NBA Free Agency is underway and what a day it has been. It’s still early in the process and moves can still be made as I’m typing this but I will do my best to run down the events of July 1st. No official signings can be done until the 7th as today was more of a gentleman’s agreement between teams and players. There were a few “I saw that coming” , but there were a few ” He went where and for how much, SMDH” messages and tweets going on. What is to be expected, this is what we as NBA fans live for, we love the FA period, it gets the juices flowing again as we gear up for the following season.
Lets take a look at some of the winners and losers in Day One.
Dwight Howard: Howard is headed where it all started for him, Atlanta. The Hawks and Howard reached a deal last night on a 3yr/$70M agreement. If Howard can keep his nose clean and play by the Hawks rules they have a legit shot in the weak East.
Chandler Parsons: $98M for a player that has never been to the NBA Finals, let alone an All Star game or has been the #1 option on any team. Parsons has been injured the last two season but somehow suckered the Memphis Grizzlies into face of the team money when he is more 3rd option at best.
Evan Turner: Turner is in the same club as Parsons. This was one of those SMDH moments when the news came across my phone. I suspected that Turner would fit in nicely with the Knicks as their starting 2-guard but for the Blazers to give him 85 million reason to leave the Celtics is beyond reasoning. Danny Ainge had to look at this deal and salute Turner and his agent. Turner has the skills to help but he is now paid leadership money.
Bradley Beal: Beal has been consistent throughout his brief career but he is another one that has never made an All Star appearance but demanded and received a max contract from the Washington Wizards. The backcourt between he and John Wall might be one of the best in the league but until they can lead the team to at least the Conference Finals this deal gets another WTH.
Milwaukee Bucks: They were relieved of a player that has caused issues in locker rooms and according to reports had some dealing with drugs. He is now out of the NBA. On the FA side of things they managed to add sharp shooting Mizra Teletovic from the Phoenix Suns for $10M per.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons locked up the best Center in the NBA, Andre Drummond for $130M thru 5 years, but they weren’t done with that. They also signed Ish Smith for a reasonable price of $6M per.
New York Knicks: When the Knicks traded for Derrick Rose in the back of Phil Jackson’s mind he had to hope that Rose would reach out to his good friend Joakim Noah. $72M over 4 years later, he is now a Knick, but their roster shaking moves are not done yet.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers might have pulled off the biggest steal of Day One as they came away one of the best low post scores in Al Jefferson for cheap (3/$30M) at that. Jefferson will help anchor a unit that already features, Paul George, Myles Turner, Monta Ellis and the newly acquired Jeff Teague.
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors were in no real threat to lose DeMar DeRozan and they made sure of that as soon as the clock struck 12:01 to the tune of a 5yr/$139M deal.
Timofey Mozgov: The Cleveland big man hit pay-dirt to the tune of a 4yr/$64M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Mozgov just won a ring with the Cavs a few weeks back and now he will be paid to start with the younger Lakers. His career averages do not warrant this type of deal but good for him and his family.
Mike Conley: Anytime you commit highway robbery and get away with it, you won. Conley is nowhere in the discussion of the top-tier PGs but yet he somehow managed to swindle the Grizzlies out of $153M for 5 years. The Grizzlies will basically throw out the same lineup that has faltered for 5 years but hey, they know how to take care of their own.
Portland Trail Blazers: What were they thinking giving $85M to a player that should not be starting? It’s as if they have no choice but to break up the chemistry the Blazers built last season. Turner comes over having played some PG, SG and SF during his time in the NBA but the Blazers are pretty solid at every position. So where does he play? He’s not taking over Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum spot, all that leaves is Al- Farouq Aminu and either Meyers Leonard or Maurice Harkless. That means Aminu will slide over to PF, just way too much going on in Portland.
Philadelphia 76ers: How do you let your starting PG go for a backup? Ish Smith provided solid numbers on a team that was as confused as the mentioned above Blazers. The 76ers are building towards a future but they took a step back with the signing of Jerryd Bayless while letting Smith walk out the door. Smith averaged 15/7 but the 76ers passed on that for 10/3 and most of those minutes were due to injures.
Los Angeles Lakers: What in the Sam hell are the Lakers doing? It’s not a subject of not having the money, they have it in boatloads so what was the Mozgov signing about? He can provide a little defense but if the Lakers are looking for him to turn into the next Chris Kaman or Mason Plumlee, that’s not happening. Giving Jordan Clarkson $50M is a gamble worth taking. He had to share the floor with Kobe and a young, still learning Russell but with Kobe gone Clarkson could shine. But that Mozgov deal, 4yr/$64M… lol
Charlotte Hornets: Can someone please ask Michael Jordan what makes him think Nicolas Batum is worth $120M? He has a little range but 15 points per does not scream that type of deal. The Hornets could’ve went in another direction but he was an integral piece to them returning to the playoffs last season. The Hornets lost Jefferson and are pinning their hopes on a few young players in the frontcourt.
Washington Wizards: Beal is not worth $130M, no way. He has a nice perimeter game and is a solid defender but he has yet to rise to the occasion and take the Wizards to the next level. Washington is in dire need of a frontcourt with Gortat and Nene aging. Why not go after a player like Dwight Howard or Al Horford instead of going all out on Beal?
Brooklyn Nets: The Nets were clearing cap space but only came away with Jeremy Lin and Justin Hamilton. The Nets had their sights set on Mike Conley and Rajon Rondo but were once again holding the door as the best of the best decided to go elsewhere, again. Kent Bazemore was on the market but the Nets let him slip thru their grasp and return to Atlanta.
Miami Heat: The Heat got word from FA Hassan Whiteside that he will return but he still has yet to agree on a deal and that might be due to the rumors that Wade is looking elsewhere. If Wade is finally fed up about not getting the money that is rightfully owed to him after taking pay cut after pay cut to help the team then the Heat might be the biggest losers in Day One.
It’s only Day One so a few teams and players get a pass today. Today was about the signing of some of the big names but as we approach the 7th we will start to see rosters take shape. Some moves were good for individuals as teams were handing out checks for anyone that could put on a pair of shorts and tie their shoes before the National Anthem was over. As much as I want to I can’t fault the teams for those contracts, it’s the age that we are in. The NBA is a big business and with the rise of the Cap this season we knew some not deserving players would walk away resembling Mega Million winners.
See you guys tomorrow.