Grading the Biggest Deals from Day 2 of NBA Free AgencyAugust 3, 2021
The start of 2021 NBA free agency on Monday did not disappoint. And on Day 2, the deals kept coming.
Most won’t be official until the NBA’s annual moratorium concludes on Aug. 6. Teams have been busy now that the league set the salary cap for the 2021-22 season at $112.414 million and the luxury-tax threshold at $136.606 million.
What are the most significant deals from Day 2, and how do they grade out from the team’s perspective?
We’ve got you covered below and will be adding more deals and grades throughout the night.
DeMar DeRozan Sign-and-Trade to the Chicago Bulls
Three years, $85 million, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
The Chicago Bulls have overhauled their roster in free agency, bringing in Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and now DeMar DeRozan to complement All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. While the Bulls could have used their cap space to renegotiate and extend LaVine, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, they instead attempted to build a team that will convince him to re-sign.
DeRozan is a dynamic, veteran scorer despite his lack of a reliable three-point shot. He’ll help prevent defenders from keying on LaVine.
With cap space drying up around the league, DeRozan seemed like he might get frozen out of the market and return to San Antonio. Instead, he got a three-year, $85 million deal from Chicago, while the Spurs will receive a productive player in Thaddeus Young, a big wing defender in Al-Farouq Aminu, a first-round pick and two second-rounders.
Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers
One year, $2.6 million, via Wojnarowski
Carmelo Anthony is no longer a superstar scorer at this point in his career, but the Los Angeles Lakers needed to replace some of the bench scoring they lost with Kyle Kuzma heading to the Washington Wizards in the package for Russell Westbrook. Anthony is one of LeBron James’ closest friends, so the move is also a chemistry builder—it’s something James pushed for adamantly.
With the New York Knicks, Anthony had some difficult times with current Lakers executive Kurt Rambis. Credit to Rambis for putting aside any of that to welcome Melo to the Lakers.
Rudy Gay to the Utah Jazz
Two years, $12.1 million, via Shams Charania of The Athletic
Like Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay isn’t quite in his prime, but he’s evolved into a productive reserve (most recently with the San Antonio Spurs). He'll give the Utah Jazz a veteran scorer who can shoot and defend a bit.
After salary-dumping Derrick Favors to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Jazz agreed to re-sign Mike Conley, which put them into luxury-tax territory. Gay will get their taxpayer mid-level exception, which is the largest spending tool that the Jazz had at their disposal.
Steph Curry to extend with the Golden State Warriors
Four years, $215 million, via Wojnarowski
The Golden State Warriors agreed to a massive four-year, $215 million extension with Stephen Curry, and he’s worth every bit of that.
Curry guided the Warriors to three championships over the past seven years, and he's a massive draw both locally and nationally. If the Warriors are willing to pay enormous luxury-tax bills, then so be it. That won't come out of Curry’s pockets.
While the Warriors have struggled to return to their previous dynastic heights, Klay Thompson should return from two significant injuries this season, and they just barely missed the playoffs last year. Locking up Curry should keep Golden State relevant for the next half-decade.
Patty Mills to the Brooklyn Nets
Two years, $12.1 million, via Wojnarowski
Patty Mills is a cold-blooded veteran closer. Most games are won in the final five minutes, and the Brooklyn Nets are adding an expert to a roster with championship expectations.
Mills will reportedly take Brooklyn's taxpayer mid-level exception, its largest spending tool, over a similar offer from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bigger names got bigger deals over the first 24 hours of free agency, but this one could help turn a playoff series and maybe even a championship.
Los Angeles Lakers Add Depth, Lose Morris, Drummond
Talen Horton-Tucker back to the Lakers ($32 million, three years) — Wojnarowski: B+
Kendrick Nunn to the Lakers ($10 million, two years) — Haynes: B+
Markieff Morris to the Miami Heat ($2.6 million, one year) — Wojnarowki: B
Andre Drummond to the Philadelphia 76ers ($2.4 million, one year) — Wojnarowski: B
Malik Monk to the Lakers ($1.8 million, one year) — Wojnarowski: B+
The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on Mills but pivoted quickly to bring in Nunn from the Heat. Nunn is younger and less experienced than Mills, but he does have NBA Finals experience. L.A. also reached a reasonable-but-not-cheap deal to bring back Horton-Tucker and added another young, inexpensive shooter in Monk.
Drummond will leave the Lakers for Philadelphia, where he’ll replace Dwight Howard (who is replacing him in L.A.) as Joel Embiid’s backup with the 76ers. Morris will give Miami an experienced frontcourt presence off the bench.