Winners and Losers of 2019 Free Agency

Winners and Losers of 2019 Free Agency

With enough moves to make anyone dizzy, NBA free agency is coming to a close. So, let's take a look back at some of the moves made, and see who came out winners and who came out losers in terms of fantasy.

Winners

Kyrie Irving, Nets

A drama-filled 2018-19 campaign in Boston overshadowed Irving's accomplishments on the court, but the 27-year-old was able to secure his second All-NBA nod. There's an argument to be made that Irving's supporting cast in Brooklyn, at least for this year, is worse than what he had in Boston. As a result, Irving's usage may creep up more, and it wouldn't be surprising if he cracked 20 shots per game for the first time in his career.

George Hill, Bucks

With Malcolm Brogdon out of the picture in Milwaukee, his 28.6 minutes per game are up for grabs. Hill seems like the logical fill-in for most of that. While Wesley Matthews could start at shooting guard and see solid run, Hill's combo-guard versatility could help him garner minutes in the mid-20s as a backup at both positions.

Enes Kanter, Celtics

Kanter's role in the NBA has seemingly fluctuate from the moment he stepped on the court, and this is no exception. After starting 31 of his 67 appearances between New York and Portland last season, Kanter is in line to be a true starter for the Celtics following the loss of Al Horford. When Kanter was a full-time starter two years

With enough moves to make anyone dizzy, NBA free agency is coming to a close. So, let's take a look back at some of the moves made, and see who came out winners and who came out losers in terms of fantasy.

Winners

Kyrie Irving, Nets

A drama-filled 2018-19 campaign in Boston overshadowed Irving's accomplishments on the court, but the 27-year-old was able to secure his second All-NBA nod. There's an argument to be made that Irving's supporting cast in Brooklyn, at least for this year, is worse than what he had in Boston. As a result, Irving's usage may creep up more, and it wouldn't be surprising if he cracked 20 shots per game for the first time in his career.

George Hill, Bucks

With Malcolm Brogdon out of the picture in Milwaukee, his 28.6 minutes per game are up for grabs. Hill seems like the logical fill-in for most of that. While Wesley Matthews could start at shooting guard and see solid run, Hill's combo-guard versatility could help him garner minutes in the mid-20s as a backup at both positions.

Enes Kanter, Celtics

Kanter's role in the NBA has seemingly fluctuate from the moment he stepped on the court, and this is no exception. After starting 31 of his 67 appearances between New York and Portland last season, Kanter is in line to be a true starter for the Celtics following the loss of Al Horford. When Kanter was a full-time starter two years ago, he averaged 14.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.8 minutes.

Derrick Favors, Pelicans

Though Favors started 70 of his 76 appearances with the Jazz last season, he was essentially Rudy Gobert's backup at center. In joining New Orleans, he's the favorite to start at center, and it's possible he sees a bigger role than he's occupied as of late. The last time Favors saw 30 minutes per game, he averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a combined 2.7 bloks/steals.

Jimmy Butler, Heat

After Butler made it publicly known prior to last season that he would no longer like to play for the Wolves, the 76ers traded for him in mid-November. He ended up seeing a slight role reduction given the caliber of his teammates, especially once Philly acquired Tobias Harris. Now that Butler has opted to sign with the Heat, a worse team, he should see his usage increase. We shouldn't be surprised if he posts numbers similar to his four-year stretch of All-Star appearances, where he averaged 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals.

Terry Rozier, Hornets

Rozier showed some promise two years ago while filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving, but his role decrease last season with Irving's return. Rozier was vocal in his displeasure about the reduced workload, and it's possible that contributed to his subpar 2018-19 campaign. The Hornets are taking the gamble that Rozier can play like he did in the 2018 playoffs, where he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Malcolm Brogdon, Pacers

With the Bucks unwilling to match the price Indiana was willing to pay for the 26-year-old, Brogdon will head to his second team. He appeared in just 64 games last season due to injury, but showed off his potential, achieving the rare 50/40/90. Playing a psuedo-sixth-man role for the first three years of his career, Brogdon has yet to average over 30 minutes per game. That should change in 2019-20, as he's expected to start at point guard for the Pacers. Last season, when seeing at least 30 minutes, he averaged 17.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Jonas Valanciunas, Grizzlies

Valanciunas was granted a larger role after being dealt from the Raptors to the Grizzlies last season. He saw a bump of nearly 10 minutes per game, and he averaged an impressive 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 blocks in 27.7 minutes. In re-signing with Memphis, he figures to play a similar role.

Ish Smith, Wizards

Smith has been in a high-level backup role with the Pistons across the past three seasons, seeing 24.0 minutes per game behind Reggie Jackson. But in joining the Wizards, he appears to be in line for a starting role. In 142 career starts, Smith has averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Julius Randle, Knicks

Randle is coming off a career year, averaging 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 30.6 minutes with the Pelicans. He'll be joining a worse team in New York, and it's possible Randle will emerge as the Knicks' No. 1 option. Much of that depends on the development of the other young players, but Randle figures to see his usage increase either way. The question is: By how much?

Everyone on the Hornets

Someone has to score points on this team. How they'll do it, I'm not quite sure. But Nicolas Batum, Miles Bridges, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all deserve bumps to their fantasy ranking with the departure of Kemba Walker.

Hassan Whiteside, Trail Blazers

It's not a given that Whiteside will see more run than he did last year with the Heat (23.3 minutes per game), but the possibility is enough to drive up Whiteside's fantasy stock. Coach Erik Spoelstra had soured on Whiteside, eventually giving his starting spot to Bam Adebayo. A change of scenery, plus being in a contract year, might be motivation for Whiteside. His role may dip once Jusuf Nurkic (leg) returns, but he likely won't be ready to play starters' minutes right out of the gate.

Bam Adebayo, Heat

With Hassan Whiteside out of the picture, Adebayo appears in line for true starter's minutes at center. In 28 games as a starter last season, he averaged 11.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a combined 2.3 steals/blocks per contest. Another offseason of development means those numbers could rise in 2019-20.

Dario Saric, Suns

Saric saw his role reduced once dealt to Minnesota last season, but all signs are pointing to him starting at power forward in Phoenix. The 25-year-old is in a contract year and has career averages of 14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 150 games as a starter.

Everyone on the Raptors, but mainly Pascal Siakam

With Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green leaving, huge minutes will open up on the wing for the likes of Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Plus, Kyle Lowry should seize more control of the offense. The biggest winner, though, is Siakam. Winner of the 2018-19 Most Improved Player award, Siakam will look to take his game to another level to keep Toronto afloat.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder

With Paul George dealt to the Clippers, Westbrook instantly becomes the Thunder's No. 1 option again. He has more help than when he won MVP three years ago, but there's not much secondary offensive firepower outside of Danilo Gallinari. While this situation won't exactly help Westbrook's subpar efficiency, his counting stats could rise significantly.

Losers

Elfrid Payton, Knicks

Payton has started all of his appearances over the past two years, but that is likely coming to a close in 2018-19. Joining his fourth team in three years, Payton has struggled to live up to his billing as the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Though he made strides as a passer last season with the Pelicans, Payton will presumably be regulated to a reserve role behind Dennis Smith. There's a possibility the two split minutes, but that would still result in a reduced role for Payton.

Tomas Satoransky, Bulls

With John Wall expected to miss all of the 2019-20 season, it seemed like a possibility that the Wizards would ink Satoransky to a deal, making him the starting point guard until Wall returned. His price was apparently too steep for Washington's blood, however, and the Bulls swooped in to snag the 27-year-old. At 6-foot-7 with a dynamic skillset, Satoransky has the ability to play point guard through small forward. However, it's unclear what sort of role he'll play on the Bulls, who figure to give plenty of run to Zach LaVine, Otto Porter, Coby White and Kris Dunn.

D'Angelo Russell, Warriors

Russell going to the Warriors came out of left field, and it's tough to gauge how the partnership will unfold. It seems reasonable to expect Russell's usage to decrease playing alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green. But since Green isn't much of an offensive threat, Russell should still be Golden State's No. 2 option until Klay Thompson returns. In the end, it's possible the move doesn't drastically affect his production, but dropping from the No. 1 option on the Nets to the No. 2 option on the Warriors (at first) warrants some pessimism from a fantasy perspective.

Josh Richardson, 76ers

Richardson was shipped to Philly in the sign-and-trade that landed Jimmy Butler in Miami. Richardson broke out last season, leading the Heat in points (16.6) and ranking second in steals per game (1.1). However, he was occupying a larger role than expected given the myriad of injuries the Heat dealt with. Now on a team with more firepower and high-usage players, Richardson figures to see his raw stats take a dip.

Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, Heat

Jimmy Butler didn't make his way to Miami to watch Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow handle the ball. Butler will presumably play a pseudo-point-guard role with the Heat, likely resulting in smaller roles for Dragic and Winslow. Not to mention that Winslow plays Butler's position(s).

Bojan Bogdanovic, Jazz

The Pacers relied on Bogdanovic for offense last season once Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending quad injury on Jan. 23. After that, Bogdanovic saw his usage rate jump from 20.0 percent to 26.1 percent -- a mark that is slightly higher than CJ McCollum's, for reference. In joining Utah, a team with fringe-championship hopes, Boganovic figures to see his touches decrease, but he still figures to be a great source of threes and a threat to score 20 points on any night.

J.J. Redick, Pelicans

Redick's scoring has gone up each of the past three seasons, topping out last year at a career-high 18.1 points per game. He was a go-to option on the 76ers, playing 31.3 minutes and launching 8.0 threes per contest. In joining the Pelicans, playing time might be harder to come by, as he'll have to compete for backcourt minutes with Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball. Coach Alvin Gentry might be able to get creative with his rotation to keep Redick on the floor as much as possible, but his stock deserves to be downgraded with the team change.

Thaddeus Young, Bulls

Young has been a full-time starter since 2012-13, but that might come to a close in his age 31 season. A true power forward, Young hasn't spent more than 10 percent of his time at any other position since 2009-10. So at first glance, it appears he'll be the backup to Lauri Markkanen, a very promising young power forward. It's possible Young gets some action as a small-ball center, or possibly even a small forward in bigger lineups. But what seems inevitable is an overall role reduction.

Jarrett Allen, Nets

Fantasy basketball owners might be the biggest fans of Allen, so this feels especially pronounced. With Brooklyn signing DeAndre Jordan (along with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant), Allen's role on the Nets is severely capped. Jordan figures to see about 30 minutes per game, limiting Allen to around 15-20 minutes. Though Allen instantly becomes one of the best backup centers in the NBA, there's not much reason to justify drafting him in standard leagues anymore.

Zach Collins, Trail Blazers

A leg injury is expected to keep Jusuf Nurkic out for a large chunk of next season. It seemed like the Blazers might let Collins run the show at center until Nurkic got back, but Portland went another direction by acquiring Hassan Whiteside. Though Whiteside has been seeing his role reduced lately, garnering only 23.3 minutes per game last season, it's possible a change of scenery will result in a revitalization for Whiteside. Collins very well may have a better year than last, but it won't be up to the potential it had prior to Whiteside joining Portland.

Mo Bamba, Magic

Bamba saw his rookie year come to an early end as a result of injury. In the 47 games he did play, he was about as advertised: raw, but with three-point touch and shot-blocking skills. However, with Nikola Vucevic re-signing with the Magic, Bamba appears to be stuck in a backup role in the near future.

Harry Giles, Kings

Though Giles struggled mightily with foul trouble last season, he showed some of the potential stemming from his No. 2 recruiting rank out of high school in 2016. But Sacramento loaded up its frontcourt this offseason, which now contains Marvin Bagley, Dewayne Dedmon, Nemanja Bjelica, Trevor Ariza, Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes. It's not clear where Giles fits into the equation.

Kevon Looney, Warriors

It seemed like Looney would be in line to start for the Warriors and possibly see upwards of 30 minutes per night. Then, the Warriors signed Willie Cauley-Stein. How the minutes will shake out at center is unclear, but it seems reasonable to expect the pair to split time at the position.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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