With all of the major happenings of NBA free agency already in the books, let’s take a look back at some of the best and worst deals since July 1st, as well as the winners and losers of free agency. For the best signings, I am going to focus on players that switched teams this offseason, and should have a major impact on their new teams. When it comes to the worst signings, this can encompass any signing that seemed a little farfetched with players either re-signing with their team or players signing new deals to play elsewhere.
LaMarcus Aldridge: 4 years, 84.1 million, San Antonio Spurs
The rich just keep on getting richer. For the first time in the Spurs dominance this century, they go out and sign not only a marquee free agent, but the prize of the 2015 free agent class. Aldridge will be able to step in perfectly next to Tim Duncan and take some of the load off of his shoulders. When Coach Popovich feels like giving Duncan a night off, Aldridge along with Kawhi Leonard will be able to lead the Spurs to victories on most nights. Just when you thought the door was shut on the Spurs championship window in May, they catapult right back up and become one of the favorites out West.
Greg Monroe: 3 years, 51 million, Milwaukee Bucks
When free agency began, it was believed that Monroe would end up either with the Knicks or the Lakers. Instead, he pulled a fast one on everybody and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. Although he is not the best shot blocker, Monroe has proven to be a good rebounder during his young career. Milwaukee now has a starting lineup in which every player is over 6’6”, which will be able to make up for the lack of rim protection that Monroe brings to the table. If Jabari Parker comes back healthy, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, along with Michael Carter-Williams, continue to develop, the Bucks could compete for a top 3 seed in the East.
DeMaree Carroll: 4 years, 60 million, Toronto Raptors
With the addition of Carroll, the Raptors will no longer have to start the likes of Terrence Ross and James Johnson at small forward. Carroll will be able to help the Raptors on defense, and bring his “junkyard dog” nickname and mentality to a team that has been eliminated in the first round the past two years. If Lou Williams could get team ambassador Drake to create a song about him, then Carroll should easily get a song or two from Drizzy Drake.
Under the Radar Signing
Brandon Wright: 3 years, 18 million, Memphis Grizzlies
Wright can come in and provide the Grizzlies with good frontcourt depth behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. He also replaces Kosta Koufos (who signed in Sacramento) on a contract that is friendlier to the Grizzlies, while also being a more effective player than Koufos. Wright is an athletic frontcourt player who shoots an extremely high percentage at the rim, and should be able to contribute nicely for the Grizzlies.
Reggie Jackson: 5 years, 80 million, Detroit Pistons
What a country we live in, where Reggie Jackson can make 16 million dollars a year for the next 5 years. This isn’t Reggie Jackson the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Mr. October Reggie Jackson. This is Reggie Jackson who has averaged 10 points per game on 43% shooting during his NBA career Reggie Jackson. The Pistons totally overpaid on a player who seemingly had no other suitors out there. Jackson was a restricted free agent also, so even if he signed an offer sheet with another team, the Pistons would have had the rights to match that offer. With Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings playing in the same backcourt, things could go south really quick for the Pistons if these two do not learn how to play with one another. Good for Reggie Jackson and his family, but if the salary cap wasn’t going to jump next season, this could have been an all-time bad contract.
Tyson Chandler: 4 years, 52 million, Phoenix Suns
At 32 years old, Tyson Chandler has already seen his better playing days pass him by. But now Phoenix will be paying him $13 million a year during the next 4 seasons. Phoenix has a young center in Alex Len, who many thought would be their center of the future, who now has to sit for at least the next 2 seasons behind a player who is well past his prime. Phoenix went all in this offseason in trying to get LaMarcus Aldridge, and this contract almost got him to come to Phoenix, but it would have been in the Suns’ best interest if they did the same thing Deandre Jordan did to the Mavericks, and not be a man of their word and renege this contract.
Omer Asik: 5 years, 60 million, New Orleans Pelicans
New coach Alvin Gentry is known for wanting to play an up-tempo fast paced style of offense. That is why it does not make much sense why you would sign a player like Asik who does not move very well to such a lucrative, long-term deal. Gentry saw firsthand during the playoffs while he was an assistant coach for the Warriors that Asik had to come off of the court when Golden State played small ball. After re-signing Anthony Davis to a mega $145 million extension they could have used some of the money on Asik to attract better bench depth and shooting. Now they have Asik for the next 5 years who will not fit into their new coach’s style and will continuously have to come off the court against smaller and faster lineups.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are the clear-cut obvious winner of free agency. Their main goal in free agency was to sign LaMarcus Aldridge, and they landed him. They were also able to re-sign emerging superstar and former finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. After LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Leonard is probably the 3rd best small forward in the game today. Sharpshooter Danny Green also re-signed with the team, leaving more money on the table. David West also has joined the team on a veteran’s minimum contract, when he could have made $12 million in Indiana. Oh yeah, that Tim Duncan guy is also coming back for at least one more year to chase his 6th championship ring. Safe to say the Spurs had just about as good of an offseason as you can have.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers at first looked like they were going to be the biggest loser of this offseason. JJ Reddick even came out and said the team deserved an F- for not being able to re-sign his Deandre Jordan. But as we all know, Jordan changed his mind and he is back in L.A. as a Clipper. They were also able to bring in Paul Pierce who should bring veteran leadership to the team, as well as Lance Stephenson, who if he has his head on straight could be a valuable addition to the team.
The Mavericks and Clippers each had their offseasons do a complete 180 once Jordan changed his mind. Had Jordan just chosen the Clippers right away, then the Mavericks could have made some other moves to have their team in a better position. However, they just gave a max contract to Wesley Matthews, a guy who is coming off of a major injury, and now are rumored to be interested in acquiring Deron Williams if he is bought out by the Brooklyn Nets according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. It would be in the Mavericks’ best interest to try and finish in the bottom 7 of the league this year so their draft pick does not go to the Boston Celtics.
New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers
It was a longshot that either one of these teams was going to sign a marquee free agent this offseason. However, the perception of both these franchises has taken a hit. They both seem to be behind the curve of the way that the NBA seems to be moving. Both managed to make some decent moves that should allow them to have better teams this upcoming season, but neither team has a first round pick next season, unless the Lakers’ pick falls in the top 3 again. Each team has to hope that their young talent can develop quickly so that they can try to attract some of the top free agents in the offseasons to come.