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NBA Free Agency Fantasy Winners and Losers

No obvious solution for Harden, 76ers
Dan Patrick gauges whether James Harden makes sense on teams like the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and more.

The NBA free agency period got off to a rousing start Friday with a flurry of significant signings around the Association. Some big-name players re-signed, and some notable names took their talents elsewhere.

As of this writing, here are the best remaining free agents (James Harden opted in with Philadelphia, but a trade is fully expected):

Dillon Brooks
Brook Lopez
Austin Reaves
Christian Wood
Grant Williams
D’Angelo Russell
Russell Westbrook
Mo Bamba
Jalen McDaniels
Donte DiVincenzo
Malik Beasley
Mason Plumlee
Patrick Beverley
Ayo Dosunmu
Kelly Oubre
Eric Gordon
Lonnie Walker IV
Mac McClung
Jaylen Nowell
Moritz Wagner
Thomas Bryant

Let’s break down the fantasy implications of free agency! Note, I’ll only be discussing deals that went down on June 30 and beyond. That means trades and new deals such as Kristaps Porzingis’ trade to the Celtics or Nikola Vucevic’s contract with Chicago won’t be included here.

Fred VanVleet signs 3-year, $130M deal with Houston

From undrafted out of Wichita State to massive deal worth over $43M a year - it’s been one hell of a ride for VanVleet. He averaged 19.2 points, 6.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.2 triples over the last four seasons and finished as a top-25 fantasy player in each of those campaigns. VanVleet should remain an elite fantasy option for his new team, and the lucrative deal means there shouldn’t be a drop-off in minutes, even after leaving a Nick Nurse rotation.

Kevin Porter Jr. could be the biggest fantasy loser in this situation, and Amen Thompson’s value takes a hit as well. KPJ might be on the move, but if he remains in Houston, his role is going to be scaled back significantly. In Toronto, Gary Trent Jr.’s fantasy value gets a boost, and Scottie Barnes could play “Point Scottie” quite a bit more in 2023-24 and beyond.

Kyrie Irving signs 3-year, $126M deal to return to Dallas

There wasn’t much of a market for Irving, and unsurprisingly, he’s back with the Mavs on a new deal that includes a player option in Year 3. Irving averaged 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.9 triples in 20 games with Dallas last season, and he’ll remain an elite fantasy option who should go somewhere in the second-round of fantasy drafts in 2023-24.

Kyle Kuzma returns to Washington on 4-year, $102M deal

Kuz averaged 21.2 points, 7.2 boards, 3.7 assists and 2.5 triples in his second full season with Washington, enjoying a healthy 29.1% Usage Rate. His shooting percentages were a pedestrian 44.8% from the field and just 73.0% from the charity stripe, and he ranked 143rd in per-game fantasy value. Kuz is a strong source of points, boards, dimes and triples, but his lack of defensive stats and mediocre efficiency will be an anchor to his fantasy value.

Khris Middleton inks 3-year, $102M deal to return to Milwaukee

He ranked no lower than 41 in per-game fantasy value in each of the three seasons from 2019-20 - 2021-22, but he was 143rd last season due to his limited playing time. Middleton logged just 24.8 minutes per game across 33 appearances in the injury-riddled campaign. Expect him to be a bargain in fantasy drafts and enjoy a bounce-back season.

Draymond Green returns to Warriors on 4-year, $100M deal

“It’s either him or me” - Jordan Poole, probably. Golden State locked Green into a new deal that could be the last of his career while trading Poole to the Wizards for Chris Paul. Green has been a top-100 fantasy player in each of the last four seasons thanks to his ability to stuff the stat sheet with assists, rebounds and defensive stats.

Bruce Brown heads to Indiana on 2-year, $45M deal

He appeared in 80 games for Indiana and logged a career-best 28.5 minutes while posting averages of 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 triples. Brown played a key role for Denver in the playoffs, logging similar averages along the way and delivering 21 points in Game 4 of the Finals. This is big boost to Brown’s fantasy value, as he should be an immediate starter for Indiana with significant playing time. HIs former teammate with a similar-sounding name and different spelling, Christian Braun, is also in line for an expanded role. Braun should be on fantasy managers’ radars as a late-round flier with upside.

Jerami Grant gets the bag with a new 5-year, $160M deal to return to Portland

Wow… that’s a lot of money. Grant averaged 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 triples, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 steals over the last three seasons - two with Detroit and the most recent with Portland. He ranked 70th in per-game fantasy value in 2022-23, and he finished 60th and 81st in two seasons with Detroit. Grant’s ability to score, hit triples and rack up defensive stats should keep him in a similar fantasy range moving forward, and managers looking to draft him can probably grab him for close to this value in the sixth or seventh rounds of 2023-24 fantasy drafts. If Damian Lillard indeed leaves this summer, Grant could take on a more prominent scoring role, which would boost his value further.

Jakob Poeltl returns to Raptors on 4-year, $80M deal

He averaged 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks in 26 appearances with Toronto. He’s ranked 71st in per-game fantasy value in each of the last two seasons, and we can expect similar numbers in 2023-24 and beyond. Not too exciting, but Poeltl gets the job done.

Cameron Johnson stays with Brooklyn on 4-year, $108M deal

In 25 games for the Nets, he averaged 16.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.3 triples across 30.8 minutes, while shooting 46.8% from the field and 85.1% from the charity stripe. He finished as a top-60 player on the season overall and as a top-50 player over the final two weeks of the season. He and Mikal Bridges are expected to do the heavy lifting for Brooklyn for the foreseeable future, and Johnson is likely to be a draft-day value in 2023-24 fantasy hoops leagues. He’s consistently undervalued and overlooked. Make sure to keep him on your radar.

Jevon Carter signs 3-year, $20M deal with Chicago

Carter appeared in 81 games (39 starts) for Milwaukee in 2022-23, logging a career-high 22.3 minutes. He excelled when given the opportunity, averaging 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 3.3 triples in 16 games with at least 30 minutes. He should compete for Chicago’s starting PG job with Lonzo Ball not expected back, and Carter’s fantasy value could get a massive bump if he lands the starting gig.

Dennis Schroder signs 2-year, $26M deal with Raptors

He’s the only true PG on this team outside of Malachi Flynn, so Toronto should give him significant minutes. The Raptors could use Gary Trent Jr. or Scottie Barnes at point and start Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby alongside them, which would make Schroder the 6th Man. Either way, he’s in line for a bump in playing time and usage after logging 30.1 minutes per game alongside ball-dominant players LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell in Los Angeles. Schroder’s fantasy value is pointing up.

Rui Hachimura signs 3-year, $51M deal to return to Lakers

It’s a great signing for the Lakers who return a young scorer with plenty of potential and a productive playoff run under his belt. The fantasy impact is negligible, though, as Hachimura is unlikely to be a reliable contributor for fantasy hoops managers in 2023-24. The Japanese forward can put up points in bunches, but he doesn’t contribute much in the way of peripheral stats. He should offer scoring and useful percentages, but don’t expect much else.

Gabe Vincent lands 3-year, $33M deal with Lakers

Vincent was huge for Miami in its run to the Finals, and he cashes in with this deal to join LeBron James and Co. out west. Vincent’s minutes have increased in each of the last three years, as have his numbers in most statistical categories. With Dennis Schroder gone, Vincent could play a significant role with the Lakers behind D’Angelo Russell, who’s expected to be re-signed. Both Russell and James are ball-dominant players, but given James’ recent injury history, Vincent should have plenty of opportunities for his new team. It’s a vertical move for his fantasy value - a slight one, but still trending up.

Max Strus agrees to 4-year, $63 million sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers

The deal sends Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a second-round pick to the Spurs and a second-round pick to the Heat. Cleveland lacked perimeter scoring last season, and Strus should see plenty of minutes as he looks to fill that area of need. The Cavs also signed Georges Niang, who should be a regular part of the rotation off the bench. It’s hard to envision Strus’ fantasy value climbing as he plays alongside Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert on a much more talented roster than the one he was on in Miami. The Heat have now lost Gabe Vincent and Strus in free agency, and with Kyle Lowry likely out the door, Josh Richardson could be a big fantasy winner down in South Beach.

Caris LeVert re-signs with Cavaliers on 2-year, $32M deal

LeVert is a streaky shooter and inconsistent fantasy option who saw his role diminish significantly last season while playing alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. With Max Strus and Georges Niang now in the mix, LeVert’s fantasy value isn’t going to improve in 2023-24.

Tyrese Haliburton signs 5-year, $260M max extension with Pacers

One of fantasy’s brightest up-and-coming young stars, Haliburton provided first-round fantasy value in 2022-23 in his first full season with Indiana. He’s now cemented as Indiana’s franchise cornerstone, and a top-5 fantasy finish is well within reach in 2023-24.

Desmond Bane agrees to 5-year, $207M max extension with Grizzlies

One of the NBA’s premier three-point shooters gets the bag. Bane averaged 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.9 triples last season and finished 36th in per-game fantasy value. Expect many more elite fantasy finishes moving forward.

Josh Richardson signs 2-year deal with Miami

Back in South Beach, the Heat are looking to move on from Kyle Lowry and his bloated contract, and Max Strus is off to Cleveland. That means J-Rich could be in line for big minutes after reuniting with his former team. Richardson was a capable option for San Antonio, and he closed out the season on a strong note in New Orleans. If he sees minutes in the 25-30 range, he could be on the fantasy radar in 12-team leagues thanks to his ability to rack up steals and triples.

Herb Jones signs 4-year, $54M deal to return to New Orleans

The defensive specialist was a top-80 fantasy option as a rookie and finished just outside the top-100 in Year 2. The Pels lock up a quality, two-way player, and fantasy managers can count on him for steals and blocks for years to come.

Georges Niang signs 3-year, $26M deal with Cleveland

The Cavs were desperately searching for additional perimeter scoring, and they found it in Niang. The Iowa State product connected on better than 40% of his three-point attempts in each of the last five seasons, and he should see minutes in the low-to-mid-20s off the bench for Cleveland. There’s not much fantasy appeal outside of scoring and three-pointers, but he could be helpful for managers in deeper leagues.

Tre Jones stays with Spurs on 2-year, $20M deal

Jones finally got his big break in 2022-23, logging 29.2 minutes and posting 12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.6 dimes and 1.3 steals - all career highs. He finished inside the top-100 in per-game fantasy value, and he’s expected to remain San Antonio’s starter in 2023-24.

Joe Ingles signs 2-year, $22M deal with Orlando

He’ll provide quality veteran leadership for this young team, but there’s not much fantasy appeal outside of deep leagues.

Trey Lyles returns to Kings

Lyles will provide solid backup depth for Sacramento, but he’s not a fantasy factor outside of deep leagues.

Drew Eubanks inks 2-year deal with Phoenix

Eubanks was big for Portland when injuries cropped up in each of the last two seasons. Keep an eye on him in Phoenix as a source of blocks and boards off the waiver wire.

Josh Okogie returns to Suns on unspecified deal

Chimezie Metu signs 1-year deal with Phoenix

Keita Bates-Diop inks 2-year, $5M deal with Suns

Damion Lee returns to Phoenix on 2-year deal

Yuta Watanabe signs with Suns

Okogie played great basketball for Phoenix down the stretch of last season, and Watanabe was solid for Brooklyn in limited minutes. KBD was effective for San Antonio when called upon, and Metu didn’t get on the court much. Lee was a solid reserve, and all five are great depth options, but it will be difficult to make a notable fantasy impact playing alongside Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton.

Jaxson Hayes signs 2-year deal with Lakers

Still just 23 years old, Hayes is an upside signing for LA with little risk. Hayes has averaged 15.8 points, 8.5 boards and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes in his four-year NBA career. He’ll provide depth at center behind Anthony Davis.

Taurean Prince signs 1-year, $4.5M deal with Lakers

Cam Reddish signs 2-year deal with Lakers

Great depth moves, but neither player will offer any substantial fantasy value.

Coby White agrees to 3-year, $33M deal to return to Bulls

With Lonzo Ball sidelined indefinitely and a new deal on the table, expect White to see minutes at minimum in the mid-20s in 2023-24. He offers points and three-pointers, but there’s not much else to get fantasy managers excited.

Shake Milton signs 2-year, $10M deal with Timberwolves

Troy Brown signs with Minnesota

Neither player is on the fantasy radar outside of deep leagues, but Milton has the best chance to make an impact if Mike Conley is injured or traded. Milton was solid when filling in for James Harden and/or Tyrese Maxey a season ago.

DeAndre Jordan returns to Nuggets

Nothing to see here, folks. We’re glad you got your ring, Jordan, but you don’t belong on fantasy rosters.

Derrick Rose signs 2-year, $6.5M deal with Grizzlies

Great locker room move. He could make an impact for the first 25 games of the season while Ja Morant is suspended, but after that, there’s no reason to roster him.

Reggie Jackson signs 2-year, $10.25M to return to Nuggets

He’ll see some regular run off the bench, but there’s not much to get excited about from a fantasy perspective.

Oshae Brissett signs 2-year deal with Celtics

The Celtics’ frontcourt got more crowded with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, so Brissett will have a tough time finding meaningful minutes in this rotation.

Seth Curry signs 2-year deal with Dallas

He played solid basketball for the Mavs in the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons. He was gradually phased out of Brooklyn’s rotation last season, and there’s only one way to go in his third stint with Dallas.

Dennis Smith Jr. signs 1-year deal with Nets
Smith Jr. provided third-round value for stretches when LaMelo Ball was sidelined last season, and if he can carve out a meaningful role in Brooklyn’s rotation, he can be a useful fantasy option for his new team.

Victor Oladipo traded to Thunder for draft compensation
Dipo’s days of being fantasy relevant are likely over, and this move says more about the Heat than him. Miami let go of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, and the team is looking to move Kyle Lowry. Dumping Oladipo’s salary means the team could be clearing the way for a notable signing. Who will it be?

Joe Harris traded to Detroit for two second-round picks

Monte Morris traded to Pistons for second-round pick

These are solid depth moves for Detroit, but they don’t move the needle for fantasy hoops. Morris goes from getting regular minutes in Washington to playing behind Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes at minimum. Joe Harris’ stock can only go up after a down year in Brooklyn, but neither Morris nor Harris will be on the fantasy radar outside deep leagues this season.

Chris Duarte traded to Sacramento for draft compensation

He’ll offer solid scoring and three-point shooting off the bench, but don’t expect any substantial fantasy value.