Biggest Losers From the First Day of NBA Free Agency


NBA free agency opened with a crazy first day on Sunday. Huge contracts were handed out left and right and a ton of big names were taken off the board. More than $3 billion was spent in just a few hours.

Here’s a look at the biggest losers from the first day of 2019’s NBA free agency extravaganza.

New York Knicks

I mean, come on. The last few months have been packed with losses for the New York Knicks. On Sunday, it got even worse.

The Knicks tanked during the 2018-19 season hoping to win the draft lottery and land Zion Williamson. They failed. Then they traded Kristaps Porzingis to open up enough room to go after top free agents this summer. They failed. Yes, on Sunday the Knicks struck out on all of their top targets.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and others aren’t interested in playing at Madison Square Garden.

While missing on those guys, the Knicks instead gave Julius Randle $63 million over three years, Bobby Portis $31 million over two years and agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with Taj Gibson. I’m sure Knicks fans will be just fine with those signings, right?

On top of everything, the Knicks will now play second-fiddle in their own town as the Nets become the dominant franchise in New York.

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors worked a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn Nets to acquire D'Angelo Russell. To make that deal happen, the Warriors had to ship Andre Iguodala and three first-round draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies. Russell got a four-year, $117 million deal, which is massive.

So yeah, they got Russell, which might be a good move. But any time you lose a player like Kevin Durant — possibly the best player in the world when he’s healthy — you’re automatically a loser. Russell is a nice, ball-dominant guard but his fit next to Stephen Curry might not be perfect. Oh, and they gave up a “heart and soul” type guy in Iguodala.

That’s a lot to lose in one day.

Charlotte Hornets

Had the Charlotte Hornets offered the super max contract to Kemba Walker, he may have stayed. Instead, they balked at doing so and he wound up agreeing to a four-year, $141 million deal with the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

The Hornets had to watch their franchise player bolt for greener pastures and instead had to settle for overpaying Terry Rozier by giving him a three-year, $58 million deal. Then Charlotte watched Jeremy Lamb head to the Indiana Pacers after a career-year.

The Hornets are coming off a 39-43 season, lost their top two scorers and all they did in free agency was overpay for an undersized scoring guard who averaged 9.0 points per game last season.

Los Angeles Clippers

It sucks to be the Los Angeles Clippers today. All year we heard how the Clippers were making moves solely to acquire Kawhi Leonard and — potentially — another star. Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler were both mentioned as possible additions.

Well, Durant signed with the Nets and Butler is now with the Miami Heat. Oh, and reports suggest Leonard now prefers the Los Angeles Lakers to the Clippers if he doesn’t re-sign with the Toronto Raptors. Basically everything Steve Ballmer’s franchise has been planning for the last year is going up in smoke.

They brought back Patrick Beverley late Sunday night but that’s not the “star” player Leonard wants to team up with. Beverley got a three-year, $40 million deal. They overpaid a guy who averaged 7.6 points per game and posted a PER of 11.79. Beverley is an excellent defender but can’t do much on offense.

The Clippers could still find a way to bring Leonard into the fold, but even if they do, their roster would be a mess and certainly not capable of winning the Western Conference.