2016 NBA Free Agency Reactions/Grades

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One’s evaluations of complex decisions, the effects of which can ripple for decades, at a moment’s notice are inevitably going to be imperfect.

Regardless, I will be doing my absolute best to acknowledge context with my ideas, including team situations, player leverage, everything. Somebody may be wildly overpaid, but that may be what a team had to do to keep their man and stay in playoff contention (see: my Charlotte grades).

I’ll also try to acknowledge both the short term and long term effects of every transaction. A team like Brooklyn, which has no need to keep cap flexibility in the coming years, will receive a higher grade for a long-term contract. Also: trades/signings often lead to subsequent moves, so I may update some of my opinions afterwards, but I’ll be very transparent about it.

Yes, obviously instant grades are inherently kind of dumb. But there’s still a great deal of value in evaluating transactions (and front offices) based on what we know at the moment the paperwork is signed. I’ll try to allocate words based on the league-wide impact of each move. If you disagree with anything, I welcome further conversation on Twitter or elsewhere.

Just consider this all a short disclaimer before I present:

Every 2016 NBA Free Agency Transaction

Sorted by team, complete with analysis and grades from both the team and player perspectives. Team grades reflect the value of the player/contract, player grades reflect the player’s ability to negotiate money/years and the fit with his new team.

(Note: using the Find function may be helpful/necessary if you want to skip to your favorite team or player.)

Atlanta Hawks

DWIGHT HOWARD: 3 years, $70 million

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

This deal is a clear indicator of Atlanta’s short term goals. The Hawks had a choice heading into free agency: either tear down some of the best years in Atlanta basketball history and start over with a younger core, or reinvest in their current veterans and potentially end up on the wrong side of the aging curve in the hopes of extending short term success. Perhaps unsurprisingly, coach/general manager Mike Budenholzer chose the latter.

Howard is still an effective defensive force. He provides more rim protection than Horford (less versatility though) and better rebounding, both of which cost the Hawks dearly in their last two playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who swept them in 2015 and 2016. The Hawks were evidently tired of being beaten the same way, so they decided to reallocate that money.

New starting point guard Dennis Schröder has yet to play with an athletic roll man like Howard, a change that will hopefully lead to fewer bricked pull-up 18-footers on his end.

It probably would have been better for the Hawks to get Howard either on a two-year deal for more money or less money on a four-year deal, but Budenholzer ultimately split the difference with his offer. Howard probably has right around three decent years left, so this contract will never be a total albatross.

Dwight doesn’t appear to fit snugly into Atlanta’s pace-and-space, pass-heavy system, so he may need to re-shape his game a bit. If Howard is the Howard of old in Atlanta, with coaching confrontations and post-up demands, this contract is just okay. But if he relinquishes his desires and buys into the system, Howard could experience a late-career resurgence with the Hawks.

Team Grade: B+

The Hawks got a center who papers over some of their biggest weaknesses at the cost of flexibility and potential fit/injury troubles.

Player Grade: A-

Howard walks into a situation with a clear role, great coach and the potential to reinvent himself. All while securing good money/year numbers.


KENT BAZEMORE: 4 years, $70 million

I hope you didn’t expect him to Baze less. (Sorry.)

Part of Atlanta’s attempt to reload for next season was bringing back Bazemore on a long-term contract. Bazemore reportedly had larger offers from other teams like the Lakers and Nets, but chose to come back and contend for the playoffs with the Hawks.

Bazemore proved his worth last year in a starting role, replacing 75 percent of what DeMarre Carroll brought to the Hawks before leaving to join Toronto in 2015. His above-average three-point shooting and solid perimeter defense (not big enough to defend LeBron in the playoffs, but who is, really) were a steady presence on the wing for a team that struggled more with injuries last year than in that magical 2015 season.

His long and winding road to the NBA leaves him 27 years old heading into the first season of this contract, but it will still end before Bazemore is likely to decline. And Bazemore was able to snag a player option on the end of his deal, so he’ll be able to cash out and get another big contract if he’s still productive at 30.

Team Grade: A-

The Hawks didn’t really have anyone to replace Bazemore’s contributions on the roster, so retaining him at a fair price is a very good move.

Player Grade: A

Bazemore has the opportunity to continue growing at “Hawks University,” where he’s a perfect fit for the system and the culture. And a player option!


MALCOLM DELANEY: 2 years, $1.5 million (?)

These reported figures for Delaney are not yet confirmed by a national NBA writer, but they seem about write for a player coming from overseas. Smart teams are already jumping on that market inefficiency, signing players abroad for massive year/salary discounts given their desire to merely have a spot in the league.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton’s Euroleague conversion numbers paint Delaney as an average back-up guard, which is what the Hawks needed after trading Jeff Teague and elevating Schröder to the starting role. He comes two years and roughly $27 million cheaper than a guy like DJ Augustin, so this is almost certainly a good move.

Atlanta could still use a slightly more dependable back-up at point guard, but this is a good start.

Team Grade: A-

The Hawks didn’t really have anyone to replace Bazemore’s contributions on the roster, so retaining him at a fair price is a very good move.

Player Grade: A

Bazemore has the opportunity to continue growing at “Hawks University,” where he’s a perfect fit for the system and the culture. And a player option!

Boston Celtics

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AL HORFORD: 4 years, $113 million

The Celtics finally have the first critical piece in the team’s quest to return to the East’s upper echelon.

Atlanta had the opportunity to offer Horford more money and years than any other team in the league, but they were stingy with their money and ended up paying Dwight Howard a lesser sum. There’s reason to believe that the end of a five-year deal for Horford, already 30, would have looked bad, and evidently the Hawks prioritized future flexibility over stability. That’s not a bad bet, but it almost certainly led to Danny Ainge reeling in his first star.

To put it plainly, Al Horford’s do-everything skill set makes him a perfect fit on nearly any team in the league; however, few teams could have carved out a mix of substantial role and likely team success better than the Celtics.

Horford immediately becomes the best player on the team and an excellent complement to Isaiah Thomas’s pick-and-roll abilities. Boston’s biggest needs under coach Brad Stevens have always been shooting and rim protection, and Horford provides both of those, along with myriad other qualities.

Horford is seemingly the perfect fit for Boston’s culture as well — a competitive player determined to win and willing to sacrifice whatever it takes for the team.

He will be extremely useful for recruiting any of the star players available next summer to the Celtics, even more so when one considers the dearth of highly respected veterans on Boston’s roster (no disrespect to Thomas or Jae Crowder, one of my favorite players in the league).

Even Horford’s greatest weakness — rebounding, which lost Atlanta a few games last season — is somewhat mitigated by the effort Crowder and Marcus Smart give on the boards.

Horford will likely begin to decline over the course of this contract, but it’s difficult to view it as anything other than a huge win for the Celtics. Stevens finally has a top-tier player worthy of his top-tier coaching acumen, and Ainge finally has a cornerstone piece upon which he can build his next contender.

Team Grade: A+

Boston needed a star who could upgrade the team’s talent & its clout among free agents. They nailed it, getting the 2nd-best player available in 2016.

Player Grade: A

Horford could have gotten a bit more money and an extra year from the Hawks, the only reason this isn’t an A+. The fit in Boston is magnificent.

Brooklyn Nets

JEREMY LIN: 3 years, $36 million

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It seems Lin has already gone through a dozen different career rebirths, but his latest in Charlotte seems more sustainable than any of the others.

Lin emerged late last season as a back-up point guard/sixth man, capable of both leading a successful second unit and playing alongside starting point guard Kemba Walker with ease. Numbers don’t always paint the complete picture of a season, and that is evident in Lin’s 2016 statistics.

Despite shooting a career low in three-point and overall efficiency, as well as averaging the fewest assists per game of his career, Lin was undoubtedly as good as ever by the eye test last season. His steady hand helped lead the Hornets to one of their most successful seasons in franchise history, and his transformation from a potential star after two weeks of dominance in New York to a solid role player has gone about as smoothly as one could expect.

The Nets need exactly that sort of presence on a team that’s likely to experience more tumult than any other toward the end of this decade. The Nets have no picks and few promising young players, so the team’s best strategy is to steal those players on overpriced contracts through free agency (see: Tyler Johnson) and give them the best possible opportunity to grow.

Lin, 27, doesn’t fall under the category of promising young players anymore, but he should be an integral part of making the Nets’ talent feel comfortable and set up for success despite a difficult situation. This isn’t a world-beating signing — it won’t help the Nets contend — but it’s exactly the kind of move that new general manager Sean Marks needs to make.

Team Grade: A

The Nets got a strong pick-and-roll scorer and passer to help maintain a team identity as they move toward an uncertain future.

Player Grade: A

Lin almost certainly could have gotten more money elsewhere, but this contract will both bring him back to the Big Apple and secure a starting spot for him until 2019.


JUSTIN HAMILTON: 2 years, $6 million

Hamilton had a high PER (25+) in Spain last season, the kind of success that typically carries over a bit to the NBA. He’s a solid three-point shooter for a 7-foot center, and Brooklyn has more than enough time and money to take chances on guys like him. There’s really no downside to this move.

Team Grade: A-

Perhaps there were better guys overseas to take chances on, but few centers come this cheap.

Player Grade: A+

Hamilton has his NBA shot, on a team that will have plenty of minutes to spare at his position after trading Brook Lopez. Time to show something.


TREVOR BOOKER: 2 years, $18.5 million

Booker is a great rebounding power forward with a bit of shooting range, but does little else. Brooklyn has essentially no motivation to compete over the next few years, so taking a two-year flyer on Booker as a steady veteran presence is a welcome addition. As long as Marks continues to avoid long-term veteran contracts, he’s doing his job well.

Team Grade: B+

Other veterans, like say Jared Dudley, may have been better. But there’s little to dislike about a two-year contract at the beginning of a five-year plan.

Player Grade: A

Get that money, Cook Book!


TYLER JOHNSON: 4 years, $50 million

UPDATE 7/10: The Heat matched the offer, but you can still read many of my thoughts on Johnson here. An updated version of this post will eventually include thoughts on the matching from Miami’s perspective in their team section.

Casual fans may not know Tyler Johnson, and understandably so. He’s played in just under 70 career games over two season for the Miami Heat. But when he has played, Johnson has looked like an excellent young 3-and-D guard.

Johnson’s shooting splits are frankly stunning for a young player coming out of the D-League. Johnson shot just under 49 percent from the field in 2016, including 38 percent from three-point range. The majority of his shots were open, as is typical for a role player on a team with star power, but Johnson’s first two years indicate he could stay in the league for years as a back-up two — or perhaps something more.

The Nets have the necessary playing time that could allow him to do just that. There will be few places in the league better than Brooklyn over the next several years for young players to see what they can do.

Johnson, 24, is a good backcourt fit with nearly anyone and likely has a good attitude given that he started his NBA tenure with the Heat. He has improved every single year of his basketball career dating back to his freshman year of college at Fresno State, and the Nets could have a good player on their hands if that continues.

Team Grade: A-

Johnson is exactly the kind of promising young role player the Nets need to be stealing from other teams during these next few years of mediocrity.

Player Grade: A+

Johnson has to be thrilled both with his massive first real contract in the NBA (from a 10-day contract two years ago to $50 million!) and his opportunity to continue improving with the Nets.

Charlotte Hornets

Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports

NICOLAS BATUM: 5 years, $120 million

What an absolute coup this offseason has been for the Hornets thus far.

Nicolas Batum, the biggest reason Charlotte had one of its best seasons ever in 2016, re-signed with the Hornets for less than his full maximum contract to allow extra space for other targets. This, despite assuredly having four-year maximum offers from several other suitors.

Batum still got more money from the Hornets than he could have anywhere else, but he could have easily held out for a payday of around $150 million. Instead, Batum chose to return and help ease the team’s financial burden, a testament to the impact coach Steve Clifford and the rest of the organization had on him in his short stay.

Batum, 27, brings invaluable skills to Charlotte’s team, which was somewhat lacking in playmaking before they traded Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson to Portland in exchange for Batum’s expiring contract last offseason.

With other top-tier East teams potentially taking a step back this summer (Hawks, perhaps Heat given Wade’s age and Bosh’s health), the door is open for the Hornets to command a top-four seed in the conference. Bringing back Batum was the first step in doing so.

This deal could look bad near the end, with Batum slated to be 32 at its conclusion. But remaining in contention for the next few years is invaluable for a team that struggled for years to even approach mediocrity.

Charlotte houses some of the most passionate fans in the NBA, and they’ll remain on the biggest stage for the next few season because of Batum’s signing (and the team’s other signings). The Hornets are buzzing.

Team Grade: A

Retaining an unrestricted free agent in his prime is a tall task for without a strong history or top-tier market. Charlotte got it done against the odds.

Player Grade: A-

Batum clearly prioritized fit and chemistry over money and championship contention. You can’t fault a guy too much for taking less to be happy.


MARVIN WILLIAMS: 4 years, $54.5 million

There must be something in the water at the Hornets practice facility. Williams is the second major free agent to re-sign with the team for below-market value this offseason, along with the aforementioned Batum.

Williams signed for the exact highest amount the Hornets could give him without using their cap space (via something called Early Bird rights), which allowed them to go after some of their other needs such as back-up point guard (filled by Ramon Sessions).

He likely could have signed a shorter term deal for around the same amount of money with a different team, or a higher four-year number. But he chose to remain in Charlotte.

Williams had by far the best season of his career, emerging as a knockdown, 40 percent three-point shooter and cementing his status as an above-average stretch four. There are concerns about the sustainability of Williams’ performance though: he’s now 30 and it’s rare for a player to experience such an extreme year-over-year improvement this late in a career.

It’s possible Williams has simply found a perfect fit for his skills and will continue to produce at this level for a couple more years, but decline next season and beyond seems more likely.

If Williams dips heavily next year, this contract could look troublesome in a hurry. But given his fit with the team and that Charlotte maintained some flexibility by getting him on a reasonable per-year value, this move still grades out fairly well.

Team Grade: B

This offseason could have been gutting for the Hornets, but they’ve kept their core together. We’ll see whether they can take the next step in 2017.

Player Grade: B

Williams could have gotten more money elsewhere, but like with Batum, there isn’t much wrong with going back to Charlotte on a stable contract.


ROY HIBBERT: 1 year, $5 million

Few players have declined as rapidly as Roy Hibbert over the last 2–3 years. Hibbert approached Joakim Noah-levels of offensive ineptness last season, without the stellar passing or rebounding. Still, this deal is the equivalent of tossing somebody a child’s piggy bank under last year’s salary cap, so there isn’t too much downside.

Team Grade: C

I’m not sure exactly where else Charlotte could have spent its money, but I would have preferred somebody with more upside than Hibbert.

Player Grade: B+

Hibbert is getting what he can, and it’s a decent fit given what Clifford did with Big Al Jefferson on the defensive end.


RAMON SESSIONS: 2 years, $12.5 million

Sessions was one of the more underrated players in the league last season. He did a nice job of running the Wizards second unit and gets to the free throw line as well as anyone in the league. It’s hard to imagine the Hornets could have done better finding a replacement for Jeremy Lin in this year’s point guard market, and Sessions comes at a decent price as well.

Team Grade: B+

Lin was a major contributor for the Hornets last year, and Sessions can approximate 80% of what he brought at a lower cost.

Player Grade: B

Sessions is going home to Charlotte, which must be nice. But it’s hard not to feel like he could have earned more money on the market. Perhaps he’s as underrated by general managers as by the average fan.


BRIAN ROBERTS: 1 year, $1.05 million

Brian Roberts is a pretty typical third-string point guard, capable of running a bench offense in a pinch.

Team Grade: B

The Hornets got him for the veteran’s minimum, which is a nice deal for a guy who shoots a little above league average from three.

Player Grade: A

Roberts is just trying to work through the end of his NBA career at this point. Any deal is a good deal.

Chicago Bulls

USATSI

RAJON RONDO: 2 years, $28 million

This is basically a slap in the face to Bulls fans, who expected general manager Gar Forman to come through on his promise and increase the team’s athleticism in the offseason, and to move forward with the spotlight on Jimmy Butler.

Rondo, 30, is coming off a fourth consecutive season where his team performed worse with him on the court than without him.

He fears contact at the rim and passes up open layups to continue pounding out the shot clock. Rondo hunts for assists at the cost of his team running any semblance of a real offense, so it’s safe to ignore his high per-game number.

Rondo’s assist-hunting looks good on a statsheet, but the cost of his apathy often outweighs those benefits..

Does any of this sound like a good fit with coach Fred Hoiberg’s preferred ball movement offense?

He somehow found a three-point shooting stroke in his one year with Sacramento, but it’d be unwise to expect that to continue given his history and still terrible free throw percentage.

As a bonus, Rondo plays absolutely no defense. Just none. That’s not good news for a team that has plenty of rotation players who lack ability on that end (Denzel Valentine, Doug McDermott, likely Mike Dunleavy Jr. post-back issues, Nikola Mirotic).

But hey, at least Forman delivered on his promise of handing the keys to rising star Jimmy Butler by trading Derrick Rose. Except the chemistry problems that plagued Chicago last season, particularly the difficulties Hoiberg had with trying to establish his authority, are likely to only be exacerbated by Rondo’s arrival.

Rondo famously gave up on one of the best coaches in the league, Rick Carlisle. How will he react to Hoiberg, who has yet to even command respect from some of his own players? It’s possible they’re able to connect, but it seems highly unlikely.

The Bulls could have made some use out of a one-year stopgap signing at point guard, like Deron Williams or Brandon Jennings (both of whom signed for much less than Rondo), as a better-fitting complementary piece to Butler in the backcourt.

But if you are going to sign Rondo, who will likely do nothing to solve chemistry issues with Hoiberg or Butler (whose primary complaint last year was not getting the ball enough), why not just hold onto Rose for his expiring season and see if he has absolutely anything left before letting him explore free agency? That avoids betraying fans who still support Rose and still allows for flexibility next summer.

Keeping Rose would have cost them Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez, but they could have easily offered a starting role to a younger free agent center such as Bismack Biyombo. Or they could have completed the trade and just rolled out Jose Calderon, a decent fit with Butler in his own right who at least gives effort on defense despite his major struggles.

Signing Rondo, even to a contract with an opt-out after one season, shows a lack of foresight and a lack of understanding of what this team almost certainly needs at the point guard position beside its star.

Now all the Bulls can hope for is that Chicago won’t be the third consecutive team to deeply regret its one-year Rondo rental.

UPDATE POST-WADE SIGNING: This move now makes even less sense after the Bulls signed Dwyane Wade to a two-year deal. The Bulls starting line-up now begins with Rondo/Wade/Butler, an abysmal shooting group that has next-to-no chance of scoring above the league average next season. Perhaps it took Rondo to help lure Wade to Chicago, but his presence is going to make keeping Wade past this season near-impossible.

Team Grade: D+

Rondo will rack up assists this season, but he likely won’t do much else to help the Bulls achieve their proclaimed goals. One year contract though!

UPDATE POST WADE SIGNING: D-

Having nearly any other free agent point guard in Rondo’s place would have made for an extremely interesting Bulls season. Instead, Chicago will likely fail spectacularly.

Player Grade: B

Rondo continues to convince teams that his higher intellect will lead to something other than selfish, destructive play. May have gotten a longer deal elsewhere.


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DWYANE WADE: 2 years, $47.5 million

Well, this came out of nowhere.

After nearly a full week of back-and-forth posturing by Dwyane Wade’s agent and Miami Heat President Pat Riley, Wade’s free agency came to a stunning conclusion: signing with the Chicago Bulls for a 1+1 contract (Wade has a player option in his second year).

Wade’s homecoming is thrilling for casual fans, and it’ll put more butts in United Center seats than any other non-Durant free agency signing would have. But the sad truth is that Wade’s fit with the team, particularly given the recent addition of a fellow aging, inefficient, ball-dominant guard, is confusing at best.

Between Rajon Rondo, Wade and Jimmy Butler (Sorry Jimmy, Gar Forman misplaced the keys to the team but he’ll be sure to get those to you in a few years when you’re on your way out the door), the Bulls have plenty of pick-and-roll ball handlers but nobody who can space the floor well enough to make that matter.

The Bulls likely starting line-up will include Robin Lopez and either Taj Gibson or Nikola Mirotic. If it’s Gibson, the Bulls will have one real three-point shooter in the starting line-up (Butler), practically a felony in today’s three-happy NBA.

What Forman and John Paxson have failed to realize about their team is that its biggest need is effective two-way players. As it stands, only Butler fits that description on the entire roster (maybe Lopez or Gibson).

The Bulls unloaded two of their least efficient offensive players (Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah) only to replace them with two big names who might be even more harmful to the offense.

Wade played 74 games last season. He shot 44 threes. He made seven. Smart teams aren’t going to be fooled by star-power like the Bulls front office: opposing guards are going to sag deep into the paint and make a functional offense nearly impossible.

Potential solutions to the problem include playing either Rondo or Wade with the bench unit (not happening) or implementing a player movement-heavy offense (definitely not happening).

Not only is the offense hurt by Wando’s (Rondade’s?) arrival, but the defense likely won’t be much better given those two have lacked effort on that end in recent years.

And when all of this likely comes crashing down sometime midseason? Wade can just exercise his player option and skip town for his next destination.

Should things somehow work out and the Bulls contend for a top-four seed in the East, then Wade is likely to recruit Chris Paul to the Windy City. That would certainly be a good thing for the Bulls, and it’s surely what GarPax were thinking with this move.

From that perspective, acquiring a big name like Wade to lure targets is a perfectly acceptable move — one that would have made complete sense if the Bulls had also brought in another backcourt mate who could complement their two stars.

Instead, the Bulls will spend a second-consecutive season investigating the peculiar nature of square pegs and their relationships with round holes.

Team Grade: B-

This signing itself isn’t a bad one, but it makes the Rondo signing even more confusing and/or horrendous. Good luck, Fred.

Player Grade: B

Wade probably had a better chance to lure free agents and contend in the short-term with Miami. He didn’t get the money he wanted from them, but we’ll see if an extra few million is worth what he gave up.


MIKE DUNLEAVY: Traded to Cavaliers into cap space

Dunleavy, 35, is coming off a season during which he hardly played due to back problems. That said, he was one of the few shooters remaining on Chicago’s roster and that loss could be more impactful than Gar Forman thinks.

Team Grade: C

Had to be done to get Wade. We’ll see if Dunleavy can give anything to the Cavaliers.


JOSE CALDERON: Traded to Lakers into cap space

Just two years ago, Calderon shot 45 percent on 425 three-point attempts for the Dallas Mavericks. That’s pretty good.

Team Grade: C

Had to be done to get Wade. We’ll see if Calderon can give anything to the Lakers.

Cleveland Cavaliers

RICHARD JEFFERSON: 2 years, $5 million

Somehow, Richard Jefferson was one of the central figures of Cleveland’s massive upset over the Golden State Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals. His ability to play small forward and allow LeBron James to move up one spot and guard Draymond Green was critical in shifting the series toward the Cavaliers.

Given his skill-set and the youth he showed in those Finals, one would imagine other teams offered him more money than this.

Team Grade: A

Either Jefferson or Dunleavy needs to give the Cavs something in the playoffs this season. If that happens, they’ll… maybe take a game off the Warriors?

Player Grade: A

Clearly, Jefferson is prioritizing winning at this point in his career.


MIKE DUNLEAVY: Received from Bulls into cap space

The Cavs created the trade exception used to acquire Dunleavy by sign-and-trading Matthew Dellavedova, which is a nice little use of the CBA’s quirks by general manager David Griffin (who has done a fantastic job since taking over).

Team Grade: A

Dunleavy might have a few playoff series/lowkey nut punches left in the tank, which is all the Cavs really need him to do.

Dallas Mavericks

DWIGHT POWELL: 4 years, $37 million

Powell is an interesting prospect who has already switched teams three times in his first two years in the league. He ended up with the Mavericks, who played him in 69 games this year to middling effect.

A “tweener” used to be an NBA player who didn’t have the size to play power forward nor the quickness or shooting to play small forward. Now, with nearly the entire league shifting players up a position, Powell represents the new tweener archetype: he lacks the size to play center, but can’t shoot well enough to be a power forward in today’s NBA.

Powell could potentially develop a shot over time, and that would turn him from an interesting prospect into a bona fide role player. His defense needs work, but Powell brings enough bounce and rebounding to have a place in the league as it is.

The biggest question here is whom the Mavericks were betting against for Powell’s services. Powell was a restricted free agent, which meant Dallas could match any offer. I find it a bit hard to believe that any other team would have offered a raw prospect this much money, but perhaps Dallas had intel that suggested otherwise.

The years are fine, given that Powell is only 24. But for him to be worth this much money over that time period, he’ll need to do more than he has thus far.

Team Grade: C+

A curious investment, given that the Mavericks could have let Powell test the market, but a potentially worthwhile one if he develops a shot.

Player Grade: A

Even in this market, it’s hard to imagine Powell getting a better deal anywhere else (maybe the Nets?). Good work to his agent, and he nabbed a player option to boot.


DERON WILLIAMS: 1 year, $10 million

This is a good deal for the Mavericks. As a frequent observer of the Bulls, I would have tacked on a few million more to this offer and saved myself the trouble of starting Rondo.

Williams, 32, is declining on the defensive end, but he can still offer quite a bit offensively. His solid shooting allows him to succeed both on and off the ball. He can still run a pick-and-roll better than most. And his two-point shooting rebounded strongly in Dallas after a rough 2015 in Brooklyn.

Williams probably got around his market value here, but I’m surprised other teams didn’t try and get in on his services for this price and an extra year. Perhaps he took less money to stay in his home state of Texas.

Team Grade: B+

Williams is declining, and the Mavs need to find somebody who’s a long-term fit at point guard. But this is a good deal for a low price with no long-term commitment.

Player Grade: B+

Williams seemed happier than he’d been in years with the Mavericks. Good for him making himself into a decent role player this late in his career.


HARRISON BARNES: 4 years, $94 million

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This is the full four-year max offer for Harrison Barnes. At least in the first year, Mavericks fans are likely to be disappointed by his services.

Barnes had an extremely comfortable role with the Warriors, taking open shots and mostly making them, despite the three-game NBA Finals sample size everybody is losing their minds over.

Moving to Dallas will require Barnes to prove he can do more than be the fifth man of the league’s best line-up.

But the Mavericks may not be the best situation for Barnes to succeed. They already have a decent player locked in at the position where Barnes has been most effective in his first few years: power forward. That player is Dirk Nowitzki, so it’s safe to say Barnes won’t be unseating the franchise’s savior anytime soon.

Barnes has worked best at the four because of his strong rebounding ability and ability to defend bigger players in the post. His shooting (38 percent from three) also becomes much more valuable and unique at power forward than small forward.

Nowitzki is likely to retire in the next 2–3 years, but by then Dallas fans could be frustrated with Barnes’ slightly less valuable work at small forward. Ideally, coach Rick Carlisle will realize early on what made Barnes so critical to Golden State’s death line-up and slot him at the four when Nowitzki sits.

If not, Barnes will have to develop better decision making to prove he’s worthy of this contract. Barnes weaknesses lie in shot creation and playmaking, both of which are somewhat superfluous for fours but increasingly important for threes as the league becomes smaller.

Barnes might develop those attributes as he plays in a system with more shots to go around than the Warriors had. Or he might crash and burn.

Team Grade: B

Giving a young, promising-if-limited player like Barnes a max contract isn’t a terrible investment, but Dallas is not the best place for Barnes to grow.

Player Grade: A

Barnes signed an offer sheet where he knew he would be able to contend for the playoffs, and he got as much as he could. Get that money, Harry B.


ANDREW BOGUT: Received from Warriors into cap space

Dallas flunked the early part of their offseason, failing to land any of the best free agents available at their positions of need (mainly center). Taking in Andrew Bogut to play center alongside Nowitzki is a good fit, but there’s little chance that Bogut plays over 65 games this season.

We’ll see how they deal with his health, but there isn’t too much downside to the one-year rental (aside from, you know, facilitating the construction of the league’s Death Star by the Bay).

Team Grade: B-

Bogut is a smart defensive player who fits well with Dallas’s needs, but the Mavericks’ failures to lure promising free agents should be acknowledged.

Player Grade: A

This is a great landing spot for Bogut.


SETH CURRY: 2 years, $6 million

After a decent stretch in Sacramento last season that cemented his place in the NBA, it’s surprising to see Curry sign for so little. There are still plenty of teams in need of point guard depth and very few decent guards remaining.

Regardless, Rick Carlisle has been able to turn the likes of J.J. Barea, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton into competent point guards, so it will be interesting to see what he can do with a player who shoots as well as the younger Curry (45 percent from three).

Team Grade: A-

Carlisle hasn’t had a younger guard on his team in quite a while, and getting Curry for this price seems like a steal.

Player Grade: B

It’s surprising that Curry signed a two-year deal for so little money, but perhaps he prioritized a good fit and the ability to get back on the market over a longer contract with a struggling team.


DIRK NOWITZKI: 2 years, $40 million

What else is there to say about Dirk Nowitzki? He took far less than his worth in salary for years to help Mark Cuban build a contending team around him, yet Dallas hasn’t made it back to the promised land since 2011.

Dirk is the ultimate team player, a consummate professional and any other laudatory cliché one can imagine. Good for him on finally cashing out.

Hopefully, the Mavs can give him one last fun playoff ride. But even without that, he’s still one of the all-time greats.

Team Grade: A+

Keeping Dirk on the Mavs for the remainder of his career, even if it hinders long-term flexibility a bit, is a good fit for any price.

Player Grade: A

Dirk can probably name his price at this point. It’s hard to watch the Mavs continue to strike out on top-tier free agents when Dirk could easily help other teams contend for a title, but his relationship with the organization is just too strong.


JEREMY EVANS: Traded to Pacers into cap space

Jeremy Evans has had a remarkably efficient career, scoring nearly 900 points on over 56 percent shooting. That’s mostly because over half his shots are dunks, but still!

Team Grade: B-

I’m not really sure what use the Mavericks had for Evans at this point, and he had a tiny cap number, so moving him isn’t really good or bad. It just…is.

Denver Nuggets

DARRELL ARTHUR: 3 years, $23 million

Darrell Arthur isn’t a sexy name, and perhaps that’s why he got so much less money than he’s worth. Arthur, with his ability to switch between the four and five with ease, was Denver’s best defender last season. He also upgraded his three-point shooting to a newfound height of 38.5 percent on 117 attempts, a career-high in both categories. That combination of skills makes Arthur a great 3-and-D bench threat from any frontcourt spot, which should have garnered much more interest in this free agent market.

Team Grade: A-

Retaining Arthur at this price for three years is a coup with the exploding salary cap.

Player Grade: B

Arthur has been in Denver for a few years now and clearly enjoys that life, in spite of the team’s recent tumult.

Detroit Pistons

Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports

ANDRE DRUMMOND: 5 years, $130 million

The only drama with this signing was whether Drummond could wiggle his way into a player option to get back on the market a year earlier, and he did just that.

Drummond, still just 22, is an incredibly talented player who could develop into a more modern version of Dwight Howard (though almost certainly never quite as good as peak Dwight).

Drummond is in the perfect system to maximize his talents under Stan Van Gundy, who will continue to put great shooters around Drummond as he rules the interior.

On the other side of the ball, the eight-seed Pistons ranked 12th in defensive rating last season with Drummond manning the middle. He still has a lot of room to grow on that end, so this should be a stat to keep an eye on over the course of his contract. Surrounding him with potentially All-Defense-level wings like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson should help make things relatively easy for Drummond as he grows.

One last thing to watch: rumors about Drummond shooting free throws underhanded seem to grow every year. Keep an eye out for granny style.

Team Grade: A-

You would hope to get Drummond for five years with no opt-outs, but the early termination option after four seasons isn’t a huge loss.

Player Grade: A+

Drummond is in the absolute perfect place to ascend to stardom over the length of this contract.


ISH SMITH: 3-years, $18 million contract

Ish Smith, aside from having one of the better names in the NBA, is a great pick-and-roll guard to pair with Andre Drummond. Aside from that, he doesn’t have all that many other NBA skills.

A contract for this little value is valuable both on the court and in trade negotiations though. Perhaps the Pistons could have coaxed a better defender into joining their team after struggling mightily with Steve Blake last season, but just about anyone is an upgrade over Blake.

Team Grade: B

Ish?

Player Grade: A

Ish!


JON LEUER: 4 years, $42 million

After just sort of hanging out on NBA rosters for the first four years of his NBA career, former Wisconsin Badger Jon Leuer broke out last season with the Phoenix Suns as a sweet-shooting forward/center (insofar as a role player can “break out”).

Leuer shot above 38 percent from three in 2016, making him an excellent partner to ground-bound Phoenix centers Alex Len and Tyson Chandler. Though his primary role was shooting, Leuer managed some solid rebounding statistics as well, averaging over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. Now he’ll take his talents to the Motor City and fill the role of the departing Anthony Tolliver.

This is a great deal of money for a 27-year-old with just one real NBA season under his belt; however, the Suns were +6.4 points per 100 possessions better with Leuer on the court. Clearly, Stan Van Gundy thinks there’s more value here than meets the eye.

Team Grade: B-

Leuer was one of the few remaining shooting forwards on the market, and his ability to play center could be quite useful should Drummond get into foul trouble. Still, it’s hard to believe Leuer was getting an offer this good elsewhere.

Player Grade: A+

Stan Van Gundy’s offense relies on a four-out system that perfectly fits Leuer’s abilities.

Golden State Warriors

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

KEVIN DURANT: 2 years, $54.5 million


ZAZA PACHULIA: 1 year, $2.9 million


SHAUN LIVINGSTON: 1 year, $5.8 million option picked up


ANDREW BOGUT: Traded to Mavericks into cap space


DAVID WEST: 1 year, $1.55 million


Houston Rockets

RYAN ANDERSON: 4 years, $80 million


ERIC GORDON: 4 years, $53 million


NENE: 1 year, $2.9 million

Indiana Pacers

AL JEFFERSON: 3 years, $30 million


JEREMY EVANS: Received from Mavericks into cap space

Los Angeles Clippers

AUSTIN RIVERS: 3 years, $35 million


WESLEY JOHNSON: 3 years, $18 million


JAMAL CRAWFORD: 3 years, $42 million


LUC RICHARD MBAH A MOUTE: 2 years, $4.5 million

Los Angeles Lakers

TIMOFEY MOZGOV: 4 years, $64 million

JORDAN CLARKSON: 4 years, $50 million

LUOL DENG: 4 years, $72 million

TARIK BLACK: 2 years, $12.5 million

JOSE CALDERON: Received from Bulls into cap space

Memphis Grizzlies

CHANDLER PARSONS: 4 years, $94 million

MIKE CONLEY: 5 years, $153 million

JAMES ENNIS: 2 years, $6 million

Miami Heat

HASSAN WHITESIDE: 4-years, $98 million

Milwaukee Bucks

MIRZA TELETOVIC: 3 years, $30 million

MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA: 4 years, $38 million

Minnesota Timberwolves

COLE ALDRICH: 3 years, $22 million

BRANDON RUSH: 1 year, $3.5 million

New Orleans Pelicans

SOLOMON HILL: 4 years, $48 million

E’TWAUN MOORE: 4 years, $34 million

LANGSTON GALLOWAY: 2 years, $10–12 million

New York Knicks

JOAKIM NOAH: 4 years, $72 million

COURTNEY LEE: 4 years, $50 million

BRANDON JENNINGS: 1 year, $5 million

LANCE THOMAS: 4 years, $27 million

MINDAUGAS KUZMINSKAS: 2 years, $6 million

WILLY HERNANGOMEZ: TBD

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

D.J. AUGUSTIN: 4-years, $29 million

EVAN FOURNIER: 5 years, $85 million

JEFF GREEN: 1 year, $15 million

BISMACK BIYOMBO: 4 years, $72 million

Philadelphia 76ers

JERRYD BAYLESS: 3 years, $27 million

SERGIO RODRIGUEZ: 1 year, $8 million

GERALD HENDERSON: 2 years, $18 million

Phoenix Suns

JARED DUDLEY: 3 years, $30 million

LEANDRO BARBOSA: 2 years, $8 million

Portland Trail Blazers

EVAN TURNER: 4 years, $70 million

Sacramento Kings

ARRON AFFLALO: 2 years, $25 million

ANTHONY TOLLIVER: 2 years, $16 million

GARRETT TEMPLE: 3 years, $24 million

MATT BARNES: 2 years, $12 million

San Antonio Spurs

PAU GASOL: 2 years, $30+ million

BORIS DIAW: Traded to Jazz into cap space

Toronto Raptors

DEMAR DEROZAN: 5 years, $145 million

Utah Jazz

JOE JOHNSON: 2 years, $22 million

TREY BURKE: Traded to Wizards for 2021 second-round pick

BORIS DIAW: Received from Spurs into cap space

Washington Wizards

BRADLEY BEAL: 5 years, $128 million

IAN MAHINMI: 4 years, $64 million

ANDREW NICHOLSON: 4 years, $26 million

TOMAS SATORANSKY: 3 years, $9 million

TREY BURKE: Received from Jazz for 2021 second-round pick

JASON SMITH: 3 years, $16 million

UNSORTED MOVES

BOBAN MARJANOVIC: 3 years, $21 million with Pistons
DEWAYNE DEDMON: 2 years $6 million with Spurs
MANU GINOBILI: Returning to Spurs, contract TBD
MARCELO HUERTAS: 2 years with the Lakers
AMIR JOHNSON: Celtics picked up player option
IAN CLARK: 1 year deal with the Warriors
FESTUS EZELI: 2 years, $15 million with the Trail Blazers
ALLEN CRABBE: 4 years, $75 million with Nets, Trail Blazers match
MARREESE SPEIGHTS: Minimum contract with the Clippers
TROY DANIELS: 3 years, $10 million with the Grizzlies
DERRICK WILLIAMS: 1 year, $5 million with Heat
TIM FRAZIER: 2 years, $4 million with Pelicans
WAYNE ELLINGTON: 2 years, $12 million with Heat
MARCUS THORNTON: 1 year, minimum with Wizards
JAMES MCADOO: 1 year, minimum with Warriors
JAMES JOHNSON: 1 year, $4 million with Heat
MEYERS LEONARD: 4 years, $41 million with Blazers
WILLIE REED: 2 years, minimum with Heat
JARRETT JACK: 1 year, minimum with Hawks
UDONIS HASLEM: 1 year, $4 million with Heat
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: 1 year, $5 million with the Nets
JARED SULLINGER: 1 year, $6 million with Raptors
KRIS HUMPHRIES: 1 year, $4 million with Hawks
SASHA VUJACIC: 1 year, minimum with Knicks
LUIS SCOLA: 1 year with Nets
CHRISTIAN WOOD:
2 years with Hornets
JONATHAN GIBSON: 3 years with Mavericks
PABLO PRIGIONI:
2 years with Rockets
JOE HARRIS: 2 years, $2 million with the Nets
MAURICE NDOUR: 2 years with the Knicks

ANTHONY BENNETT: 2 years, minimum with the Nets
RANDY FOYE: 1 year with the Nets
MANU GINOBILI: 1 year, $14 million with the Spurs
QUINCY ACY: 2 years, minimum with the Mavericks
RAYMOND FELTON: 1 year, minimum with the Clippers
TERRENCE JONES: 1 year, likely minimum with the Pelicans
DAVIS BERTANS: 2 years, $4 million with the Spurs
CHRIS ANDERSEN: 1 year, minimum with the Cavaliers
BRANDON BASS: 1 year, minimum with the Clippers
JORDAN HILL: 2 years, $8 million with Wolves
ANDERSON VAREJAO: 1 year, minimum with Warriors
ALEX ABRINES: 3 years, $18 million with Thunder
MILES PLUMLEE: 4 years, $52 million with Bucks
AARON BROOKS: 1 year, $2.5 million with Pacers
MIKE MILLER: 2 years, $5 million with Nuggets
GERALD GREEN: 1 year, $1.4 million with Celtics
TYLER ZELLER: 2 years, $16 million with Celtics
ALONZO GEE: 1 year, minimum with Pelicans
NICOLAS BRUSSINO: 3 years, minimum with Mavericks
DION WAITERS: 1 year, $2.9 million with Heat
MAURICE HARKLESS: 4 years, $40 million with Blazers

SHABAZZ NAPIER: Traded to Trail Blazers into cap space
LUKE BABBITT: Traded to the Heat for a second round pick

C.J. WILCOX: Traded to the Magic for a future second round pick

JAMES HARDEN: Renegotiated for a four-year, $118 million deal
C.J. MCCOLLUM: 4 years, $106 million with Blazers