Free agency is a time for NBA teams to fill out their roster.
Rebuilding teams will look to sign veterans who can help prospects grow or young players who maybe did not work out on their old team.
Playoff teams will try to fill holes with contributing veterans or hit a home run and sign the big name on the market.
Each year, there are winners and losers from free agency.
After all, players can only sign with one team.
This year has been no different.
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 2, 2021
Bringing in veterans who can contribute behind their stars (Nets) and swinging for the fences to bring in a star point guard (Heat).
The signings and additions they made figure to improve the team as a whole and make them title contenders.
But not all teams were as lucky.
For this article, only teams with realistic playoff aspirations were taken into account.
These three teams below simply didn’t do enough in free agency.
Once again, the Dallas Mavericks entered free agency with plenty of cap space to go star hunting.
And once again, they failed to bring in the big fish.
Luka is a top-5 player in the league who should be a perennial MVP candidate.
The Slovenian Wonder Boy has career averages of 25.7 points, 7.7 assists, and 8.4 rebounds per game.
He is a one-man show who powers the Maverick offense.
Doncic keeps teammates involved throughout the game by breaking down defenses and kicking out to shooters.
But he is talented enough offensively to take over when he needs to and win games by himself.
As evidenced across 13 playoff games the past two years against the Los Angeles Clippers who were heavy title-favorites both years.
Doncic has five 40-point games while averaging 33.5 points, 9.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Dallas should be doing everything they can to win now with Doncic.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 9, 2021
They were able to ink Luka to his supermax extension this offseason and bring back Tim Hardaway Jr., an important piece from last year’s team.
But the only other noticeable addition was signing Reggie Bullock.
A good shooter and defender but one who doesn’t move the needle.
Not acquiring one of those three is a big miss for a team looking to compete sooner rather than later.
New Orleans Pelicans
After failing to surround their megastar with enough talent to compete in the playoffs, Davis demanded a trade and was shipped out to LA.
David Griffin needs to be careful the sequel does not happen with Zion Williamson.
Zion is already the most dominant paint force the NBA has seen since Shaq.
Zion turns 21 today 🎈
His 20.3 paint PPG this season were the most since Shaq won MVP (22.5) 😳 pic.twitter.com/46ttnO3CTY
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 6, 2021
He just wrapped up a season that saw him average 27 points-per-game on 61% shooting.
Zion is paired with another All-Star in Brandon Ingram, positioning the Pelicans to be playoff contenders.
And yet they did not even make the play-in tournament last season.
Valanciunas is a better shooter than Adams from three which will help the offensive fit next to Zion while not sacrificing much defensively.
But they let Lonzo Ball walk without matching the 4-years, $80 million contract given to him by the Chicago Bulls.
And replaced him with Devonte’ Graham – a point guard with a similar offensive skill set to Lonzo but significantly less defensive talent.
But the Pelicans did not make any major upgrades to the roster around Zion and Ingram.
They needed to do more to show their All-Star duo New Orleans means business.
Portland Trail Blazers
Just like the Pelicans, the Portland Trail Blazers needed to keep their star happy this offseason.
Dame made it clear to the front office he wanted them to do more to make the Trail Blazers and title-contending team.
If title contention was the goal, the front office fell well short.
Mid-season acquisition Norman Powell was re-signed for $90 million across 5 years.
THE TRADES ARE FLYING.
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) March 25, 2021
But that’s where the potentially impactful additions end.
A Portland team that finished 29th in defense last season needed to add pieces on that end.
Nance will help but not enough to make them a top unit.
Lillard wanted to be convinced Portland is doing all they can to give him a chance to win a title.
Nance, McLemore, and Zeller are not enough to get it done.