The Dominos Are Starting to Fall

Updated: August 2, 2021

With countless moves made in the opening hours of official free agency, nothing truly shocking has occurred as of yet. Instead of a few crashing waves, there has been a steady stream of signatures across digital contracts which will create the ripple effect towards the shape of these contending franchises for the 2022 NBA Finals. Possibly it’s due to our now extremely plugged in reporters and the information they produce that many moves which would’ve hit the news waves with a boom are “expected” since we’ve been hearing about them through the tea leaves since the draft. So, for those who have kept a close eye on the rumors these last 72 hours, we are still waiting for the move that leaves us flabbergasted, but nonetheless, there already have been several signings that will have serious ramifications, especially in the East.

The most important domino so far fell within the 1st-hour of free agency. That was the sign and trade of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry leaving his beloved home up North down to South Beach. The details of what Toronto will receive from Miami have yet to be reported, but the contract seems to be set for a 3-year deal at 90 million. A pretty penny price tag on well-seasoned guard in his mid-30’s, nonetheless, the Heat were the one that took him off the table. As several teams had been eyeing Lowry as their Christmas hen to fill their cap space, his decision to sign with the Heat has altered the plans of several franchises.

It is particularly interesting with the news of his previous backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan reportedly willing to take a tremendous pay cut to play for a contender. At first, many reports were pushing him towards Los Angeles where he was born and raised, however with the Lowry news, apparently, Miami is doing everything in their power to reunite them in South Beach. With the Heat resigning Duncan Robinson, and the max extension given to Butler, Miami has been the most active so far in their win-now pursuit.

With Lowry out of the picture, the Knicks re-signed Derrick Rose with a huge 3-year 43-million-dollar deal, along with an even bigger Evan Fournier signing of 78 million over 4. The Dallas Mavericks are currently closing a deal with sniper Reggie Bullock for 30 million over 3. Yet the Pelicans have yet to make a serious move except for accepting the sign and trade of Lonzo Ball which sent him on an 85-million-dollar 4-year deal to Chicago. There were strong rumors that with the moves New Orleans made prior to the draft they would be able to put up an offer sheet to Lowry that would be able to trump their competitors. Apparently, that was not the case as Lowry was able to team up with close friend Jimmy Butler in an ideal situation for 30 million per.

It was assumed by some that if New Orleans failed to acquire Lowry, they would use this created cap space to retain Lonzo Ball while still remaining under the luxury tax by matching what offers were made. However, all indicating reports throughout the season have rumored that the relationship between the Pelicans and Ball’s camp had soured and decided to take the peanuts that Chicago was willing to send back in a sign and trade. Sham’s reported the pieces received by New Orleans are Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, and a 2nd round pick. With how quickly players are being pulled off the board, the Pelicans may be left out to dry if they don’t act quickly. The myth of Zion being the first young star to not sign his rookie extension is looking more and more realistic by the day.

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