Now that the first weekend of the NBA free agency is over, and the vast majority of free agents have decided where they will continue playing basketball, I will take a closer look into some of the bigger deals that were good and bad.
Mike Conley: Conley signed the biggest contract in NBA history over the weekend. Conley was recognized by many fans as one of the most underappreciated point guards in the league, but that quickly turned with this deal. Even with the resigning of Conley, signing Chandler Parsons and Eric Gordon, Memphis has little to no chance to even crack the top four in the Western Conference, so they are just prolonging the rebuild they need to perform. Conley will help bring fans to the game, and he will use his money to help the surrounding communities, but at this amount, Memphis was better off letting Coney walk, and embracing a rebuild in the star-studded 2017 NBA Draft.
For this reason, I give this deal a C. It will keep the Grizzlies competitive, but will never get them a championship.
Rajon Rondo: The Chicago Bulls decided to take a chance on the unpredictable point guard after trading away former star, Derrick Rose. I am not a Rose fan, but this was a clear downgrade by the Chicago Bulls. Rondo averaged nearly 12 points per game and 12 assists per game, but his struggles shooting are well documented, his defensive effort has fallen off a cliff, and he cannot be trusted in the locker room. Even worse for Chicago, they do not have the shooters that Sacramento had this past season, making all the drive and dish assists Rondo racked up last season less likely to happen. Under the new salary cap, Rondo’s deal is not terrible for either side, but just does not make sense. Rondo’s competitive nature will help build some toughness in Chicago, but his average skill set will not help them win, and makes a lot of fans angry they traded away Rose for this.
The Rondo signing gets a D from me, as neither side is benefiting from anything. Chicago’s front office seems to be trying to compensate for all their mistakes the past few seasons, but it looks like this signing will just be another mistake to add to the list.
Jordan Clarkson: There was a lot of talk about the Los Angeles Lakers first free agency signing of Mozgov, which caused the news of Jordan Clarkson to slip under the radar. Clarkson has shown great abilities to score, and although Los Angeles is looking to have D’Angelo Russell run the point, Clarkson could serve as a tremendous sixth man heading into the future. If Clarkson can learn how to become a better distributor, he could be a great player to keep pushing Russell to new heights, and never let him settle into his current role.
In terms of grading, I will give this deal an A. The Lakers do not have much proven talent on their roster, and Clarkson gives them a young, potent scorer to push Russell, or just an instant offensive boost off the bench. With the cap rising so dramatically, the Lakers were lucky to get Clarkson for only $12.5 million per season, while many players with less talent were getting much more money.
Brandon Jennings: Brandon Jennings is not the same player he was a few years ago. Injuries have slowly deteriorated his body the past few years. Even with this being said, New York signed Jennings for next to nothing with the rising cap situation. With the health of Derrick Rose a constant question, Jennings is a capable backup point guard, full of leadership, scoring, and distribution. Depth was a huge question surrounding this team, and their quest to make it back to the finals, and Jennings gives them a great veteran presence off the bench, capable of starting for them if needed.
New York gets an A- for this signing. As mentioned above, Jennings is nowhere near the player he use to be before injuries, but for only $5 million a season, New York could not pass this up. With Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis clearing out the lane, Jennings could be an effective driver, while also finding those two on the perimeter for easy baskets.
Deron Williams: Everyone was starting to panic with how little the Dallas Mavericks were doing in free agency, but they turned things around on Sunday night. Deron Williams had a very successful season in Dallas, and Dallas got him to come back on an incredibly cheap deal. Williams averaged a smidge below the averages of Mike Conley, defense is not included in these stats, but I feel way more comfortable paying Williams $10 million a season versus $30 million for similar results. At 32, Williams does not have many contracts left in him, so this will give him one last chance next year to try to get multi-year deal to prolong his career in an even high cap next offseason.
Dallas is not a marquee free agent destination so they have to pay more money for free agents, but they got Williams on a great deal for both parties. Dallas receives an A for this signing. Williams will get to lead a new look Mavericks team capable of playing spoiler in the Western Conference. Dallas gets a proven floor general, and keeps their cap space open for next offseason when a huge number of stars hit the market.
Jeremy Lin: Jeremy Lin is not an elite player in the league, but he is a great role player, capable of giving you points in bunches. Brooklyn was starved for talent in their backcourt, even with adding a few young players in the draft. Lin will provide a veteran floor general for the Nets, who are just looking to wins as many games as possible, since they again do not own their first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Even if Lin does not star, he can provide the offense needed to keep the Nets in games, while the starters catch their breath. With how much backup level point guards were getting paid this offseason, Brooklyn could not have gotten a much better deal for Lin, who did a great job showing off his capabilities in Charlotte last season.
This deal gets a B from me, as neither side has anything to lose. Lin gets the opportunity to win a starting point guard position, while also being one of the best players for a club, while Brooklyn gets a veteran point guard to help lead them out of the misery they were in last season. This deal also expires right after Lin turns 30, so both sides will be able to move on at a perfect age.
Matthew Dellavedova: Matthew Dellavedova was one of the biggest mysteries heading into free agency. His shooting percentages ranged greatly when their was and was not a star on the court, so many teams were hesitant to offer him a big deal. Milwaukee needed a point guard that could shoot, play defense, and fit next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Delly offers this. Even if Delly does not seem to work in his first season in Milwaukee, his deal is reasonable enough to move, and quite a few teams would be interested in his services.
This signing gets a B- from me. This is one of those signings where we will have to wait a season or two to judge, because it could be an absolute steal, or another bust signing for the Bucks. At the very least, Delly offers the same shooting as Jerryd Bayless, but will provide a huge defensive boost from the bench, something Bayless could not provide for Milwaukee.
Dwyane Wade: It has come to the time when Dwyane Wade will not be in a Miami Heat uniform. Pat Riley never saw Wade as a priority, and thought loyalty would outweigh everything. No matter what you say about loyalty deals, Wade was deserving of this deal. Also Wade, Bosh, Whiteside, Dragic, and Winslow is a much better team than Rondo and Butler. Once taxes are broken down, Wade left for less than $5 million, which is a lot of money, but now he will end his career not competing for championships.
Chicago gets a C+ for this signing. The signing of Wade does not transform the Chicago Bulls into championship contenders, but it will help keep the large TV market active for both the team and league. Chicago also had to trade Jose Calderon and Mike Dunleavy to make this trade happen, which just weakened their three point shooting to one of the worst in the league. I know Chicago is probably tied with Sacramento for worst management in the league, and with next year’s draft loaded with star caliber talent, adding former/aging stars to remain relevant is just pure stupidity. For Wade, as noted above, he left for basically $5 million. He does get to return home, and escape the disrespect Pat Riley showed him, but unless LeBron comes to this team in the next two years, Wade is not getting anywhere near a championship, and would have been much closer to achieving this goal in Miami.
James Harden: James Harden was not scheduled to become a free agent for at least another season, but he decided to sign an early extension with the Houston Rockets. Houston has been striking out lately with marquee free agents, but keeping Harden till at least 2020 gives them a clear cut star to build around. Harden will also walk away after this next deal at around age 30, which will allow for him to go after one last max contract.
The Houston Rockets get an A for this signing. They did not take any risks by allowing Harden to test the open waters, and they know can sell free agents next summer on longevity with Harden in his prime. With Russell Westbrook and Harden close friends, this extension could help give the Rockets the deadly backcourt needed to win a championship. Harden wins on this deal by getting another max deal, but also having the flexibility to pursue a new deal before he is over the dreaded age of 30 for athletes.
Bradley Beal: Well we all remember John Wall getting vocal about Reggie Jackson getting paid last offseason, and now his injury prone backcourt partner is getting nearly double him. Bradley Beal is a tremendous young player, full of star potential, but his health has always held him back. If he stays healthy the duration of this contract, Washington walks away with a steal, as Beal can take over a game, and win it for them. This deal will also let Beal get into free agency again by the time he is 28, which should allow for him to pursue another big contract, making it a win for both sides.
I give this deal a B+ because of the injury aspect. As I mentioned above, if Beal stays healthy for the majority of this contract, Washington has a key building block with immense potential. Kevin Durant ruled out the Wizards because of the questions surrounding Beal’s health, but with him likely opting out next offseason, Washington could try again to convince him to come home, and a healthy, productive season from Beal could just do that.
DeMar DeRozan: Toronto believed in the backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to take them to a championship, so they were willing to overpay for DeRozan. I think DeRozan is a great player, but he does not possess the killer instinct to lead this team past LeBron in the next few seasons. If DeRozan can shore up his shooting, and not disappear in the playoffs this could end up being a fair deal.
Toronto gets a B on this deal. Toronto is not a major free agent destination, which I will never understand since it is an amazing city full of life, but I guess NBA players do not want to live in Canada. With this being said, Toronto will have to overpay to keep free agents intown. DeRozan will help keep Toronto one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference, but they will need more from him if they want to stay competitive with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jamal Crawford: There was a lot of sources saying Jamal Crawford was going to go to Golden State, but with the likely signing of Kevin Durant, Los Angeles realized they could afford to pay the star sixth man. One thing Golden State does not have anymore is frontcourt depth, so the star power of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan might be the needed edge to knock off the Warriors. Crawford will help this cause, by being the scorer off the bench to beat nearly anything Golden State can throw off the bench offensively.
Los Angeles gets a B+ from me for this deal. Even at 36, Crawford is still one of the most prolific scorers in the league, but again he just got another three years from the Clippers, putting him at 39 when this deal is over. If Crawford can continue to put up around 15 points per game for this contract, it will be worth it, but it is hard to trust players once they get over 32.
Eric Gordon: Memphis continued to add weird pieces to their roster with the signing of Eric Gordon. Gordon has not played a full season in over five years, so it is hard to expect him to make a huge difference for the Grizzlies. One thing you have to appreciate about this team signing Gordon is their commitment to trying to bring in more perimeter shooting, and join the rest of the league in the shooting era. If Gordon can stay healthy, he can provide a good backcourt partner with Mike Conley, or a terrific scoring option off the bench if Memphis wants to groom Wade Baldwin at the shooting guard position.
This deal, much like the Matthew Dellavedova signing is a B- for the same reason of it being a wildcard. If Gordon can stay healthy and provide valuable minutes, Memphis will have gotten a steal in free agency, but if his health problems continue, they will be overpaying for a heated seat on the bench. This signing does not make Memphis a contender, but it should at least keep them in the upper echelon of the Western Conference if Gordon stays healthy.
Kevin Durant: Well, Golden State nabbed the best prize in free agency. The signing of Durant has almost everyone predicting the Warriors to win the championship for next season. The signing even made Tim Duncan slide his decision closer to retire. Durant provides a clear upgrade over Harrison Barnes, but it also costs Golden State some of its frontcourt depth. Golden State will need to continue pursuing cheap, ring chasing bigs to fill their biggest weakness. Many people are judging Durant harshly for this decision, but many people are reporting Russell Westbrook did not want to sign an extension, so Durant did what was best for him, and provided him clarity on his career.
Of course this deal gets an A+ for both sides. Durant provides the extra scorer Golden State could have used to knock the Cavaliers off in the finals. Even though depth will be a big question for the Warriors, they will be able to rest at least one starter every night to keep them rested for the playoffs if they please, and not miss a beat offensively. This deal also works great for the future, as it lets Golden State likely have their big four for the foreseeable future.
Harrison Barnes: We the signing of Kevin Durant in Golden State, Golden State made short work to allow Barnes to walk, and he signed a max deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Barnes struggled mightily in the finals, but he is only 24, and has loads of potential left in him. Barnes can develop into the second option for Dallas, behind Dirk Nowitzki, and provides a clear building block for the Mavericks. Dallas has made a lot of minor moves to add talent across the board, and could be a dark horse contender for next season.
The grade for this deal is a B. Barnes still needs to prove he is an elite player, and getting a max deal only further the point people believe that he is overrated. Expect for Dallas to get him involved early in the season as a prominent player to develop his confidence as a two-way player. If Barnes takes the next step into becoming a star, Dallas will have gotten a steal on this deal, and will have the franchise face they will need to replace Nowitzki in the near future.
Nicolas Batum: After being traded to the Charlotte Hornets last offseason, Batum had a lot of expectations for himself, and he conquered all of them. Batum is a great third option for a contending team, and he is young enough for Charlotte to continue adding talent around to compete for a championship in the near future. Kemba Walker and Batum make a nice duo capable of making noise in the Eastern Conference, but without the go to star, I just do not think this signing will put Charlotte over the hump.
Charlotte is not a marquee free agent destination, but they still hold a slim hope they could lure Stephen Curry to his home area next offseason. A trio of Curry, Walker, and Batum is capable of winning the Eastern Conference, and Charlotte, thanks in large part to smart free agent moves, Charlotte will have ample cap space to add good role players to the potential big three. For this reason, this deal gets a a B. It allows for Charlotte to pursue a big name next offseason, while also keeping them competitive for this up and coming season.
Kent Bazemore: The story behind Kent Bazemore might be better than he ever will be. Bazemore is a good two-way player, but nothing elite, and he never showed the be the difference maker Atlanta needed to make it over the hump. Bazemore will help make Atlanta a competitive team, but even with the resigning of him, and signing of Dwight Howard, I just do not see a big difference from last season, and expect the same results when they likely meet the Cavaliers again in the playoffs. I feel as though a restart would be the best thing for the franchise, and trading Millsap and Korver, after losing Horford would have been better than middling around in the 4-6 seed.
Chandler Parsons: I think Chandler Parsons is a good offensive player, but he was not worth a max contract. Memphis needed to add shooting to their roster, so overpaying for Parsons made sense, but he will not be a key difference maker they need. Not to mention, Parsons can not seem to stay healthy lately. A core of Parsons, Conley, and Gasol looks interesting, but I think it is only good enough for fifth in the Western Conference, and I do not think it can knock off the top four in the playoffs.
The grade for this signing is a C. Like I said, Parsons is a good offensive player, but defensively, he leaves a lot to be desired by fans. Memphis did not want to embrace a rebuild, so they went for the splash signings, which I think they will regret in a few seasons.
Evan Fournier: Of all the free agents signings Orlando was part of, I think this was the best one for them. Fournier grew a lot this past season, and at only 23, he is just starting to hit his peak on an affordable deal with the rising cap. Fournier did have some defensive struggles, but with Frank Vogel as their new head coach, if anyone can exploit any defensive traits, Vogel will get the job done. With all of the other wings in the league getting outrageous deals, Fournier was signed for a bargain.
This deal gets an A-. Orlando had a lot of questionable signings this free agency, but Fournier offers them an emerging offensive threat from anywhere on the court, with the flexibility to continue adding talent to more areas of the roster. This deal will also let Fournier to get back into free agency by the time he is 29, so he will be able to pursue another big deal before the end of his career.
Evan Turner: One of the weirdest signings from the first day of free agency. Evan Turner is a very versatile player, but his offensive limitations are well documented. Portland had questionable defensive effort across the board, so bringing in Turner should help shore this up. If Allen Crabbe is not brought back, Turner provides a good two-way player to replace him. Turner also has the ability to cover the often mismatch of Draymond Green, something Portland will need to do if they want to contend this upcoming season.
I give this deal a C+. Turner is a good player, and the cap is rising, but with the way Portland plays, he just does not fit right. He should help the perimeter defense, and provides a decent answer to Draymond Green, but his inability to shoot is a major concern, especially at $70 million. With so many other wings on the market, Portland could have used their ample cap space in a much better manner.
Ryan Anderson: Houston needed to add another weapon to pair with James Harden after the disaster last season with Dwight Howard. Anderson is the perfect player to play in Mike D’Antoni’s system. The only questionable aspect of this deal is the fact of Anderson’s health. If he can stay healthy, Houston can contend for a top six seed in the Western Conference once again. Anderson also has a very good reputation across the league, so this should help Houston try to bring in some marquee free agents next offseason to pair with him and Harden.
I give this signing a B+. Anderson is a great stretch four, and will provide the second offensive option Houston is looking for. He also knows his role in the league, and will not be a pain with the media, or a bad locker room presence. The only downside to this deal is the questionable health of Anderson. If he stays healthy, Houston will be a deadly offensive team, but like with many of the big signings this offseason, health issues is the biggest question mark.
Marvin Williams: Both Charlotte and Marvin Williams wanted to stay together this offseason, and Williams was even willing to take a pay cut to make it happen. About a week after I wrote an article about how poor Williams was playing, he took it to the next level, and became a difference maker for the Hornets. Williams will be the stretch four Charlotte needs to keep their offense flowing, as well on being on a deal which allows Charlotte to continue adding talent.
This grade gets a A- from me. William’s willingness to take a pay cut for Charlotte will help them remain contenders to sign free agents with their cap space next offseason. Williams will also continue to shine in his role in Charlotte, and will not have the pressure of a huge deal looming over him. This is one of the deals that makes sense for everyone involved.
Dirk Nowitzki: I am just happy Dallas was able to strike a deal with Dirk Nowitzki to keep him in a Mavericks uniform. Dallas was also able to add some more talent to their roster to give Dirk a slight chance at a title. With the super team in Golden State looming over the entire Western Conference this year, it is hard to see anyone knocking them off, but at least Dallas was willing to give Dirk as much talent as they could so far.
This contract is an A+. Dirk took a pay cut a few seasons ago to make room for Dallas, but two offseasons in a room, Dallas could not get any marquee free agents, so Dirk decided he wanted to get paid, and unlike Pat Riley, Mark Cuban was willing to make it happen for his star. Dallas will remain a competitive team this upcoming season, but it is still hard to see them making it to a another championship in Dirk’s likely last two years.
Hassan Whiteside: Hassan Whiteside wanted to get his deal done right at the beginning of free agency, and that is what he did. Many expected him to go off to Dallas, but he ended up staying in Miami for a reasonable contract. Whiteside will anchor the interior defense for the next four years. The only downside of this contract is that Pat Riley may lose Dwyane Wade, who felt disrespected not being the number one priority. Whiteside may be a tremendous rebounder and block machine, but he is almost worthless on offense, so not resigning Wade could lead Miami to all sorts of trouble.
This contract gets an A- from me. Whiteside has proven to be a more mature player in Miami, justifying his new contract. Miami now has a proven defensive anchor locked up long-term to pair with the more offensively gifted Chris Bosh. Whiteside wins on this deal, as he will be able to re-enter free agency at 31, and as this free agency as shown, he could still get another big, lengthy deal to end his career on.
Andre Drummond: Detroit was able to lockdown the third best free agent in this year’s class. Drummond will now anchor the defensive frontcourt for the next five years on a very reasonable deal for someone who is a top three center in the league. Detroit now has the majority of their core set for the foreseeable future, as well as having their young role players locked down. If Detroit can build off last year’s chemistry, they could be a dark horse contender in the Eastern Conference.
This deal gets an A, which is a no brainer. Drummond was a restricted free agent, so Detroit was not going to let him slip away. For Drummond he will hit free agency once again before he turns 30. With Reggie Jackson and Drummond locked down for at least the next three years together, Detroit can continue adding to their core to be a contender for the foreseeable future.
Pau Gasol: Pau Gasol entered free agency with a lot of buzz surrounding him. Teams from all walks of life had interest in him. Gasol decided to wait until Kevin Durant, made his decision to decide where he wanted to go, and thus made him chose San Antonio. Gasol gives San Antonio another weapon in their frontcourt, someone capable of scoring, distributing, and providing leadership. San Antonio’s biggest problem in the playoffs was a lack of athleticism to combat that of Oklahoma City and Golden State, so this signing does not change this narrative, and likely will not get them past either team this year.
This signing ends up being a B- for San Antonio. Like I mentioned above, the signing does not address the issue surrounding athleticism, while it cost them the fan favorite in Boris Diaw. For $20 million a season, San Antonio could have targeted at least two good role players to add a new dimension to their team, so an aging, former star is not what was needed for another championship.
Al Horford: To the people of Boston, the signing of Al Horford signals the end of the draught of not getting top free agents for the city. Horford may not be the best rim protector in the league, but he is effective. He will provide the clarity at center Boston has been searching for the past few seasons, as well as giving them a reliable offensive weapon outside of Thomas. This signing helps make Boston a top three team in the Eastern Conference.
Boston gets an A for this signing. They have been searching for a center for what seems like a decade now, and now have one. He will provide everything the organization was looking for. Horford will also be a good name to dangle in front of free agents next offseason, when a huge amount of stars hit the market. Horford wins on this deal, as it will likely be his last max deal, but will still give him a shot at getting one last contract once this one finishes up. Boston is also a way better market to brand yourself in professional sports than that of Atlanta.
Dwight Howard: Feeling that they were going to lose out on Al Horford, Atlanta decided to sign Dwight Howard. Howard gives Atlanta a dominant defensive center, who fits well next to Paul Millsap. I thought Atlanta needed to go a different direction after two straight failed seasons to knock off LeBron, and I think they are now better with Howard. Howard may not be what he was three years ago, but he will still be able to give at least 12 points per game and 12 rebounds per game, while chipping in a couple blocks, and this could help get Atlanta over the hump.
Atlanta receives an A- for this signing. They did not overpay for Howard, signing him for $8 million a year less than what he wanted, while also giving him the opportunity to rebuild his image in his home state. Howard is a winner by his opportunity to rebuild his image. Howard is a tremendous player, but his remarks the past few years have caused many to turn their heads at the sight of him on their team. Expect a big year from Howard, both on the court and off of it.
Joakim Noah: Joakim Noah decided to return to his home city, and reunite with Derrick Rose in New York City. The Knicks needed to replace the defensive presence of Robin Lopez, and they got a much better version of him. Noah does have health concerns after the past three seasons, so I was surprised by how much money he was offered, but if he can stay healthy, he is a player that can get in LeBrons head, and provide the X-Factor needed in the playoffs.
New York gets a C for this signing. Noah is on the wrong side of 30, injury plagued body, and broken shot. His defensive abilities cannot be overlooked, but it just seemed like a New York move to make. This move will likely not have any dividends for the Knicks, who will likely muddle around in the 6-8 seed in the Eastern Conference. With a player like Ian Mahinmi, who would give you the same amount of payoff, but for much cheaper, New York continues to make bad moves.
Al Jefferson: Al Jefferson may not be the same player he was three years ago when he entered Charlotte, but he is still a tremendous offensive option in the frontcourt. Indiana continues to make under the radar moves, which could pay off next season. Jefferson gives them the needed scorer they needed inside, one who could mentor the young Myles Turner. With Thaddeus Young and Jefferson in the frontcourt, defense might be hard to come by, especially without Frank Vogel, but they will not be short for points like last season.
Indiana gets a B+ for this signing. For only $10 million a season, Indiana now has a potent offensive center. By allowing Ian Mahinmi to walk, Indiana will be betting on the development of Myles Turner to give them the rim protector they need, as their frontcourt lacks the defensive presence it use to have. This will likely be the last contract of Jefferson’s career, so he was a winner by making it three years, and all of them fully guranteed.
Bismack Biyombo: Biyombo was mainly seen as a bust ever since he entered the league with the Charlotte Hornets, but quickly made a name for himself in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Orlando was desperate for a rim protecting big, and they got that with Biyombo, who is likely issuance for when Serge Ibaka walks. Nikola Vucevic is a tremendous offensive center, but he is horrid on defense, something Orlando is striving to improve on, as evidence with the hiring of Frank Vogel. It will be interesting to see who gets the nod at starting center for the Magic heading into next season.
Orlando gets a B for this signing, as Biyombo has not proven himself for a full season, so this contract could be a huge bust. He has always been a defensive first player, so at least Orlando will get that out of him, but his offensive limitations make him difficult to start knowing you will not get much out of him.
Ian Mahinmi: This was a very under the radar move by the Washington Wizards, who only had question marks surround their frontcourt last season. Marcin Gortat should be back to his old self after many personal battles last season, but with Nene off the books, Mahinmi provides the defensive toughness Washington needed to be contenders once again. He may not be known by the casual NBA fan, but many Wizard fans will come to appreciate what he offers, and Indiana will likely miss him.
Washington gets an A- for this signing, as they drastically improved their frontcourt. There have been questions surrounding the toughness they had to offer in the interior, but now that is not an issue. Mahinmi will push Gortat for the starting center role, and provides a great locker room presence for a guy like Markieff Morris. Even if Washington is not happy with what they get out of Mahinmi his contract is easily capable of being moved, which is another plus for either side.
Timofey Mozgov: The Los Angeles Lakers started off free agency with a good laugh for all the fans out there. There was a reason Mozgov was not played much this year in Cleveland, he just is not very good. With everyone on the board, for Los Angeles to go after Mozgov it just shows the incompetence of the management there. Even Festus Ezeli is still left on the market, and probably could be gotten for the same, or just a little more. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers decide to use him this season.
Of course the Lakers get an F on this signing. With every free agent on the board, to go for Mozgov first was idiotic. He is a backup center on the majority of teams across the league, and even with the rising cap he was not worth more than $10 million a season, so this was a gross overpay. I fully expect this move to come back to bite Los Angeles fairly quickly.
Festus Ezeli: This might be one of the best new contracts in basketball. Portland was looking to add another physical presence to their frontcourt, and with Ezeli becoming recently unrestricted, Portland was quick to make a move. Ezeli had a very good season in Golden State, minus the finals, but constant improvement since he arrived in the league, plus a bigger role in Portland should help him find his maximum potential.
Portland gets an A- for this signing. Many people were expecting Ezeli to cost between $13-16 million a season to sign, but for only $8 million a season, Portland still has a lot of cap flexibility, and a valuable, tradable asset. This move might not be the star, or dominant player Portland was looking for in the frontcourt, hence why their grade is not higher, but Ezeli will provide great defensive minutes, while knowing his role playing with two dominant scoring guards.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17