During the dog days of the summer, while the MLB season is about to reach the all-star break in the midst of a grueling schedule and NFL teams are gearing up for training camp, the NBA makes its leap to the top of the headlines with the circus that is known as free agency.

 

July 1 can mark a time of either life or death for franchises and fans as their teams look to make huge summer splashes by bringing in top free agents, invest a large amount of cash into players who they want to keep and sometimes get dashed when those same players decide to leave for another team.

 

So far, this year’s NBA version of Barnum and Bailey has been no short of entertaining, surprising and worth the money.

 

Let’s start with some early free agency splashes.

 

(Time)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Coming off a surprisingly good, playoff year led by MVP Russell Westbrook, the Thunder seemingly pulled off the impossible by nabbing top free agent prize Paul George last week.

 

In circus terms, this was the surprise of the show where you may see a celebrity guest come and play the ringleader or you may see a trick that you never have before. Paul George going to the Thunder over expected destinations like Cleveland, LA and maybe even Houston was definitely a surprise that shocked the league as a whole.

 

Although it is only essentially a one-year experiment, the combination of Westbrook and George can prove to be lethal out West where you need as many weapons as you can get.

 

This also made the East even that much easier for a team like the Cavs who are watching big name players move to teams in the West while their front office situation is non-existent right now.

 

(Time)

Philadelphia 76ers

For the Sixers, “The Process” is in full effect and we are starting to see why many people will invest their time in trusting it.

 

With an already top five big man on Joel Embiid coming back with no minutes restriction and Ben Simmons stepping onto the NBA floor for the first time after sitting out last season, there was already plenty to be excited about around Philly.

 

This offseason, things got even better when the Sixers acquired the number one pick in the draft Markelle Fultz who possess an offensive array that will complement this team extremely well and make for a lethal starting lineup in years to come.

 

On top of that, they landed J.J. Redick, the sharpshooter from the L.A. Clippers for a hefty price of $23 million for one year. Redick’s ability to shoot the three and work off screens with precision will open the floor for Simmons, Fultz, and Embiid to operate and make the game that much easier for each of them. Redick will also provide a veteran presence and a type of leadership that such a young team like the Sixers need as they continue to experience success in small doses.

 

Signing veteran center Amir Johnson only added to that leadership aspect as someone who has played 10+ years in this league and knows what it’s like to be on winning teams.

 

(Bleacher Report)

The Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets quietly signed All Star forward Paul Millsap a couple of nights ago, luring him away from the Atlanta Hawks. This move was big for the Nuggets as it was reported that this had been a guy that they have been trying to get for quite some time now and finally saw the opportunity to seize it.

 

What Millsap brings is a combination of scoring and efficiency to a team that is known to run and gun and get up and down the floor. Millsap is one of the most versatile big men in the game so he should be able to adapt to this type of style of play which is totally different from where he was in Atlanta where they slowed the ball and wanted to execute half court offense 85 percent of the time.

 

His ability to shoot the three from a secondary break, effectively run the pick and roll and also slash to the basket with the ball in his hand will make him an ideal fit alongside Kenneth Faried who is always willing to do the dirty work.

 

With a good young core, Millsap will definitely provide an upgrade for the Nuggets and will potentially help them to grab a playoff spot this season after the Trail Blazers beat them out for it last year.

 

To this point, those are some of the biggest, newly developed splashes that have been made. Let’s look at some teams who locked in center prices that they already had for years to come and cashed in.

 

(Kyle Terada/USA TODAY)

Golden State Warriors

At this point, this team is just playing with the rest of the league in how they are doing thing.

 

Steph Curry, in the current league climate, was getting severely underpaid for his production on the court. With his eligibility for the “Super Max” contract coming up this summer, the Warriors made sure to reward their centerpiece by giving him a five year, $200 Million deal that will pay him $40 Million a year and make him the NBA’s highest paid player.

 

In addition to locking up Curry, Kevin Durant, as of yesterday, accepted a discounted 2 year, 53 million deal which is $10 million less than what he could have gotten from the Warriors. This move best symbolizes the culture that Golden State has established. For years, Curry was being underpaid based on his performance, but never seemed to bat an eye at it due to the team’s massive success. In turn, he was just rewarded this offseason.

 

Durant, who especially after this year, deserves top free agent money, but willingly took a pay cut so that the team could resign players like Andre Iguodala this offseason as well as cornerstones like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the future in order to keep this team together.

 

Only having to pay $253 million in total to two players who are easily worth about $250 million each is a steal in every sense, but a steal that was cultivated off of creating a culture of excellence and winning.

 

(Christian Petersen/Pool)

LA Clippers

With the loss of Chris Paul, the Clippers made the decision to resign Blake Griffin to a new deal.

 

Although Griffin is a great talent, his proneness to injury always makes him a liability to stay on the floor for the amount of money you are giving him.

 

Despite this, the Clippers had to resign Griffin because the last thing you want to do is lose two of your star players in one free agency and with Griffin being the younger of the two, it made sense for him to stay and try to build the team around him.

 

Through the Paul trade, the Clippers received a bevy of young talent that can potentially work around Griffin and form a team that can do some damage in the West.

 

As of now, this is where we are at in this free agency circus. However, we are only on the fourth day of what looks to be a month of fireworks, high wire acts and teams jumping through em flames rings in order to put themselves into contention.

 

Who do you think has had the best free agency so far? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.