NBA free agency has continued it’s record pace over the holiday weekend and into this week. You can find all the grades from the wild first day of free agency here. Now for the grades on key free agents signed since then.
For starters, Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett are all returning to their teams as expected. Those are all an easy A (and if the KG one doesn’t make sense to you, just think about how great he will be for Karl-Anthony Towns).
LaMarcus Aldridge – Spurs: 4-years/$80 million
The most prized free agent to change zip codes turned into a huge win for the Spurs. It’s absolutely incredible what they’ve accomplished this offseason in re-signing Kawhi Leonard to the big deal he deserves, maintaining their core, convincing Duncan and Manu to return and then STILL add a talent like Aldridge. I’m buying all the hype on the Spurs.
DeAndre Jordan – Mavericks: 4-years/$80 million
Most didn’t realize how much of a threat DJ was to actually leave the L.A., but he proved that crowd wrong. Obviously, this hurts the Clips and helps the Mavs, but it’s not as monumental a swing as it seems. Handing the keys to Jordan as the long-term “franchise player,” as Dallas has done, doesn’t seem realistic.
Greg Monroe – Bucks: 3-years/$50 million
The Bucks are now a force to be reckoned with in the east. They stumbled after losing Brandon Knight last season, but with this addition and Jabari Parker’s return, it’s the year of the deer. Seriously, the Bucks could have home court advantage in the first-round of the playoffs.
Robin Lopez – Knicks: 4-years/$54 million
The Knicks had to do something. This is something, but it’s not much. I like RoLo, but in the right fit. He’s going to be asked to do a lot in New York, and he’ll step up in the bigger role. But the Knicks’ problems go well beyond what Lopez can fill. To be fair to Robin, any non-star the Knicks signed would probably get this grade from me.
Reggie Jackson – Pistons: 5-years/$80 million
The Thunder traded Jackson after he declined a 4-year/$48 million deal. Clearly a smart move by Jackson, because he’s got a lot more money now. It was also a smart move by the Thunder, because they offered a fair market value. Jackson got way overpaid. He’s a third option at best.
Rajon Rondo – Kings: 1-year/$10 million
No clue what the Kings are doing here. 1. There’s no way Darren Collison and Rondo will be a fit on the court together. 2. Who the hell were they bidding against? Rondo was a lock to sign a one-year deal to build his value back up, but Sacramento probably could have gotten him cheaper. This will be interesting, to say the least.
Tobias Harris – Magic: 4-years/$64 million
Like Jackson, I’m not sure Harris will be worth his deal. But it’s a shorter deal and Harris is a good fit with what they’re building in Orlando. For that, I give them a better grade. Harris is the better player in my mind so that’s why I’m less harsh here.
Wesley Matthews – Mavericks: 4-years/$57 million
Matthews is a good player, but once again, he’s getting overpaid for his role. I get why the Mavs want him, he will be a good player to go along with Dirk, Chandler Parsons and their new franchise player. The Mavs still desperately need a PG, and Cuban admitted they’d be tanking next season if they didn’t land DJ. Not sure DJ and Matthews are going to make the difference they project in Dallas.
Monta Ellis – Pacers: 4-years/$44 million
I like the signing — the Pacers need players to help Paul George score. The problem is, they’ve lost everyone else. Lance left last offseason and steamrolled his value in Charlotte, and now Hibbert and West are both on their way out. It’s going to be a tough season for Indy, but if they’re really trending towards small-ball, Ellis will help.
David West – Spurs: 1-year/$1.4 million
Speaking of West, this man deserves a medal (as do the Spurs). West is leaving over $10 million on the table from the Pacers to play for the Spurs next season. I mentioned it’s incredible what they’ve accomplished this offseason, but this could be the most impressive move they pulled. West is literally putting his money where his mouth is and betting on the Spurs to win the championship. San Antonio simply just sits back and benefits.
Mo Williams – Cavaliers: 2-years/$4.3 million
Obviously the Cavs keep countering every move the Spurs make. Mo’s return to Cleveland can’t hurt the Cavs. He’ll be a great bench player on a team that’s desperate for depth and can fill in for Kyrie on any given night (including the playoffs if need be).
Rodney Stuckey – Pacers: 3-years/$21 million
Great value considering all the other deals you see out there. Not a game changed, but like Ellis, if the Pacers are really playing small with George at PF, they’ll need a nice collection of scoring guards. Stuckey and Ellis provide that.
Lou Williams – Lakers: 3-years/$21 million
Almost the same player as Stuckey so they get identical contracts. The Lakers are doing their best, but moves like this really aren’t going to do much. With Kobe, Jordan Clarkson and D’Angello Russell, the backcourt is now crowded. All the pieces are in place aside from another star. Hopefully Williams doesn’t get in the way of developing Russell. He’s likely that next star.
Jae Crowder – Celtics: 5-years/$35 million
I’ve become a big Crowder fan. This seems like a pretty solid contract after the growth he showed in Boston last season. There’s a lot of speculation here that he could become a Draymond Green type player. If he does, then this winds up as a steal.
Omer Asik – Pelicans: 5-years/$60 million
I don’t get it. You just paid Anthony Davis, who will be your franchise man in the middle. You also paid Alexis Ajinca to back up/play alongside Davis (something that has been successful for NOLA). So why in the world pay Asik this kind on money? It was time for him to leave and find a new home.
Kosta Koufos – Kings: 4-years/$33 million
Not sure this fills a need, but with the salary they dumped to the 76ers, the Kings are clearly looking to make moves. Koufos will be the best defensive big on the roster, and can play alongside Cousins. Just a bit odd after drafting Willie Cauley-Stein, but teams like the Celtics would love any defensive minded big right about now.
Marco Belinelli – Kings: 3-years/$19 million
Not much of an opinion here, but you’ve got to give the Kings credit for going after it. Seems like they’re poised for a ninth-place finish in the West.
Ed Davis – Blazers: 3-years/$20 million
It’s a good contract, but the Blazers are a mess right now. They just lost their entire starting lineup, aside from Lillard (who they extended). All of their signings/trades have been pretty minor moves. They’re going to try their luck in the lottery for now.
Arron Afflalo – Knicks: 2-years/$16 million
Decent contract, but this does absolutely nothing for the Knicks. If you think a raw Porzingis, Lopez and Afflalo are going to save the day, you’re greatly mistaken. Could be a solid contract to move at the deadline for the Knicks.
Patrick Beverly – Rockets: 4-years/$25 million
Houston searched for a PG, but in the end, its own guy was the best fit. Can’t really argue with the Rockets here. He could have really helped them in the playoffs. Harden takes care of a lot of the ball handling, so Beverly’s role as a defender/energy guy is perfect.
Corey Brewer – Rockets: 3-years/$24 million
Seems like they overpaid, but I like the fit. Brewer was huge for Houston during stretches in the playoffs, and has no problem getting down and dirty on defense. Couple of hustle signings for the Rockets.
Bismack Biyombo – Raptors: 2-years/$10 million
I really like this signing. Biyombo is still young enough, and shown enough signs, that he’s worth a gamble (especially at the price tag). He has the ability to be a game changing center on defense and on the glass. If he can reach his Tyson Chandler potential, then what a steal. If he doesn’t, then he’s just worth his contract.
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