Sure, LeBron generated the most buzz and Boogie nearly broke the internet, but which NBA free agency moves actually had the most impact on the title chase?
I remember on Valentine’s Day a few years back, I went out and got my wife an absurdly expensive piece of jewelry. For two people living in a basement apartment, it probably wasn’t the wisest of investments, but I thought it was warranted (we were living in a basement, after all).
Of course, I had to have the requisite card to go with it, complete with my best Bill Shakespeare impression on the blank side.
You can guess what happened next.
“I love the necklace, but really, the card was my favorite part.”
Putting aside for a moment the fact that this was a boldfaced lie, there was nonetheless a momentary inkling of frustration when I wondered whether I’d have been better off saving some money and just bought a bigger card and a box of Ring Pops.
Multiply that feeling by about a hundred and it’s akin to what about two dozen NBA general managers feel by the middle of December every year. It often doesn’t take long to realize that the money you spent in the offseason didn’t get your franchise one tenth of an inch closer to the ultimate prize. Many moves make headlines; few result in a meaningful difference come May and June.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at this summer against the backdrop of the only thing that matters: What moves had the biggest effect on the championship chase?
In fairness to some of the league’s lesser lights, there were a few signings meant entirely to pay dividends further down the road. We’ll give those their fair due if they figure to have an impact on someone’s ring-chase down the line, but the greater the immediate impact, the higher the ranking here.
(Honorable mention goes out to the still unsigned Clint Capela, who would certainly be a part of this list had he re-upped already. Given the stalemate that’s shaping up though, we’re sure he won’t mind if we go ahead without him).
Without further ado, here are the top ten most impactful free agency signings (and re-signings) of the offseason: