Grading the Deals Made on the First Day of Free Agency

Nearly all of the focus on this free agent season surrounds the Heat. How much less money will Wade and Bosh take? Is LeBron really going to take the max? Are they going to add some second-tier free agents? For now, all we really know is that their roster will look significantly different next season. For now, let’s focus on the deals that have been made. There were three deals today worth examining.

1. Wizards re-sign Marcin Gortat for 5 years/$60 million.
Washington had its hands tied. They had been so irrelevant since the departure of Gilbert Arenas, until last season. Reaching the second round and taking two games from the Pacers, the Wizards finally had a taste of success. The Wiz pretty much had to re-sign expiring Gortat in order to keep any momentum going. Gortat is firmly in his prime right now, 30 years old, and complements Nene well. And the East is weak enough to make plenty of barely-above-average teams feel like contenders. The Wizards are not winning an NBA championship with a Wall-Beal-Ariza-Gortat nucleus. They can contend in the East, but that is much different than contending for a title, as we saw in the Finals when San Antonio whooped Miami. This may be a deal that looks pretty bad on the back end when Gortat is 33 or 34. Right now though, good centers are hard to come by, and Gortat is one of the few guys who can do this. Are the Wizards deluding themselves into thinking they’re a legitimate threat to the title? Yeah, probably. Is this a move purely to stay falsely relevant? (Nodding nervously.) But, if the move keeps the Heat from poaching Gortat, then I’m all for it.

Grade: B

2. Warriors sign Shaun Livingston to 3 years/$16 million deal.
The Warriors will have arguably the best back-up point guard in the league in Livingston. He could start for many teams in the league. Livingston is one of the most unique players, being a skinny 6’7″ pass-first point guard. Livingston brings versatility to the Warriors’ bench. He’s not a pure shooter by any stretch, but he shares the ball and can lock up on the perimeter. Livingston also gives the Warriors some flexibility if they want to pursue the Klay Thompson for Kevin Love deal.

Livingston is not at all like Klay Thompson. Thompson is primarily a catch-and-shoot guy who doesn’t really create for anyone else. Livingston is a guy who pretty much only creates for others and can’t shoot. But Livingston can fill the defensive void on the perimeter that the Kevin Love trade would create. Finding guys who can guard every position on perimeter is not easy. That’s just what the Warriors did.

Grade: A-

3. Pistons sign Jodie Meeks to 3 year/$19 million deal.
Yeah, what? That’s what everyone is thinking right now. Lakers fans got a good laugh at this one. Meeks is not a bad player. He’s a very good shooter and had one monster game this year, but he is definitely not worth over $6 million per season. That’s just silly. He averaged just under 16 points this season, but everyone knows that those stats are inflated playing for Mike D’Antoni. Guys who jack up shots on bad teams usually don’t get paid in free agency. Putting the 42 point game aside, the last time Meeks was relevant in the NBA, he was getting ripped by Kobe. I thought Joe Dumars stepped down as the guy who made front office decisions in Detroit, but signing Meeks to a $19 million deal is very Joe Dumars-esque.

Grade: D+

Dumars probably signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva here.

Dumars probably signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva here.

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