We already know who’s had the best, but which teams have had the worst offseasons in the NBA so far? It’s been a little over a week since the NBA Draft and free agency has hit its lull.
There was a surprising amount of activity but not all offseason moves are created equal. There was also at least one team with a disturbing lack of activity.
Who Had the Worst Offseason in the NBA?
Perhaps this is being nitpicky, but a team that finished sixth in the Western Conference and got bounced in the first round (albeit in seven games) didn’t add anyone of consequence to their roster this offseason?
Outside of the return of (another) defense-oriented big in Derrick Favors and adding another in Udoka Azubuike with the 27th overall pick they must be counting on more 50-point explosions in the playoffs from Donovan Mitchell.
Or maybe they’re relying on the return of Bojan Bogdanovic and perhaps second-rounder Elijah Hughes (that’s sarcasm, though he was a near-20 PPG scorer at Syracuse last season). We may have seen this group peak already.
The Milwaukee Bucks listing here is even more nitpicky as they did manage to do some very nice things with their roster. Trading for Jrue Holiday is a move very much akin to bringing in another Khris Middleton.
A player who can handle the ball, perform off the dribble or as a spot-up shooter, and is a very capable defender. Milwaukee was also able to unload the albatross contract of Eric Bledsoe in the process.
Can he, D.J. Augustine, and Bobby Portis keep Milwaukee in contention for not only a championship but also retaining the services of Giannis Antetokounmpo next offseason? Their little snafu with Bogdan Bogdanovic probably didn’t help the situation.
5. Charlotte Hornets
It’s pretty hard to have a roster as bad as the Charlotte Hornets, take arguably the best players in the draft, and add a former 20-point per game scorer to the roster and still be considered among the worst.
Drafting LaMelo Ball third overall was a no-brainer. But that former walking dub, Gordon Hayward, will cost Michael Jordan and the Hornets just shy of $40 million a year. That’s his $30 million deal (already grossly overspending) plus an additional $9 million from stretching the remainder of Nicolas Batum’s horrendous contract.
And that’s the rub, this isn’t abnormal for the franchise formally known as the Bobcats. Cody Zeller has never averaged more than just over 11 PPG and has never averaged close to double-digit rebounds yet is making upwards of $15 million this season. And has anybody checked on Terry Rozier?
4. New York Knicks
Can anyone answer why a team that has been searching for a point guard since Linsanity was a thing decided to pass on arguably three of the best and go for an older prospect with questions about his fit at the next level? One Kevin Knox isn’t enough so you go and get one with a lower ceiling?
Nevermind Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, and Kira Lewis were all still on the board. Austin Rivers is here to join Dennis Smith in the endless recycling of once-promising lead-guard prospects. The additions of Alec Burks and Omari Spellman are cool in a vacuum for a good team.
Their acquisitions for the Knicks, at least in Burks’ case is puzzling. Then again, this is the Knicks we’re talking about. That’s why they aren’t higher on this list. You can only be so upset about something you expected to happen.
3. Detroit Pistons
Here we have a team that, while expected to do silly things, actually provided a glimmer of hope in the draft just to sabotage their own work with odd free agency decisions. The easier path to the playoffs in the East has the Detroit Pistons drafting for the future but working free agency largely for the now and overpaying in the process.
Jerami Grant’s deal will see him average $20 million based largely on his bubble performance. He’s a valuable, versatile player. But no one expected to see him sign a deal worth that much. We haven’t even gotten to Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor. Just why?
Again, you expect them to screw things up for themselves. But their promising draft which included Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey out of Villanova (one of the most underrated prospects in this draft) is overshadowed by poor free agency decisions.
2. Indiana Pacers
How have the Indiana Pacers done so little in the offseason check-in so high on the list of worst offseasons? That’s exactly how, actually. Indy finished fourth in the East but, like Utah, was a first-round out via sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat.
Their saving grace was that arguably their best player in Victor Oladipo wasn’t at full strength and they were without Domantas Sabonis who also could make a claim as their best player. But since their elimination, it has been reported that there is a rift between Oladipo and management resulting in the two-time All-Star seeking a way out.
For an organization that didn’t do much to add to its early-exit roster, losing an All-Star caliber player seems less than ideal. The entire thing looks even worse considering Oladipo could have opted-out to preserve himself but played to help in the playoffs.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
A second-round exit and subsequent implosion (that may have been taking place all season) are why the (still) star-studded Los Angeles Clippers find themselves atop this unflattering list.
Montrezl Harrell was a name continuously mentioned among those displeased and found his way to the rival Lakers; making his feelings on the situation very well known. They replaced him with Serge Ibaka and Landry Shamet with Luke Kennard.
Considering what the Lakers added and the fact the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead with many of the same players they’ll have this season, the latter has dropped the ball on what may be a pivotal offseason. Both Leonard and George can opt-out and become free agents after this season.
It’d be a shame if both left for greener pastures.