Two Rational Deals in the Irrational Free Agent Market

Free agency is one of the most exciting times of the NBA year-long season. The private jets. All of the free dinners. Team pitches from teams that have no chance. Fake Woj accounts. Usually, every offseason, there’s at least one WTF contract. Something like the Jodie Meeks deal. Or the more recent Thabo Sefolosha deal signed by the Hawks today.

Teams that feel their only piece away will overpay for their last piece to the puzzle that’s not really the last piece to the puzzle. Teams just trying to stay above water will throw cash around. It all gets confusing to the casual fan. For one of the only times in the season, we get to see a player’s true value in the eyes of the league. Even though a player’s salary isn’t always indicative of his value. And a lot of times, just because one team is willing to drastically overpay a guy X amount of money does not make that player worth that in the open market. Sure, the Pistons gave Jodie Meeks $20 million, but if the Pistons traded Meeks tomorrow, they’d probably only get a second rounder back, maybe two at best. Continue reading

The 15 Best Free Agents Not Named LeBron or Carmelo

NBA free agency starts at midnight tonight. Almost all of the free agent talk so far has been focused on LeBron and Carmelo. Where will LeBron end up? Will he take a pay cut? (No.) Will Carmelo join or create a Big 3? Is he headed to Miami? (Just stop.) Chicago? (Hmmm.) Rockets? (They certainly want him.) New York? (Sorry Knicks fans.) Let’s put aside the LeBron and Carmelo talk for just a second, and rate the rest of the free agents. This free agent class is by no means loaded once you get past LeBron and Carmelo, but there are still some very attractive free agents this summer that could alter the NBA landscape.

A Few that Didn’t Make the Cut

A couple guys didn’t make this list, but will be targeted by several teams. Patty Mills had a stellar run in the Finals and is bound to be overpaid by someone in the league. Plenty of teams will only remember how well he shot the ball in the Finals and be willing to offer Mills the starting job and a salary raise. His speed and pace gave the Heat fits. Speaking of the Heat, they will have to figure out what to do with the Big 3. Obviously, the Heat will do all they can to keep the Big 3 together and make another run at the Finals. There’s no way they’ll let Dwyane Wade go. He’ll probably play his entire career in Miami, and the Heat will offer him a Kobe-like extension, based on what he did for the franchise in the past, not what he will do in the future. Wade could be in this list based on previous ability and his name, but in terms of ability, he doesn’t belong on the list. He looked finished in the Finals. The Heat breezed through the weak East, beginning with their first round sweep of the upstart Hornets. The Hornets look like an up-and-coming team in the East and are trying to keep their point-forward Josh McRoberts, one of the best passing big men in the league. Michael Jordan loves McRoberts and calls him a “connector”, basically meaning Jordan would’ve loved playing with him since McRoberts only passes the ball. A connector is just another word for a glue-guy, and McRoberts is that. Continue reading

What the Tyson Chandler Trade Means for the Mavericks and Knicks

The Mavericks are hoping Tyson Chandler is the same player he was in 2011. In 2011, Chandler was the defensive anchor for the Mavs as they beat the Heat in the Finals. They caught many by surprise when they then let Tyson Chandler walk in free agency, signing with the Knicks. They had  struggled in the past few years to replace Chandler’s defensive presence. On the eve of the draft, the Mavericks made a splash, dealing Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, the 34th pick, and the 51st pick all for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. The move frees up some cap space for the Mavs in the 2015 summer, and makes sense since they’re trying to win now. For the Knicks, things are less clear. They have been vocal in their intent to make a splash 2015 free agency, so why commit to $7 million more with the Calderon deal that doesn’t expire until 2017-2018? The Knicks could easily end up trading him before then, but the deal is still confusing. After all, Chandler’s contract only has one more year. Phil Jackson is scheming, and maybe the deal boiled down to getting rid of Felton, as well as picking up a good young prospect in Shane Larkin. Chandler’s worth around the league has probably dwindled a bit in the past two or three years while he’s been in a Knicks uniform, but you would think the Knicks could still at least pick a 1st round pick for him.  Continue reading

Top 75 NBA Trade Value (Part 4)

Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series.

Group H: “He’s Young, Puts Up Great Stats, And Isn’t A Winner. We Hate Ourselves For Listening To Your Deal”

24. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins should be in the top 10. He has that much talent. How many 23 year old centers averaged 23 and 12, with a PER over 26? If only Cousins could be surrounded by well-respected vets. The Kings made the poor decision of building their entire team around Cousins. He’s good enough to build around, but at this stage in his career, he needs other All-Star caliber vets to show him the ropes. Despite Cousins’ attitude problems, he’s still one of the best players in the league. Cousins needs to be on a good team with good players. Liken him to Zach Randolph. Cousins is more talented and a little crazier than Randolph. Remember though: Randolph had his share of issues when he was on the JailBlazers. It wasn’t until he joined the Grizzlies that he really turned his career around. Cousins could do the same if in the right situation. Continue reading

Maverick Twin Towers: Dirk and Pau?

The Mavericks have recently expressed in signing 33 year Pau Gasol. Gasol would be paired in Dallas’ frontline with Dirk, easily giving the Mavs perhaps the most skilled frontline in the NBA. Gasol is 33 year olds and has endured two disappointing seasons in Los Angeles without Kobe’s help. Despite the Lakers’ recent struggles, Pau has vowed to stay in LA if Kobe wants him to. But aside from loyalty, Pau has little reason to sign up for any more time in LA. The Lakers own the 7th pick in this year’s draft, as well as some cap space–some of which would have to be used on Pau–but that is not enough to turn the Lakers into a playoff team. The Lakers won only 27 games last year, and even the biggest Kobe-diehards have to realize that his return to the court will mean little as a 35 year old. Of course, Los Angeles is one of the premier destinations in the league. The Lakers are probably the most storied franchise in the league and the weather is always a plus, but if Gasol wants to add one more ring to his collection, Los Angeles is not the place to stay. Continue reading

Who would you build an NBA Franchise around? (Part 2)

If you missed it, Click here for Part 1.

Group 7a: Dinosaurs That Somehow Aren’t Extinct 

35. Kevin Garnett
34. Paul Pierce
33. Kobe Bryant
32. Tim Duncan
Despite KG’s injuries this year, he’s still one of the most reliable defensive anchors in all of Basketball. With KG, anything short of beating the Heat seems possible for the Celtics in the playoffs. Without KG? We’re talking about a five or six game series in favor of the Knicks. As far as Pierce is concerned, I’ll let Bill Simmons do the talking. Want to know how good Kobe was this year? Before getting hurt, even being owed $30 million as a 36 year old next year, it would have been hard to put outside the top 20. Kobe was on everyone’s MVP ballot until the day he got injured. And Duncan is one of the most remarkable players in NBA history. This guy just doesn’t wear down. He’s 36 years old and has a PER over 24. He’s putting up 18-10-3 in just 30 minutes per game. Would anyone really be shocked if three of these four guys were using deer antler spray?

Continue reading