More Free Agency Grades

The signings! They are everywhere!!! Time to see who won and who lost.

Oh, and can we just agree that the Heat earn an 'A' for the LeBoWa heist? I don't need to explain that one, do I?

Ben Wallace - PF/C
Pistons: 2 yrs. $3.8M
Grade: A

Wallace resisted the temptation to go to the dark side. When was the last time a team was able to re-sign it's best player for under $2M per? Big Ben clearly has plenty in the tank, so Detroit should see an excellent return on investment.

Amare Stoudemire - C
Knicks: 5 yrs. $100M
Grade: B-

I'm bipolar on this signing. On one hand, Stoudemire has not performed like a superstar on offense, has knee and eye issues, and is a mediocre defender. On the other hand, the Knicks seem to be putting the right pieces around him, and he was an absolute beast when he last played for D'Antoni (and this was after microfracture surgery).

Under D'Antoni, his WS/48 was .262, with a PER of 27.6. Last year, he posted .181 and 22.6 respectively. Is his eye bothering him that much? If we split the difference (.222 and 25.1), that's a superstar performance. Either way, the back end of the contract is ugly, but I think the Knicks had to make this move.

David Lee - PF/C

Knicks Sign and Trade to Warriors: 6 yrs. $80 Million
Knicks receive Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike from Golden St.
Knicks Grade: A-
Warriors Grade: C-

The Knicks had little use for David Lee, and dodged a bit of a bullet with this contract. The Knicks needed to fill holes, and did so cheaply. Turiaf is a solid value as an energy guy for $4 million. Azabuike should thrive under D'Antoni, and if he doesn't, his contract expires. Randolph is already productive, and is young enough that he could emerge into a star.

Yes, Donnie Walsh whiffed on his bid for LeBron, but the Knicks are in a much better position now than they were when he took over, and without sacrificing financial flexibility.

Raymond Felton - PG
Knicks: 2 yrs. $15.8M
Grade: B

I may be the only person who likes the Knicks' offseason moves. Felton finally stopped trying to do too much last season, and had the most efficient campaign of his career. Was it a fluke? Maybe, but a two-year contract is a relatively benign way to find out, and his box score stats were going to net him at least the MLE. Incidentally, Felton is going to be THE sleeper pick in fantasy basketball this year.


Timofey Mozgov - C
Knicks: 3 yrs. $10M
Grade: B

I do not know who this guy is, but he's rated well among Euros, and the Knicks need size. Beats signing Johan Petro.

Dorell Wright - GF
Warriors: 3 yrs. $11M
Grade: A-

Wright quietly had a breakout season, and has turned into a lockdown defender with a nice shooting touch. That means the Warriors got something rightThis signing reminds me of a bachelor party in Vegas. The man of the hour is wasted, pissing away money at the blackjack tables, and everyone is kinda depressed, until he remembers he randomly put down $100 on some 16 to 1 UFC match ten hours ago and suddenly he's up $500 for the day.

Prediction: Wright will play like 22 games while some former 2nd round draft pick from Zimbabwe clocks 38 mpg.

Ray Allen - SG
Celtics: 2 Yrs. $20 Million
Grade: C+

Allen gamed the system pretty well here. At most, he's worth the MLE, but once the Celtics signed Pierce, he played hardball. If the C's held out to save a few million, they risked losing him, and they can't compete for a championship next year without him. While the cash may be excessive, the length is obviously reasonable. Not sure Boston had a choice.

Jermaine O'Neal - PF/C
Celtics: 2 yrs. MLE
Grade: A

Faced with an injured Kendrick Perkins and a retiring Rasheed Wallace, the Celts make excellent use of their MLE in acquiring O'Neal. O'Neal is no longer a star in this league (and maybe never was), but he isn't washed up either. He'll give them real minutes, with scoring and shot-blocking from the center position, and you can't beat the contract length.

Carlos Boozer - PF

Bulls: MAX
Grade: B

In the world of consolation prizes, Boozer is a better pickup than Travis Outlaw. Boozer should compliment Joakim Noah quite nicely in the front court, and add several wins to the season total. The problem is that this moves the Bulls into "win-now" territory, which necessitates overspending on role players. Not that this would be anything new for the Bulls. Just ask Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng.

Or, you can ask...

Kyle Korver - SG
Bulls: 3 yrs. $15 million
Grade: C

Don't get me wrong. The Bulls paid market rate for a skilled player, and they had to do something about the two slot. I hear the argument. Korver is a long range threat who takes the pressure off Derrick Rose. I hear it. I just don't buy it.

Great Point Guards (Paul, Billups and Nash in particular) use their OWN long range threat to create space between them and their defender. Others (Parker, Rondo) simply blow by them. By pairing an offensive focal point with another one-dimensional player, you are basically using two players to do the job of one.

Chris Duhon - PG
Magic: 4 yrs $15 million
Grade: F

A few months ago, I was tinkering with a "worst players in the NBA" post. I scrapped the idea, because who wants to read a post slamming a bunch of guys like Chris Duhon? Duhon is a decent defender, but he has no skill on offense. Suffices to say, $3.75M per is not the going rate for 15 mpg of decent defense. The Magic have been inexplicably enamored of Duhon for quite some time. Well, now they have him.

Quentin Richardson - GF
Magic: 3 yrs. $8M
Grade: C+

This is kind of a "fit" signing. Richardson's game should mesh well with the Magic, but in terms of raw talent, they're overpaying a tad. If this means Matt Barnes is gone, you have to question the wisdom. Methinks the Magic are getting a bit desperate...

Randy Foye - SG
Clippers: 2 yrs. $8.5 million
Grade: C+

If we apply a premium to two year contracts, this isn't a terrible deal. With Griffin back, the Clippers probably feel like they have a shot at the playoffs, and rounding out the roster is important. Still, Foye just isn't very good, and he likes to dominate the ball.

Ryan Gomes - SF
Clippers: 3 yrs. $12 million
Grade: C-

If we apply a premium to two year contracts, this isn't a very good deal. At a certain point, why don't you take a flier on some NBDL talent, or a talented headcase, rather than springing for a known mediocrity? I like this quote from Gomes: "I was courted by a lot of teams and I had to weigh my options." Sure you were, buddy.

Brian Cook - F
Clippers: 2 yrs. $2.6M
Grade: F

When I was young, my mom collected knick-knacks. Cookie jars, figurines. All that crap. One day, she came home with some absurd vase. My dad asked why she bought it. She said it only cost a few dollars. "It's still ugly," he responded. They got in a really huge fight when my mom took the Clippers GM job without consulting him first.

Brendan Haywood - C

Mavs: 6 yrs. $55 million
Grade: D

We knew this was coming after the flurry of activity on the first day. It's one thing to overpay for a big in a seller's market. It's another thing to commit to a full six years, which no other team could offer, and which will preclude the Mavs from exploiting a buyer's market years down the road. The Mavs avoid the F because they are in a position to compete for a championship, and because someone was going to offer something ridiculous to Haywood.

Ian Mahinmi - C
Mavs: 2 yrs. $4M
Grade: A

Sneaky little pickup for the Mavericks. Mahinmi has been extraordinarily effective in very limited minutes as a pro, and destroyed the NBDL in his only full season. Why is this guy not getting Johan Petro money?

Tony Allen - SG
Grizzlies: 3 yrs. $9M (Approx.)
Grade: B+

Nice cheap pickup for the Grizzlies. Allen's injury history meant the Celtics had to look elsewhere for a backup, but he's solid on both ends of the floor, which is tough to find in this price range.

Matt Bonner - PF
Spurs: 4 yrs. $16M
Grade: B-

The sandwich king cashes in. The Spurs offense requires a three-point specialist, and that is certainly what Bonner is. I think it's a couple million too much, but what do I know?

Tiago Splitter - C
Spurs: 3 yrs. $11M
Grade: A

By all accounts, this guy is the real deal, a rich man's Anderson Varejao. If that's the case, the Spurs made out like bandits, and we can only expect more teams to draft international "stash" talent.

Jordan Farmar - PG
Nets: 3 yrs. $12M
Grade: C+

You know free agency has gone mad when people are seriously interested in where players like Farmar end up. Some think Farmar has the potential to be good, and he's young enough that there is a bit of room for improvement. Is that worth $12M for a team that needs to dig itself out of a major hole? I don't think so.

Travis Outlaw
Nets: 5 yrs. $34M
Grade: C+

The Nets had to do something, and they are getting an average player for the MLE. Outlaw is young enough to eat up big minutes, and might improve slightly with the added playing time. That's about as much enthusiasm as I can muster.

Johan Petro - C
Nets: 3 yrs. $10M
Grade: D+

Here's what you need to know about Petro. He's a defensive stopper who the Thunder, the team that values defensive players more than any other, traded to the Nuggets for Chucky Atkins. He is, however, relatively young, and very tall. He also has negative offensive win shares for his career.

Anthony Morrow - SG
Nets: 3 yrs. $12M
Grade: B

The Nets are stockpiling so many average talents, they'll probably wind up with 30 wins by default. Enjoy the ninth pick next year, Nets fans. Morrow is a heck of a shooter, and this is a sensible contract, so it's probably a bit unfair to reserve my snark for his synopsis.

Derek Fisher - PG
Lakers: 3 yrs. $10.5M
Grade: D

This is what happens when star players start making roster decisions. Remember when Kevin Garnett demanded the team sign Mark Madsen to a long term deal? This never works out well. The Heat dodged a bullet here.

Al Harrington - PF
Nuggets: 5 yrs. $34M
Grade: C-

A chink in the armor for a team that usually makes solid decisions. Denver has been desperate for another big to fill in for Kenyon Martin, but this is an expensive and mediocre way to do it, even if the last two years are only partially guaranteed. Harrington scores a lot, but only because he also shoots a lot. He also doesn't play defense. Teams tend to panic when their window is closing, and this is a panic move.

Shelden Williams - F
Nuggets: 1 yr. Min.
Grade: B+

As insurance policies go, Williams is affordable and dependable. One of the biggest lottery busts in league history, he was very effective in spot duty for the Celtics. He's unlikely to repeat his .612 TS%, but their not paying him that kind of money anyway.

Udonis Haslem - PF
Heat: 5 yrs. $20M
Grade: A

Haslem is leaving just as much money on the table to play in Miami as are the big three. He would have had numerous offers for the MLE, and decided to stay at home. Any way you slice it, Miami got a great deal here, and a huge break.

Mike Miller - SF
Heat: 5 yrs. $30M
Grade: B

By the standards of this insane free agent market, this is a great deal. My only qualm is that, if the idea is to get a three point shooter to take the pressure off the superstars, how does it work when he plays the same position? Maybe LeBron will come off the bench to free up some minutes for Miller and Wade to play together.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas - C
Heat: 2 yrs. $(notverymuch)M
Grade: A

Big Z had a terrible season, and was no small part of Cleveland's playoff collapse with his .419 TS%. But Ilgauskas is only one year removed from an excellent eight-year run, he's still gigantic, and he's secretly developing a three point shot. The Miami apocalypse scenario is starting to take shape.

Luther Head - PG
Hornets: 2 yrs. $2.5M
Grade: B

After a solid start in Houston, Head's career went off the rails. If he can stay healthy, he could be a nice bargain at this price. He's young enough to bounce back, and the Hornets need cheap players.

Tyrus Thomas - PF
Bobcats: 5 yrs. $40M
Grade: C

This is too much time and too much money to commit to a player with limited offensive skills and a bad attitude. He will continue to be productive under Larry Brown, but when Brown is gone (which could be next season) what happens? He's young, but his performance has been remarkably consistent from year to year, which makes a major improvement unlikely.

Josh Childress - GF

Suns: 5 yrs. $34M
Grade: A-

The darling of metrics people is now one of the free agent bargains of the summer. I have a couple of minor concerns. First, they'll be paying a player who relies on athleticism into his 30s. Second, there could be an adjustment period after a season of playing Euro-ball. Still, if the goal is to maximize the Steve Nash window, the Suns couldn't have done much better.

Linas Kleiza - SF
Raptors: 4 yrs. $18.8M
Grade: B

I think this guy is pretty overrated, so I expect he'd get the full MLE. At this price, it's not a bad signing, especially for a team in desperate need of defense.


Kyle Lowry - SG
Cavs: 4 yrs. $24M
Grade: B

See? Everything turned out alright for Cleveland after all.

(edit: never mind, looks like LeBron might be first to a championship after all)


Luke Ridnour - PG
Timberwolves: 4 yrs. $16M
Grade: D

Beyond. Parody. For the record, in spite of my residence in Minnesota, my kids will be Pistons fans. I'm not even sure I'll even tell them about the T-Wolves. When the Pistons are in town, I'll pretend it's an exhibition, like the Wolves are the Washington Generals.

Open question, did David Kahn sign Ridnour because he's a point guard, or because he's white?

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