NBA Free Agency Day 2 Grades
- Al Horford signs with the Celtics: 4 years, $113 million.
While Horford won’t instantly make the Celtics contenders, the C’s finally get a star they’ve been wanting. The problem is – Horford is not quite a star like they’re paying him to be. He’s very good… but he’s not a star. On the bright side, he will really help out Boston’s porous interior D right away, while adding a versatile offensive weapon for Brad Stevens. His injury history and age scare me a bit, especially since he’s a big, but this is a solid signing.
- Ryan Anderson signs with the Rockets: 4 years, $80 million.
The good: Ryan Anderson is arguably the best stretch four in the game who fits into D’Antonio’s run-and-gun system and gives Houston a nice complementary scorer to James Harden.
The bad: Who’s going to play defense in Houston? Anderson and Harden are two of the worst defenders in the league. If you like 150-148 games, buy the NBA League pass… You’re bound to see plenty of those this season. But defense still wins championships, and Houston, as it stands, owns one of the worst stop units in the league. The Rockets are squandering Harden’s prime.
- Loul Deng signs with the Lakers: 4 years, $72 million.
This is a LOT of money going to a guy that probably (and shouldn’t) start much. The Lakers would be foolish to start and play Deng in favor of their young wing/four players in Ingram, Randle and Nance Jr. But they’re paying him like a starter! Honestly, the Lakers are giving the Kings a run for their money as worst run franchise in the NBA. At least Deng provides leadership, albeit expensively, shooting and defense to a team that really needs it.
- Bismack Biyombo signs with the Magic: 4 years, $70 million.
Speaking of terribly run franchises, the Magic sign another big man. I like the value and think Biyombo is pretty good, but how many bigs do you need? The Magic now have Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic, and Biyombo in the same frontcourt. Ibaka, Vucevic and Biyombo are all paid like starters (and all should start), while Gordon is a promising and athletic young combo forward. The Magic should trade one of these guys – and that will probably be Vucevic, as the current ensemble cannot coexist in the same frontcourt. It’s sad that they’re squandering the development of such a promising young talent in Gordon.
- Marvin Williams resigns with the Hornets: 4 years, $54.5 million.
Williams is a nice 3-and-D combo forward who has really resurrected his career after a disappointing beginning. He’s a solid starter, and this isn’t the most egregious signing of the off-season.
- Jon Leuer signs with the Pistons: 4 years, $42 million.
Leuer fits the mold as a stretch four. He can also rebound well and fits like a glove in SVG’s system. This may seem like a lot, but Mirza Teletovic received a 3-year $10 mil/year deal, and Leuer is better and also younger. Solid deal for the Pistons, who are quietly having a great off-season. On Wisconsin!
- Aaron Afflalo signs with the Kings: 2 years, $25 million.
I don’t understand why a veteran like Afflalo, who could’ve attracted many suitors as a 3-and-D wing, would sign with the most inept franchise in the league. It’s a good deal for the Kings, though, as he’s a capable starter who fits the mold of a 3-and-D two guard.
- Trevor Booker signs with the Nets: 2 years, $18 million.
Although not quite a stretch four, Booker can stretch the floor a little and compete inside. Still, $9 per season is a lot for a big that can’t defend the rim and consistently stretch the floor.
- Anthony Tolliver signs with the Kings: 2 years, $16 million.
Tolliver can stretch the floor well (36% on 3.8 attempts per game) as a big, but that’s about it.
- Courtney Lee signs with the Knicks: 4 years, $50 million.
Nice deal for the Knicks. With D-Rose and ‘Melo serving as the primary ball handlers, the Knicks needed a two-guard that would knock down open treys and defend the perimeter. That described Courtney Lee. Lee has a length injury history and will be almost 35 when this contract runs up, however.
- Austin Rivers resigns with the Clippers: 3 years, $35 million.
Meh. Rivers has much improved his overall defense and is versatile offensively, but he’s not $12 mil per season good. Austin should thank his daddy for this contract.
- Ian Mahinmi signs with the Wizards: 4 years, $64 million.
If he starts over Gortat, this is a ‘B+’ as Mahinmi is a solid starting center who can rebound and protect the rim. If not, this is a lot for a backup center who may become victim to semi-frequent small-ball rotations during the year.
Grade: B+ as starter, D as backup
- Eric Gordon signs with the Rockets: 4 years, $53 million.
Pledging over $13 mil annually to a guy more brittle than Derrick Rose is risky business. Gordon, when healthy, is a solid scoring two-guard. But that’s the problem – he’s never healthy. How many more bruises can his body take? If he can stay healthy, he provides another complementary scorer for the Rockets.
- Wesley Johnson resigns with the Clippers: 3 years, $18 million.
This is actually a cheap signing, in relation to other contracts handed out this off-season, for a solid 3-and-D wing.
- James Ennis signs with the Grizzlies: 2 years, $6 million.
I was about to give this an ‘F’ grade to a player that didn’t stand out at all when playing for the Heat and the Grizzlies, when I decided to check out his stats on nba.com. There, I found he averaged 16/4/2 with a steal on a 50/48/79 slash line in his final nine games with the Pelicans to end the year. Maybe that continues? Who knows, but it’s a relatively inexpensive contract to a guy that showed promise at the end of the year.