happy is Dunn going to be as a potential third point guard on the depth chart with free agency approaching next summer?

    A trade would be best for both parties.


    Orlando Magic: Stockpiling power forwards

    The Magic are apparently trying to start an NBA revolution, one in which they play five power forwards at the same time.

    Already with Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, two power forwards who are often forced out of position already, the Magic signed Al-Farouq Aminu away from the Blazers and drafted Auburn power forward Chuma Okeke with their first-round pick. This makes for an extremely crowded frontcourt that also includes centers Nikola Vucevic back on a four-year, $100 million deal, Mo Bamba and Khem Birch.

    Aminu is worth the three-year, $29 million contract, just not on this team. Orlando desperately needs more firepower in the backcourt and on the wing, even with bringing back Terrence Ross on a four-year, $54 million deal.

    For the same money they paid Aminu, Orlando should have pursued players like Jeremy Lamb, Seth Curry or George Hill.


    Phoenix Suns: Trading back in draft, selecting Cam Johnson

    Whether Ricky Rubio's new deal with Phoenix was an overpay or not (three years, $51 million), the Suns needed a pass-first point guard, so no major complaints here.

    Their biggest mistake was passing on players like Jarrett Culver and Coby White in the draft by trading back with the Minnesota Timberwolves to No. 11. Phoenix was next to last in defensive rating last season, an area Culver would have helped to clean up to go along with his potent offensive game. White could have been the franchise point guard of the future, learning from Rubio while easing his way into the NBA.

    Instead, the Suns settled for Cameron Johnson, the 23-year-old wing from UNC. While Johnson is an excellent outside shooter (40.5 percent for his college career), he doesn't carry nearly the upside of a Culver or White, who are three and four years younger, respectively.  

It's Not Too Late

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    Minnesota Timberwolves: Not signing/trading for D'Angelo Russell

    Despite not having max cap space to sign D'Angelo Russell outright this summer, the Timberwolves had a meeting set up on the opening night of free agency with the 2019 All-Star, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

    The goal was to unite the first and second overall picks of the 2015 draft, pairing Russell with franchise star Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota tried to get Brooklyn to agree to a sign-and-trade involving Andrew Wiggins, per Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. No word on if the Nets front office giggled before hanging up the phone.

    Instead, Russell agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Warriors, netting a four-year, $117.3 max contract.

    All hope for the Wolves shouldn't be lost yet, however.

    The Warriors can still trade Russell after Dec. 15, and Minnesota is just one of three NBA teams to not have traded away any future picks. Rookie Jarrett Culver, Robert Covington and Josh Okogie are attractive trade pieces, and Jeff Teague is on an expiring $19 million deal.

    Minnesota failed in its original pursuit of Russell but should try again this winter.


    New Orleans Pelicans: Not trading for Bradley Beal

    Even with their spectacular offseason, no one should be willing to proclaim the Pelicans a playoff team just yet.

    Trading for Bradley Beal would change that.

    According to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, the Pelicans would definitely like to acquire the All-Star shooting guard: "The New Orleans Pelicans showed sincere interest in the two-time All-Star before Saturday's blockbuster that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. That curiosity remains and the two sides broadly discussed a trade scenario involving Beal, multiple sources told NBC Sports Washington."

    While this interest was reported before the draft, the goal should be the same for New Orleans.

    Assuming that both Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday are untouchable, the Pelicans still have plenty of assets to offer Washington. New Orleans owns first-round picks from Cleveland in 2020 (top-10 protected), the Lakers in 2021 (top-eight protected) and 2024 (unprotected). They also have a trove of young talent with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

    If the Wizards end up making Beal available, the Pelicans can arguably put together the best package of any NBA team.


    Oklahoma City Thunder: Not rerouting Chris Paul

    After swapping Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and picking up some first-round picks, the Thunder tried unsuccessfully to find Paul a new home. The expectation now is for Paul to at least start the season and perhaps spend the entire year playing in OKC, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Despite not finding a trade partner, the Thunder shouldn't be giving up just yet.

    The combination of Paul, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari may make the Thunder a little too good to collect on a top draft pick, and this team isn't talented enough to make the Western Conference playoffs. Being stuck somewhere in the middle is still the worst place to be in the NBA.

    Keeping Paul also means taking the ball out of the hands of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, now the Thunder's best young player. His development is crucial for the future of the franchise, and starting the 21-year-old as soon as possible is a must.

    Even if they have to give up a pick to do so, the Thunder need to trade Paul.


    Utah Jazz: Not trading for Kevin Love

    While the Jazz made major additions this summer with Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis, trading for Kevin Love really would have put them in title contention.

    Love, 30, is still an excellent scorer and rebounder when healthy, now with championship experience under his belt. Rudy Gobert could cover up any issues he has defensively, and Utah as a whole was second in the NBA in defensive rating last season even before trading for Conley.

    The Jazz can still put together a reasonably attractive package for the five-time All-Star power forward. The combination of Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and some salary filler would make the money work, and Utah can still trade first-round picks in 2022 or 2024. While losing a fan favorite in Ingles would hurt, it would give the Jazz a star-studded starting lineup of Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Bogdanovic, Love and Gobert.

    If Utah starts to fall back in a crowded Western Conference, a trade for Love should be seriously considered.


    Washington Wizards: Not trading Bradley Beal

    Bradley Beal's trade value will never be higher, as the 26-year-old All-Star still has two years of reasonable money ($27.1 million in 2019-20, $28.8 in 2020-21) remaining on his contract.

    The Wizards will likely be terrible as they wait for John Wall to heal from an Achilles injury, meaning another wasted year of Beal's prime.

    Washington can completely set themselves up for a rebuild now by moving Beal. The Pelicans, as noted earlier, have a monster collection of picks and players to offer. The Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs could all put together really good packages as well.

    If the Wizards go into the season with Beal, they risk an injury severely hurting his trade value, while the length of his remaining contract only shortens.

    Trading star players is never an easy decision, but the Wizards need only look at the way the Pelicans have reset their franchise as a blueprint for what they need to do now.  

Major Burns

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    Golden State Warriors: Losing Kevin Durant

    Even though both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green signed new contracts and D'Angelo Russell somehow arrived in a sign-and-trade, losing arguably the best player in basketball is still a major blow to Golden State.

    Instead of being the overwhelming title favorites like they were for the past three years with Kevin Durant, the Warriors have fallen back into a crowded Western Conference pack. They're in real danger of even missing the playoffs with Thompson expected to miss most of the season with a torn ACL.

    The Clippers, Lakers, Jazz, Pelicans, Kings and Rockets should all be better. The Nuggets, Spurs and Trail Blazers seem like playoff locks.

    Durant's departure may end up signaling the end of the Warriors' dynasty and the resetting of competitive balance in the NBA.


    Miami Heat: Trading Josh Richardson

    Getting Jimmy Butler when they had no cap space to do so was a win for the Heat, but it also meant sacrificing their best player.

    Josh Richardson led Miami in scoring last season, is a good defender and is on one of the NBA's best contracts (three years, $32.5 million). He's also four years younger than Butler.

    While Butler is the better overall player, his new contract (four years, $141 million) will pay him slightly more money in Year 1 alone than Richardson will earn over the next three seasons combined. There are also some mileage concerns with Butler, given he's averaged nearly 37 minutes per game over the past six years.

    Maybe this was the only way Miami could have acquired Butler, and so be it if it was, but the Heat should have pushed hard to include anyone other than Richardson to get the deal done.


    New York Knicks: Missing out on every star free agent

    Dreams of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving quickly turned into Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton for the Knicks after they struck out on every major free agent this summer.

    While most of the contracts they gave out only carry a small salary guarantee for next season, the lack of free-agent interest, especially in a major market, should be especially concerning.

    The Knicks will win more than 17 games next season; RJ Barrett should be a star, and players such as Randle, Dennis Smith Jr. and Mitchell Robinson will provide highlights. In the end, though, this is still a bad team that also had the most disappointing summer in the league.


    Los Angeles Lakers: Not signing Kawhi Leonard

    No one should blame the Lakers for passing on other free agents while waiting to hear Leonard's final decision. A team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard would have been the title favorite, even with little cash left to pay a supporting cast.

    Without Leonard, the Lakers are probably the second-best team in their own building, given the Clippers were also able to trade for Paul George while retaining Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac.

    In the end, the Lakers turned the cap space they were saving for Leonard into Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook, who should all fit in well alongside James and Davis.

    While getting Davis still makes for a successful summer, losing out on Leonard to the Clippers is a big disappointment for the Lakers.


    Toronto Raptors: Not trading for Paul George

    More than simply going back to his home in California, it appeared Kawhi Leonard wanted to play with Paul George.

    ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Thunder were willing to talk about trading George and Russell Westbrook to Toronto and that George was willing to play for the Raptors. According to Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star, the starting point for a deal would have included Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and four unprotected first-round picks. For salary-matching purposes, the Raptors would have also had to include Kyle Lowry and either Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka.

    While that's a lot to give up, it could have led to Leonard staying, especially since he wouldn't have had George to join on the Clippers. Even if Leonard would have left Toronto, the Raptors still would have had a core of George, Westbrook, Ibaka/Gasol, OG Anunoby and Norman Powell.

    Instead of taking a risk that would have made it far more likely for Leonard to stayand at worst landed George and WestbrookToronto now finds itself fighting just to make the playoffs.


    Greg Swartz covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. All stats via Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.