NBA Offseason Grades
* All Stats and Info courtesy of Spotrac and ESPN stats
Atlanta Hawks- Signed Jarrett Jack to a one-year 1.5 million dollar contract, Acquired draft rights to Taurean Prince from Utah in exchange for sending Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. Signed Kent Bazemore to a four-year, 70 million dollar contract. Exercised team option on Mike Muscala. Signed Dwight Howard to 3-year, 70.5 million dollar deal.
Hawks Overall Grade:B
The Hawks will once again make the playoffs, probably as a 3 or 4 seed while losing in the first or second round. Dwight Howard will solve some of the problems they’ve long had with rebounding and rim protection. However, the Hawks might have problems spacing the floor with Paul Millsap shooting 31.9 percent from 3 on 2.9 attempts a game last season and Dwight Howard’s range non-existent. Losing Al Horford seriously hurts their floor spacing since he could consistently hit a mid-range shot, drawing the opposing team’s Center out of the paint and freeing up driving lanes for Atlanta’s guards.
Boston Celtics- Signed Al Horford to a 4-year 113.3 million dollar contract. Drafted Jaylen Brown with the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 Draft.Signed 2nd round pick Demetrius Jackson to a 4-year, 5.5 million dollar contract.
Celtics Overall Grade:B
The Celtics made some questionable decisions this offseason in the eyes of many in giving Al Horford an albatross of a contract at 30 years old. Given the CBA rise, this deal might not look so bad in two years, but I’m betting that it will. Drafting Jaylen Brown was another surprise move since many expected the Celtics to take Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, or Jamal Murray. Brown has all the physical tools to be a great NBA player with a 7 foot wingspan and incredible bounce. However, he was an inefficient, volume scorer in his one season at Cal, so his productivity on the NBA level will probably be missing for at least a year or two while he develops.
Brooklyn Nets-Signed Randy Foye to a 1-year 2.5 million dollar deal. Signed Anthony Bennett to a 2-year, 2.1 million dollar contract. Signed Trevor Booker to a 2-year, 18.5 million dollar contract. Traded Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers for draft rights to Caris LeVert and a future second-round pick. Signed Jeremy Lin to a 3-year, 38 million dollar deal. Waived Jarrett Jack (hahahahahahahaha).
Nets Overall Grade:B
The Nets have to be disappointed to have missed out on RFAs Tyler Johnson and Allen but I respect how they did not feel sorry for themselves and did a great job acquiring Caris LeVert who has the potential to be a damn good shooter. Jeremy Lin’s arrival will bring some excitement and optimism to a franchise that many pundits had pegged for one of the worst futures in the league after the disastrous KG, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson Big 4 which stripped them of many assets. The Nets still will not be contenders for a long time, but if they can get a good package for Brook Lopez at the deadline, their future suddenly becomes less bleak (but still bleak). The Nets overpaid a bit for Trevor Booker giving him a 2-year, 18.5 million dollar contract, but the length of the deal isn’t too bad, and they won’t be a playoff contender anytime soon, so it ends up being somewhat irrelevant.
Charlotte Hornets-Re-signed Nic Batum to a 5-year, 120 million dollar contract. Re-signed Marvin Williams to a 4-year, 54.5 million dollar deal. Signed Ramon Sessions in Free Agency to a 2-year, 12.3 million dollar contract. Acquired Marco Belinelli from the Sacramento Kings in exchanged for Charlotte’s 22nd pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Signed Free Agent Roy Hibbert to a 1-year, 5 million dollar deal. Lost Jeremy Lin to Brooklyn, Courtney Lee to the Knicks, and Al Jefferson to the Pacers.
Hornets Overall Grade:B
The Hornets probably won’t win as many games as they did this season in the upcoming season since they lost key contributors like Jeremy Lin, Al Jefferson, and Courtney Lee. The Hornets’ presence in the post will be severely lessened because they are essentially replacing Al Jefferson’s offensive skills with Roy Hibbert’s non-existent post skills. However, Hibbert will be a major upgrade on the defensive end for the Hornets where he should be able to use his 7’3” frame to deter forays into the paint by opposing guards while using the rule of verticality to alter shots or block them entirely. The Hornets will also lose some of the perimeter potency that they displayed last year with lineups that included two or more of five more-than-serviceable shooters in Lee, Lin, Walker, Williams, and Batum. The Hornets will still have enough to get by with Marvin Williams, Batum, and Kemba Walker, but they won’t be an offensive dynamo from deep anymore unless MKG can continue to improve his shooting percentages on a higher volume of shots.
Chicago Bulls- Drafted Denzel Valentine with the 14th overall pick in the first round. Signed Rajon Rondo in free agency to a two-year, 28 million dollar deal. Signed Dwyane Wade in free agency to a two-year 47.5 million dollar deal. Signed Isaiah Canaan in free agency to a two-year 2.1 million dollar deal. Traded Derrick Rose and Justin Holliday to New York for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon (who they waived). Lost Joakim Noah to the New York Knicks. Lost Pau Gasol to the San Antonio Spurs. Lost E’Twaun Moore to the New Orleans Pelicans. Lost Aaron Brooks to the Indiana Pacers. Traded Mike Dunleavy Jr. and draft rights to Vladimir Veremeenko to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the draft rights to Albert Miralles.
Bulls Overall Grade: C+
Unfortunately, the Bulls front office fails to see that their championship window has been closed for a long time and continues to make aggressive moves to try to win now when in all likelihood a total rebuild is what is necessary. Sure this year’s team might win more games than the 42 they won last year, but the most likely outcome is that the Bulls sneak into the playoffs as a seven or eight seed and get trounced in the first round which is exactly what you do not want to do to contend for championships. This is an old roster that will have serious issues spacing the floor given that their starting backcourt (Rondo, Wade and Butler) are 0/3 in terms of possessing a respectable 3pt fg percentage. With Dunleavy gone, Mirotic, Canaan and hopefully Bobby Portis are the only players with any sort of perimeter threat which is simply not enough three-point shooting in today’s NBA. This team is also very likely to struggle on defense with Butler and Gibson arguable being to only two good defenders on the team. All in all, the Bulls would have been better served to have tried to woo younger players to build around such as Mo Harkless instead of making Wade’s dreams of playing for his hometown team come true.
Cleveland Cavaliers- Acquired Mike Dunleavy Jr. and draft rights to Vladimir Veremeenko (Washington’s 48th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft) from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights to Albert Miralles (Toronto’s 39th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft). Re-signed Richard Jefferson to a two-year, 5 million dollar deal after Jefferson opted not to retire. Signed Chris Andersen in Free Agency for the a one-year veteran minimum of 1.5 million dollars. Lost Matthew Dellavedova to the Milwaukee Bucks after deciding not to match his 4-year, 38.4 million dollar offer sheet in Restricted Free Agency.
Cavs Overall Grade:B+
The Cavs obviously didn’t have much cap space to work with given that they have 3 max contracts to pay to Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James. Tristan Thompson is also getting paid 15.3 million dollars this season, so all the Cavs had to work with was their mini-mid level exception of 3.5 million dollars, a plethora of trade exceptions, and veteran minimum deals. To come away with Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Chris Andersen while also re-signing Richard Jefferson to a team-friendly deal was the best that could be hoped for. The Dwyane Wade rumors were always a pipe dream at best. Obviously, this grade largely depends on whether or not the Cavs can re-sign LeBron James and J.R. Smith. Losing either of these players would make the Cavs offseason a huge loss given the way that the Celtics, Pacers, and Warriors improved this offseason.
Dallas Mavericks- The Mavs acquired Andrew Bogut and a second round pick for a conditional future second round pick from Golden State Warriors. Signed Harrison Barnes to a four-year, 94 million dollar deal. Re-signed Mavs lifer Dirk Nowtizki to a two-year, 50 million dollar deal with a team option for the second year. Re-signed Dwight Powell to a four-year, 37 million dollar contract with a player option for the fourth year. Signed Seth Curry to a two-year, 5.9 million dollar contract.Signed Quincy Acy to a two-year, 2.2 million dollar deal.
Mavericks Overall Grade:B
The Dallas Mavericks stayed in the same position they have for the past few seasons since breaking up their championship-winning roster. The Mavs will probably make the playoffs but will also probably be a first-round exit once again. Getting caught in the perpetuity of being a mediocre team that makes the playoffs and doesn’t really get any assets is what many franchises are desperately looking to avoid at this moment, but Mark Cuban wants Dirk to win as many games as he can as a Maverick before he retires, and I respect that.
Signing Dirk to a much-deserved twenty five million dollar per year deal for all the discounts he has taken to build a strong basketball team is a very respectable move. Most owners don’t have this type of loyalty to their players, but Mark Cuban has shown time and time again that he will do anything and everything for his players in order for them to be successful and happy, so hopefully Dallas eventually manages to land that big-name free agent they’ve been searching for the past five years to replace Dirk Nowitzki.
Do I think Harrison Barnes is that guy? Not in the slightest. The best contract the Mavs gave this off-season was the deal given to Dwight Powell. Powell is athletic, young, and a smart, efficient, basketball player. Powell doesn’t try to do too much, and he knows exactly what he is capable of. The Mavs aren’t going to be winning championships again anytime soon, but then again, no one was expecting them to.
Denver Nuggets- Re-signed Darrell Arthur to a three-year, 23 million dollar contract. Drafted Jamal Murray with the 7th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Signed Mike Miller to a two-year, 5 million dollar deal. Signed Juan Hernangomez to a two-year, 4 million dollar contract with team options for a third and fourth year. Signed Malik Beasley to a two-year, 3.3 million dollar contract.
Nuggets Overall Grade:B+
The Nuggets got better this offseason just by staying where they were. Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Nikola Jokic, Will Barton, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Jamal Murray are all extremely promising young players who have yet to sniff their ceilings. Danilo Gallinari is also still just 27 years of age, though he seems older with how many injuries he has suffered through. Kenneth Faried is also still very young at 26 years of age, but his skillset has not improved whatsoever since he entered the league.
Faried still gets his points and rebounds, but doesn’t really do much else for his team, and in a league that continues to put more and more of a premium on floor-spacing, Faried is not the Power Forward of the future for the Nuggets so I expect them to part ways soon. If the Nuggets keep their young talent healthy and surround Jokic and their other budding stars with the right players, the Nuggets could soon become a relevant NBA team once again.
Detroit Pistons-Signed Ish Smith to a three-year, 18 million dollar contract. Drafted Henry Ellenson with the 18th overall pick in this year’s Draft. Signed Ray McCallum to a one-year, one million dollar contract. Signed Boban Marjanovic to a three-year, 21 million dollar deal.Signed Jon Leuer to a four-year, 42 million dollar contract. Re-signed Andre Drummond to a five-year, 127 million dollar contract. Signed Michael Gbinije to a three-year, 2.5 million dollar contract.
Pistons Overall Grade:B+
The Pistons’ main priority this offseason was to sign Andre Drummond to a long-term deal, and they accomplished that. If Drummond continues to improve his free throw shooting and ability to score in the post, he could very well live up to this contract. I like the contract they gave to Jon Leuer since they need more shooters outside of Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, and KCP. Leuer shot 38.2 percent from downtown last season with Phoenix and I doubt those numbers will drop even with an increase in volume and playing time.
I also like the Pistons’ acquisition of Ish Smith in Free Agency. Ish is a solid point guard and a luxury to have as a backup. Smith has continued to improve his shooting and passes extremely well, creating countless scoring opportunities for his teammates with his blazing speed and court vision. The Pistons have a good young core of players to develop much like the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Bucks, so their success depends on their development and health.
Golden State Warriors-Signed Kevin Durant to a two-year 54.2 million dollar contract with a player option for the second year. Signed ZaZa Pachulia to a one-year, 2.9 million dollar contract. Signed David West to a one-year 1.5 million dollar deal. Signed Anderson Varejao to a one-year 1.5 million dollar deal. Signed Ian Clark to a one-year, 1 million dollar minimum contract. Re-signed James McAdoo to a one-year, minimum contract. Acquired Patrick McCaw’s draft rights from the Milwaukee Bucks for 2.4 million dollars. McCaw was the 38th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Drafted Damian Jones with the 30th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Lost Mo Speights to the L.A. Clippers. Traded Andrew Bogut to the Mavericks for cap space to sign Kevin Durant. Allowed Harrison Barnes to go to Dallas in Free Agency. Signed Javale McGee to a one-year, 1.4 million dollar deal. Allowed Festus Ezeli to sign with the Portland Trailblazers.
Warriors Overall Grade:A+
The Warriors improvements to a roster that won 73 games and was historically great last season, beating out the 1996–97 Chicago Bulls for the best NBA regular season record of all time. The Warriors will be a nightmare to deal with, but some of their other less-heralded moves will also make a big difference for them. The signing of ZaZa Pachulia and David West for minimum contracts is absolutely ridiculous and Bob Myers is a voodoo doctor for all I know because he has to be working some black magic somewhere behind the scenes to have signed West and Pachulia for far less money than they could have received on the open market.
The loss of Harrison Barnes in exchange for Kevin Durant was more than acceptable to say the least. Andrew Bogut’s production will be hard to replace, but Javale McGee will fill his shoes as an enforcer and rim protector just as well if he can somehow stay healthy. No team wants to see the Warriors next season because they will be an offensive and defensive terror with four top-fifteen players on the court in Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson. The Warriors also have high-quality veterans getting paid a pittance of their worth in Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, ZaZa Pachulia, and David West.
Houston Rockets-Re-signed James Harden to a four-year, 118 million dollar contract with a player option for the fourth year. Signed Ryan Anderson in Free Agency for a four-year, 80 million dollar contract. Signed Eric Gordon to a four-year, 52.8 million dollar contract in Free Agency. Signed NeNe Hilario in Free Agency to a one-year 2.9 million dollar deal. Signed Pablo Prigioni to a two-year, 2.2 million dollar contract with a team option for the second year. Drafted Zhou Qi 43rd overall in this year’s NBA Draft. Signed Isaiah Taylor and Gary Payton II to three-year, 2.5 million dollar partially guaranteed contracts. Allowed Dwight Howard to walk away and sign with the Atlanta Hawks in Free Agency. Declined to extend Terrence Jones a qualifying offer allowing Jones to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans for a one-year, 1 million dollar deal. Signed Chinanu Onuaku to a three-year, 2.5 million dollar contract.
Rockets Overall Grade:B
The Rockets’ best value move was to sign NeNe Hilario to a one-year steal for 2.9 million dollars. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson also received fat new contracts from the Rockets, but I am a little wary about this since Gordon and Anderson both had problems staying healthy with the New Orleans Pelicans. It will remain to be seen if letting Dwight Howard go will really solve many of the Rockets’ perceived chemistry problems and defensive issues. James Harden has said that he will be more motivated to play defense with players like Gordon and Anderson to take away some of the offensive load placed on him.
If I were to guess, the Rockets will still have an even worse defense, but a much smoother offense. Harden, Gordon, and Anderson all provide excellent perimeter offense from the mid-range and 3-point line while a healthy NeNe is a post presence that nobody wants to deal with. However, the Rockets will have tons of trouble stopping dribble penetration and protecting the rim given that their only plus defenders are Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela, and Trevor Ariza.
Indiana Pacers- Acquired Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for 2017 2nd round pick and Caris LeVert. Signed Al Jefferson to a three-year, 30 million dollar contract. Acquired Jeff Teague from the Hawks in exchange for sending George Hill to the Utah Jazz. Utah sent Taurean Prince to the Hawks to complete the trade. Signed Aaron Brooks to a one-year, 2.5 million dollar contract. Drafted Georges Niang with the 50th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The Pacers also allowed Jordan Hill and Solomon Hill to leave in Free Agency. Jordan Hill signed a two-year, 8 million dollar deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Solomon Hill received a four-year, 48 million dollar contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Pacers Overall Grade:A
The Pacers did very well this offseason, improving their roster and then some with the acquisitions of Jeff Teague, Aaron Brooks, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson. The only minor problem the Pacers have to worry about is whether or not Jeff Teague walks or re-signs with them following next season since this is the last year of Teague’s deal and he is only being paid 8 million dollars. With the cap jump and the way point guards have been getting paid, Teague could command a good amount of money on the open market, and depending on his play, the Pacers might decide to simply let him walk away in Unrestricted Free Agency. I like the acquisitions of Aaron Brooks, Al Jefferson, and Thaddeus Young who are all proven quality players at their positions who will give the Pacers a boost in talent. It wouldn’t surprise me too much if the Pacers make a big leap in win totals this year and finish 3rd or 4th in the East. Allowing Solomon Hill to leave was probably a smart move given the ridiculous contract that New Orleans offered him, but letting Jordan Hill go for just 8 million dollars might not have been the best move. Overall though, the Pacers added a boatload of talent to their roster this offseason and didn’t have to give up too much to do it.
L.A. Clippers- Re-signed Jamal Crawford to a three-year, 42 million dollar deal. Re-signed Austin Rivers to a three-year, 35 million dollar contract. Re-signed Wesley Johnson to a three-year, 17.6 million dollar contract with a player option for the third year. Re-signed Luc Mbah a Moute to a two-year, 4.5 million dollar contract with the second year as a player option. Signed Mo Speights in Free Agency to a two-year, 2.8 million dollar deal with the second year as a player option. Signed Brandon Bass to a one-year, 1.5 million dollar contract. Signed Raymond Felton to a one-year, 1.5 million dollar contract. Acquired the 40th overall pick, Diamond Stone in this year’s NBA Draft from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Cheick Diallo. Drafted Brice Johnson with the 25th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
Clippers Overall Grade:B+
The Clippers did well with the little cap space they had just like the Cavaliers. The Clips re-signed an aging Jamal Crawford to a very lucrative contract given that they couldn’t replace his production any other way. I like the deals the Clippers gave to Wesley Johnson, Austin Rivers, Brandon Bass, Mo Speights, and Raymond Felton. All of these players were worthy of the contracts given to them, especially when you consider the way the salary cap will rise in the next three years. If Bass, Speights, and Felton don’t work out, the Clippers lost almost nothing since they are getting paid the minimum, and are signed on one-year deals. The Clippers are going to regret giving Jamal Crawford the contract they did when Blake Griffin and Chris Paul both hit free agency next summer and look for max deals in alignment with the ballooning cap. Raymond Felton will be a good backup for Chris Paul and should do a serviceable job of running the Clippers offense when CP3 gets his rest.
L.A. Lakers- Signed Timofey Mozgov to a four-year, 64 million dollar contract. Re-signed Marcel Huertas to a two-year, 3.3 million dollar deal. Re-signed Jordan Clarkson to a four-year, 50 million dollar contract. Acquired Jose Calderon and two future second-round picks from the Chicago Bulls for helping them dump salary to sign Dwyane Wade. Re-signed Tarik Black to a two-year, 12.8 million dollar contract. Drafted Ivica Zubac with the 32nd overall pick in this year’s Draft. Drafted Brandon Ingram with the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft. Signed free agent Luol Deng to a four-year, 72 million dollar contract. Lost Roy Hibbert to Charlotte in Free Agency. Lost Brandon Bass to the Clippers in Free Agency.
Lakers Overall Grade:C
The Lakers had a head-scratching offseason that disappointed many of their fans. After striking out early in free agency for Kevin Durant, the Lakers decided to give walrus-sized contracts to aging veterans Luol Deng (31 years old), and Timofey Mozgov (30 years old). Mozgov didn’t play at all for the Cavs in the playoffs, but got paid like a franchise mainstay. The Lakers just blew so much of their cap flexibility in the coming seasons on players that will be almost impossible to trade because of how overpaid they are. The consensus from a majority of the media and NBA fans was that the Lakers would hold onto their cap space until they got a real, proven superstar to take the max in a proven market. Instead, the Lakers went in the opposite direction by signing Luol Deng and Mozgov, two players who have already hit their peaks and are now declining. Mozgov and Deng have also had their fair share of injuries, so the investment in these players by the Lakers is nonsensical and downright stupid. The Lakers still won’t make the playoffs with these roster additions, and they might not be bad enough to nab a top-3 pick like they did this year. The Lakers probably should have kept their cap space and kept tanking.
Memphis Grizzlies- The Grizzlies’ offseason was highlighted by the signing of Mike Conley to a five-year, 152 million dollar contract. The Grizzlies also shelled out major money to sign Chandler Parsons in Free Agency to a four-year max deal worth in excess of 94 million dollars. Memphis also signed James Ennis to a two-year, 5.9 million dollar contract and Andrew Harrison to a three-year, 3 million dollar contract. Memphis also acquired Troy Daniels from Charlotte in exchange for a 1.6 million dollar traded player exception. The Grizzlies lost Matt Barnes to the Sacramento Kings in Free Agency. The Grizzlies also lost Mike Miller to the Denver Nuggets and Chris Andersen to the Cavaliers in Free Agency.
Grizzlies Overall Grade:B-
The Grizzlies overpaid for Mike Conley who has had a long history of injury problems. The Grizzlies also gave a max deal to Chandler Parsons which I believe he can live up to if he stays healthy. When Parsons was healthy in Dallas after the All-Star Break, he put up 17.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, along with 1.3 steals, and 2.4 three-pointers per game. There is a huge danger though that the Grizzlies will not be able to improve their roster anymore in the future because of the contracts being paid to Marc Gasol, Conley, and Parsons.
The Grizzlies might even have trouble re-signing beloved franchise star Zach Randolph unless he takes a discount. The Grizzlies have to hope and pray to their lucky stars that their young players like JaMychal Green, Wade Baldwin, Wayne Seldon, and James Ennis improve quickly to have any chance of being a top team in the Western Conference. Any injuries to their frequently-injured star players could throw their team’s season down the drain (like last year).
Miami Heat- Signed Dion Waiters to a two-year, 5.9 million dollar deal in Free Agency. Matched Brooklyn’s offer to Tyler Johnson on a four-year, 50 million dollar contract. Re-signed Udonis Haslem to a one-year, 4 million dollar deal. Signed James Johnson to a one-year, 4 million dollar contract in Free Agency. Signed Wayne Ellington to a two-year, 12 million dollar contract. Signed Derrick Williams to a one-year, 5 million dollar deal in Free Agency. Signed Hassan Whiteside to a four-year, 98.4 million dollar contract. Acquired Luke Babbitt in a trade with New Orleans in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and cash considerations.
Heat Overall Grade:B+
The Heat made a smart financial decision in not re-signing Dwyane Wade to the two-year, 50 million dollar contract he was rumored to be asking for. Pat Riley wants to keep the team competitive in the future, and signing Dwyane Wade at 34 years of age and with his history of injuries to such a massive contract would have been the end of competitive Miami Heat basketball for at least four or more seasons. Instead, the Heat declined to give Dwyane Wade a “Kobe contract” and maxed out Hassan Whiteside while also paying out a lot of money to keep promising young wing Tyler Johnson.
The Heat lost Gerald Green to the Celtics and Luol Deng to the Lakers, but both of these veterans weren’t going to get the type of money they wanted with Miami. Miami is in rebuild mode, and with Chris Bosh probably set to retire soon, the Heat kept their options open in terms of salary cap flexibility. The Heat also got some cheap young talent in the form of Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington and Dion Waiters while also signing a strong veteran presence and locker room leader in James Johnson. The future isn’t too great for Miami, but it could be much much worse.
Milwaukee Bucks- Re-signed Miles Plumlee to a four-year, 52 million dollar contract. Acquired Matthew Dellavedova from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange $200k and a a 4.8 million dollar traded player exception. Drafted Patrick McCaw with the 38th overall pick and immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors for 2.4 million dollars. Drafted Malcolm Brogdon with the 36th overall pick in the draft. Drafted Thon Maker with the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft. Signed Mirza Teletovic to a three-year, 31.5 million dollar deal in Free Agency. Lost Jerryd Bayless in Free Agency to the 76ers. Lost Greivis Vasquez to Brooklyn in free agency.
Bucks Overall Grade:A
The Bucks needed some shooters to space the floor and they filled this hole with the acquisition of Mirza Teletovic and Matthew Dellavedova. Delly shot 41 percent on 3-pointers last season on 3.1 attempts per game. Teletovic shot 39.3 percent from 3 on 5.8 attempts per game. Players like Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams need lanes and isolation-type situations to play to their maximum effectiveness, and these two pickups will give the Bucks some much-needed perimeter punch. Last season, the only two reliable perimeter options for the Bucks were Jerryd Bayless and Khris Middleton. The Bucks have an insane amount of length and athleticism on their roster that they simply need to give time to develop. The Bucks didn’t need to do much to get the grade they got because they already have such a talented young core, just like the next team I’m about to talk about.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Signed Jordan Hill to a two-year, 8 million dollar contract in free agency. Signed Cole Aldrich to a three-year, 21.9 million dollar contract. Signed Brandon Rush to a one-year, 3.5 million dollar deal. Drafted Kris Dunn with the 5th overall pick in this year’s Draft. Lost Justin Hamilton in free agency to the Brooklyn Nets.
Timberwolves Overall Grade:A+
The Timberwolves had an impressive offseason simply by virtue of nabbing Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick. Many expected him to be off the boards by the time the Timberwolves got on the board. Dunn is projected to be a very good shooter and defender for an extremely talented, young, and athletic Timberwolves team. Some players I am looking forward to see play next season include: Karl Anthony-Towns, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Kris Dunn, Shabazz Muhammad, and Ricky Rubio. The Timberwolves also made a solid move in acquiring Jordan HIll for a very cheap contract, but they may have overpaid quite a bit for Cole Aldrich.
The hype surrounding Karl Anthony-Towns is well-deserved and it is extremely surprising to me that Andrew Wiggins was surpassed so quickly by Towns in terms of hype and production. If the Timberwolves ever manage to unlock the potential of these players, they will be a nightmare for any team to face.
New Orleans Pelicans- Signed Solomon Hill to a four-year, 48 million dollar contract. Signed E’Twaun Moore to a four-year, 34 million dollar deal. Signed Langston Galloway to a two-year, 10.6 million dollar deal. Signed Alonzo Gee to a one-year, 1.4 million dollar contract. Signed Terrence Jones to a one-year, 1 million dollar contract. Drafted Buddy Hield with the 6th overall pick in this year’s draft. Lost Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson to the Rockets in free agency.
Pelicans Overall Grade:A-
The Pelicans made a variety of good moves this offseason. Drafting Buddy Hield was a great move for the Pelicans because they needed a scoring guard to replace Eric Gordon. Terrence Jones and E’twaun Moore were also excellent value signings who will bring a lot of perimeter depth to a team that needed it on the cheap. Solomon Hill may have been slightly overpaid, but that remains to be seen and he could very well live up to his contract in the coming seasons. Letting Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon leave was a great decision for the Pelicans who would have had to heavily overpay to keep them. If it weren’t for Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, and Jrue Holiday’s big contracts, the Pelicans would be in a great position to pursue a superstar player to pair with Anthony Davis.
New York Knicks-Signed Joakim Noah to a 4-year 72.6 million dollar contract in Free Agency. Acquired Justin Holiday and Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, and Jerian Grant. Signed Courtney Lee to a 4-year 48 million dollar deal. Signed Lance Thomas to a 4-year 28 million dollar deal. Signed Brandon Jennings to a one-year, 5 million dollar contract. Lost Langston Galloway and Arron Afflalo in Free Agency.
Knicks Overall Grade:B
The headline of the Knicks offseason was the double acquisition of two former Bulls in Noah and Rose that prompted star player Carmelo Anthony to dub the Knicks a “good team on paper”. Paper has been exactly the word to describe the health of Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose these past three seasons. Both players have been perpetually injured, but if they can somehow return to their previous playing forms, the Knicks will absolutely be a playoff team.
However, it is my belief that it is the other secondary acquisitions the Knicks made that will have a larger impact on whether or not the Knicks can actually contend like Carmelo thinks they can, or end up being a complete flop and the laughingstock of the league. Jennings and Lee in particular have shown that they can be significant assets, especially since the Knicks will be able to deploy them off of the bench. An in-form Jennings in particular is vital to the Knicks chances of success given that Derrick Rose has about the same chance of playing all 82 games as pigs do of flying. Clearly health will be the biggest factor for how the Knicks season goes since I’d have to agree that this is a formidable team on paper.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Acquired Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis (the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft) from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Serge Ibaka. Drafted Alex Abrines with the 32nd overall pick and signed him to a three-year, 17.2 million dollar contract. Let Dion Waiters leave in Free Agency after offering and rescinding a one-year, 6.8 million dollar qualifying offer. Lost Randy Foye to the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. Lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors in free agency.
Thunder Overall Grade:B-
The Thunder did everything right this offseason except for losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. Had Kevin Durant stayed, they would have had as good a chance as anyone to win the West with the acquisitions of Ilyasova and Oladipo. Ilyasova is a good shooter who would have helped give the Thunder more floor spacing (37.1 percent from 3 last season on 3.5 attempts per game) and Oladipo would have been a HUGE upgrade over Dion “step-back brick” Waiters on both the offensive and defensive end of the court. If the Thunder hadn’t lost Kevin Durant, they would have made an easy A for managing to trade an unhappy and rapidly declining Serge Ibaka for two young talents that would have fit into the roster seamlessly.
Orlando Magic- Signed Bismack Biyombo to a four-year, 72 million dollar contract in free agency. Signed free agent Jeff Green to a one-year, 15 million dollar contract. Acquired Serge Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo, 11th overall pick Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova. Signed free agent D.J. Augustin to a four-year, 29 million dollar contract. Re-signed Evan Fournier to a five-year, 85 million dollar contract.
Magic Overall Grade:B-
The Orlando Magic made some unpredictable moves this offseason in trading away talented young lottery pick Victor Oladipo, another lottery pick (Domantas Sabonis), and quality role player Ersan Ilyasova for aging veteran Serge Ibaka. Ibaka has a great skillset as both a rim protector, pick and roll defender, and floor-spacing power forward/center, but the assets that the Magic had to give up were simply too great to warrant this move. Jeff Green’s contract is also a mystery to me as he is probably worth only a mid-level exception at best.
Even worse is the signing of Bismack Biyombo to a 72 million dollar contract that vastly overpaid him. Biyombo is a quality rim protector, but he hasn’t shown the lateral quickness needed to switch big/small pick and rolls like Tristan Thompson has, and he isn’t nearly the offensive rebounder that Thompson is either. Their skillsets are the same, but Biyombo got paid even more per year and is, in my opinion, a worse overall player than Tristan. Not everything was bad for the Magic as I do like their signings of Evan Fournier and DJ Augustin to long-term deals. Both players have shown that they can create their own offense and shoot the ball decently well (Fournier was a 40 percent 3-point shooter on five attempts per game and Augustin was a 41 percent 3-point shooter on 2.7 attempts per game). The Magic are stuck in a no-man’s land where they aren’t so bad that they can get a high lottery pick, but aren’t so good that they make the playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers-Drafted Ben Simmons with the No.1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Signed Jerryd Bayless to a 3-year, 27 million dollar contract. Signed Gerald Henderson to a two-year 18 million dollar contract. Signed Dario Saric to a 4-year, 9 million dollar deal with team options in the 3rd and 4th year. Lost Isaiah Canaan and Ish Smith in Free Agency.
Sixers Overall Grade:A-
The drafting of Ben Simmons is clearly the biggest offseason move that Philly made. The Sixers still won’t be a playoff contender for the next few seasons, but they will be improving. I would expect their win totals to steadily climb for the next two or three seasons. The signing of Jerryd Bayless to an extremely reasonable deal was a great move. The Sixers need a veteran point guard who will bring some professionalism and maturity to what is an extremely young team.
Jerryd will also bring some much-needed floor-spacing to a team that will be almost as devoid of shooters as the Chicago Bulls. Gerald Henderson is another veteran presence that will help the team grow while also spacing the floor with his 3-point range (Henderson shot 36 percent from outside the arc last season). Dario Saric will bring some more hype to a team that really can’t be hyped any more without a single game being played yet. Saric, Simmons, Noel, Okafor, and Embiid will be expected to bring this Sixers team out of the depths of tanking and into the playoff light in the next few seasons, or this whole rebuild will have been a failure of utterly catastrophic proportions.
Phoenix Suns- Signed free agent Leandro Barbosa to a two-year, 8 million dollar contract with a player option for the second year. Signed free agent Jared Dudley to a three-year, 30 million dollar contract. Selected Dragan Bender with the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft. Acquired Marquese Chriss, the 8th overall pick from this year’s draft from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Bogdan Bogdanovic, a 2020 2nd-round pick, the 13th overall pick from this year’s draft (Georgios Papagiannis), and the 28th overall pick from this year’s draft (Skal Labissiere). Selected Tyler Ulis with the 34th overall pick in this year’s draft. Lost Jon Leuer to the Detroit Pistons in free agency.
Suns Overall Grade:B+
The Suns made some pretty good moves this offseason signing Leandro Barbosa and Jared Dudley to team-friendly deals that won’t really affect their free agent flexibility, unlike Tyson Chandler’s contract. The Suns are looking for their roster to develop internally much like the Wolves, Bucks, Sixers, Nuggets, and Pistons. If Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight can stay healthy (cross your fingers Suns fans), the Suns will be a very entertaining team to watch at the very least. Losing Jon Leuer wasn’t too great, but the Pistons paid him quite a hefty contract, so I understand that the Suns didn’t want to take any risks taking long-term deals that could affect their long-term financial flexibility and ability to attract big-name free agents.
Portland Trailblazers- Re-signed free agent Mo Harkless to a four-year, 42 million dollar deal. Re-signed C.J. McCollum to a four-year, 106 million dollar contract. Matched Brooklyn’s four-year, 75 million dollar offer sheet to Allen Crabbe. Re-signed Meyers Leonard to a four-year, 41 million dollar contract. Signed free agent Festus Ezeli to a two-year, 15 million dollar contract. Acquired Shabazz Napier from the Orlando Magic in exchange for cash considerations. Signed free agent Evan Turner to a four-year, 70 million dollar deal. Acquired Jake Layman (the 47th overall pick in this year’s draft) from the Orlando Magic in exchange for 1.2 million dollars and a 2019 2nd-round pick. Lost Gerald Henderson to the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency. Lost Brian Roberts to the Charlotte Hornets in free agency.
Trailblazers Overall Grade:A-
The Blazers made a plethora of good deals this offseason by re-signing young talents C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, and Mo Harkless. Fest Ezeli was also a good low-risk, high-reward signing. Meyers Leonard was given a little too fat a contract, but he is still very young and could live up to it. The problem signing that the Blazers made was Evan Turner. Turner is a liability simply because he plays the 1,2, or 3, and simply cannot shoot the ball although his position demands that he able to shoot and keep a defense honest.
Turner shot an abysmal 24.1 percent from beyond the arc and isn’t an elite defender. Turner’s best asset is his ability to rebound well for his size and his great court vision allowing him to set up teammates for easy buckets via his passes. Overall, the signing of Turner was an unnecessary redundancy on a Blazers squad that is teeming with perimeter shooting and depth. McCollum, Crabbe, Lillard, Aminu, Harkless, and Meyers Leonard will all eat into Turner’s minutes and the backcourt logjam will mean that Turner simply will not get the minutes to perform at a level that justifies the contract he has been given.
Sacramento Kings- Selected Marquese Chriss with the eighth overall pick in the draft and then traded him to Phoenix for the 13th overall pick (Georgios Pappagianis), 28th overall pick (Skal Labassiere), future second round pick and rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. Drafted Isaiah Cousins with the 59th overall pick in the draft. Signed Arron Afflalo to a two-year, 25 million dollar deal. Signed Garrett Temple to a three-year, 24 million dollar deal. Signed Matt Barnes to a two-year, 12 million dollar deal. Signed Anthony Tolliver to a two-year 16 million dollar deal. Traded Marco Belinelli to Charlotte for Malachi Richardson. Lost Rajon Rondo and Quincy Acy in free agency.
Kings Overall Grade: B-
If this was a normal front office, the final grade would probably be lower, but since we’ve come to expect so little from the Kings, a B- should do just fine. The issue is that Sacramento acquired a bunch of players who fit similar roles and play similar positions without addressing any of the needs this team has, namely finding a franchise point guard, and finding another big outside of Boogie Cousins who can consistently score. Instead they went after a bunch of twos/threes who all fit the prototype of guys who can shoot the three but offer little on defense. Expect the Kings to give up about 110 points per game in another disastrous season that will see them never have to give the Bulls the first round pick they have owed them for the past decade in the Tyrus Thomas trade.
San Antonio Spurs- Signed free agent David Lee to a two-year, 3.2 million dollar contract. Selected Livio Jean-Charles with the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft. Re-signed Manu Ginobili to a one-year, 14 million dollar contract. Selected Dejounte Murray with the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft. Signed free agent Dewayne Dedmon to a two-year, 5.9 million dollar contract with a player option for the second year. Signed free agent Pau Gasol to a two-year, 31.6 million dollar deal with a player option for the second year. Acquired Olivier Hanlan (the 42nd overall pick in this year’s draft) in exchange for Boris Diaw. Lost Boban Marjanovic in free agency to the Detroit Pistons. Lost David West to the Golden State Warriors in free agency. Lost Tim Duncan to retirement.
Spurs Overall Grade:A-
The Spurs lost a lot of their interior defensive presence when Tim Duncan retired, but as usual, the Spurs still managed to have themselves a quality offseason. Dejounte Murray at the 29th pick was a steal and Pau Gasol really adds a significant offensive punch to their frontcourt. A LaMarcus Aldridge/Pau Gasol lineup on the interior will kill in the pick and pop game while also being a major force on the offensive and defensive boards.
Losing a consistent high-quality player in David West to the already stacked Warriors definitely hurt, but the signing of Pau Gasol really solved a lot of the issues caused by West jumping ship and Tim Duncan retiring. I also liked the Spurs signing of Dewayne Dedmon on an extremely cheap contract. Dedmon is very mobile for a big and can also protect the rim. The losses of Diaw, West, and Duncan hurt the Spurs frontcourt depth, but Pau Gasol is a better overall player than any of the aforementioned three last season.
Toronto Raptors- Re-signed DeMar DeRozan to a 5-year, 139 million dollar deal. Re-signed Dwane Casey to a 3-year contract worth 18 million dollars. Signed Jared Sullinger to a 1-year, 5.6 million dollar contract. Drafted Jakob Poetl with the 9th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. Lost Luis Scola, James Johnson, and Bismack Biyombo in free agency.
Raptors Overall Grade:B-
The Raptors took a step back this offseason simply because they lost so many core contributors that they won’t be able to replace in exchange for an albatross of a contract in DeMar DeRozan. Luis Scola, Bismack Biyombo, and James Johnson each played 13 minutes, 25 minutes, and 10 minutes per game respectively. Their production will be sorely missed by the Raptors who will have to lean even more heavily on DeRozan and Lowry to create offense unless DeMarre Carroll can vastly improve his skills as a ball-handler, shooter, and shot-creator. The Raptors are shooting themselves in the foot with the contract they gave DeMar DeRozan because he still can’t shoot the three whatsoever, and his favorite shot, the mid-range jumper, is the most inefficient in basketball.For reference, DeRozan shot 15.4 percent from three last season on 1.3 attempts per game.
Jared Sullinger could play some important minutes for the Raptors as a floor-spacing 4 or 5 who can also offer a little rim protection. The most important thing for the Raptors is to find a chef for Jared Sullinger who will keep him from eating whenever and whatever he wants. Jared Sullinger lost a lot of weight at the beginning of last season and translated it into on-court production. However, by the time the All-Star Break rolled around (pun intended) he had already gained all of it back if not more. By the end of the season, Sullinger was so out of shape he only managed to play13 minutes a game in the playoffs and shot 32 percent from the field. If the Raptors can help Jared keep the weight off and stay in peak condition, he will be an enormous asset for the Raptors on a steal of a contract.
Utah Jazz- Drafted Joel Bolomboy with the 52nd overall. Drafted Tyrone Wallace with the 60th pick in the draft. Traded the 42nd pick to the Brooklyn Nets for the 55th pick (Marcus Paige) and cash. Signed Joe Johnson to a two-year 22 million dollar contract. Traded Taurean Prince in a three way trade with Indiana and Atlanta which netted them George Hill. Trade Olivier Hanlan to the Spurs for Boris Diaw. Traded Trey Burke to Washington for a 2021 second round draft pick. Lost Trevor booker in free agency
Jazz Overall Grade: B+
The Joe Johnson deal was one of the best among any team this offseason, as the fact the Utah only had to pay 11M per year for his services despite the new, increased CBA and only had to commit for two years is remarkable. The George Hill trade was aggressive, but clearly makes them much better for next season. This team sorely need a true point guard given the defensive ineptitude of Raul Neto, and the general rawness of Dante Exum.
The Jazz hope that Exum can be the PG of the future and the veteran Hill will be a great mentor for him. Whether or not the Jazz should try to accelerate their rebuilding project is debatable since on one hand it is hard to see how they will beat the Warriors, but nonetheless OKC clearly is not as much of a factor as they were with KD, the Clippers window is quickly closing and the Spurs just lost Duncan. After barely missing the playoffs last season, I like the boldness Utah showed by giving up their first round pick for Hill, as they should be contending for home court in the first round.
Washington Wizards-Re-signed Bradley Beal to a five-year, 127 million dollar deal. Signed Ian Mahinmi to a 4 year, 64 million dollar deal. Signed Andrew Nicholson to a 4 year 26 million dollar deal. Signed Jason Smith to a three year, 15 million dollar deal. Traded a 2021 second-round pick to Utah for Trey Burke. Lost Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions and Garrett Temple in free agency.
Wizards Overall grade: B-
The Wizards had a quieter offseason than most teams given that they did not have a single pick in the draft, but still managed to make some questionable decisions in free agency. It is the norm to overpay for stars in today’s NBA, but the Wizards undoubtedly took a large gamble by giving Brad Beal max money over five years. While Beal can undoubtedly get buckets with the best of them, he has been unable to stay healthy for most of his career and is a net negative one defense when he is out there. With John Wall as the franchise cornerstone, it is going to be hard for the Wizards to get him any sort of help while Beal’s massive contract is still on the books.
The Wizards’ fortunes will certainly hinge on whether Beal earns his keep or not. In my opinion, for Beal to be worth his contract, he has to improve defensively and turn into a legitimate two-way player. Furthermore, the Wizards took another gamble by giving Ian Mahinmi, a player who is very limited offensively,16 million dollars a year over four years. I suppose he does fit well with this roster given that he is a true rim protector to offset the liabilities that Gortat and have on that end, but Mahinmi will likely disrupt the flow of the offense when out there. I like the Nicholson deal as he is still a young, developing player that was acquired relatively cheaply compared to similar deals.