Some teams have really helped themselves and have gotten better since the end of last season. Others, well, we’re confused. So let’s break down some of what has occurred in the offseason so far and give our three NBA winners and losers of the offseason.

The 2024 offseason has been as advertised so far, with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its first and second apron creating all sorts of issues for high-payroll teams while simultaneously creating windows of opportunity for the more frugal ones.

And while there are still plenty of consequential names left in the NBA free agency and trade markets, we are now far enough into the offseason to start examining some of the transactions.

So, who are the three biggest winners and three biggest losers of the offseason? Let’s dive into the particulars and break down of the most impactful moves.

Key Moves

  • Traded for Alex Caruso
  • Signed Isaiah Hartenstein
  • Extended Aaron Wiggins and Isaiah Joe


Arguably no NBA team has taken a bigger W over the last few weeks than the Thunder, as a series of wise moves have solidified them as the top dog in the Western Conference.

It all starts with swapping out Josh Giddey (a talented player who was a suboptimal fit for their roster) for Alex Caruso (one of the best role players in the sport) without having to part ways with any draft capital. Caruso is the best perimeter defender in the NBA – 99th percentile defensive DRIP (D-DRIP), and his 3-point shooting (41.0% last year) adds spacing that Luguentz Dort couldn’t give OKC against the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals.

Then, the Thunder addressed their most glaring weaknesses – physicality and rebounding – by poaching Isaiah Hartenstein (98th percentile in offensive rebounding and 87th percentile in defensive rebounding rate) from the New York Knicks in free agency. He should make for a solid pairing with Chet Holmgren at center. And contrary to what many people have said, Hartenstein’s contract (three years, $87 million) is pretty reflective of his production on the court.

And to top it all off, the Thunder negotiated team-friendly extensions with key bench contributors Isaiah Joe (four years, $48 million) and Aaron Wiggins (five years, $47 million).

Dort Versus Caruso Chart

Key Moves

  • Traded for Quentin Grimes
  • Added Naji Marshall in Free Agency
  • Added Klay Thompson in Free Agency


The Mavericks had a strong 2024 NBA trade deadline, one that helped propel them to the NBA Finals. However, while I like the moves they made at the deadline, their transactions left them with little room for improvement. And, as the Finals proved to us, their roster was sorely lacking in two-way wings/forwards. But, of course, as the Mavs’ front office has proven in the past, it can find creative ways to improve the roster.

First, the Mavericks took advantage of Quentin Grimes’ stock being at an all-time low and acquired him from the Detroit Pistons for second-round picks and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s bad contract. Then, they replaced Derrick Jones Jr. with Naji Marshall – a slightly younger player who has improved as a shooter (career-high 38.7% from 3 last year). And lastly, they traded Josh Green for draft capital and then parlayed that into a sign-and-trade for four-time champ Klay Thompson.

This trio gives the Mavericks a similar caliber of perimeter defense that they got from the three players they lost (if not better), along with superior shooting/spacing. Now the Mavs are heading into the 2024-25 season fresh off an NBA Finals appearance with their most damning flaw (hopefully) addressed.

Mavericks 3-Point Shooting Chart

Key Moves

  • Added DeMar DeRozan in Free Agency
  • Re-Signed Malik Monk
  • Drafted Devin Carter
  • Signed Undrafted Free Agent Isaiah Crawford


The Kings haven’t been getting the same buzz as the Thunder and Mavericks (mostly because they aren’t inner-circle title contenders like them). But they still vastly improved their team and made themselves a sneaky pick in the Western Conference.

It all starts with them re-signing Monk to a four-year, $78-million deal (the max they could offer him) after it was rumored that he may be able to get a four-year, $100-million contract on the open market.

Then, they drafted Devin Carter at 13 (our NBA Draft model ranked him the eighth-best prospect in the class) and signed undrafted rookie Isaiah Crawford (someone scouts raved about to me during the 2024 NBA Draft Combine). In the process, they also were able to get off some money by trading Davion Mitchell and Sasha Vezenkov.

2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Lastly, they added six-time All-Star and last year’s leader in total minutes played (2,989), DeMar DeRozan, via a sign-and-trade, keeping him from a rumored team-up with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. To summarize, the Kings retained their star bench guard, added two rookies who could have an immediate impact, and secured one of the best offensive players in the game (DeRozan was 30th in offensive DRIP last year).

On top of all that, they still have enough assets (Kevin Huerter and draft capital) to make another significant move to vault themselves from frisky foe to serious threat.

It’s also worth noting that I think the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers had really strong offseasons. The only reason I didn’t have them in my top three is because the Knicks (who added Mikal Bridges) lost Hartenstein to the Thunder (through no fault of their own), and the 76ers are going to be incorporating a lot of new pieces as their roster has little to no continuity. Plus, they are leaning heavily on two injury-prone stars in Joel Embiid and Paul George to team with Tyrese Maxey.

Key Losses

  • Lost Paul George in Free Agency
  • Lost Mason Plumlee in Free Agency
  • Lost Daniel Theis in Free Agency


Man, are the Clippers down bad. After refusing to add a fourth year or a no trade clause to Paul George’s offer, they saw the six-time All-NBA forward walk for absolutely nothing in free agency. This is rough for a couple of reasons. First, you hardly ever see a team let an All-Star leave for nothing. The club almost always trades the player before that can happen. And even when he does walk, a lot of times, the team is able to recoup some assets through a sign-and-trade.

The Golden State Warriors did this with Thompson. The Chicago Bulls did this with DeRozan. Hell, even the 76ers were able to get something for Buddy Hield. But the Clippers, they couldn’t get anything for Paul freaking George. Now, they’re stuck in basketball purgatory heading into their first season in a new arena. James Harden just signed a two-year extension, and Kawhi Leonard signed a three-year one during the 2023-24 season. So, tanking isn’t much of an option.

Yes, they added solid pieces like Jones, Nicolas Batum and Kris Dunn, but none of those guys can make up for the loss of George. The Clippers will be solid if Leonard can stay healthy (though he’s already had to leave Team USA ahead of the Olympics), but that’s a far cry from the title contenders they were looking like midway through the last season.

Key Losses

  • Lost Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in Free Agency
  • Overpaying Dario Saric
  • Trading Assets to Shed Reggie Jackson’s Contract


In back-to-back offseasons, the Nuggets have let key members of their 2023 title team (Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) walk in free agency. Caldwell-Pope’s point-of-attack defense, spacing and movement shooting made him an essential ingredient in arguably the most well-balanced starting five in the association.

Now, the team has to hope Christian Braun or Julian Strawther can slide into that role and mime KCP’s impact. The problem there is that Braun isn’t the offensive player Caldwell-Pope (now with the Orlando Magic) is, and Strawther isn’t the defensive player that either of them are. The Nuggets are also giving $5.3 million per year (over the next two years) to Dario Saric – a signing that is especially puzzling since they already have Peyton Watson and DaRon Holmes II (a great choice in the draft, by the way) and are in desperate need of creation off the bench after trading away Reggie Jackson.

Speaking of Jackson, the Nuggets had to attach three unprotected second-round picks to the veteran point guard just to get off his contract (which only had one year and $5.3 million left on it). After this nightmarish offseason and the improvements that the Thunder and Mavericks have made, it is safe to say the Nuggets are no longer the top dogs in the West playoffs despite still having three-time MVP Nikola Jokic on the roster.

Caldwell Pope DRIP Chart

Key Losses

  • Lost Caleb Martin in Free Agency
  • Failed to Extend Jimmy Butler
  • Did Not Make Impact Move


The Heat watched their Eastern Conference contemporaries, the Knicks and 76ers, drastically improve their rosters (heck, even the Milwaukee Bucks got a little better by adding Taurean Prince), and all they could do was watch one of their best players (Caleb Martin) walk in free agency (right into the arms of the Sixers).

They also failed to reach an extension with Jimmy Butler, who will be 35 years old at the start of next season. The Heat did manage to re-sign Haywood Highsmith to a two-year, $11-million contract. And there are some variables that, if they break in their favor, could raise the team’s ceiling: a full year of Terry Rozier, development from Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic, and the addition of Kel’el Ware in the draft.

But none of these possibilities feels as dangerous as the high-end outcomes for teams like the Boston Celtics, Knicks, 76ers, or even the Cleveland Cavaliers. You should never count out the Cinderella Heat, but it sure does feel like their championship window is closing.

Two other teams that haven’t had a great offseason are the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans. Both have rosters with a great deal of talent, but they desperately need to reshuffle the deck to maximize their ceiling.

Neither team has really done that to this point. In fact, the Pelicans have doubled down on their problems, adding another ball-dominant, below-average spacer, Dejounte Murray, in a deal with the Atlanta Hawks.

However, I do like both of their first-round draft picks. The Pelicans addressed an important need at center with Yves Missi, while the Cavs added a promising wing in Jaylon Tyson.

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