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Grading Every NBA Contender's Offseason Moves

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his teams win over the Golden State Warriors in Game Six to win the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Finals - Game Six | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that the Kawhi Leonard domino has fallen, all of the big fish in the 2019 free agency class have signed. With the offseason ending almost as soon as it began, some contenders have upgraded in areas that were weak last year, some decided to run it back with almost the same squad as the prior year, and some whiffed in a big way. Let's start with the worst.

12. Houston Rockets: D+

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: James Harden #13 and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets react to a call by the referee during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on May 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Rockets have flatlined, there's no other way to describe it. The James Harden/Chris Paul partnership isn't working out the way they thought it would, and Daryl Morey remains unable to upgrade the roster due to Harden and Paul's massive contracts. After failing to find a suitor for Clint Capela and his contract to shake some stuff around, the Rockets should be a playoff team once again, but their ceiling is capped at the conference finals -- if that.

11. Toronto Raptors: C-

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 17:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during the Toronto Raptors Victory Parade on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 to win the 2019 NBA Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors Victory Parade & Rally | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Raptors were 17-5 when Kawhi didn't play last year, so the core of Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet with Nick Nurse coaching will be just fine. However, the Raptors championship window has slammed shut now that Board Man is in Southern California. Masai Ujiri swung for the fences and hit a grand slam in the Leonard trade, but the Raptors now face a future of retooling and tinkering to replace his prolific production on both ends.

10. Denver Nuggets: C

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 12: Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets is guarded by Zach Collins #33 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter during Game Seven of the Western Conference Semi-Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on May 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets - Game Seven | Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

There honestly wasn't much the Nuggets could do. They aren't a premier free-agent destination and they aren't exactly a scary team to face come playoff time. However, they managed to keep the band together and gave Jamal Murray a max contract while picking up Paul Millsap's option for next season. Throw in the potential impacts of Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol, and the Nugs might be even better next year.

9. Boston Celtics: C+

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 03: Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a play against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Spectrum Center on March 03, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Hornets | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and replaced them with Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. Those are lateral moves at best, but nonetheless Danny Ainge found a way to recover and hopefully keep the offense spreading the ball to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown thrive. Let's not forget they'll likely have Gordon Hayward fully healthy and with a clear head following his gruesome injury two seasons ago.

8. Milwaukee Bucks: B-

TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles during the first half against the Toronto Raptors in game six of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks v Toronto Raptors - Game Six | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bucks managed to keep some key members of the team that earned the No. 1 seed in the east. They re-signed Khris Middleton to a massive deal and their frontcourt is set with Brookie and Robn Lopez. The B- stems from the fact they lost some major pieces when Malcolm Brogdon left for the division-rival Pacers and Nikola Mirotic left for a different continent when he signed with Barcelona. Those losses could be enough to see the Bucks slide down the standings.

7. Philadelphia 76ers: B

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 09: Tobias Harris #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Raptors 112-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

There's no doubt that Philly is building something nice by signing Tobias Harris and Al Horford to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. That foursome could rule the East following the Kawhi Leonard bombshell. However, they are as hard-capped as can be following these two deals, and a Sixers team that lacked shooting last year will go into 2019 with even less shooting after JJ Redick bolted for the Pelicans.

6. Portland Trail Blazers: B+

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 20:  Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat  dunks during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Arena on December 20, 2015 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Portland became the fifth team to sign a player to the vaunted supermax deal, keeping point guard Damian Lillard in the Rose City for an addition four years. The acquisition of Hassan Whiteside remains equal parts exciting and confusing. Will Whiteside mesh with Jusuf Nurkic when he gets back? Still, it's hard to criticize the Trail Blazers' offseason when they locked up their superstar point guard and added a double-double machine to replace Enes Kanter.

5. Golden State Warriors: B+

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 19:  D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts during their game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on March 19, 2019 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

You know the Warriors are a well-run team when they can get a B+ in an offseason in which they lost Kevin Durant. While not anywhere close in terms of star power, the addition of All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell gives them a 23-year-old shooter who will score 20 points a night in his sleep. By re-signing Klay Thompson to a max contract and adding some size in the form of Willie Cauley-Stein, the Warriors should be near the top of the West without Durant.

4. Los Angeles Lakers: B+

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers guards Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers | Harry How/Getty Images

It took a lot longer than was expected, but Anthony Davis is finally going to be a Los Angeles Laker, even at the cost of the LA's draft for the next half-decade. Losing out on Kawhi prevents them from anything higher than a B+, but the signings of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Quinn Cook and JaVale McGee have finally given LeBron James some shooters. After a brief hiatus, expect LeBron to be back in the playoffs.

3. Utah Jazz: A-

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 17:  Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies dribbles the ball during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 17, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies v Indiana Pacers | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the blink of an eye, Quin Snyder and the Utah Jazz have made the leap from scrappy playoff contender to playoff team. They had the scorer in Donovan Mitchell and the best rim protector in the game in Rudy Gobert, but needed a point guard to tie it all together. Bringing in an automatic 20 points every night in Mike Conley as well as sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic earns the Jazz exemplary marks for this offseason and has them set up to compete for championships.

2. Brooklyn Nets: A

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17:   Kyrie Irving #11 and Kevin Durant #25 of Team LaBron laugh during practice for the 2018 NBA All-Star game at the Verizon Up Arena at LACC on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
2018 NBA All-Star - Media Day & Practice | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Kevin Durant's injury risk takes this down from an A+ to an A, but the Brooklyn Nets pulled off the free agent coup of the century by bringing in both KD and Kyrie Irving. While their lack of size killed them in the playoffs last year, the signing of human bulldozer and rebounding machine DeAndre Jordan should help in that department. After years of anonymity, the Nets are set to take New York by storm thanks to some masterful jobs by coach Kenny Atkinson and GM Sean Marks.

1. Los Angeles Clippers: A+

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA - APRIL 19: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of game three of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Chesapeake Energy Arena on April 19, 2019 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three | Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Clippers went from getting shut out in free agency to arguably being the favorites for the title with two overnight moves. Bringing in Kawhi Leonard on a max contract made them title contenders on that move alone, but the acquisition of Paul George, albeit at the cost of a ton of draft picks, has arguably catapulted the Clippers past the Lakers overnight. It's Michael Winger and Jerry West's world, and we're all just living in it.