The NBA’s Top 5 Most Impactful Signings and Trades
Jordan Stephenson – Staff Writer
In the NBA’s 2021-22 free agency, there were a lot of good and solid trades and signings that could have made the list. The five most impactful signings that I’ll discuss in this article are Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard’s new extension deals. Also, Russel Westbrook’s trade and Kyle Lowry’s sign and trade deal.
The reason I think these signings/trades are the most impactful are because they will ultimately lead to championship contention for all five of these teams. In my opinion, my top five in order are Steph, KD, Kyle, Russ and Kawhi.
Curry signed a 4-year $215 million extension. He became the first player in NBA history to sign two $2 million plus contracts. He extended his contract off of his $45.8 million salary for the 2021-22 season. This means he’ll be guaranteed $261 million over the next 5 years.
This deal is huge for him because he was coming off an MVP caliber season, where he averaged 32 points per game (ppg), 5.5 rebounds per game (rpg), and 5.8 assists per game (apg), while leading the league in scoring for the second time in his career.
Also, it’s a huge deal because this means the core of the Warriors dynasty is locked up for the future.
Durant signed a 4-year $198 million extension. He declined his 2022-23 player option and extended off of his $42 million salary for the 2021-22 season. This deal is great for KD andthe Nets for a couple of reasons.
It’s great for KD because last season he proved that he was able to return back to his old self, and eventually show in the playoffs that he could elevate his team and his game to another level, while Kyrie and Harden were injured. It’s great for the Nets because since KD signed his 4-year extension, they are now able to sign Kyrie Irving and James Harden to extensions, which means they can keep their Big 3 together long term.
Lowry was apart of a sign and trade deal with the Heat and Raptors and signed a 3-year $90 million deal. He joined the Miami Heat this summer, by the Raptors and and Heat completing a sign and trade deal, it sent Precious Achiuwa and a beloved Heat favorite Goran Dragic to the Raptors.
He spent 9 great years with the Raptors, won them their first championship, and became in many people’s eyes the greatest Raptor of all-time. He joined a Heat squad that are full of “dogs” like Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem (UD) and newly acquired NBA champion PJ Tucker. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins would say, “The Goons from Dade County,” which refers to the Heat’s toughness and their culture.
Westbrook was traded to the LA Lakers in the offseason. The Lakers agreed to a trade with the Wizards to obtain Russ, by trading away Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrel and Kentavious Caldwell- Pope, also the No.22 pick in the NBA draft (sources told ESPN’s WOJ).
The Athletic reported, the Wizards No.22 pick, which was Isaiah Jackson, was traded to the Pacers for Aaron Holiday, who is the younger brother of NBA champion Jrue Holiday. For the deal to be executed Harrel had to opt into his $9.7 million player option for this season.
Sources have said Russ was very in-tuned to the idea of returning to his hometown of South California.
Leonard resigned with the Clippers on a 4-year $176.3 million max contract; it also includes a player option in the fourth year. Even though Kawhi tore his acl in game 4 of the WCSF vs the Jazz, he still was able to receive and sign a 4-year max contract.
This was very reminiscent of when KD tore his achilles tendon in game 5 of the NBA finals vs the Raptors. There was definitely no doubt in anyone’s mind that both KD and Kawhi would sign their contracts after previously suffering devastating injuries.
All in all, these five impactful signings/trades will lead to their teams being in championship contention, which is basically the main goal for all these great players. Of course, they love the money and lifestyle that comes with being in the NBA and signing huge contracts and extensions, but winning a championship is their ultimate goal. When a great player signs a huge contract or gets traded, he’ll have immense pressure to win a championship, like all five of these players have.