Ryan Anderson to Houston, 4 years, $80 million (B+)
The Houston Rockets needed to get better at shooting the three ball - that much was a fact - and it largely defined their spending in free agency. With Ryan Anderson, they do get better at that, as he has shot .377 from three over his career, and was fairly on par with that last season. $80 million may seem a lot for a spot up shooter, but he spaces the floor well and had a career year last year. At 28, he’s entering/in his prime, and I generally find this to be a pretty good deal.
Harrison Barnes to Dallas, 4 years, $94 million (B+)
While being a member of the Golden State Warriors is as good an endorsement as any, this is essentially a rather pricey educated guess from the Dallas Mavericks. No one knows how well Harrison Barnes will fare being option one or two on the floor at any give time, alongside Dirk Nowitzki, and Dallas are paying around $25 million a year to find out. This is not terrible value, considering Barnes’ upside and some previous guesses at what he may be worth, but it also has the potential to turn horribly pear shaped if he turns out to be no more than a role player. This is a classic Mark Cuban style play, and best of luck to him.
Matthew Dellavedova to Milwaukee, 4 years, $38 million (B)
One of Australia’s favourite sons, Matthew Dellavedova, is on the move to the Milwaukee Bucks, and he will arrive with a fair amount of importance placed on his shoulders. Dellavedova is one of the only true point guards on Milwaukee’s roster, with Giannis Antetokounmpo more of a point forward and Michael Carter-Williams not a strong enough playmaker. This evidently means that Delly will fill a bigger role at the Bucks that comes with his higer price tag, but at $9 million a year for an NBA champion and backup point guard, you can’t do much better in the modern NBA.
Luol Deng to the Lakers, 4 years, $72 million (D+)
Whilst Luol Deng is generally regarded as an effective NBA player, $72 million for a backup seems a lot of money, even in the modern NBA. Deng also recently turned 31, and last year averaged his least points (12) since his first year in the league. This deal will take him through to the end of 2019, when he will be 35, and still earning $18 million a year for what little production he still offers. While $18 M will be pennies in the not too distant future, it may still mean the difference between signing a big free agent or not.
Kevin Durant to Golden State, 2 years, $54 million (A+)
People have been nitpicking at this deal since it was signed. “Their depth is not as goo as it once was”, “no one knows how all four superstars will fit together”, “Kevin Durant won’t be as effective with a third of the shots he usually gets”. True or not, the fact remains that Golden State just signed the best free agent on the market. One of the greatest teams of all-time just got greater.
Festus Ezeli to Portland, 2 years, $15 million (A+)
This deal is a lot similar to the Harrison Barnes one in the fact that the Portland Trail Blazers will not be entirely sure what they’re getting here. Yes, Festus Ezeli’s per minute numbers are off the charts. In less than 17 minutes per night last year, Ezeli put up 7 points and grabbed 5.5 boards per game on .530 shooting to go along with 1 block. There’s no denying his importance to the Warriors, and if he continues to climb at his current rate, he will be a stud by the time his contract expires in two years. By the way, he’s getting only $7.5 million per year. That’s absolutely nothing.
Pau Gasol to San Antonio, 2 years, $31 million (A-)
When Pau Gasol announced he was leaving Chicago, there could be only one destination for the veteran Spaniard, and that was the San Antonio Spurs. This one had Gregg Popovich written all over it from the start – not only is he an international player, but he is a 15-year veteran and all-star. His core skills for a power forward are elite. Despite being 36, he is still producing at a high level, and it can be certain San Antonio will get the most out of him for however long his career has left.
Eric Gordon to Houston, 4 years, $52 million (B)
Eric Gordon’s once promising career has stalled due to numerous injuries, but he hopes to get it back on track in Houston, where he will spend the next four years. As mentioned earlier, the Rockets lacked three point shooting last year, and Gordon brings that also, shooting the three at a .384. At less than $15 million a year, all during his prime, it is a pretty decent buy. But if he cannot find his fit in southeast Texas, he will be a hard trade, and it will be a fair amount of dead weight to carry around. That’s if he can even stay on the court.
Jeff Green to Orlando, 1 year, $15 million (C-)
It’s unclear what the thinking was here from the Orlando Magic. Having just traded Victor Oladipo to clear up the congested wing position for Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja, it seemed Orlando saw them as the answer to the two and three positions in the long term. But renting Jeff Green for one year and $15 million, who has not adapted well to coming off the bench in recent years, seems anti-intuitive. He’s not a great shooter, needs the ball to be effective and is not economical in his production. I’m not sure what’s going on here.
Roy Hibbert to Charlotte, 1 year, $5 million (A)
Speaking of economical, this deal is about as definitive of the word as you can get. 7 ft. 2 Roy Hibbert’s struggles of the past few years have been well documented, in particular last year with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he had his worst year in the league. A change of scenery was dearly needed, and the Charlotte Hornets managed to nab him on a minimum contract. This is a no risk high reward play, and who knows, maybe he’ll be able to learn something from Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing. Just a thought.