NBA free agency is finally upon us.
Here’s a live look at NBA owners everywhere…..
Seriously though. The amount of money that was thrown out on the first day of NBA free agency was ludicrous. We all knew it was going to be insane, but were we expecting it to be THAT insane?!?! I mean, MIKE CONLEY is now the highest paid player in NBA history. Let that one sink in for a second.
We good now?
Anyway, with the first day of NBA free agency behind us and with the absolute wackiness of it all, it’s only right that we here at THE Ultimate Sports Blog take a look back and grade each ridiculous contract that was handed out yesterday.
Are you ready? I hope so. Because shit is about to get weird.
NBA Free Agency Grades
-Los Angeles Lakers sign (C) Timofey Mozgov for 4-years, $64-million.
Mozgov averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, & 0.8 BPG while playing 17 MPG in 76 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
Ummm, yuck. Look, I know the Lakers don’t have much to work with and they are in a bad spot right now. They have such a horrible team that no good free agents are even going to give them a meeting or even sniff their direction. That will change in a few years if D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram can develop into solid NBA players, but that’s far from a guarantee. At the moment though, the Lakers need good players who can help those two develop. Giving a 4-year contract to a back-up center is ballsy. Giving a 4-year, $64 million contract to a back-up center is just plain fucking stupid.
-Toronto Raptors sign (SG) DeMar DeRozan for 5-years, $139-million.
DeRozan averaged 23.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, & 4.0 APG while playing 36 MPG in 78 games for the Toronto Raptors last season.
The Raptors needed to re-sign DeMar DeRozan. They drafted him in the first-round in 2009 and he’s developed into a solid NBA player. This contract is exceptionally big and DeRozan has some high expectations on his shoulders now. Will he continue to develop and up his game even more or will he hit coast mode now that he’s getting a enormous pay day? Something tells me it will be the former, but it will still be fun to watch it all.
-Charlotte Hornets sign (SF) Nic Batum for 5-years, $120-million.
Batum averaged 14.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, & 5.8 APG while playing 35 MPG in 70 games for the Charlotte Hornets last season.
This one is hard for me to judge. I like Nic Batum because he’s a former Portland Trail Blazer and I’ve got love for all of my former Blazers. However, I would like to say that I’m extremely happy that it’s NOT the Portland Trail Blazers that are having to pay Batum this contract. The whole time Batum was in Portland, his career was up-and-down. One minute it would look like he was taking that next step in his career, and other times it looked like he was fine just being a “pretty good” NBA player and wasn’t interested in anything more. Batum kind of took a next step last year in his first year as a Hornet and Charlotte fans are definitely interested and excited in what Batum can do going further. I’m here to tell you guys though….tread lightly and prepare yourselves to be disappointed. Just saying.
-Los Angeles Lakers sign (PG) Jordan Clarkson for 4-years, $50 million.
Clarkson averaged 15.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, & 2.4 APG while playing 32 MPG in 79 games for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.
Now this is more like it Lakers! Clarkson was a necessity to re-sign and you did it and you did it with a decent price tag attached to it. Clarkson is only 24 years old and he’s shown some real nice potential his first two-years in the league. This is definitely a guy I would want to keep my hands on if I’m a Lakers fan. He could be a key in the development of Ingram and Russell going forward.
-Miami Heat sign (C) Hassan Whiteside for 4-years, $98-million.
Whiteside averaged 14.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, & 3.7 BPG while playing 29 MPG in 73 games for the Miami Heat last season.
Hassan Whiteside’s story is a feel good one. He went from being a second-round pick by the Sacramento Kings who saw very limited playing time in two seasons for the Kings. After failing to catch on with them, Whiteside’s career looked over. He bounced from D-league team to playing overseas as he attempted to catch on with another NBA team to pursue his dream. Then the time came. The Miami Heat brought him aboard in 2014 and he’s been a beast for them ever since. He’s definitely the perfect example of a player who’s worth a max contract. A guy who’s career looked dead and buried is now considered one of the best defenders in the league and he just got paid for it. Hard work pays off people.
-Detroit Pistons sign (PG) Ish Smith for 3-years, $18-million.
Smith averaged 14.7 PPG, 7.0 APG, & 4.3 RPG while playing 32 MPG in 50 games for the Philadelphia 76ers last season.
This one kind of came out of left field didn’t it? Everyone and their mother assumed that Ish Smith would likely re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers after getting traded there last season and experiencing arguably the greatest success of his career. That didn’t happen though. The Pistons came swooping in and stole Smith with a cheap deal. Smith is now headed to his TENTH NBA team in just six seasons. Even though I like the contract, I’m not a fan of the fit. The smart thing for Smith to do would’ve been to stay with the rising 76ers where he knows he can play. We don’t know what we’re getting with him in Detroit.
-Orlando Magic sign (PG) D.J. Augustin for 4-years, $29-million.
Augustin averaged 11.6 PPG, 4.7 APG, & 1.9 RPG while playing 24 MPG in 28 games for the Denver Nuggets last season. (Augustin was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Nuggets in the middle of the 2015-16 season)
No thanks. Contract is too long for a player who got traded from a great team to a horrible team and ended up inflating his stats. I’m going to pass.
-Brooklyn Nets sign (PG) Jeremy Lin for 3-years, $36-million.
Lin averaged 11.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, & 3.0 APG while playing 26 MPG in 78 games for the Charlotte Hornets last season.
BWHAHAHAHAHA. Seriously Brooklyn? Seriously? Talk about over-paying for a guy that no one else wants. Lin has played for 5 teams in over 6 seasons in the NBA and the Nets will be lucky number 6. Why? Because he’s a inconsistent player who had a really good stretch of games back in 2011-12 and people still go crazy over that. His best bet was to stay in Charlotte on a team-friendly deal, but apparently he wanted to cash in like everyone else. Yuck.
-Washington Wizards sign (SG) Bradley Beal for 5-years, $130-million.
Beal averaged 17.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, & 2.9 APG while playing 31 MPG in 55 games for the Washington Wizards last season.
This contract would scare the ever-loving crap out of me if I were a Washington Wizards fan. Bradley Beal has been a solid NBA player in his first 4 NBA seasons. With his new contract though, Beal needs to be able to take that next step. He needs to go from being a solid NBA player to a great NBA player and I’m not sure he has the talent to pull that off. I understand why the Wizards made this deal though. Beal is a good talent that they drafted and developed and you can’t just let those guys walk out the door. Unfortunately, I think this contract will come back and bite them in the ass. Can the Wizards really take that next step with John Wall and Beal leading the way? I just don’t see it.
-Indiana Pacers sign (C) Al Jefferson for 3-years, $30-million.
Jefferson averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, & 1.5 APG while playing 23 MPG in 47 games for the Charlotte Hornets last season.
This was a solid signing by the Pacers. Al Jefferson is past his prime and is on the decline as an NBA player, but he can still be an effective player off-the-bench for the Pacers. This is one of those moves that didn’t exactly get people excited, but it’s an “under the radar” move that I absolutely love.
-Detroit Pistons sign (C) Andre Drummond for 5-years, $130-million.
Drummond averaged 16.2 PPG, 14.8 RPG, & 1.5 SPG while playing 33 MPG in 82 games for the Detroit Pistons last season.
Another max contract that is well deserved. In his short NBA career, Drummond has arguably blossomed into one of the best NBA centers, if not the best. He’s a rim-protector who may not exactly be a stud on offense, but he’s not really an extreme liability either. The Pistons needed to max out Drummond because if they weren’t willing to do it, there were likely 29 other NBA teams that would have made room for him.
-Milwaukee Bucks sign (PF) Mirza Teletovic for 3-years, $30-million.
Teletovic averaged 12.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, & 1.1 APG while playing 21 MPG in 79 games for the Phoenix Suns last season.
I don’t know what to make of this signing exactly. Teletovic is a player who had a career year last year on a bad team. We have seen plenty of examples of a player who gets his stats inflated on a bad team, signs with a good team and then seemingly disappears. The Bucks are giving this 30-year old, $10 million a year in hopes that he can help them take that next step. This one could get interesting folks, but I think Teletovic may surprise some people.
-Orlando Magic sign (SG) Evan Fournier for 5-years, $85-million.
Fournier averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, & 2.7 APG while playing 33 MPG in 79 games for the Orlando Magic last season.
Another example of a guy who was drafted late in the first-round, went to a team who didn’t utilize him properly, got traded and then exploded. Fournier is getting rewarded for years of hard work and being under-appreciated. The only question going forward is, will he hit coast mode now that he’s getting a big NBA pay day or will he find even more motivation to prove the doubters wrong? He’s a player who really doesn’t provide much outside of scoring and has plenty of room to grow still. It’ll be interesting to see if he can do that.
-Portland Trail Blazers sign (SG) Evan Turner for 4-years, $75-million.
Turner averaged 10.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, & 4.4 APG while playing 28 MPG in 81 games for the Boston Celtics last season.
Turner was Portland’s “plan B”. Portland’s “plan A” this year involved signing Chandler Parsons, getting him to potentially recruit Dwight Howard into the mix and then boomshakalaka. Unfortunately for the Blazers, Parsons had other ideas and the Blazers were forced to go with “plan B”. Well, “plan B” worked out pretty well for the Blazers last year, didn’t it? Even though some Portland fans are less-than-excited about the Turner signing, I’m here to calm your fears. TRUST NEIL OLSHEY PEOPLE! Since getting hired by the Blazers after building the Clippers into a winner, Olshey has done wonderful things in Rip City. I trust that the guy knows what he’s doing as he hasn’t given me a reason not to yet. If he thinks Turner is the perfect fit for this team, who am I to say he’s wrong? Turner was a solid player for Boston and Celtics fans are steaming that he left. Portland fans aren’t exactly joining together and singing “kumbaya” after this signing, but I’m here to tell you to step back from the ledge Blazer fans! It’ll be OK.
-Memphis Grizzlies sign (SF) Chandler Parsons for 4-years, $94.8 million.
Parsons averaged 13.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, & 2.8 APG while playing 30 MPG in 61 games for the Dallas Mavericks last season.
Whew. Sometime in the last couple of days, Trail Blazers fans convinced themselves that Chandler Parsons was a “top-flier” free agent. After reports surfaced Thursday night that Parsons was the Blazers top target in free agency, Blazers fans went “all-in” on him. Really? Was I the only one who was a little confused as to why the Blazers were throwing $90 million at a guy who was coming off his worst season since his rookie year and not to mention the guy has KNEE PROBLEMS. His seasons was shortened last season once again when he suffered another knee injury. Did Blazer fans really want their team to pay almost $100 million to a guy who has bad knees? Haven’t we seen that movie before? No, let the Grizzlies have Parsons. Something tells me this contract is going to end up extremely ugly by the tail end of it. Parsons is a good player, but I want nothing to do with him.
-New Orleans Pelicans sign (SF) Solomon Hill for 4-years, $48-million.
Hill averaged 4.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, & 1.0 APG while playing 15 MPG in 59 games for the Indiana Pacers last season.
No. Just no. Was signing Solomon Hill a top priority for the New Orleans Pelicans? If so, there’s a reason that franchise is such a disaster. Hill is a decent player, but the Pelicans are now paying over $10-million a year to a guy who hasn’t proven that he’s worth that kind of money. Get ready for some disappointment New Orleans.
-Milwaukee Bucks sign (PG) Matthew Dellavedova for 4-years, $38.4-million.
Dellavedova averaged 7.5 PPG, 4.4 APG, & 2.1 RPG while playing 25 MPG in 76 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
The Bucks signed Dellavedova to an offer sheet, so the Cavs can still match the offer. However, if I’m Cleveland, I would let him walk. Delly has been a solid player for the Cavs as a back-up PG, but I feel like they can find a cheaper back-up who is just as good on the open market. When a team wins a championship, the price tag of each player usually goes up. That’s definitely the case here. Let him go Cavs.
-Atlanta Hawks sign (C) Dwight Howard for 3-years, $75-million.
Howard averaged 13.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, & 1.6 BPG while playing 32 MPG in 71 games for the Houston Rockets last season.
This is likely Dwight Howard’s last chance. If he can’t catch on with his hometown Atlanta Hawks, then it’s very likely we have seen him sign his last contract as an NBA player. The eight-time NBA All-Star’s career hasn’t been the same since he left Orlando in 2012. He was a disappointment with the Lakers. He was a disappointment with the Rockets. And now he has another chance with the Hawks and he needs to learn from his past mistakes. Dwight, you should no longer be the #1 option on your team. At this point in your career, you’re more suited to be a defensive monster, who is the 3rd or 4th option on offense. If you can find yourself satisfied with that role and you can become a team player, the Hawks may have just hit the lottery. Those are some big “ifs” though. Just ask Lakers and Rockets fans if you don’t believe me…..
-Memphis Grizzlies sign (PG) Mike Conley for 5-years, $153-million.
Conley averaged 15.3 PPG, 6.1 APG, & 2.9 RPG while playing 31 MPG in 56 games for the Memphis Grizzlies last season.
You guys. Mike Conley is now the highest paid player in the NBA. Yes, I said MIKE FREAKING CONLEY IS THE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE NBA! Going into this off-season, we all knew these NBA contracts were going to be ridiculous. Did we think they were going to be THIS ridiculous though? I mean, are the Grizzlies really happy that they’re blowing all this money on a guy who is a good player but is nowhere near being the best in the league? Did the Grizzlies owner wake up yesterday and convince himself that he had way too much money and needed to go out and blow some cash? Yeesh.
-Orlando Magic sign (SF) Jeff Green for 1-year, $15-million.
Green averaged 10.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, & 1.5 APG while playing 26 MPG in 27 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season. (Green was traded to the Clippers from the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2015-16 season)
A one-year deal for Jeff Green isn’t bad at all. Plus, it’s a smart move by Green. Green goes to a bad team and he will definitely see his stats increase. That opens him up for another big payday next off-season when the NBA contracts are expected to be EVEN BIGGER than this off-season! Wrap your heads around that one folks! Green might be the smartest player in the NBA.
-Brooklyn Nets sign (C) Justin Hamilton for 2-years, $6-million.
Hamilton didn’t play in the NBA last season.
Who the hell is this guy?
-New Orleans Pelicans sign (SG) E’Twaun Moore for 4-years, $34-million.
Moore averaged 7.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, & 1.7 APG while playing 21 MPG in 59 games for the Chicago Bulls last season.
I’m going to go ahead and say it. The Pelicans are the worst ran team in the NBA.
-Phoenix Suns sign (SF) Jared Dudley for 3-years, $30-million.
Dudley averaged 7.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, & 2.1 APG while playing 26 MPG in 81 games for the Washington Wizards last season.
This deal isn’t great, but the best moments of Jared Dudley’s career were from 2009-2013 while playing for the Phoenix Suns. Maybe he can re-capture that magic? He’d better because the Suns are now married to him until 2019.
-Atlanta Hawks sign (SF) Kent Bazemore for 4-years, $70-million.
Bazemore averaged 11.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, & 2.3 APG while playing 28 MPG in 75 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season.
I like this deal. The Hawks needed to bring back some players from last year’s team and if you’re going to gamble on someone, I would prefer the younger Bazemore over Al Horford. Bazemore is an interesting player. He experienced some success in Los Angeles back in 2013-14, but the Lakers decided to stupidly let him walk. He then signed with the Hawks and had a disappointing first year in Atlanta. However, he experienced a career year this year in “HOTlanta” and the team needed to bring him back into the fold. At least they didn’t have to go TOO crazy in doing so.
-New York Knicks sign (C) Joakim Noah for 4-years, $72-million.
Noah averaged 4.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, & 3.8 APG while playing 22 MPG in 29 games for the Chicago Bulls last season.
No, just no. This contract is utterly disgusting and it doesn’t surprise me at all to see that it was the New York Knicks who decided to give the “past-his-prime” Joakim Noah a FOUR YEAR contract! Congratulations Knicks fans. You now have the best team in the NBA…..if it were 2012.
-Utah Jazz sign (SF) Joe Johnson for 2-years, $22-million.
Johnson averaged 13.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, & 3.6 APG while playing 32 MPG in 24 games for the Miami Heat last season. (Johnson was traded to the Heat from the Brooklyn Nets during the season)
This one isn’t that bad of a signing at all. I’ve always been a fan of Joe Johnson. It’s no secret that he’s at the tail end of his career, but Utah taking a gamble on him for two-years is something I can applaud. Johnson is an excellent shooter who can potentially be a starter or even a sixth-man for the Jazz. Not to mention, his contract becomes a potential trade piece next season. Good move.