Grading the Biggest Deals of 2024 NBA Free Agency So Far

By Adam Kerr

Over the past few years, NBA Free Agency has been one of the most exciting times of the basketball year. However, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has forced teams to change how they approach Free Agency. Teams can now re-sign their free agents before the negotiation period opens up, which means most of the biggest stars already left the market before any opposing teams could talk to them about signing.

That said, the first few days of Free Agency have proven to be just as exciting as any other year. Fans have seen All-Stars form new big threes, legends leaving the team they’ve made a name for themselves with, and the league’s top role players going to teams they can help win a championship. Here, we will be going through the biggest signings of Free Agency so far and grading the acquisition for the teams who signed them – good or bad.


Paul George to the Philadelphia 76ers: A+

Contract: Four Years, $212M

The biggest domino to fall in Free Agency this year fell at 3:30 ET on the opening night of the negotiation period. In true Paul George fashion, the multi-time All-Star waited until most basketball fans were asleep to decide on his future in the NBA. Nonetheless, that decision has been made, and he has decided to head to Philadelphia to team up with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, forming one of the best trios in the NBA. 

This move is great for both parties. The 76ers can capitalize on the championship window they have with Joel Embiid, which (given his injury history), may not have the largest lifespan. Paul George on the other hand can age gracefully as he turns into an elite 3-and-D wing for Nick Nurse’s squad, while also being able to step up when needed. Paul George does not agree to sign with the Sixers if he isn’t okay with being the third option behind the dynamic duo of Maxey & Embiid, and his buying into that role is exactly what will make the 76ers one of the most dangerous teams in the East this coming season.


Isaiah Hartenstein to the Oklahoma City Thunder: A

Contract: Three Years, $87M

The biggest role player contract of this Free Agency period so far has been Knicks fan favorite Center Isaiah Hartenstein agreeing to a three-year contract with the West’s reigning number one-seeded OKC Thunder. The Thunder’s biggest issue last season was their size and rebounding. A Center rotation of Chet Holmgren and Jaylin Williams was not big enough to match up well against the top bigs in the West. Looking at the landscape of the Western Conference, the best teams are frontline by big men like Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dereck Lively, and Anthony Davis. To compete in the conference when the postseason comes around, it was no secret that Sam Presti needed to get a true big to add to the lineup. 

To address the pure need for size and rebounding, the front office could’ve gone a little cheaper and invested in one of the league’s best rebounders, Andre Drummond. However, the Thunder understand they can win now and want to do that. With that in mind, they signed Isaiah Hartenstein to a big-money deal, after he proved himself to be a top-15 center in basketball in 2023. Now Hartenstein gets to be one of their starting five players. Once again, this deal was a win for both Hartenstein and the Thunder. OKC loads up on more talent around their young core, and Isaiah Hartenstein gets to join the league’s MVP runner-up and the Thunder on a quest for a championship.

Klay Thompson to the Dallas Mavericks: B+

Contract: Three Years, $50M

Trade Details: GSW receives two 2nd-round picks from DAL, CHO receives Josh Green, DAL receives Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson’s decision was easily the most anticipated by basketball fans nationwide. Everyone knew Paul George was signing with Philly and no future Hall-of-Famer was expected to switch teams. That left fans waiting for Klay to decide where he would end his career after 13 years with the Warriors. His choice ended up being between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. In the end, Klay decided he was better off going for a fifth championship with Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the reigning Western Conference Champs. 

This was a solid deal for both parties, nothing less and nothing more. For Dallas, one of the many reasons they lost to the Celtics was the lack of shooting from their role players. Yes, the taste left in people’s mouths from Klay was him shooting zero for ten in an elimination game, but he still shot 40% from three on the season, showing that even as his athleticism declines, he is still one of the best shooters to ever pick up a basketball. For Klay, he gets his last big payday as he looks to win another championship. However, it will be remembered that Klay Thompson did not retire a Warrior.

Chris Paul to the San Antonio Spurs: B

Contract: One Year, $11M

Chris Paul to the Spurs has the chance to be the most helpful thing the young prospects in San Antonio could’ve asked for. Of course, no one is expecting Paul to go to the Spurs and get back to being an All-Star with Victor Wembanyama as his running mate. However, as a mentor, Chris Paul can be instrumental in developing Stephon Castle, Keldon Johnson, and other young players on the Spurs roster. Plus, Chris Paul does get the chance to be the starting point guard on a team once again and can lob it up to a center so big that he can’t miss. The good part of this deal for both sides is that there are no expectations. As long as Chris Paul can get Victor Wembanyama the ball, most will consider the acquisition a success. That is why Chris Paul has the chance to prove people counting him out wrong as he enters the last stage of his career.