2014 NBA Free Agent Signing Grades

David Kay’s Free Agent Signing Grades

Recent NBA Free Agent Signing Grades
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff.

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Rajon Rondo goes to Mavericks in a three-team trade

Dallas Gets: Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell
Boston Gets: Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and First-Round Pick

The Mavericks traded for the best distributor in the NBA in Rondo, and this trade makes this contender better. However, the Mavericks have a lot of ball-handlers in Dallas, so the fit isn’t perfect. Also, Rondo is a free agent in the offseason, so I would have used the organization’s assets to trade for a player who would help the Mavericks with an actual weakness. For the Celtics, they could have gotten a lot more for their franchise player, and to me, they got jack. I hate this trade for the Boston.

Grade for Dallas: B+
Grade for Boston: F

Brandon Wright To Phoenix

Boston Gets: Protected First-Round Pick
Phoenix Gets: Brandon Wright

Boston traded one of the players it received for Rondo in Wright to Phoenix – he wasn’t a fit in the Celtics’ re-build – and got another first-round pick, although it is protected. However, I like the trade for Boston. The Suns had to get more size, and Wright gives them an excellent shot-blocking rebounder and a strong scorer who could start for them, but he is likely to be the team’s third big man. This is a nice trade for these two teams.

Grade for Boston: A-
Grade for Phoenix: A

Cavaliers, Knicks, Thunder Three-Team Trade

Cleveland Gets: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Protected First-Round Pick
New York Gets: Alex Kirk, Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson and Second-Round Pick
Oklahoma City Gets: Dion Waiters

Cleveland had to win this season, as LeBron James and Kevin Love can be free agents in the offseason. I see Love walking if the Cavaliers aren’t a title winner this season, so they were smart to make their roster deeper and stronger. Smith gives the team a strong sixth man who will take Waiters’ job. and although Shumpert is injured, he gives Cleveland another perimeter defender when healthy and a solid contributor on offense; however, he will be a free agent and the organization likely will lose him in free agency. Regardless, I like this trade for the Cavaliers, as they also got a first-round pick just for taking Smith and his contract (which is used in another trade in this article).

For the Knicks, this is just trading J.R. Smith and his contract, getting something for Iman Shumpert and making themselves a lesser team, as they are trying to get their first-round pick (if the pick is 6+, they lose it). I like this trade for the Knicks, but I dislike it for the Thunder, as although Waiters is very talented, he has a reputation as a problem in the locker room and is another player who is best with the ball, when they already have plenty of these players. However for Oklahoma City, a pick in the 20s for an excellent talent is nice value, so I cannot penalize the team too harshly, plus he can be an elite sixth man. If the Thunder trades Reggie Jackson as rumored, the organization will lose its sixth man and I will like this trade a lot more.

Grade For Cleveland: A-
Grade For New York: A
Grade For Oklahoma City: C+

Jeff Green Three-Team Trade

Boston Celtics Get: Tayshaun Prince, Austin Rivers and Protected First-Round Pick
Memphis Grizzlies Get: Jeff Green
New Orleans Pelicans Get: Quincy Pondexter

For Boston, this is getting more assets for another veteran who isn’t a fit on a re-building team. The Celtics also got solid value in another first-round pick, a young talent in Austin Rivers and an expiring contract in Prince. Boston now has the most assets in the NBA, an almost perfect-looking cap and something like ten first-round picks over the next three drafts if the protections work out.

The Grizzlies get an elite fourth offensive option and a go-to perimeter scorer with Green, and only had to trade a first-round pick and Pondexter, a lesser player who is also a small forward. I love this trade for Memphis; this team is a contender that is even better than it was. The Pelicans traded a young role player for another young role player, but Pondexter is better than Rivers, so although this is a minor trade it makes New Orleans a better team. This was a strong trade for these three franchises.

Grade For Boston: A
Grade For Memphis: A+
Grade For New Orleans: A

Timofey Mozgov To The Cavaliers Trade

Cleveland Cavaliers Get: Two Protected First-Round Picks
Denver Nuggets Get: Timofey Mozgov

The Cavaliers used the first-round selection they got in the Thunder-Knicks trade to get the center they were desperate for, as Mozgov is a strong starting center and plugs their big hole at the five. This trade gives Cleveland a much better shot at winning a title, and two picks is a small price for that. The Nuggets aren’t making the playoffs, so they were smart to sell a valuable veteran for excellent assets and can also now give more minutes to their ridiculously talented rookie center Jusuf Nurkic. I like this trade for these two franchises.

Grade For Cleveland: A
Grade For Denver: A

Andrei Kirlenko to Sixers Trade

Brooklyn Nets Get: Brandon Davies
Philadelphia 76ers Get: Andrei Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez and a Second-Round Pick

Who cares? Well, I have to write the grades, so I will write the grades. Philadelphia gets a 48th second-round pick for taking Kirilenko’s contract, and the Nets get one of Philadelphia’s scraps, so I will give the 76ers a slightly better grade for getting a useless pick and the Nets get a lesser grade for making me write this. That seems fair.

Grade For Brooklyn: C
Grade For Philadelphia: C-

Minnesota, Houston, Philadelphia Three-Team Trade

Minnesota Timberwolves Get: Troy Daniels and Two Second-Round Picks
Houston Rockets Get: Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved
Philadelphia 76ers Get: Ronny Turiaf and a Second-Round Pick

Minnesota has started trading its veterans with Brewer, and for the trouble, the team got an elite young bench shooter and two second-round picks. That is solid value. Houston, which was desperate for some depth, got itself a third perimeter player, who is an excellent defender – Brewer – and a combo guard to provide some scoring off the bench, and for scraps no less. In short, the Rockets get an A+. The 76ers got a 49th second-round pick and an injured Turiaf, yay!

Grade For Minnesota: A
Grade For Houston: A+
Grade For Philadelphia: C-

Houston Rockets Extend Coach Kevin McHale For Three Seasons

I wasn’t a fan of McHale as a coach, but this season, he has a team lacking depth winning a lot of games, plus playing elite defense. McHale has proven to me that he is a strong NBA coach and he deserved an extension. With James Harden playing like an MVP, Dwight Howard playing like Dwight Howard and Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved brought to the team, the Rockets can win a championship this season.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers Claim Tarik Black

Black was waived by Houston, and the Lakers claimed the big man to help their depth. He is a solid young big man role player, and he is very cheap, so it was a nice decision by the Lakers.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets Sign Josh Smith

Smith was waived by the Pistons where he wasn’t a fit, and the Pistons are now likely a playoff team; why an A- for Houston signing him? The Rockets are contenders, and he gave them a third premier talent and a better starter at power forward. It works better for Houston, too, because Dwight Howard and Smith are close friends. They weren’t going to be a player in the playoffs with their roster and Smith makes them a better team; on paper, you have got to love the signing. However, the court and paper are different.

Grade: A-

Anthony Tolliver To Phoenix Trade

Phoenix Suns Get: Tony Mitchell
Detroit Pistons Get: Anthony Tolliver

The Suns have waived Mitchell, but regardless they had enough big men who can shoot, so they helped themselves financially by making this trade. Detroit lacked a talented third big man after parting with Josh Smith, and trading for a shooter who can play with Andre Drummond or Greg Monroe was a smart idea by Stan Van Gundy. I like this trade for these two franchises, but more so for the Pistons, who are playing excellent basketball and actually got a player they are using and winning with.

Phoenix Grade: A-
Detroit Grade: A

Sacramento Kings Re-Sign Rudy Gay For 3 Years and $40 Million (Third-Season Player Option)
The Kings have re-signed their elite small forward Rudy Gay for three years, although he can exercise a player option, so it is likely a two-season contract. Gay is making about $20 million this season, which is too much, but $13 million a season for a player averaging 21.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks per game makes this new contract an excellent value. Especially since Gay is one of the two franchise players for the Kings. The only problem with this contract is that Sacramento should have signed him for 4-5 years, as the organization could lose him in a couple of seasons. He has become a much better player because of his play with Team USA and is playing like one of the best players in the NBA this season. I love this contract for this franchise.

Grade: A

Indiana Pacers Sign PG A.J. Price at likely league minimum for one season
The Pacers are getting excellent play from Donald Sloan, but starting point guard George Hill and C.J. Watson are injured, and so the team has signed A.J. Price. Price was drafted by Indiana and has played with this team, many of its current players and Frank Vogel, so it’s a solid fit. Price is a solid distributor and a capable scorer, so for a third or fourth point guard, it’s a nice deal for Indiana.

Grade: B

Denver Nuggets Re-Sign PF Kenneth Faried for five seasons, $60 million

Faried is an elite energy guy and rebounder who is a very capable scorer. In any game, he can give the Nuggets 20 to 10 points. Faried is the team’s second-best player, but the potential to become the franchise player and an all-star. Denver had to keep Faried, and as he just played incredible ball in the World Cup, $12 million a season is a bargain of a contract. I love this contract and move by the Nuggets.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of Faried’s extension.

Grade: A+

Utah Jazz Re-Sign G Alec Burks for four years, $42 million

Alec Burks is a solid starting two guard or an elite sixth man, but such players are valued at $6-7 million per season. Yes, he is young (23), keeps getting better and is very productive player, but $10.5 million per season? Wow. Burks wasn’t even a free agent yet, and the Jazz gave him close to double his value. The only reason that this isn’t an F is because of his potential to become an excellent starting shooting guard and his versatility on offense.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of Burks’ deal.

Grade: D-

Phoenix Suns Re-Sign PF Markieff Morris for four years, $32 million

Markieff Morris is a solid starting power forward or an elite third big man; the value there is 7-9 million dollars per season. He is an average rebounder, as is his efficiency, but he can block shots and shoot threes. Morris also keeps getting better and is a nice fit on the Suns. He would be best as a sixth man and was just one of the best in the NBA, but this year he is having his best season and is starting for the Suns, who are looking to make the postseason. Morris is the fourth-best player on a potential playoff team and for $8 million per season that is strong value. I like this deal.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of the deals for the Morris twins.

Grade: A-

Phoenix Suns Re-Sign F Marcus Morris for four seasons, $20 million

Marcus Morris is a talented combo forward, who is best as a stretch four, and is an excellent shooter. He is average in most parts of his game, but he is a 6-9 bench shooter and scorer who has value. Morris is also getting better, like his brother, Marcus; so this is a solid contract. Channing Frye, a similar player and whose role Marucs Morris is taking this season, just got a four-season, $32 million contract this offseason, which makes this deal look better. Stretch fours get paid, and $5 million per season for a strong role player at a valuable position makes this an excellent contract.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of the deals for the Morris twins.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves Re-Sign PG Ricky Rubio for four seasons, $56 million

First, I would like to say that I love Ricky Rubio’s game, but this is too much money. He is actually my pick for Most Improved Player this season, but 14 million dollars per season for a player whose numbers in his third season and rookie season were identical. Rubio has the talent to make this contract a better value than it is today, and I think he will become one of the best point guards in the NBA. However, what matters with this contract is that the Timberwolves will be keeping one of their best players – he is just 24 – and can become elite for four more years.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of Rubio’s contract.

Grade: A-

Charlotte Hornets Re-Sign Kemba Walker for four years, $48 million

Walker is a winner, an excellent scorer and he keeps getting better. He is one of the two best players on a playoff team, and if he can become a better distributor, he can be an NBA All-Star. Walker isn’t going to be an elite point guard, but like Mike Conley, he can be the general of an elite team. $12 million is his value, and if he gets better, which he will, his contract will be a bargain for this team.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of Walker’s extension.

Grade: A

Cleveland Cavaliers Re-Sign C Anderson Varejao for three seasons, $30 million

Varejao is aging and has injury problems, but he is an excellent defender and rebounder who is a strong NBA starting center. $10 million per season for an elite role player and a starting center on a contender is just strong value.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis of Varejao’s deal.

Grade: A

Golden State Warriors Re-Sign SG Klay Thompson for four seasons, $70 million

Klay Thompson is playing ridiculously well this season and is one of the better shooters and scorers in the NBA, but he isn’t a max contract player and isn’t even the best guard on his team. Yes, he deserved a big contract and somebody was going to pay him the max, but he is an average rebounder and distributor, and would he be as strong of a player if he wasn’t playing with Stephen Curry? I doubt it, but the Warriors had to keep him.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis on Thompson’s extension.

Grade: B+

Dallas Mavericks Sign PG J.J. Barea For 1 season, $1.3 million

Dallas has a lot of guards, but Barea has played his best ball with this team. Additionally, he has played in the Mavericks’ system – for their coach with Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler – and brings more depth and bench scoring to a title contender.

Check out Hoopstuff’s in-depth analysis on Barea’s contract.

Grade: A+

Phoenix Suns re-sign PG Eric Bledsoe to 5-year, $70 million deal

Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns have agreed to a five-season contract for 70 million dollars according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The two parties fought over the offseason on this contract for the restricted free agent, who has been the Suns’ best player. Phoenix has made Bledsoe its franchise player with this amount of money; the team was willing to give him 48 million dollars over four seasons, but Bledsoe coveted a max contract of five seasons for 80 million dollars. However, both sides were able to come to an agreement, which is excellent for the Suns, as they found the young franchise player they lacked and had to find once they traded Steve Nash. Phoenix couldn’t let Bledsoe walk, as he would have if he signed the one-season qualifying offer he said he would and which Greg Monroe signed with the Pistons.

Regardless, Bledsoe got the money he coveted and Phoenix got to keep its best player, which means each side should be celebrating. The Minnesota Timberwolves were willing to give him the money, and it had to make the Suns sweat (nice pun), which is why this contract was agreed to in the same week.

Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic were the key duo that helped Phoenix win 48 games when little was expected from the franchise. Ergo, the Suns had to keep this duo together, although Bledsoe is the most vital piece, as he is their best player and young. Bledsoe is 24 and has just one season as a starter, but in that season he would have made the all-star team if he was healthy, and there will be multiple All-Star Games for Bledsoe in Phoenix. He is an elite two-way player, as he is an excellent defender, scorer, athlete, rebounder and a solid distributor who should get better as a point guard. Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.3 blocks in what was just his first season as a starter, so he can get much better and become one of the best guards in the NBA.

There are a couple of problems or concerns when it comes to Bledsoe. First being he had a big injury in his only season playing 30+ minutes per contest, so there has to be at least some concern that this could be an issue for the team. Second, Phoenix has three point guards (yes, Dragic can play the twi) making a combined 28-29 million dollars this season, with Eric Bledsoe at $14 million and with Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas each making $7-8 million. There is no problem with the money given to Bledsoe if he stays healthy though, it is just pretty weird to have three players at the same position making so much money. Regardless of these concerns, the Suns have re-signed a young franchise player for five seasons who can be the centerpiece of a winning franchise. Now, Phoenix has to focus on re-signing Dragic to keep the elite guard duo in town.

Grade: A+

Golden State Warriors sign PG Leandro Barbosa to a 1-year veteran’s minimum contract (non-guaranteed)

The Warriors’ biggest weakness going into the offseason was bench production. They had two excellent young talents in Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, and signed Brandon Rush and Shaun Livingston – both strong signings, as is Barbosa. Barbosa isn’t the player he was on those title-contending Phoenix teams, but he can still come off the bench for 20 minutes per game and give the Warriors 10 points and energy. For a minimum contract that is a bargain – a big one.

Grade: A+

Detroit Pistons re-sign PF Greg Monroe to a 1-year, 10.2 million-dollar contract

A 1-year contract for 10.2 million dollars is elite value for a young player like Monroe; the problem is the Pistons couldn’t sign the All-Star talent restricted free agent for more than a season. He is just 24, and even with Josh Smith signed to a contract that is far too big, one season for Monroe is ridiculous. There is zero reason why he shouldn’t be signed for three to five seasons.

Grade: F

Chicago Bulls sign G E’Twaun Moore to a 2-year, two million-dollar contract (non-guaranteed)

Moore is a solid rotation NBA player, and this contract is solid value, but the Bulls are very crowded at the one, two and three. Yes, Chicago would like insurance for Derrick Rose in case he is injured, but the team has that with Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks. If Moore gets off the bench for more than 5 minutes per game, he would be lucky. There isn’t a concern with the player or the contract, but the fit is a question mark.

Grade: B+

Sacramento Kings sign PG Ramon Sessions to a 2-year, 4.19 million-dollar contract

The funny thing about this contract is that Sessions might be better than the player at the same position the Kings signed for about 4 times this contract, Darren Collison. Sessions is a very strong scorer and distributor who has started a lot of games and is one of the best second point guards in the NBA. You have to love this contract.

Grade: A+

Chicago Bulls re-sign C Nazr Muhammad to a 1-year veteran minimum contract (non-guaranteed)

Muhammad has played as the second center for multiple seasons with the Bulls and has played 10-15 minutes of physical and tough ball for them, defending and rebounding. With Pau Gasol likely to be the second center as well as the starting four, Muhammad won’t be playing much, but when Tom Thibodeau plays him, he will perform. This a smart signing by the Bulls, keeping a strong veteran at the minimum in the locker room.

Grade: A

L.A. Clippers sign PF Ekpe Udoh to a 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

Udoh was drafted sixth, which now looks very funny, but he is still just 27 and very productive. Per-36 minutes in four NBA seasons, he has averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, so he is an elite shot blocker and can play defense, which this team lacked from its big men. Udoh will be playing for a talented defensive coach in Doc Rivers, and he has the chance to make Udoh an excellent rotation big man.

Grade: A+

L.A. Clippers sign G-F Chris Douglas Roberts to a 1-year veteran-minimum contract

Chris Douglas Roberts can score – there is no doubting this – but they already have too many players at the twp and three, and he will take playing time from Reggie Bullock and C.J. Wilcox, who are each strong young talents. It is difficult believing in a player who has played for four teams in 5 years and he just isn’t a fit on this team.

Grade: D+

L.A. Clippers sign SF Hedo Turkoglu to a 1-year veteran-minimum contract

Turkoglu has barely played in two seasons, but he is a solid veteran on a contender who can play a role if given minutes or just be a nice player to have in practice and the locker room. Turkoglu is a versatile player, as he is an elite shooter and an excellent distributor, and if given minutes, he should produce.

Grade: B-

Sacramento Kings sign C Ryan Hollins to a 2-year veteran-minimum contract

Hollins is a mediocre second center and having their best player’s reserve be so pedestrian is just a poor decision by the Kings. However a minimum contract is a minimum contract, so it isn’t that poor of a contract.

Grade: C+

New Orleans Pelicans re-sign G/F Darius Miller to a 2-year veteran-minimum contract (non guaranteed)

Miller is an average fourth or fifth perimeter player, but he is young and can get better, and for a minimum contract, there isn’t much to dislike.

Grade: B

Dallas Mavericks re-sign C Bernard James to a 2-year veteran-minimum contract (second season non-guaranteed)

You have to like James, who was in the military and made it to the NBA when he was 27. He is actually very productive, and for a third center who averages 9.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per 36 minutes playing on a minimum contract, that is ridiculous value for any team.

Grade: A+

Oklahoma City Thunder sign PG Sebastian Telfiar to a 1-year veteran-minimum contract

Yes, Telfair isn’t an NBA starter and hasn’t played the way most believed he would when he was drafted, but he is capable scorer and distributor who gets steals, and as the third point guard in Oklahoma City, he won’t be asked to play a big role, but in the 10-minute Derek Fisher role, he could help this team. Expectations aren’t too big, and with a minimum salary, there isn’t a problem with this contract.

Grade: A-

Memphis Grizzlies sign F Michael Beasley to a likely 1-year veteran-minimum contract (non-guaranteed)

Michael Beasley is a very talented scorer and rebounder – and yes, he isn’t the elite player most thought he would become – but he has proven in each city he has played in that he can put the ball in the basket. From his six seasons in the NBA, Beasley is averaging a ridiculous 19.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per 36 minutes, however the Memphis Grizzlies have elite chemistry and play defense-first basketball. However, Beasley isn’t a defender and isn’t considered the best player for chemistry in the NBA, which is saying it rather nicely, and despite the offense he can give Memphis, there was zero reason for this team to sign him.

Grade: F

Atlanta Hawks re-sign PF Elton Brand to a likely 1-year veteran-minimum contract

The Hawks have one of the better frontcourts in the NBA, but have wisely re-signed veteran Elton Brand. He isn’t the player he used to be, but he is still a very solid two-way player and a strong veteran for the locker room.

Grade: A

L.A. Lakers sign SG Wayne Ellington to a likely 1-year veteran-minimum contract

Ellington fits L.A.’s style of play, as the Lakers have a lot of scorers and a lot of shooting, and that is his strength. His role isn’t defined for the Lakers, but he is an excellent three-point shooter and for likely the minimum, he has a bargain contract.

Grade: A

Utah Jazz sign SF Kevin Murphy to a 3-year veteran-minimum contract (non-guaranteed)

A D-League All-Star, Murphy is a talented scorer, who on a non-guaranteed contract could prove to be incredible value for the Jazz if he makes the team and is given minutes. The guy can score, and on a young team that isn’t going to be winning games, he could help Utah. Murphy has a lot of potential, and there is zero money guaranteed, sowhat isn’t there to like?

Grade: A-

Kevin Love goes to Cleveland in a three-team trade

Cleveland Gets: Kevin Love

Minnesota Gets: Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett and a Trade Exception

Philadelphia Gets: First-Round Pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved

The Cavaliers have traded for the best offensive big man in the NBA and now have the best Big Three in the NBA, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Love will become Cleveland’s second-option offensively, but you can still expect 23+ points and 12+ rebounds and an All-NBA selection. He is one of the five best players in the NBA, and although the price was high, this is a trade the Cavaliers made with no hesitation. The team is now one of the two favorites in the East and can win a title next season.

The Timberwolves traded their best player and one of the five best players in the NBA, but he wasn’t going to re-sign next offseason and they had to get value for him while they could. Happily for Minnesota, the team received incredible value; the two most recent No. 1 picks in the NBA Draft and one of the biggest packages for a player in NBA history. Andrew Wiggins was just the No. 1 pick in an excellent draft and is an NBA-ready shooter and defender who has the skill and athleticism to become one of the best perimeter players in the NBA. He is the Timberwolves’ next franchise player at just 20 years old. Bennett had a poor rookie season, but he is still an athletic power forward who can be a double-double player in the NBA and an excellent starting power forward. Bennett should be Minnesota’s starter when Thaddeus Young is a free agent in one to two offseasons. As for Young, he is a very strong two-way player – and one of the best combo forwards in the NBA – and will be the organization’s starting power forward next season. He has a player option, so he may just be a one-season rental. However with the defense of Wiggins and Young and the offense of each of these players, the Timberwolves could actually be a better team next season. The team now has one of the best young rosters in the league with Wiggins-Rubio-Bennett-LaVine-Dieng-Muhammad while already having franchise center in Nikola Pekovic. In short, Minnesota’s future is looking excellent.

The 76ers traded Young, their second-best player, for more assets as they keep tanking. I hate the way they run their franchise, but they got another first-round pick and two role players who can help the team next season. However, the value for the player Philadelphia traded is just poor. Young is so much better than Shved, Luc and a pick.

Grade for Cleveland: A+
Grade for Minnesota: A+
Grade for Philadelphia: D+

Cleveland Cavaliers sign SF Shawn Marion to a 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

The value of this contract is incredible. Marion could have made $5+ million per season, but will make veteran’s minimum for the Cavaliers next season, because he would like to play on a contender. Marion is an excellent defender and rebounder, as well as a capable scorer. Though he will likely play off the bench, he will be a key player for Cleveland and should still play 25+ minutes per game, as LeBron James will play a lot at the four and Marion can come in and play the three. Marion adds another defender to a team that has little defense and another veteran with a ring. It’s ridiculous how much talent the Cavaliers are putting on this team for minimum contracts.

Grade: A+

Houston Rockets sign SF Francisco Garcia to a 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

Garcia is familiar with this team, fills a role as a shooter off the bench, although he is somewhat one dimensional. His job will be to come in and hit three-pointers to give Dwight Howard and James Harden space to move. The Rockets are a far lesser team this season by failing to sign any elite free agents, but resigning a capable role player for the minimum is a very nice signing.

Grade: A-

Toronto Raptors sign SF Jordan Hamilton to a 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

Perimeter depth was a weakness for the Raptors, so they drafted Bruno Caboclo and DeAndre Daniels, and signed James Johnson and Jordan Hamilton. Signing Hamilton was another move for depth, and he is the best offensive perimeter player the team has brought to Canada this offseason, as he is an excellent shooter and scorer. Hamilton will come off the bench and hit a lot of three-pointers, and even for 10-15 minutes per game, he can play a role. Hamilton is also very young, so he could get even better. This was a very smart signing for the Raptors, who have had an excellent offseason.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets sign SF Kostas Papanikolaou to a 2-year, $9.6 million contract (team option for the second season)

Who? The Greek forward is 24 and has played in some of the best leagues in Europe, but he isn’t very productive. Papanikolaou is a very efficient scorer and a solid rebounder, but why the Rockets feel like they giving him this much money, I have no clue. Darryl Morey’s staff is excellent at evaluating international talent, so you have to give the team some slack, but for now this looks like an organization that has had a very poor offseason trying to make a splash, but it’s way too much money. This contract has only one season guaranteed, so at least Houston was smart on the length of the contract.

Grade: D+

San Antonio Spurs sign PF Matt Bonner for 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

Spurs fans love Bonner, and he is a role player who fits the team perfectly and has played in San Antonio for about a decade. As long as he can help, there was no reason for them to have him walk. Bonner has one skill, shooting, but he is excellent and that keeps him with Gregg Popovich for one more season.

Grade: A

Miami Heat sign SG Reggie Williams for 1-year, veteran-minimum contract

Williams can shoot and can score, and for a depth player on a contender, that warrants you a spot on their roster. For a fifth guard and 12th man, Williams is a nice fit.

Grade: A-

Atlanta Hawks re-sign Mike Scott to a 3-year, $10 million deal

Scott is what I like to call a per-minute all-star. He played 18.5 minutes per game, but per 36 minutes, he averaged 18.6 points and 6.9 rebounds. To put that into perspective, Paul Millsap was an all-star for the Hawks and averaged 17.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per game. Pretty close right? $3.33 million per season for a productive player at a premium position (stretch four), who is still just 25 and should get better is one excellent deal. Atlanta has a crowded frontcourt, and Scott’s minutes once again won’t be as much as he deserves, but he is a value signing who also has a lot of value on the trade market. There really isn’t anything to dislike about this signing for the Atlanta Hawks.

Grade: A+

For deeper coverage: http://www.thehoopstuff.com/atlanta-hawks-mike-scott-re-signing-grade/

Dallas Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson to a 1-year, veteran minimum contract

Johnson played very well in Atlanta for multiple seasons, yet couldn’t find a job and wasn’t in the NBA for a year, but he has returned to the U.S. with the Mavericks and on a steal of a contract. He is a solid power forward, who should take the Dejuan Blair role as a physical reserve big man who can contribute on the boards and score. This is another strong signing by the Mavericks as they keep adding very talented role players for minimum contracts.

Grade: A-

Miami Heat sign Shawne Williams to a likely 1-year, veteran minimum contract

This is about as boring of a signing as there can be in the NBA. A minimum-signing contract grade for a player who isn’t likely to play much and is a borderline NBA player. What can Heat fans expect from Williams? He will take a lot of threes, as in six NBA seasons he has shot a ridiculous number of three-pointers for someone who has shot just 33.3 percent in the NBA (5.3 per 36 minutes). However, Williams’ defensive numbers are solid and he is a very strong rebounder, so he could help, but his season-to-season numbers are so inconsistent and he is such a poor offensive player, that this signing makes little sense to me. At least it’s just likely a minimum-salary contract.

Grade: C+

Oklahoma City Thunder re-sign Grant Jerrett to a 2-year, veteran minimum contract

The Thunder have re-signed Grant Jerrett who starred for the organization in the D-League and is a recent second-round pick of the team’s. He is a 6-10 stretch four, and a very talented one at that. In his one season in the D-League, Jerrett averaged 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and shot 36.8 percent from three point-range, with 4.9 attempts per game. Oklahoma City currently lack a pure stretch four on its roster, and if he is able to adjust to the NBA, he could be another weapon for the club to bring off the bench. This is a very strong signing for the Thunder that has essentially no risk.

Grade: A

Sacramento Kings trade Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw to New York Knicks for Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Tyler and a second-round pick

This is about as boring as NBA trades get as it is likely that these five pieces will mean little to either team, but the Kings are the winners. Ellington and Outlaw are each perimeter players, but Ellington is better. Similarly, Tyler and Acy are both bigs, but Tyer is better. In the end, the Knicks trade the away better player at each of the positions and also give the Kings a pick. That makes little sense. Sacramento is making this trade to clear cap space, as there is a strong chance that neither player will be on the roster, while the Knicks made this trade because they like Quincy Acy, but New York still made a poor trade.

Grade for Sacramento: A-
Grade for New York: C-
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San Antonio Spurs re-sign Tony Parker to a 3-year, $43.3 million deal
The Spurs have re-signed one of their two all-star Hall of Famers, Tony Parker. Parker is still in his prime and was the Spurs’ only all-star this season, making his sixth All-Star Team and winning his fourth NBA Title. Despite playing 13 seasons and being 32, he is still an elite NBA player and the key to the Spurs’ offense. There was little doubt that he was going to be playing in San Antonio for the rest of his career – as is the San Antonio way for its stars – but he was a free agent next offseason and the Spurs have protected themselves from the very small chance he decided to chase money.

Parker is technically now signed for four seasons and $55.8 million, but he has shown little signs of slowing. His numbers this season were lower than normal, but he played less than 30 minutes per game. In fact no player on the Spurs played 30 minutes, but his per-36 numbers were similar and still elite at 20 points and seven assists on 50-percent shooting and 37 percent three-point shooting. He is quick and hasn’t thrived because of his athleticism, so he should age well into his mid-30s like Tim Duncan.

The price is a bit too much for someone who will be 36 and making more than 14 million per season, but the Spurs are paying him for loyal service and star-caliber play for a decade. He could be an all-star at 35-36 like Steve Nash and has taken large discounts for San Antonio for two contracts, so he deserves to be paid and so the franchise is rewarding him. This is just the way the Spurs run their team, and you can’t argue with them as they are the best franchise since the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls.

Grade: A-

Chicago Bulls sign PG Aaron Brooks at league minimum for one year
The Bulls lost D.J. Augustin to the Pistons, so they had to find a cheap scoring point guard, which is a big part of their offense and vital to the franchise for Derrick Rose insurance. If Rose misses the season, they have no shot at a title, but if he misses 10 games, Kirk Hinrich cannot provide the offense needed from the point guard position, Brooks can. He is the Bulls’ next player in a long line of bottom-barrel minimum-salary scoring-point guard signings, and maybe he can follow C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, Nate Robinson and Augustin as small, score-first guards who excel in Chicago. Brooks has excellent natural scoring abilities and for the minimum is an excellent signing.

Grade: A

Charlotte Hornets sign Lance Stephenson to a 3-year, $27 million deal with a third-season team option
The Hornets tried giving a max contract to Gordon Hayward, but the Jazz matched, so Charlotte went a different route and signed another all-star-caliber perimeter player – and for only $18 million guaranteed. There’s a chance that Stephenson’s immaturity affects the locker room, but he is a $10 million-plus per season player, an excellent defender and scorer, and one of the best distributing and rebounding perimeter players in the league. He declined the Pacers’ five-season, $44 million contract (all guaranteed) offer, which is a fair contract, yet the Hornets only had to spend $27 million for an all-star-caliber player who is just 24 and will provide them with a secondary distributor to Kemba Walker and a third scoring option. This is one of the best value contracts of the offseason based on talent, but I wouldn’t have touched him with a 10-foot pole because of his immaturity.

Grade: A-

Los Angeles Lakers hire Head Coach Byron Scott
What a ridiculously long coaching search, especially since we all were aware for weeks that Byron Scott was the Lakers’ preferred choice. Was there some secret coach who they wouldn’t share with the press who said no or were they just incompetent? I lean toward the former, as is smart with this franchise recently. Regardless, Scott has won the East twice and coached some very strong New Orleans teams with Chris Paul and David West. Scott is one of the 15 or so best coaches in the NBA, and it only cost the Lakers $19 million for four seasons, which is nice value in the NBA.

Grade: A-

New Orleans Pelicans sign G Jimmer Fredette at league minimum for one year
Jimmer! I may be one of the only believers of him remaining – and he won’t be able to escape the stigma of being a failed lottery pick – but quietly he has proven that he is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. The Pelicans lost their ace three-point shooter Anthony Morrow to the Thunder and signed Jimmer for about 10 percent of the cost. The ironic part is that Jimmer just shot 47.6 percent from three-point range and had a PER of 15.88, while Morrow shot 45.1 percent from three-point and had a PER of just 13.96. Yes, they are both elite shooters and yes, Morrow is the better player, but Fredette for just $1 million is incredible value by the Pelicans. He may be the Tim Tebow of the NBA, but he still has a job.

Grade: A+

Boston Celtics sign G/F Evan Turner to a 2-season deal with undisclosed money
The Celtics have signed Evan Turner to a 2-year contract, yet the exact financial details aren’t released. However, it is likely in the 2-3.5 million per season range and anywhere in that range is very strong value. Is he the player that averaged 17.4 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game on a porous Philly team or the player who averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on a championship caliber Indiana team? Probably in the middle. He is a big talent who has produced big numbers and there is little risk with this contract, so it’s a solid move for the Celtics.

Grade: B+

Atlanta Hawks re-sign PG Shelvin Mack to a 3-year, $7.5 million contract
Mack won the reserve point guard spot that was expected to go to mid-first-round pick Dennis Schroder and ran away with it, playing a big role for the playoff bound Hawks. In 20.4 minutes per game he averaged a strong 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.7, although on mediocre efficiency, shooting just 41.7 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from 3. Regardless, he is just 24 and on a very fair contract, so there isn’t anything to dislike about this contract.

Grade: A

Dallas Mavericks sign PG Jameer Nelson to a 2-year, $5.6 million deal with a second-season player option
This is one of the best moves of the offseason. With their trade for Tyson Chandler and their signing of Chandler Parsons, they are now a contender in the Western Conference. They still had one big need though, a strong starting point guard who can run an offense and isn’t just a scorer and they have found one in Nelson. Nelson’s value is at least 5 million per season, but for just 2.8 million per season, a steal. He should start for the Mavericks, as he is by far their best distributor.

Grade: A+

Dallas Mavericks sign SF Al Farouq Aminu at league minimum for one year
What a move for the Mavericks. Aminu deserves at least 3 million per season and I wouldn’t have blinked an eye if he signed a 3 season, 12 million dollar contract. He is an excellent perimeter defender, arguably the best on their roster and an elite rebounder for a perimeter player. He’s still just 23 and has started for 2 seasons in New Orleans, so this is an incredible value signing with no risk and big reward. He should play 20 minutes a night, on a contender and will only be paid about a million dollars; ridiculous.

Grade: A+

Phoenix Suns sign PF Anthony Tolliver to a 2-year, $6 million contract
The Magic signed the Suns’ stretch 4 Channing Frye to a ridiculous 4 season, 32 million dollar contract, but the Suns were able to sign a player for less than half of that per season who this season shot a far better percentage from 3. That is the primary job of a stretch 4 by the way. Yes Channing Frye is the better player, but the difference isn’t that of 5 million per season.

Grade: A-

Toronto Raptors sign F James Johnson to a 2-year, $5 million deal
James Johnson had an excellent season in Memphis and for just 2.5 million per season, the Raptors signed their best perimeter defender and a strong scorer, distributor and rebounder. He will play a big role on one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and could even start for them next season.

Grade: A

Milwaukee Bucks claim PG Kendall Marshall off waivers and acquire his $900,000 contract
This is one of my favorite moves of the offseason, but probably because I am a fan of Marshall and his game, that would be a much better fit in the ’80s. Regardless, the Lakers thought that 900,000 contract was too much for a player who averaged 8.8 assists per game, 3rd most in the NBA and made 40 percent of his 3’s but the Lakers have no clue how to run a team right now. As for the Bucks, they can move Brandon Knight, their most recent leading scorer to shooting guard where he is a better fit and start Marshall, who is one of the best distributors in the NBA. They might have claimed their starting point guard for just 900k.

Grade: A+

Milwaukee Bucks sign PG Jerryd Bayless to a 2-year, $6 million deal
This isn’t an easy grade, because as you just read, Kendall Marshall is a Buck too and with Marshall, Knight, Wolters and Mayo, they have enough small guards, but when Bayless was signed, Marshall wasn’t on the roster. So I will grade this as though Marshall isn’t there. Bayless is a strong value at just 3 million per season, as he is one of the better scoring sixth men in the NBA, so there is little problem with the signing, except that he is the type of player that a playoff team or a contender should sign for bench production, while the Bucks (although better) are one of the weakest teams in the NBA and have no chance at the playoffs. He is a luxury signing, however I like the player and the contract, so I cannot grade this too harshly for the Bucks.

Grade: C+

Miami Heat re-sign Udonis Haslem to a 2-year $5.6 million deal
I have a Heat writer who writes for me and wrote a touching article on Haslem when he re-signed. He is a Heat fan and loves Udonis Haslem, which is the same for all fans of the team. Why? He has played for them for about a decade, took a big discount to help them add talent when they signed the Big 3 and has helped them win 3 titles and the East 5 times. Is his value at nearly 3 million per season? Arguable, as he is still a capable rebounder and a physical player to bring off the bench, but for sentiments sake, that would be a yes.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Timberwolves re-sign G/F Robbie Hummel to a 1-year, league-minimum contract
Hummel had a very poor rookie season, but he is a hard worker, who had to fight his way to the NBA after 2 knee injuries and made the Timberwolves’ roster despite being picked in the 50’s, which isn’t normal. Hummel isn’t an NBA starter, but he can be a strong shooter and scorer off the bench and will give effort on a daily basis. This isn’t a big move, but 13 players have to be signed to each roster, so here we are.

Grade: B-

Minnesota Timberwolves sign PG Mo Williams to a 1-year, $3.75 million deal
Mo Williams’ value is at about 4 million per season, so the contract is solid and he fills a need of a better reserve point guard and sixth man, but the problem is that this is a team that will be trading Kevin Love and although they technically won’t be rebuilding, their franchise player will be Andrew Wiggins who is just 20. They won’t be making the playoffs next season and Mo should be a sixth man on a playoff team, just like Portland, the team he just played for. The fit is a little bit odd, but I like the value.

Grade: B

Cleveland Cavaliers sign SF James Jones at league minimum for one year
Signing a teammate of LeBron, who is one of the best shooters in the NBA, plays well with James and costs about a million dollars, yeah that’s about a perfect signing for the Cavaliers.

Grade: A+

Indiana Pacers re-sign PF Lavoy Allen at league minimum for one season
Lavoy was in the Turner-Granger trade and although he couldn’t make the rotation in Indiana, he is still a very productive bench player when given time and has started for Philly and although Philly is, well, Philly, he played well. He is still the 5th big man in Indiana and the 3rd power forward, but he is far too qualified for that role, making this an excellent signing.

Grade: A

Detroit Pistons sign C Aaron Gray 2-year deal that is likely at the minimum and likely not guaranteed
Aaron Gray has 1 talent and that is being really, really big and that is valuable in the NBA and these players will be paid. For 10-15 minutes per game he will play in the paint, rebound, score some and for just about 1 million per season, that is solid value.

Grade: B

Houston Rockets sign SG Troy Daniels to a 2-seasons, $2 million deal
Daniels was a random hero for the Rockets, coming from the D-League to a playoff team’s rotation in a matter of weeks. He is an elite shooter and for someone so young, is incredibly clutch and plays like a vet. In a matter of one playoff series he went from being a nobody, to a valued member of their rotation. He should be their bench shooter next season and play solid minutes as James Harden’s main reserve.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets sign PG Ish Smith at league minimum for one year
Smith can defend and is a capable distributor and for the minimum you really cannot be harsh on grades, but he can’t shoot or score and if he is to be their reserve point guard, that is a shame, since they are a contender (or is it were a contender). He is similar to their starting point guard Patrick Beverley, just a far lesser version and Beverley shouldn’t really be a starter so that’s telling. James Harden is technically their point guard, as he has the ball a lot and he is a porous defender so having a guard next to him that is strong in that area is wise, but come on Houston, get a real point guard. There’s a guy named Eric Bledsoe who is still a free agent fyi and you have a lot of money.

Grade: B

Brooklyn Nets sign SF Bojan Bogdanovic to a 3-year, $10 million contract
Bojan, brother of Bogan, the Suns’ first-round pick (Bogan Bogdanovic will be the best name in the NBA, Bojan is close) was a second-round pick himself recently. The problem is that his brother is better. Bojan has played in some of the best leagues in the world and is an experienced player (he’s 25), so he should be NBA ready. He is a strong shooter, although inconsistent from season to season, as he has gone from elite to mediocre on several occasions and he can score, but he isn’t much of a rebounder or distributor or defender. Regardless, he’s scored a lot of points in some of the world’s best leagues, so he could be a steal for the Nets.

Grade: B

Sacramento Kings sign SF Omri Casspi at league minimum for one year
There is really only 1 word to describe Casspi and that would be average. He’s a mediocre shooter, scorer, rebounder and defender, but he has only regressed since entering the NBA. He isn’t even needed on the Kings and he keeps switching teams, which says something about how teams value him, but it’s just a million dollars, so there is no risk.

Grade: B-

Charlotte Hornets sign PG Jannero Pargo to what is likely a 1-year, minimum dollar deal
Apparently Pargo is friends with Al Jefferson, who is the Hornets’ (I keep writing Bobcats) best player, so that’s something. Pargo is a strong offensive point guard and although he isn’t likely to play much with the Hornets (I just wrote Bobcats a 2nd time), for a 10-12th player there are much lesser options and he will score and he will make threes when given minutes. His per 36 minute numbers (the best way to value a role player) are excellent and he just played some of the best basketball in his 10 season career with the Hornets, so I actually really like this move.

Grade: A

New York Knicks re-sign Cole Aldrich to what is likely a 1-year, minimum dollar deal
I may be the only person in the world who actually appreciates this signing. He can rebound and he can block shots and they need someone on the team to provide them with at least some of what Tyson Chandler gave them. Stoudemire, Bargnani and Jason Smith aren’t going to be protecting the rim. He’s a prototypical center and in my opinion the Knicks should start him and for the minimum, that is an excellent signing for Phil Jackson.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers successfully amnesties and signs PF Carlos Boozer at $4 million for one year
Carlos Boozer for 4 million? That is excellent value as Chicago was set to pay him 17 million this season. With Boozer they have a player that could help them go on a playoff run and although that isn’t likely, Boozer makes their odds just a little better. However, he will take minutes away from their stud rookie Julius Randle, but besides that, there isn’t anything to dislike about this singing by the Lakers.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers re-sign G/F Wesley Johnson at league minimum for one year
Johnson is one of the biggest draft flops of the decade, as he was the 4th pick in the John Wall draft, but he is actually likely to start for the Lakers next season again. His numbers were relatively solid in Los Angeles, as he averaged more than 9 points and 4 rebounds per game and he became a respectable 3 point shooter, at 36.9 percent on 3.4 shots per game. He is a strong defender too, as he just averaged a steal and block per game and is arguably the best perimeter defender on the roster. A starter, no matter how mediocre, for just 1 million dollars is nice value.

Grade: A-

Los Angeles Lakers re-sign PF Ryan Kelly to a 2-year , $3.5 million deal
His rookie season was rather mediocre, but he is almost 7 feet tall and shot 34 percent from 3. This makes him valuable. I’d rather have him for 1.75 million per season that Frye for 8. There are a lot of big men on the Lakers though, so playing time could be difficult to find. Regardless, this is excellent value for a capable stretch 4.

Grade: Grade A-

Los Angeles Lakers sign PF/C Ed Davis at league minimum for one year
Davis is another young talent who signed for a ridiculous discount. Davis still isn’t a starter, but he is an excellent per minute producer, whose value is at least 300 percent more. He will be the 3rd of 4th big man in Los Angeles, will defend, score and rebound. He has a chance to recoup some of his value with a strong season, but this signing is a steal for the Lakers.

Grade: A+

Los Angeles Lakers re-sign G/F Xavier Henry at league minimum for one year
Henry played well for the first time in the NBA with the Lakers this season and he is a decent perimeter scorer who is likely to play about 20 minutes per game. Lakers fans like him, so there’s that.

Grade: A-

Orlando Magic sign PG Luke Ridnour to a 2-year, $4 million contract
They will be starting a rookie point guard and he will need a veteran mentor and they will need a strong 2nd option if he should have difficulty and Ridnour is a nice signing, especially for just 2 million per season. Most reserve point guards were receiving in the 2.5-3 million range, so they also got solid value for him.

Grade: A-

Washington Wizards sign DeJuan Blair to a 2-year, $6 million contract
This was technically a sign and trade with the Mavericks, but all they traded was a random 2nd round pick from a half decade ago who isn’t likely to play in the NBA, so let’s call it a signing. This is excellent value for an excellent role player. Blair can score and rebound and is a very physical big man, who should be the 4th big in an incredibly deep frontcourt. His value is double what he signed for, so another strong signing for the Wizards.

Grade: A

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