Winners and losers from NBA free agency: Pistons and 76ers on surprising sides

San Antonio Spurs v Detroit Pistons
San Antonio Spurs v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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NBA free agency has been a snooze for the Detroit Pistons the last few seasons, but Trajan Langdon changed that by signing multiple players in this one. 

Overall, the NBA offseason has not been the dramatic soap opera many predicted, which may be the effect of new rules around the second apron, which are far more prohibitive than the old days, when spending more just cost teams more money. 

The Pistons held cap space which helped them move up in the draft and trade for Tim Hardaway Jr, but what about free agency? Did they do enough to be considered a winner? Or do the additions of middle-of-the-road veterans mean another losing free agency for Detroit? 

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Let’s look at the winners and losers in free agency, including one team that has been deemed the big winner that I am putting with the losers. 

Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder 

If you could choose any roster and cap situation in the league it would have to be OKC, who are young, talented, deep and still have more draft assets than anyone in the NBA by far. 

They added Alex Caruso and Isaiah Hartenstein, two perfect role players for them, to a team that led the Western Conference in wins last season. Oh, and they drafted a guy who could be the best point guard in the 2024 Draft, who they get to stash for a couple of years. 

Did I mention they have five first-round picks in 2025? The only problem they had was a point guard who couldn’t shoot in Josh Giddey, who has been replaced by an All-Defensive player who shoots 41 percent from long range. 

The Thunder haven’t won anything yet, but no team in the NBA is more set up to win now and deep into the future than them. 

Losers: Miami and Milwaukee 

You could argue that every team in the top eight of the Eastern Conference last year improved except for these two. 

At least the Heat drafted a player in Kel’el Ware who can probably help them right away. The Bucks didn’t even do that, as they grabbed a G-League project who probably won’t sniff the NBA for at least a few seasons, if ever. 

It’s hard to see how these two teams, who are aging rapidly, are going to keep up with Boston, New York, Philly, Cleveland, Orlando and even Indiana unless they have some late moves up their sleeves.