Josh Smith to the Pistons
It’s Joe Dumars and an overpaid veteran, another Piston nightmare. But this time around, Joe may have gone all in on the right guy. A few years back, when the Pistons had loads of cap space, they spent it all on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, they have been in the lottery the entirety of the length of those contracts. This time however, Dumars is at least betting the house on a blue chipper, and Smith will be a veteran on a team of hungry, mostly unproven players. The strength of this Pistons squad will clearly be the front court (Smith, Andre Drummond, and Greg Monroe), and PG Brandon Knight still has yet to hit his ceiling. While the 4 year, $54M contract may look like too much per year, it solidifies one of the best big man trio in the league and almost assures the Pistons of at least an 8 seed in 2014.
Iguodala to Warriors
The Golden State Warriors continue to build off their 2013 playoff success by acquiring elite defensive swingman, Andre Iguodala. His presence in the locker room should help develop young talent like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, while his slashing to rim should help bigs David Lee and Andrew Bogut get easy assists. Although the Warriors had to give up quite a bit of dead weight to acquire AND sign him to a large four-year deal, Iguodala did his part and took a slight pay cut to help the Warriors flexibility moving forward. Look for the Warriors to grab a top 4 seed in the West next year.
Mavericks land Monta Ellis
Mark Cuban and the Mavericks have struck out in free agency once again. After missing out on LeBron James and the epic 2010 free agency class, the Mavs looked forward towards Deron Williams, but he ended up in Brooklyn. This offseason, the Mavs were targeting all the big names once again, but failed to land a single quality player to pair with Dirk for his last few potent years. The Mavericks went out on a limb and signed Monta Ellis to a three year deal worth $25M. This was a mistake by both parties. Ellis had a two-year $24M deal on the table from the Bucks and walked away from it to get an extra year of guaranteed money, but at much less per year. For the Mavs, they are exchanging one low percentage chucker (O.J. Mayo) for another, Ellis. I don’t see the Mavs making the playoffs next year, but they won’t be bad enough to land a top draft pick in 2014.
Rockets Shopping Lin
The Rockets are never quite done doing work in the offseason, as they are still trying to find a trade partner for the electric guard Jeremy Lin. With back up point guard Patrick Beverly making his presence known in the 2013 playoffs, Lin seems expensive and expendable. Could the Magic be a potential suitor, or will the Rockets hold pat until the trade deadline and see what the market demands?
Mavs sign Calderon
Another massive mistake by the Mavericks. Over paying for role players. It has been proven again and again that paying average players more than the mid level exception is a terrible idea, and surefire way to land in the lottery. The Mavs recently signed Calderon to a 4 year $28M deal. The Mavs current back court consists of an over passer (Calderon), and an over shooter (Ellis) who could mesh in a basketball sense, but will not carry the team to more than 35 victories.
Pacers get Scola, but needed 3 pt shooting?
The Indiana Pacers and Phoenix recently made a deal that at first glance looks benficial to both sides, but does it really help the Pacers as much as a lethal three-point shooter would have? Their issue last year was spacing the floor around their bigs (David West and Roy Hibbert), and giving Paul George enough room to cut through the lane. Although Scola is a very clever player and should accept a smaller role off the bench, I just don’t think he was the right player for the Pacers to acquire with so many shooters available: J.J. Redick, Mike Miller, Jose Calderon, Kevin Martin, O.J. Mayo. The Suns acquired Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a first round pick in 2014 for Scola. The most valuable piece will likely be the pick, which they could package with their own to jump up in next years draft.
Did J Wall earn his max extension?
In short, no. Although he has had to deal with debilitating foot injuries, and hasn’t had any elite teammates surrounding him his entire NBA career thus far, why couldn’t the Wizards wait until next offseason and go through the restricted free agency process and see what the market dictates his worth is? In the very worst case scenario, someone would offer him the max 4 year deal, and they would match it. Instead, they are giving Wall nothing to strive for contractually, and may have another lackadaisical season from their former number one overall pick.
Dwight Howard to Rockets; Lakers fans react strongly
Dwight Howard surprised us all and didn’t drag his decision out beyond the first week of free agency, ultimately on deciding with the Houston Rockets. This instantly makes the Rockets a contender and one of the favorites to grab the SouthWest Division title, guaranteeing them a top four seed. Although the Lakers fans were disappointed, and reacted quite strongly on Twitter, making the phrase #Dwightissoft trend for days on end. Although their whole planned backfired, the Lakers still had a shot to either land a top draft pick or top free agent in 2014, the way things stand now, there is no way they end up with Andrew Wiggins, Carmelo Anthony, or any elite player come next off season.
Cavaliers now dangerous with Andrew Bynum+ Jarrett Jack
The Cleveland Cavaliers are sick of winning the lottery, and they took a chance that could work out greatly to their benefit. It is a low risk decision, because although the deal is two-years $24M, there is only $6M guaranteed, and the second year is a team option. There is little financial risk, and if it works out for them, they have one of the best centers in the game for much less than his real value. Jarrett Jack may be one of the best under the radar signings, but because he got so much money, the Cavs will be overpaying for a backup, which is only good if you are in the middle of a playoff hunt.
Carl Landry back to the Kings
Carl Landry opted out of one more year with the Warriors at $4M for the financial security the Sacramento Kings were willing to offer to the tune of four years, $24M. He is returning to familiar grounds, but the whole front office has changed and the Kings are demanding to be taken seriously, building around solid center DeMarcus Cousins instead of unreliable guard Tyreke Evans. Landry brings a quality veteran presence, but again, comes at a high cost for a reserve. The Kings could push for an 8 seed, but will likely be looking at another year in the lottery.
Collison back in LA; signs with Clippers/Clippers successful offseason
I am still in shock that Darren Collison’s stock has fallen so low around the NBA that he had to take a deal near the veteran’s minimum with the Clippers. I’m not sure if he took less to come to a championship contender, or if that is truly how GM’s around the league view him, but Collison is a very serviceable back up point guard. It was only a few years ago that he took over for Chris Paul when the Hornets star guard went down and lead New Orleans to a playoff appearance. The Clippers only added to already being one of the deepest teams in the league, bringing in Redick and Dudley, after locking up Paul to a max deal. Doc Rivers will have high expectations for this 2014 season.
Underrated move: Paul Millsap to Hawks
Danny Ferry continues to make savvy deals as the Atlanta Hawks GM. After recently inking PF Paul Millsap to a two-year $19M deal, the Hawks not only get a quality power forward in his prime, and are able to retain flexibility in the event that he doesn’t pan out, which seems unlikely. While the Hawks may not be real title contenders, pairing Millsap with Horford should be a strong front court that could give the Miami Heat problems. The Hawks could be a top 5 seed next year with these smart moves.
Overrated move: OJ Mayo to Bucks
Lose a chucker, gain a chucker. As stated earlier on the Monta Ellis to Mavs deal, each team essentially overpaid to get poor production from low percentage shooters. The Bucks signed Mayo to a three-year $24M deal. Milwaukee will regret this deal within a year, and be looking to shop Mayo by this next seasons trade deadline. Another questionable decision by Milwaukee.