0 out of 5
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Time to dust off the orange and black crystal ball.
From the draft and trades to free agency and contract extensions, there has already been a flurry of off-season NBA activity.
While many of these new moves will excite fans in the short term, what deals will still look good in a few years? Who may not look great right away, but who could age like a fine wine by the 2025 off-season?
From major shakeups to more low-key activity, these are the summer 2022 moves that will end up being the best.
1 out of 5
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The details: Spurs sign Johnson to four-year, $74 million extension
After nearly doubling his scoring average from first to third year, Johnson was rewarded with an extension from Spurs that could reach $80 million.
While kudos to Johnson, the 29th overall pick in 2019, for locking up that kind of generational money, he probably could have earned a lot more in the meantime.
He averaged 21.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists and shot 47.7% in his last 18 regular season games, taking on a more prominent offensive role after the trade of Derrick White with the Boston Celtics.
Now, with Dejounte Murray (who led the Spurs in points, assists and steals and was second in rebounds) traded to the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson is expected to increase his production even further.
Last season, the 22-year-old saw his assist rate increase from 7.6% to 12.8% when Murray was offside, and his overall utilization (19.9% to 22.8%) also increase.
Johnson will undoubtedly be Spurs’ top scorer this season, as he is now locked in an extension that contains just $74 million in guaranteed money with an unlikely $6 million in bonuses. The deal is also anticipated, meaning his contract will start at $20 million in 2023-24 and decrease each year, ending at $17.5 million in each of the last two seasons. According to ProFitX.com, his fair market value for the upcoming season is projected at $29.2 million.
It was an incredibly good deal for Spurs, one that will only get better as Johnson produces more in a bigger role.
2 out of 5
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The details: Celtics acquire Malcolm Brogdon from Indiana Pacers for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, Nik Stauskas and a 2023 first-round pick (top 12 protected)
For a Boston team fresh off of a Finals appearance, choosing to stay put and let that mostly young core grow together would have been fine.
Trading for Brogdon without sacrificing any base rotation pieces and giving up just one draft pick, however, was a major win.
A 6’5″, 29-year-old point guard, Brogdon should be at the peak of his career as he now leads a bench unit for the Celtics which could be one of the best in basketball with Derrick White, Grant Williams , Payton Pritchard and newly signed Danilo Gallinari.
Although injuries have been a concern lately, Brogdon should benefit from a lighter role now in a deeper squad. He’s averaged 34.1 minutes per game over the past two seasons and should settle in something similar to the 27.4 minutes played by White after his trade to Boston.
His effectiveness had slipped into a bigger role with the Pacers following the start of his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, although we should see a return to his Bucks numbers now on an equally talented Celtics team. Brogdon posted a 57.5% effective field goal percentage in his final season in Milwaukee (on splits of 50.5/42.6/92.8), the fourth-highest rating of any guards.
His raw stats won’t blow anyone away now as a sixth man, but Brogdon is in an ideal situation as a backup playmaker on a team that can compete for championships for multiple years. He’ll shake up what can sometimes become a stagnant offense, defend multiple positions at a high level, and bring even more veteran leadership.
With a contract that averages around $20.5 million over the next three years, Brogdon is a good number for a Celtics team that already has Jayton Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III on board. extensions.
This trade looks good now. If Brogdon plays a vital role in a team that wins a championship (or more) in the next three years, even better.
3 out of 5
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The details: Knicks sign Jalen Brunson to four-year, $104 million deal
Seeing $100 million next to Brunson’s name may have come as a shock to some at first, especially since the 25-year-old started the 2021-22 season coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas refusing to offer Brunson even a four-year, $55.5 million extension last summer will end up haunting the franchise.
Brunson proved he can perform on the biggest stages after tallying 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and just 1.1 turnovers on 46.6% shooting in 18 spring playoff games. last. He has terrific body control that allows him to get into the teeth of defense before attacking the rim or kicking an open shooter. His estimated plus-minus offensive rating of plus-2.1 ranked in the 91st percentile last season, tied with players such as Khris Middleton, Brandon Ingram and Tyrese Haliburton.
Of course, playing alongside Luka Doncic has at times seemed to overshadow his skill set, given that Brunson doesn’t exhibit the same physical stature or jaw-dropping shooting ability as his former co-star.
Brunson isn’t a No. 1 option on a title team, and he doesn’t need to be in New York (especially if the team is trading for Donovan Mitchell). Instead, his cap projects as a top No. 3, which is something his new contract should reflect.
Brunson’s $104 million is actually $78.5 million over three years with a player option of $24.9 million in 2025-26. The deal is anticipated, meaning it will start at $27.7 million this season and only take up less cap space as the contract progresses, helping New York’s future finances.
Letting Brunson lead the offense should help take the pressure off RJ Barrett and give him more shooting opportunities (he made 36.8% of his three catches and shots last season compared to just 25.3% of his pulls ), unlock a more effective Julius Randle as we saw in 2020-21 and give Mitchell Robinson plenty of lobs to feast on.
Don’t let the $100 million figure scare you off. This is going to be a huge signing for the Knicks.
4 out of 5
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The details: Magic selects Duke forward Paolo Banchero first overall
The Magic fooled everyone by keeping their draft preference at No. 1 a mystery until the big night itself.
While nearly every mock draft had Jabari Smith Jr. chiseled in stone in Orlando, the Magic ended up selecting Banchero first overall, ahead of Smith and Chet Holmgren.
Now, is Banchero going to be the best player in this class for the next 20 years? It’s probably too early to tell. Will the decision to take him No. 1 overall yield the best result over the next three years? Absolutely.
While Smith and Holgrem can now tease us with their defensive chops, both are still raw in terms of offensive prowess compared to Banchero.
The 19-year-old looked like a man among the summer league boys with his 6’10”, 250-pound frame. In two games, he had 40 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals and two blocks before Orlando closed it.
Despite his height, Banchero moves extremely well, has excellent footwork, and is versatile enough to play either side of the pick-and-roll. He’ll almost certainly lead the Magic in scoring and rebounding as a rookie, with a chance to win the assist as well. His passing can become elite for his position, whether from the top of the arc, elbows or after entering the paint.
If Banchero doesn’t win Rookie of the Year, it’s only because the Magic didn’t give him the minutes and touches he deserved. This is now the focal point of Orlando’s rebuild, a point that all other players should gravitate to.
Again, will Holmgren’s or Smith’s defensive skills eventually lead them to more productive careers? Maybe, but no current rookie will be better over the next three years than Banchero.
5 out of 5
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The details: Nuggets sign Nikola Jokic to five-year, $270 million extension
Can giving someone the biggest contract in sports history really count as a “best” offseason decision?
If the player is the reigning two-time MVP who is still only 27, then yes, yes it is possible.
We’ve seen a lot of maxes handed out this summer, whether in the form of extensions or new contracts. Players such as Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Ja Morant, Darius Garland, Zion Williamson, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns have all received their maximum allowable amount in one form or another.
Of course, none of these players have an MVP trophy to their name. Some have significant injury issues, while others haven’t even taken their team to the playoffs as the No. 1 option yet. Most of these max offers have the potential to look pretty bad in a few years. if we’re being honest, except for one.
The only thing wrong with Jokic’s extension is that the Nuggets aren’t allowed to extend him.
In addition to winning MVP, again Jokic finished first in win shares (15.2), value to replacement player (9.8) and estimated plus-minus (plus-9, 3), most of which weren’t even really close. The Nuggets were a whopping 19.5 points per 100 best possessions when he was on the floor, a swing rating that ranked in the (check ratings) 100th percentile.
In seven years, Jokic has never played less than 73 games in a full season. He’s a great all-around scorer, he rebounds with the best in the game, and he’s probably the best passing center the NBA has ever seen. Mix in his improvement on the defensive end, and Jokic is arguably the best player in the league, perhaps just at his peak.
Yes, it was an easy decision by Denver to give him maximum overtime, but not every player who got one will necessarily be worth it.
With a showcase that has already started to fill up, Jokic could add more material over the next three years and is worth every penny he has to receive.