How teams define success in NBA Free Agency?

There are two ways for teams to rebuild a roster from getting off multiple losing seasons in the NBA to establishing a winning culture that often leads to several championships: Free agency or draft.


While the traditional way to build a solid core of players is through the Rookie Draft, there are teams that go for the biggest names in the free agency market which leads to a championship ring.


Learn how general managers and team owners determine if success is reached with their free agency haul, whether it leads to a title or just an upgrade from a lottery team to a playoff contender.




You can blame it on the “super team” concept the Boston Celtics took in 2008 that led them to a championship. 


But teams that are impatient about nurturing talent from the draft and want to “win now” got the confidence after the Celtics made it work with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining Paul Pierce to lease Boston past Los Angeles for all the marbles.


The Miami Heat may not have done it the first time with LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Wade but they did win two-straight titles in 2012 and 2013, one better than the Celtics.




Big market teams can’t be blamed for plucking the big names in free agency, surrounding them with undrafted role players, and, with a stroke of luck and great coaching, getting the job done.


The New York Knicks may have salary cap space on some seasons to land superstar free agents to stay as a playoff team. But after their time plucking Carmelo Anthony away from Denver that failed to not net a title, it’s been mostly downhill even despite the bright lights of broadway.


Los Angeles did get one title when James finally landed in Hollywood. But teams can’t cheat on injuries and bad luck that got the Lakers tumbling into the lottery after the 2021-22 season.




It’s not just the Lakers, Knicks, and even the Chicago Bulls that often want a “win now” approach that leads them to the free agency route.


The increasing number of superstars from bad teams testing the waters often gets the attention of the big market teams. And that’s how the “super team” concept started.


Kevin Love was a regular All-Star with consistent yet impressive numbers with the Minnesota Timberwolves but he never got a chance to experience a deep playoff run. A season with James and Kyrie Irving with the Cleveland Cavaliers changed all that when they won the 2016 title.




A team’s tradition, or culture, defines what directions their executives take in getting their franchises better.


There’s no guarantee for teams collecting the best names in free agency and suddenly becoming NBA champions. Developing young players through the Draft is also not 100% effective, either.


Free agency and the Draft both have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s all up to the team owners, the general managers, and executives that comprise a team’s brain trust as to what direction they want to go for their franchise.


Any direction and decision take risks. But with great timing, scouting, coaching, and getting the right chemistry for a team’s core, success for franchises might not be a championship right away. 

Executives from a perennial lottery team can define success in free agency as getting out of those losing seasons and making the playoffs consistently. 


A franchise’s conviction in sticking to its culture or its basketball program, as well as producing impressive player chemistry from the superstars up to the role players is already a success to a certain point – whether they go to free agency or the Draft.

Top 10 ‘Impact’ Rookies for 2023 NBA Season

It’s Summer League season in the NBA at this time of the year. The top players who just got picked in the 2022 Draft are aching to show their wares to ensure quality playing time for them when the regular season unfolds in October.

Players who were chosen among the top ten in the first round of the Draft often get most of the attention.

But look out for those “sleepers” who might be picked late in the first round or in the second round but some of them might just be in our top 10 “impact” list of newcomers.

Let’s pick out the best freshmen from the recent Draft who we believe will make an immediate impact on the teams that picked them for the 2022-23 NBA season.


Consensus top pick Jabari Smith Jr may not have been picked as No.1, but his stock remains solid after he was taken in at No.3 three by the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets might not still reach the playoffs next season. But expect Smith to help Houston win a couple more games compared to last season as he teams up with Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun to become the future cornerstones of the franchise.

Paolo Banchero, who denied Smith from being the best of their class after the Orlando Magic took him as the top overall pick, comes at No.2 in this list due to his package of scoring and defense with his length.

The Detroit Pistons may have their cornerstone in Cade Cunningham, but the arrival of their top pick Jaden Ivey fulfills a need for a solid backcourt.

Ivey’s impressive jab step and playmaking would complement Cunningham’s strengths as the Pistons resume their rebuild to become a playoff team again.


The Oklahoma City Thunder, like the Pistons, also need another piece to backstop rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Chet Holmgren did stick to projections as the Thunder’s No.2 pick, and fourth in this “impact” list. 

The seven-footer did not disappoint this early, as Holmgren put up 23 points along with seven rebounds, four assists, and a Summer League record of making five blocks and four three-pointers to help OKC beat the Utah Jazz, 98-77, on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.

Keegan Murray comes next at No.5, and the 6-foot-8 forward also shone with 26 points and eight rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting to help the Sacramento Kings defeat the Golden State Warriors, 86-68, in the California Classic summer league tournament on Saturday night.

Mark Williams is a mid-first-round pick who’s No.6 on the list. The 7-foot-2 Duke center brings excitement to Hornets fans, as he teams up with LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, and Miles Bridges in a solid core that can just steer the franchise to the playoffs.


The New Orleans Pelicans may have found something special when they took in Dyson Daniels at No.8. 

The 6-foot-8 forward, who averaged 12 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and two steals per game for the G League Ignite last year, will be a valuable key player off the bench as Zion Williamson makes his return from injury.

Jalen Duren became the No.13 pick overall by the Charlotte Hornets before he was traded to the Pistons to form a young triumvirate with Cunningham and Ivey.

Duren averaged 12 points, 8/1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his lone season at Memphis to help the Tigers reach the NCAA tournament in 2014 and into the round of 32.


Canadian forward/guard Shaedon Sharpe landed as the No.7 overall pick and ninth in the ‘impact” list, and the 19 year-old is more than capable of making a statement as a pro.

The 19-year-old five-star recruit will have his chance to shine with the Portland Trail Blazers, as he tries to complement franchise player Damian Lillard and help the team contend to at least a return in the playoffs.

Johnny Davis is the 10th overall pick by the Washington Wizards, and it is timely that he also rounds out our top 10 “impact list for rookies.

The 6-foot-4 guard may be a stretch to say that he can be a replacement if top scorer Bradley Beal decides to go elsewhere soon. But the upside is there for the La Crosse, Wisconsin, native to contribute right away in his rookie NBA season.

How Durant trade could impact NBA landscape

The NBA barely started free agency on June 30 when fans were rocked by the news that Kevin Durant may yet again be on the move to a fourth team in his esteemed career.


After just two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Durant has requested to be traded in a move that can stir the balance of power in the NBA.


Let’s explore the possibilities of which teams have a logical shot of winning the Durant sweepstakes and how the 6-foot-10 superstar can boost a franchise from an average contender to a possible championship-winning squad.


Talks of Durant requesting a trade were not surprising to fans and sports circles. But that was when questions lingered early on whether Kyrie Irving would explore his options to move elsewhere.

But after Irving decided to opt in on his $37 million player option and fulfill his four-year deal with the Nets, Brooklyn fans felt that the All-Star guard and Durant would stay and try to lead the franchise on another deep playoff run.

The shocking announcement of Durant’s manager Rick Kleiman in his statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski regarding his client’s major decision puts the Nets’ management in disarray.


This scenario is not new for Durant, who was drafted as the No.2 overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in the 2007 NBA Draft before the franchise changed its name to the Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.

After spending nine years with the Thunder and leading the team to an NBA Finals appearance in 2012, Durant went to the Golden State Warriors for the 2016-17 season where he led the Dubs to back-to-back championships and won consecutive Finals MVPs as well.

Durant failed to steer the Warriors to a third title in an injury-riddled year in the 2018-19 season that led to a transfer to the Brooklyn Nets the following season. But he only got to play for Brooklyn in the 2020-21 season after spending a year recovering from an injury.


It’s a no-brainer that any team with cap space or trade assets in their roster would line up to check their chances of landing Durant, a two-time NBA champion who also made it among the NBA 75th Anniversary team.

Multiple reports said Durant prefers the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, or the Philadelphia 76ers as possible landing spots for his fourth team in his 14-year career.


With four years and nearly $200 million left on his current deal with the Nets, it would need a lot of expiring contracts, future draft picks, and cash for any other team to snatch the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer away from Brooklyn.


Fans are also intrigued as to which conference will be more crowded in the chase to the title depending on Durant’s latest move.

A bid to stay in the Eastern Conference means Durant could provide more firepower to already established teams like the Heat and the 76ers or be the alpha on the Knicks squad but with a bigger market.

But a return to the Western Conference after his earlier stints with the Thunder and the Warriors could mean Durant joining forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers, or making the Suns, Mavericks, and Clippers elite contenders capable of dethroning the Dubs next season.