Well, that time is upon us and the free agency period for the NBA is almost over with the biggest FA, LeBron, announcing this Thursday night his intentions. While I care, I wonder how they can make this an hour long segment and his business team is selling advertising. Now, the dollars will go to the Boys and Girls Club, but nevertheless, LeBron may be too important. But, I digress. Let’s take a look at the signings that have already occurred and we’ll give you our take on them.
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks – 6 years / $119M
This has got to be THE worst deal of the free agency period. Joe Johnson has essentially robbed the Atlanta Hawks without even having a gun. There was no team out there that was going to give Johnson the max especially after how he performed, or didn’t perform in the playoffs this past year. After the Hawks extended this offer, Johnsons’ camp was saying that he was still going to look at other opportunities, yeah right.
Darko Milicic, Minessota Timberwolves – 4 years / $20M
How can a guy who was for all intents and purposes on his way back to Europe with a bag of money and no chance to play in the NBA again, end up with a 4 year deal for $20M? Even Kevin McHale doesn’t make this deal, not ever. Another bad deal that baffles most people. Darko has height, but no heart, but he might have a chance to play more if the Timberwolves move Al Jefferson.
Drew Gooden, Milwaukee Bucks – 5 years / $32M (Years 4 and 5 are partially guaranteed)
I am a little torn on this one. The Bucks got rid of Dan Gadzuric and that’s a good thing because after Kurt Thomas, the Bucks had no big men to come off the bench. Gooden is anything but spectacular and that’s probably what Coach Skiles wanted for this team. He’s a veteran that has played a lot of minutes but has always been consistent. Good pickup but I wonder if they paid to much to get him.
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies – 5 years / $80M
Wow, the Grizzlies actually opened their wallets. It just may have been for the wrong person. I like Gay and the upside that he brings, but they are going to have to get the right coaches and help him grow into the player that they are paying him to be. I almost think that the Grizzlies should have let him walk and found a way to build their team like the Thunder have.
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors – 5 years / $34M
The former Detroit Piston will get a lot more playing time with the impending loss of Chris Bosh, but this contract is based on upside. He averaged about 6 pts and 5 rebs last year with the Raptors. If that’s the case and I use my Jerry Stackhouse math (half of Jordan’s production equaled half of Jordan’s salary ($30M) for Stackhouse), Rudy Gay is underpaid severely.
Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns – 5 years / $30M
One of those, ‘had to do it’ situations. The Suns were going to lose A’mare because they weren’t interested in maxing him out (smart move). Frye is a 7 foot 3 point shooter not named Nowitzki. This deal is reasonable, but they did over pay a little to make sure that they didn’t lose him. Can someone teach him a post move is my only question?
John Salmons, Milwaukee Bucks – 5 years / $39M
What is a 17 point a game scorer worth? Especially when Michael Redd’s knees are very much in question? This looks like a decent deal on the face. It’s about $8M a year and they also traded for Maggette and signed Gooden, so he’ll have some extra scoring to help him. Salmons has shown flashes in the past two playoffs and he should get some more rest and a whole lot more money in this situation.
Hakim Warrick, Phoenix Suns – 4 years / $18M
For some reason, this deal seems okay to me. No he hasn’t shown much yet and he’s still has to be put in the right situation for him to flourish, but going to Phoenix will help. He has to learn how to finish better in traffic, but he’s an athlete that can run the floor and make the easy buckets that he’ll get from Nash setting him up. He doesn’t replace all of what A’mare does, but he brings some of A’mare to the Suns.
Steve Blake, Los Angeles Lakers – 4 years / $16M
Derek Fisher, if you don’t take this $1.5M or $2M deal, pack your bags. We thank you for everything that you’ve done for the Lakers. This is THE BEST deal outside of one of the Big 3. Blake is a point guard who can hit a three and play defense, and a savvy vet that will be a great addition to this Lakers team. Somehow they find ways to get better. If they bring Fisher back, it continues to get better.
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics – 4 years / $61M
Another ‘had to do it’ scenario. Pierce is Mr. Celtic (for our era) and there were rumblings that this might not happen because of non-guarantees in year 4. Bringing Pierce back at a reduced rate helps the Celtics, along with the retirement of Rasheed Wallace, to make maybe one more run at a title before it’s time to close the chapter on this team. Doc is back, Perkins is hurt, and Ray Allen is still undecided, so look for this team to make some more moves.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks – 4 years / $80M
I thought Dirk would have taken a little less for the hometown discount, but hey, get your money while you can. Not sure how much flexibility this contract gives the Mavs, but Dirk was Cuban’s guy and he paid him. Dirk also garnered the second no-trade (Kobe was the first) clause in the league because of his tenure with the team.
A’mare Stoudemire, New York Knicks – 5 years / $100M
We knew someone would pay for A’mare and we knew that it would probably be the Knicks who may have struck out with LeBron. A’mare has two knees that have had several surgeries and a detached retina that requires him to wear goggles now. I understand the Suns hesitancy on maxing A’mare out, but the Knicks had to make a splash. Reuniting A’mare with his old coach from Phoenix will probably be a good thing, but that team is really depleted.